When it’s winter, we wax poetic about dinner at cozy restaurants. You know the kind: dark woods, dim lighting, roaring fireplace. But when summer’s on the horizon we wonder how we survived for so long without our favorite kind of dining: outdoor dining. From pretty patios to rocking roof decks, here are the best Bergen County spots to eat in the open air.
We’ve been hitting up this hot spot, the first North Jersey venture for star chef David Burke, since it opened back in February. The food is fab thanks to a menu that mixes Latin and Asian influences (think standout sushi, small plates like mini empanadas and lobster dumplings and entrees of dry-aged steaks) the creative cocktails are killer, and the space is drop-dead gorgeous. But we’re even more excited about it now that the weather has warmed up and its expansive outdoor patio is not just open, but the place to be. If you need us, we’ll be luxuriating at a table over nibbles and Negronis with DJ music serving as the soundtrack. Perfection.
Ventanas Restaurant & Lounge, 200 Park Avenue, Fort Lee, 201.583.4777
A roof deck in Ridgewood? Yep. You’re gonna want to take it to the top at this gorgeous new modern Italian eatery by acclaimed chef Anthony Bucco. The restaurant’s rooftop bar is flanked by a living wall of greenery and makes a great escape for sipping sexy drinks and dining on Felina’s fabulous fare. Bucco prides himself on making everything –from the breads to the pastas to the pickled veggies – in house and changes the menu frequently to showcase seasonal, local ingredients. Honestly, we’d be hanging out on this roof even the food weren’t this amazing. But we’re sure glad it is.
Felina, 54 E. Ridgewood Avenue, Ridgewood, 551.276.5454
Owner Kerri-Ann Sweeten says that her favorite table at this modern chic spot with a seasonal, locally sourced New American menu, stunning skyline views and patio seating is Table R9. Ask for this table and expect a panoramic view of the river, skyline and back into the restaurant.2 Main Street, Ste. G, Edgewater Harbor, 201.943.1900
Molos christened its new outdoor deck last summer and we've been waiting for this season's opening ever since. Designed by Marianna Holoway, sip cocktails and nosh on Greek eats while you essentially "float" on the Hudson River- make sure to reserve or call ahead for these coveted seats.1 Pershing Rd, Weehawken, 201.223.1200
Ask for Table 27 and you might be taking owner Daout Celestin’s place for the night. He prefers this table because it’s tucked away by the bar against a wall. Choose this table if you want to keep tabs on the comings and goings at this classic French bistro. But if you’d rather get a little fresh air, opt for a table on the sidewalk or in the back garden.
482 Piermont Ave, Piermont, 845.680.6460
If garden vibes are your thing, Cafe Matisse is guaranteed to get you in the mood. With just 25 seats for al fresco dining, you'll need to book ahead. But a table for two at chef Peter Loria's Rutherford spot promises seats set within a European garden and award winning seasonal cuisine. Remember to bring your own wine so you can really savor the experience.
176 Park Avenue, Rutherford, 201.935.2995
If you ask Jimmy, the host at the Sear House, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. But when pressed, he’ll tell you that Table 53, a corner booth with a view to the outside is the most romantic in the restaurant. But once the rooftop patio opens, he recommends sitting there to enjoy the phenomenal steak, chops and seafood under the palms.
411 Piermont Road, Closter, 201.292.4612
Once the weather warms up, grab a table in the outside dining area. Owner Stavros Angelakos says all the tables in this summertime patio area perfect with great overall ambiance and just the right amount of romance thrown in. Cocktails and a view of the fresh fish display at this buzzing Greek seafood eatery are must-dos during any visit.
30 North Spruce Street, Ramsey, 201.995.9333
There is no question in owner Vinnie Gashi’s mind, Table 105 is the best in the house. Set in a corner by the pond, diners are surrounded by the sounds of water and music and the scent of roses. It’s the perfect table with a relaxing setting at this swanky, refined Italian eatery.
208 Piermont Road, Closter, 201.750.3233
Sure the tables inside this Asian fusion restaurant are great, but it's the tables outside on the rustic riverside outdoor deck with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline that really make the experience worthwhile. Couple that with fresh, delicious Viet-Thai specialties and you'll make it a night to remember.
725 River Road, Edgewater, 201-402-3400