CT Guide to Waterfront Dining: 75 + Restaurants With Water Views (2023 Edition) — CT Bites (2023)

Warmer weather has finally arrived, meaning it is time to head outside and enjoy the many waterfront restaurants and bars the state of Connecticut offers. Whether you are craving a tasty seafood dinner or a refreshing cocktail, the state is filled with excellent restaurants with top-notch views of the water. Simply put, nothing says “summer” like waterfront dining, which is why we are back this year with a comprehensive guide to read through and decide where to grab lunch or dinner.

For your convenience, we have broken the guide up into counties so you can easily find exactly what you are looking for, whether you want to dine somewhere local or try someplace new! And keep in mind, we are not just talking about Long Island Sound – Connecticut has several riverfront restaurants as well with equally beautiful views and delicious food, so we have those included here as well.

Fairfield County

Pier 131-Shelton


Pier 131 is sure to be your summer go-to spot! Located right on the Housatonic River in Shelton, Pier 131 Kitchen + Bar is your destination for live music, karaoke, and trivia. In addition to the stunning views and great events, Pier 131 also offers brunch every day with personal mimosa bottles, mouth-watering crab cake Benedict and fresh stuffed avocado. Pier 131 is a made-from-scratch kitchen that offers an array of fare ranging from fresh oysters, crisp salads, tasty sandwiches, and delicious pizzas. Gather your friends and family, and enjoy some of Pier 131’s delectable signature cocktails while you soak up the sun on one of Fairfield County's most picturesque patios. Open every day for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Be sure to check out their website for upcoming events and specials.



Siena Norwalk is a bridge between tradition and contemporary Italian cuisine that boasts an extensive wine list and high-end cocktails, all set within the picturesque backdrop of the Norwalk River. Every pasta is made from scratch daily and artisanal pizzas are cooked to perfection by wood fire. Sit by the floor-to-ceiling windows and take in the view. Open every day for lunch and dinner.



Outriggers Restaurant is a hidden gem tucked away inside the Safe Harbor Marina, located right on the Housatonic River boasting 180-degree scenic coastal views. Outriggers is noted for its fresh seafood, hot buttery lobster rolls, blackened scallops, intriguing specials, local beers, and cocktail varieties, plus its talked-about Happy Hour during the week! During the summer months, enjoy their extensive outdoor deck and bar with live entertainment every weekend (weather depending). Experience your 'mini vacation' with delicious cuisine, a relaxed ambiance, and a cold beverage at Outriggers! www.outriggersrestaurant.com

Ripka’s Beach Cafe-Norwalk


Enjoy stunning water views and warm summer breezes at Prime, An American Kitchen & Bar — a luxurious waterfront gem serving the most artfully crafted seafood, hand-rolled sushi, and USDA Prime steaks you’ll find north of Greenwich. Nestled along the picturesque Long Island Sound, the restaurant’s tempered glass walls allow a full view of the water from nearly any seat in the house and stay open when the weather allows. Guests can explore their illuminated glass wine room, visible from both inside and outside the building, and with over 750 labels, the floor-to-ceiling enclosure has separate temperatures for white and red wines. In warmer weather, sit outside with one of their signature cocktails watching the boats come in. Dinner is served on the deck or in their outdoor cabana bar. Sunday Brunch is offered weekly from 12 pm to 3 pm, with catering options also available.

bartaco-Stamford, Westport


Inspired by a healthy, outdoor lifestyle, bartaco's got freshly squeezed cocktails, scratch-made tacos (the baja fish taco and glazed pork belly taco are musts!), and “not tacos” like ceviche, chips + guac + salsa, street corn, and more — all served up in a stylish + coastal ambiance in a relaxed environment. (This summer, be sure to ask about the fan-favorite #bartacosecret lobster taco and Smoke on the Water cocktail).

Beer Garden at Shippan Landing-Stamford


Located waterside, with a fleet of food trucks, a wide selection of craft beer, and live music, what else could you want on a summer afternoon or evening? Play some giant Jenga, have a pint, and kick back with friends. Check their website for music and truck details.

