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Where to dine ‘al fresco’ in the Ocean State?

May 8, 2018

The view from the second floor at Matunuck Oyster Bar, South Kingstown RI


In Italian ‘al fresco’ may translate to ‘in the cool air’ but in Italy locals may say  ‘all’ aperto’ or ‘fuori’  to suggest dining outdoors or outside. Of course there are hundreds of choices for delicious dining within a five to ten mile radius in Rhode Island, below are some favorites in the Ocean State to guide your summer outdoor dining experience:

Ocean Mist

895 Matunuck Beach Road Wakefield, RI

Beach bar. Where else can you wear your flip flops and a sweatshirt while you enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner while listening to a local band rock out? At the Mist that is! Enjoy company, a meal or beverage at the Ocean Mist as the waves splash behind you and the sand beneath your toes. From a ‘Tex Mex‘ BBQ or pulled pork burger to a pizza, Ocean Mist is a RI staple. Visit their website for weekly events.

Boat House

227 Schooner Dr, Tiverton, RI

“One of the 100 best al fresco restaurants in America” – Open Table

Locally sourced seafood … Crab cakes, Lobster fritters and Paella, Oh My! (btw, the Paella has ‘chourico‘ in it, isn’t that a treat?) 

Located in Tiverton, RI, The Boat House has  breathtaking views on the banks of the Sakonnet River …. you’ll spot the waterfront views as you enjoy seafood or your brunch delight.

Tip: Every Sunday through Thursday 4pm – 6pm all appetizers are half-price at the bar. (Offer valid at the bar only. Not available on holidays. Excludes raw bar items. Cannot be combined with any other offer or discount.)

Check their website for updates and be sure to Inquire about member points.

Boat House Restaurant, Tiverton RI

Crazy Burger

144 Boon St, Narragansett, RI

Casual and delicious café and Juice bar (milkshakes, too!) with a short walk to and from the beach!

Crazy burger does not accept reservations so be sure to plan your day -arrive anytime before major eating hours to dodge the crowds. Totally worth the wait, I have yet to dine here without a little bit of wait!

Vegan dishes, gluten-free menu items, and burgers (Gorgonzola burger is my #1!) and can we talk about the sweet potato fries?!?!

Outdoor back garden patio is casual. With a friendly, creative menu, there’s something for everyone. Dinner hours start at 4pm.

Tip: Weekly specials and breakfast is offered! Sign up for their ‘birthday club’ online. BYOB.

Ocean House

1 Bluff Ave, Westerly, RI (Watch Hill) 

Hospitality taken to another level, where luxury meets the palate.

With so many offerings; from booking your weekend hotel stay at the Relais & Chateaux property to the selection of wine dinners and culinary events, black-tie events and ‘a le carte’ culinary classes there is something special and memorable for everyone. Music anyone? Sunday Jazz brunch is offered. Be sure to check the website for updates and details.

The Lawn at Castle Hill

590 Ocean Drive Newport, RI

Why is it so remarkable? For a number of reasons like ‘The Lawn’ but for starters, quintessential Newport meets ocean views and an award winning wine list (recognized by Wine Spectator Magazine as one of the best), and the WOW factor? The Lawn is only opened seasonally. The Lawn serves lunch and dinner from Memorial Day through Columbus Day*, weather permitting.

Enjoy a small bite on The Lawn and beverage of your choice overlooking the waterfront views. Great for a summer afternoon in Newport, paired with a Newport vineyard tour or a Polo match at Newport Polo Grounds …

The Coast Guard House

40 Ocean Road Narragansett, RI

Those oversized rocks along Narragansett beach, and that scenic patio deck.

From the fresh and local raw bar (the featured ‘deck menu’ includes mussels, steamers and even chicken yakitori!) to the popular CGH wine dinners and events (check the website for updates!), leaving much to experience not to mention dining at a restaurant rich in history.

Chapel Grille

3000 Chapel View Boulevard Cranston, RI

The fireplace in the back terrace area makes for a beautiful dinner spot. Woodstone hearth oven, cathedral bar, plentiful entreé items to choose from for lunch, brunch, dinner or dessert. Live music on Friday evenings. Plentiful parking is available.


