Great Outdoor Restaurants for Long Island Families
What could be nicer during the warm-weather months than taking the kids to a family restaurant with an open-air atmosphere? There's just something about a warm breeze that makes a tasty meal even more delectable.
We've rounded up some of our favorite restaurants with outdoor seating in Nassau and Suffolk counties, plus a handful of spots on the East End. Family-friendly menus, locations, and attractions make them ideal choices for parents with hungry kids.
Before venturing out, be sure to check each businesses' website. Reservation policies may have changed, seats and party sizes may be limited to accommodate social distancing guidelines, and all guests must wear a mask anytime they're not seated at their table. You may be asked to view the menu on a mobile device or use a single-use paper version.
Family-Friendly Outdoor Restaurants in Nassau County
1. Louie's Grill & Liquors – Port Washington
Adults come for the seafood and exquisite cocktails while kids can enjoy dining on Louie's chicken strips, grilled cheese, and pasta. Kids can, of course, sample the adult menu, which includes lobster rolls, fresh seafood, steaks, burgers, and biscuits. Louie's dessert menu offers both adult and kid-friendly options to suit the whole family. While you dine, soak in the views of Manhasset Bay and the Port Washington harbor.
2. Salt – Merrick
With a marina view like the one at Salt, it's no wonder reservations here fill up fast. Salt has an enticing brunch menu, too. Here, kids can dine on such delicacies as cookies-and-cream pancakes, stuffed French toast, and avocado toast. Salt's dinner menu features its signature burgers along with fun fare such as soft-shell crab sandwiches, fingerling potatoes, and zucchini noodles.
Pop's in Island Park offers a fun, tropical vibe. Photo by bernard121882 via Instagram
3. Pop's Seafood – Island Park
Pop's opens for the season on Wednesday, May 19, and operates seven days a week through September, offering lunch, dinner, and drinks daily. It's a hotbed of live music and DJs all summer long. In addition to its covered outdoor deck, Pop's also boasts a beach area, dockside views, and a gorgeous fire pit lounge. While the nightlife at Pop's might not be kid-friendly, it's a great place to bring the kids for lunch or an early dinner. With vibrantly lit palm trees and a white sand atmosphere, you feel as if you're taking a tropical getaway without leaving Long Island.
4. Swingbelly's Beachside BBQ – Long Beach
If your family loves barbecue, this Long Beach restaurant is the place for you. In addition to Swingbelly's famous pickle chips and house-cured bacon, the menu also includes irresistible cuisine such as smokehouse cheesesteak, shrimp and avocado BLTs, classic barbecue favorites, and much more.
5. Walls Wharf – Bayville
Nestled along the North Shore, this family-owned business has been around since 1945, and it’s easy to see why. There are two decks, and it offers seating on a 10,000-square-foot private sandy beach. No matter where you sit, you are privy to panoramic views of Long Island Sound and, on a clear day, Greenwich, Connecticut. There isn’t a special menu, but it offers kid-friendly fare, including quesadillas and hamburgers. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
6. AcQua – Merrick
Located within the Blue Water Yacht Club in Merrick, you'll find Fabio Giambanco’s Italian restaurant, AcQua. The extensive menu has food sure to please even the pickiest eater. The kids love its chicken fingers or pasta with various sauce options. When you finish your meal, take a stroll along the nearby pier. If you're coming by boat, dock-and-dine services are available.
Kids have plenty of room to roam on the massive deck at The Lake House.
Family-Friendly Outdoor Restaurants in Suffolk County
7. The Lake House – Bay Shore
The Lake House is an upscale seaside restaurant located right on Great South Bay. Like many of the best dining establishments on Long Island, it specializes in seafood, though kid-friendly options such as eggs and burgers are available for little ones.
8. Mill Pond House Restaurant – Centerport
From delicious sushi to its Monday night lobster bake, Mill Pond's food is as exciting as its views. If you are lucky, you may witness one of the resident bald eagles catching its meal from the water. A heated outdoor patio is open year-round, and the restaurant offers daily specials.
9. Nantuckets – Port Jefferson
Formerly known as Crazy Fish Bar & Grill, Nantuckets has an extensive menu that includes kid-friendly options such as Belgian waffles, lobster mac, bacon cheeseburgers, and more. This family restaurant books reservations by phone, online, or in person.
Enjoy the rooftop bar and grand views of Great South Bay from Nicky's on the Bay.
10. Nicky's on the Bay – Bay Shore
Open-air dining at Nicky's comes at the rooftop deck or on the dock. There are additional restrooms on the upper level—a godsend when you have little kids. The menu is seafood-focused, but mozzarella sticks, flatbread pizza, roasted chicken, and burgers are available for pickier eaters.
11. The Whales Tale – Northport
Located at the entrance to scenic Northport, The Whales Tale is a laid-back restaurant that features tacos and flatbreads. The restaurant is inside the Britannia Yachting Center and offers views of the marina and the more than 1,200 boats it houses. It’s open seven days, and Tuesdays are pretty popular as it offers $3 tacos.
It's seafood and gorgeous sea views at Gosman's Dock in Montauk.
Family-Friendly Outdoor Restaurants on the East End
12. Gosman's Dock – Montauk
If you're in Montauk, you must stop by Gosman's Dock, which is situated at the entrance of Montauk Harbor. Walk-ins are welcome; takeout is available, and, weather permitting, you have the option of topside dining. Additionally, Gosman's features a sushi bar, clam bar, and even a gourmet fish market, where you can purchase locally caught fish. With kid-approved dishes such as burgers and tacos, this place is sure to please parents and kids alike.
13. A Lure – Southold
A Lure boasts a delightful atmosphere overlooking the Port of Egypt Marina and Peconic Bay and a fun menu that literally offers "chow-dah." For pickier eaters, steak, chicken, and burgers are available. A Lure features dock-and-dine services, too.
14. Hellenic Snack Bar – East Marion
This North Fork favorite sits on the Main Road east of Greenport and features a pretty outdoor patio and ample space for kids to play after sampling its Greek specialties. Enjoy traditional Mediterranean dishes, as well as local fish, served in Greek fashion. A full kids' menu is also offered. Afterward, enjoy homemade gelato.
La Fondita offers traditional Mexican food in a picnic-like atmosphere. Photo by Andrew Steinthal via Instagram
15. La Fondita – Amagansett
La Fondita is an appreciated joint whose Mexican "street food" stands out. Kid favorites, such as tacos and tostadas, are made with the freshest ingredients. La Fondita gives you the option to take your food to go or eat while relaxing with the family on one of the eatery's picnic tables or Adirondack chairs overlooking the pond in downtown Amagansett.
16. Oakland's and Sunday's on the Bay – Hampton Bays
These related waterfront restaurants offer great food and the gorgeous backdrop of Oakland's Marina. Both establishments offer a kids' menu with a free drink; choices range from fried flounder to kids' burgers. Kids delight in the passing boats at Shinnecock Inlet and the flurry of marina activity at these fun spots.
17. Navy Beach – Montauk
There’s a reason Navy Beach has become a hot spot for yachts. It features stunning views of Fort Pond and unrivaled sunsets. This casual eatery has tables all along its 200-foot private beach. Whether your kids like food caught from the sea or grown on land, its kids’ menu has you covered. Currently, Navy Beach is open to customers with confirmed reservations only.
Unless noted, photos courtesy of the restaurants
A version of this article was first published in 2017; it is updated annually.