The Boathouse at Saugatuck-Westport


The Boathouse Restaurant is one of the few white tablecloth restaurants sitting directly on the Fairfield County waterfront. Stunningly poised on the Saugatuck River, they have direct water views from every angle-the indoor dining room, second-floor dining deck, first-floor Regatta Room and waterfront terrace. Serving locally sourced seafood and new American cuisine for brunch, lunch, and dinner.

Boca Oyster Bar- Bridgeport


Perched at Steelepointe Harbor, enjoy Mediterranean fare and water views. They have live music, brunch, and dinner, along with plenty of classic or inventive cocktails. Their comprehensive menu spans raw bar offerings to vegan entrees and everything in between.

Crab Shell-Stamford


Arrive by car…or boat! Live music gives it a party atmosphere while you enjoy lunch or dinner. Seafood, seafood, and more seafood here from Alaskan King Crab Legs to Baked Stuffed Sea Scallops to Grilled Wild Tuna (yes, there are options for non-seafood lovers too).

Down The Hatch-Brookfield


Candlewood Lakes only waterfront restaurant. Pull up in your boat or sea plane if you like! Casual, fun, tasty, and the perfect spot to go on a summer day. Kid friendly with a really large menu of fan faves like Gochuhanga Pork Tacos, Philly Cheese Steaks, and Shrimp Po’Boys.

Foundry Kitchen and Tavern-Sandy Hook


Housed in a historic building at the main intersection in town and snuggled up against the Pootatuk River, Foundry Kitchen serves handcrafted cocktails and local spirits along with dishes using many local ingredients-charcuterie, local cheeses, Poke bowls, Short Ribs and Grits, their Impossible Patty Melt (vegan), and many other unique offerings.

The Galley Waterfront Cafe-Norwalk


Unique and generous breakfast and lunch sandwiches in a fabulous array of combinations that are aptly named after pleasure boats and local islands. When you try one, you’re going to want to come back for another! (The “Little Tavern”, with fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil, balsamic glaze, and house-made pesto on chewy Italian bread is a fave!)

Harbor Lights-Norwalk


Arrive by car or boat and then enjoy panoramic views of Norwalk Harbor as you savor their fabulously fresh seafood selections. Their specialty dishes include Mediterranean Octopus and Lavraki-Mediterranean Sea Bass, as well as raw bar selections.

Knapp's Landing-Stratford


Located on Sniffens Point in Stratford, they have been going strong with great views and good food since 1997. Garlic Mussels, Fish Tacos, lobster rolls, Sesame Ahi Tuna salad, burgers, pasta, and more.

La Plage-Westport


Coastal cuisine, in a casual waterfront setting, with highlights of sustainable meats and locally harvested seafood, shellfish, and produce (Grilled Seafood Salad, raw bar, Seafood Carbonara). Serving lunch, dinner, and brunch on weekends.



Delight in Mediterranean cuisine overlooking Greenwich Harbor in the beautiful surroundings redolent of Provence. Serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner and an extensive wine list.



Amped-up Mexican favorites, along with a water view! Smokey Cashew Queso to share, tacos filled with everything from pulled pork to charred broccoli, and burritos and bowls galore.



With Indoor and outdoor seating offering views of the Saugatuck River, OKO’s innovative take on traditional Japanese cuisine and sushi, casual, small-plate dining meant for sharing is encouraged! Go big with their nightly Omakase: a chef’s choice, 16-course tasting menu.

Overtons Seafood-Norwalk


For over 60 years, Overtons has been a staple of the Norwalk community. They tout gorgeous views of the Norwalk Harbor, delicious fresh fried seafood, lobster rolls, clam bellied and strips, and, of course, ice cream. Dockage is available for Overtons’ customers!

The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood-Rowayton


Nestled along the Five Mile River in Rowayton, dig into their super-fresh seafood (courtesy of the Rowayton Seafood next door) for lunch, dinner, and even Sunday brunch. Maine Lobster Deviled Eggs or Jumbo Lump Crab Toast, anyone?

