Summer’s here, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend one more second than I have to indoors. That goes for eating too. Below are some quick reviews on some of our family’s favorite places to take the kids when we want to eat outside and enjoy the long, warm summer nights. Added bonus: Many of these places have space for the kids to run around without disturbing other diners. That means more time for you to finish that margarita while the kids are having fun!
The Beach (multiple towns). Ok, it’s not technically a restaurant, and you need to have a pass or pay for a day ticket. But the beach is one of our favorite go-to spots to meet friends in the summer. You can bring a picnic or order pizza (a few places in Fairfield will deliver to the beach!) You eat, kids play or go for a swim. It’s summer living at its best. Swing by one of your favorite ice cream spots on the way home.
Burger Bar (Norwalk) Lots of outdoor seating off the main street in summer. With games to play, balloons, and rocking horses to ride, they keep things fun for kids. The food here is delicious, although the service can be slow. A great place if you’re looking for somewhere to eat in downtown SoNo.
Captain’s Cove (Bridgeport) One of our family’s all-time favorites. Order at the walk-up counter and let the kids grab a seat at one of the children’s picnic tables right by the toy cars and boats. Kids’ meals come in a fun box with a drink and cookie…and a treasure map! Use it to visit the cute shops along the dock where kids can get free trinkets and candy. There are plenty of spots for families to eat outside at picnic tables or in little roofed wooden tables over the water. The menu is pretty basic, but the atmosphere more than makes up for it. With a full bar upstairs and live bands playing every night on the weekend, Captain’s Cove is a great night out for everyone!
Centro (Fairfield, Greenwich) A great patio with beautiful string lighting and heaters for chillier nights. The food is excellent, and the Fairfield location is right on Sherman Green. Kids can venture out and listen to the outdoor concerts at the Gazebo in summer. We’ve never been to the Greenwich location, but hear great things about their outdoor patio overlooking a waterfall. Arrive early, since this spot is very popular in summer.
Flipside (Fairfield) This place has a pretty good-sized patio open in the summer. The burgers here can’t be beat, and there are plenty of kid-friendly options. There is also a good selection of beers on tap with different drink specials every night of the week. If you have time to spare, you can walk across the parking lot to MilkCraft for dessert.
Harborview Market (Bridgeport) Open mainly for breakfast and lunch, this kid-friendly spot has friendly staff and great seating outside in a residential setting. (The owner always sneaks my kids a small container of chocolate chips from his stash for homemade chocolate croissants). Walk to St. Anne’s on Saturday mornings for the Black Rock Farmer’s Market.
Viva Zapata (Westport) A sizable outdoor patio with a large menu of Tex-Mex favorites. The best part? Kids under 6 get a free taco or enchilada with every adult entrée order. You can enjoy a pretty walk along the newly renovated river walk and shop after dinner. Word of caution: The margaritas here are delicious, but dangerous!
Rowayton Pizza (Norwalk) The outdoor eating area is small (and pretty much an extension of the parking lot), but the pizza is good and many nights there is live music. Location is everything here. Enjoy an after-dinner stroll in beautiful Rowayton and stop for ice cream down the street if you have room.
Valenzia Luncheria (Norwalk) A bit off the beaten path, this restaurant has amazing food and is a fun outdoor spot in summer (seats are in the sand!). Don’t miss this restaurant if you’re looking for authentic food and kid-friendly outdoor eating.
Looking for some more options? Below is a list of favorite outdoor dining spots from other FCMB contributors:
• Apple Cart Food Company (Mead Park, New Cannaan)
• Bambou (Greenwich)
• Carpaccio (Stamford)
• Crabshell (Stamford)
• Heartland Black and Gold (Portchester, NY)
• Heibeck’s (Wilton)
• Lucky’s (Stamford)
• Marnick’s (Statford)
• Mex on Main (Trumbull)
• Trumbull Pizza Company (Trumbull)
• Uberti’s Fish Market (Stratford)
• Volta (Stamford)
Where are some of your favorite outdoor dining spots to take the kids?