Riley’s By the Seawall-Stratford


As they like to say, “Live the Life of Riley” when you walk through these doors, with good music, an easygoing atmosphere, good views, and great food, from giant pretzels to Sea Scallop Risotto and 24 oz. steaks.

Rive Bistro-Westport


With a wrap-around wall of windows overlooks a bend in the picturesque river, there’s a fireplace to create the perfect cozy atmosphere during the winter months and an outdoor patio that feels like a cafe on the Seine for the warm days. Serving modern cocktails and wine by the glass, along with French specialties such as Crabmeat Croquettes, Croque Monsieur, and Moules Frites Basquaise.

SoNo Seaport Seafood-Norwalk


Indoors or out on the deck overlooking Norwalk Harbor, dive into fresh seafood of all types from littlenecks and steamers, ceviche, roasted oysters, chowders, bisques, fish tacos, shrimp and, of course, lobster dinners. It doesn’t get fresher!

Sunset Grille-Norwalk


Sunset Grille is a premier waterfront dining destination in Fairfield County. Nestled in the beautiful Norwalk Cove Marina, Sunset Grilled offers stunning views of Norwalk Harbor and Long Island Sound. Join them for a glass of wine or a specialty cocktail while watching the spectacular New England sunset, then sit back and listen to live music while enjoying delicious entrées and appetizers. Sunset Grille is the perfect summertime spot!

Water’s Edge at Giovannis-Darien


For over 25 years, WEG has been serving up, as they say “no fads no pretentiousness just great food” in their restaurant and event space. They are known for their certified Angus Beef, as well as plenty of seafood and Italian favorites.

The Wheel-Stamford


The Wheel serves American cuisine brimming with locally sourced ingredients in an industrial chic, waterfront setting. The restaurant is located at The Village, along with an outpost of Cisco Brewers -- located a bit further down the waterfront.

New Haven County

Dockside Brewery-Milford


Dockside Brewery, located on the Connecticut Shoreline in Milford, CT, is more than just a beer bar! The expansive multi-level decks, indoor and outdoor bars, waterfront biergarten, and sandy beach area offer unparalleled views creating a lively environment you won't want to miss with room for everyone. If you are traveling by boat, head to Dockwa.com to reserve your boat slip today! Dockside has assembled the most talented kitchen and front-of-house crew in the state offering a dining experience with an extensive menu of casual favorites and New Haven Style Pizza accompanied by more than 40 tap lines, wines, and specialty cocktails. Call 203-693-3900 or head to Opentable.com to make a reservation. To book a private party event email events@docksidebrewery.com.

The Deck at Amarante’s Sea Cliff-New Haven


Take a seat on The Deck for summer favorites like New England or Rhode Island Clam Chowder, Fried Calamari, Shrimp Street Tacos, cold or hot lobster rolls, and clambakes. Note: Open Mon-Thursdays.

Dive Bar & Restaurant-West Haven


Dive Bar & Restaurant is a local mainstay where beer nerds and foodies unite – and if those aren’t your thing, they’ve also got the best views of the sound in West Haven. Bring your parents and kids for a meal you can all agree on.

Dockside Seafood and Grill-Branford


Indoor and outdoor dining 7 days a week, with events under their tent, lots of summery seafood dishes such as pots of steamers, chowder, and a variety of “fresh catches”, as well as plenty of spectacular sunsets to add to your enjoyment. Serving lunch and dinner.

Fair Haven Oyster Co-New Haven


Fair Haven Oyster Co. is an elevated seafood bar where elegant mid-century design meets a modern and cozy tavern. This intimate and nautical restaurant features expansive waterfront views, a large deck, and an eclectic yet classic menu paired with gin and sherry-focused drinks.

Flipside Burgers & Bar-Milford


No-nonsense, feel-good food right in Downtown Milford. Visit Flipside for a fun and casual atmosphere. Perfect for a relaxed family dinner on the patio, hanging out with friends in our comfortable dining room, or enjoying drinks at the bar.

Guilford Mooring-Guilford


Casual, easy atmosphere at this spot on Guilford Harbor. Live music, light bites of tacos, PEI mussels, fried artichokes, and seafood faves of Cioppino, Linguine & Clams, and Lobster Mac and Cheese will pair well with their Pink Pirate Punch.

Jimmie's of Savin Rock-West Haven


Beachside as well as boardwalk-side, Jimmie’s has been serving up their huge menu of seafood and American favorites (“Home of the Split Hotdog” ) since 1925.

Lenny’s Indian Head Inn-Branford


Over 40 years at this Indian Neck section of Branford, Lenny’s overlooks Sybil Marsh and locals love their long list of seafood options from homemade chowders to lobsters and oysters on the half shell. Sandwich and kids’ options round it out.

Shell and Bones Oyster Bar and Grill-New Haven


Shell & Bones Oyster Bar and Grill is located on the waterfront in the historic City Point area of New Haven. The over-the-water deck features tables and a new outdoor bar for 2023 and includes a section that is covered, fully enclosed, and heating for off-season dining; the indoor dining room features floor-to-ceiling glass doors that offer year-round water views.

Stonebridge Restaurant-Milford


The Stonebridge Restaurant established its roots as a small, unassuming local seafood wholesaler known as Milford Seafood, which opened its doors in 1949. Known to the locals as the "Bridge," they have grown from a small fresh fish market into a full-service, upscale restaurant, and catering facility. Celebrate a New England tradition with them. There’s always a reason to celebrate at Milford Crossing Place!

Stowe's Seafood-West Haven


A classic seafood shack across from West Haven Beach has a simple menu of fresh fish, fried New England style, plus perfect lobster rolls, all served in paper boats!

The Wharf at Madison Beach Hotel-Madison


Voted "Best Waterfront Dining and Most Romantic", The Wharf at Madison Beach Hotel overlooks Long Island Sound and features al fresco dining. Locally inspired menus and a beachside setting, enjoy incomparable brunch, lunch, and dinner by the waterfront, with stunning views of sunrise and sunset.

Middlesex County

Brushmill by the Waterfall-Chester


This summer you can set out to roam freely, pick a destination, or quite frankly, pick the destination. The destination is Brushmill by the Waterfall located in the quaint town of Chester. A picturesque restaurant directly alongside the Pattaconk River is a unique blend of old and new. They offer exquisite New American cuisine in an old mill that was operational as far back as the early 1800s. Complimentary to the cuisine, they have an extensive wine list and plenty of delicious and refreshing cocktails to choose from. Featuring 2 patios as well as 3 dining rooms to enjoy the waterfront views, Brushmill by the Waterfall definitely needs to be on your list of places to visit this summer!

Rocky’s Aqua-Clinton


Rocky’s Aqua is a hidden gem located at the Cedar Island Marina in Clinton, CT. The restaurant provides open-air seating on three covered porches, picnic table seating on an outdoor patio, and two full bars. The view of the boats and the breeze off the water makes for a perfect dining experience. As great as the atmosphere is, what truly makes Rocky’s Aqua stand out is its unbelievably hospitable and experienced staff. They thrive on creating a special experience for each and every guest! The Rocky's Aqua menu is eclectic, with a wide range of seafood and American cuisine. A few of the local favorites on the menu include their Clams Casino, Fried Oyster Salad, Ahi-Tuna, and Lemon Chicken. After you dine in, don’t forget to stop at “The Scoop”, located by the entrance, to try their famous ice cream and waffle cones, all made in-house! Ask for Lauren, Sam, or Rocky when you stop by. They can’t wait to meet you!

Bacari Social-Westbrook


Bacari Social Bar & Restaurant is located in Westbrook’s Safe Harbor Pilot’s Point Marina. Jeff Mastroianni, one of the founders of Clinton’s award-winning [chow] Food & Beverage, and Chip's Pub, brings you a dining experience for you and your entire family. Bacari Social combines the serenity of the Shoreline with authentic flavor.

Bill’s Seafood-Westbrook


Bill's Seafood is familiar territory to boaters who dock their boats in Westbrook Connecticut. Outside picnic tables on the edge of the Patchogue River, and a center bar/dining room with a nautical kind atmosphere is the best on-going party on the East Coast.

Carlson’s Landing-Essex


You’ll be treated to the full "yacht club" experience with their chic interior, original undersea artwork, and coastal cuisine by Executive Chef JP Dillon. Enjoy craft cocktails, lunch, dinner and Reggae Sunday Brunch on the covered deck or mahogany bar overlooking the Connecticut River. Reservations recommended.

Dockside Seafood and Grill-Essex


Indoor and outdoor dining 7 days a week-with events under their tent, lots of summery seafood dishes such as pots of steamers, chowder and a variety of “fresh catches”, as well as plenty of spectacular sunsets to add to your enjoyment. Serving lunch and dinner.

Fresh Salt-Old Saybrook


Fresh Salt's award-winning restaurant transforms the freshest ingredients into well-crafted culinary experiences — all complemented by waterside views, inside and out. As part of their local food commitment, they work closely with local farmers and artisans to ensure the quality of their locally grown and harvested ingredients from both land and sea.

Gelston House-East Haddam


“Boozy Brunch”, patio and pizza menus, or good ol’ brunch offerings at this step-back-in-time gem that sits on the Connecticut River next to the Goodspeed Opera House.

Liv’s Dockside Grill-Clinton


Liv’s Dockside Grill is located in the Clinton Town Marina. Open 7 days a week, they serve lunch and dinners so you can enjoy lobster rolls by day and night. Liv’s Dockside is also open for breakfast on the docks Saturday and Sunday.

Liv’s Shack-Old Saybrook


Liv’s Shack celebrates summer in New England! Located on the waterfront at the mouth of the Connecticut River, enjoy hot buttered lobster rolls, fish tacos, hand-ground hamburgers, and more.



This decommissioned lobster boat is where the food is made and ordered and then you can sit by the Sound and enjoy seaside classics such as creamy NE Clam Chowder, Fried Calamari, fish sandwiches, shrimp and clam rolls and of course, lobster everything! Check their schedule for live music from a variety of local artists. BYOB and pets are also welcome-let the party begin!

Water’s Edge Resort & Spa-Westbrook


Beachfront and beautiful on the Connecticut shoreline. Check out their website for dinner specials like their Lobster Boil, Surf & Turf, and Sunday Brunch Buffet.

New London County



Nestled in the charming historic town of Stonington, the Breakwater will treat you to great views of Stonington Harbor and Fishers Island Sound while you enjoy raw bar items, small plates, burgers, seafood and more. Oysters on the 1/2 shell with a side of spectacular sunset-hello, summer!

Dog Watch Café-Mystic, Stonington


Indoor and outdoor dining, harbor views, and plenty of ingredients sourced from local vendors make this place one not to miss. Gobble up Watch Hill oysters, NE Clam Chowder, Dogwiches, and more. They even donate funds to help pooches in need.

Ford's Lobster-Noank


They pride themselves on using fresh locally sourced ingredients for all of their dishes and strive to offer simple, wholesome food that the entire family will enjoy. Open for lunch and dinner.

Kokomo’s Restaurant-Old Lyme


At Kokomos, you’ll live on island time all the time! Enjoy Caribbean-style dining right on the beach, with a menu that features handcrafted tropical drinks and a creative land and sea menu, all wrapped in a vibrant island atmosphere. Cabana and beach chair rentals are also available.

On the Waterfront-New London


Take in beautiful views of the Thames River from their indoor dining room or outdoor patio. Having a day on the water? Arrive by boat! Their salads, soups, seafood towers, lobster rolls, and stick-to-your-ribs pasta dishes will add a tasty note to your day.

Paul’s Pasta Shop-Groton


Pasta, pasta, and more pasta for lunch and dinner overlooking the Thames River. It’s all made fresh daily, with takeout available as well.

Red 36-Mystic


Waterfront deck overlooking the Mystic River and the CT railway. Plenty of lounge areas and decks, with fabulous views in every direction. Grab some friends, hit their raw bar, and enjoy a wide array of seafood, flatbreads, burgers, and salads. Pure summer.

Rock’s 21-Mystic


Located at the Inn at Mystic (did you know that Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall stayed here on their honeymoon?), with live music and a great view of Mystic Harbor, enjoy summer evenings with wood-fired pizza, local seafood, paella, fish & chips, burgers and more. Indoor and outdoor seating.

S&P Oyster- Mystic


Located at the famous bridge in Downtown Mystic, the view doesn’t get any better. Try their new South American menu (Seafood Paella, steaks) in addition to their usual faves of Clams Casino, Thai Calamari, and Colossal Shrimp Scampi Risotto. Gluten-free and vegan menus are available.

Litchfield County

White Horse Country Pub & Restaurant-New Preston


The popular and much-acclaimed White Horse has received over 60 awards, including 2022 Best Traditional American-CT Magazine, Best Outdoor Dining-Connecticut Magazine and Litchfield Magazine, Best Classic Pub in New England-Yankee Magazine, and The Ideal Place - Vogue Magazine. Conveniently located on the banks of the East Aspetuck River, just a mile from Lake Waramaug and the beautiful village shops of New Preston, the White Horse is reasonably priced with an extensive menu and is equally beautiful both indoors and outdoors. Their three patios, two fireplaces, and one waterfall make dining a true pleasure. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.

Hartford County



River, a Waterfront Restaurant & Bar in Wethersfield, is the ultimate dining destination for those looking to soak in scenic views while enjoying flavorsome food all summer long. Even on chillier nights, guests can enjoy their 2,000-square-foot multi-level deck overlooking the magnificent Connecticut River thanks to the year-round infrared heaters, which discharge over 600 degrees of warmth. River provides exceptional dining experiences for everyone, so if you prefer not to dine alfresco, the views are equally breathtaking from the dining room and bar area. No matter where you’re seated, you can bask in the beauty of the natural landscape and indulge in River’s hand-crafted cuisine of fresh local seafood, house-made pasta, and mouthwatering USDA Prime Steaks. Plus, with a decadent selection of drinks and desserts to match, River has perfected the recipe for a fabulous meal. Call (860) 257-3344 or click here to make a reservation and see why River is known as Connecticut’s “hidden gem” for outdoor dining.

bartaco-West Hartford


Inspired by a healthy, outdoor lifestyle, bartaco's got freshly squeezed cocktails, scratch-made tacos (the baja fish taco and glazed pork belly taco are musts!), and “not tacos” like ceviche, chips + guac + salsa, street corn, and more — all served up in a stylish + coastal ambiance in a relaxed environment. (This summer, be sure to ask about the fan-favorite #bartacosecret lobster taco and Smoke on the Water cocktail).



Whether in their cozy, inviting dining room, tavern, or outside, enjoy the sight of a cascading waterfall while you feast on inventive dishes prepared with many local ingredients; Fois Gras Mousse & French Toast, Potato Masala and Focaccia with Whipped Ricotta are just a few to get you swooning.

Tolland County

Four Dads Pub-Coventry


Four Dads Pub is in the former location of Lakeview, with plans of being fully open for restaurant service the week of Memorial Day. 4DP will bring live music, scratch-made food and a revamped bar program, as well as maintain the excellent banquet facility Lakeview is known for.

Windham County

Little Pub at The Surfside Hotel


Enjoy stunning water views and warm summer breezes from the Little Pub’s elevated patios or casual beachside seating. Galveston Style Shrimp ’n’ Rice, Lobster Mac and Cheese, and bowls of creamy NE Clam Chowder will punctuate their already popular giant pretzels, cheeseburger sliders, tacos, and sandwiches. Little Pub has a full-service outdoor bar with craft beer and frozen cocktails and their Bottomless Brunch on Sundays will be the perfect way to end a summer weekend.

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