2195 Broad Street Cranston, RI

Reservations are highly recommended, no worries about parking, there is a parking lot with plentiful parking available. Enjoy the cozy brick fireplace and the back patio.


13 Narragansett Avenue Jamestown, RI

Voted by Yankee magazine ‘Best calamari in 2016.’ CalamaRI has Rhode Island in it for a reason!

Jamestown jewel, ambiance is beyond.

The hospitality service and entrée selections are on point.

The patio overlooks the sweetest main street of Narragansett Avenue, a short stroll to overlook the scenic dock of Narragansett bay.

If you’re dining in the Jamestown area during the afternoon, take a walk from the dock to the Cheese shop located right down the street, family-owned and operated, Grapes and Gourmet, 9 E Ferry Wharf, Jamestown, RI and try an imported or domestic cheese (or both!) and my fan favorite ‘the Guinness cheese’.

Tip – Wine Tastings some Friday night’s 5-7pm, check the website for updates.

Duck and Bunny

312 Wickenden Street Providence, RI

Historic and charming house known as ‘the Snuggery’, a cozy and comfortable restaurant’ that offers ‘a sanctuary away from the noise.’ Duck and Bunny offers afternoon tea and bite size sandwiches not to mention the delicious aroma of the truffle fries that you can smell from a mile away! The picturesque outdoor garden patio is perfect for an afternoon birthday party, anniversary, bridal or baby shower or any special event; it is quaint and the perfect spot for brunch or dinner with families, friends and/or your significant other. Cocktails, wine and beer are on the menu along with so many cupcakes to choose from or try a crêpe, my favorites,  ‘The Mazzy Star’ Portobello mushroom and Fontina with rosemary and truffle oil (for savory!) or The Chubby Ella with Nutella and Banana (for sweet!)

Matunuck Oyster Bar

629 Succotash Road South Kingstown, RI (East Matunuck)

Founded in 2002, a local ‘Farm to Table & Pond to Plate’, where the seafood selection is on point from tuna tartare tacos (that chipotle cream!) to a staple lobster roll to boot!

Besides the pond views and local menu, the outdoor patio and the impressive ‘open year round, 365 days a year for lunch and dinner’ … Matunuck Oyster Bar is a gem.

And as if this wasn’t enough, how cool is this?

The oyster tours (scheduled on specific dates- check their website!) will show you the oyster process leaving you with a real appreciation for oyster farming. Owner, Perry Raso not only knows what he is doing when it comes to the oyster world, he’s passionate about oyster farming and ‘Little Rhody’ aka The Ocean State. Raso started digging littleneck clams in Point Judith Pond when he was 12 years old!

‘The Oyster Farm Tour begins at Matunuck Oyster Bar with introductory information about East Matunuck Barrier Beach, Succotash Salt Marsh and Potter Pond Estuary. Perry Raso of Matunuck Oyster Farm will discuss aquaculture and fisheries on a global scale and a local scale. The participants then go to the seven acre shellfish farm in Potter’s Pond. The tour takes about 60 minutes, but can be tailored to each group. Waterside tours that do not leave the land are also available.’ – from the Matunuck Oyster Bar website.

Tip: Can’t decide what to order from the menu? Be sure not to leave the restaurant or the raw bar without trying at least one (or a dozen!) of the ‘Matunuck Oysters’ (grown in Potter Pond!) Many of their vegetables are grown in the vegetable farm north end of the pond.

Be sure not to miss the ‘oyster shucking’ station near the indoor bar area on the first floor.

Matunuck Oyster Bar is my all time favorite spot for hosting a private event or function. Wine list is spectacular. Highly recommend it as they did a stellar job with my own summer bridal shower (photos above!) Family and friends are still talking about the local and fresh oysters, mini tuna tartare tacos and lobster rolls (over two years later!)

Tip: Enjoy your ‘al fresco’ summer dining in the Ocean State and don’t forget to always wear sunscreen during peak sunlight hours!

Peace, Love, Gelato,

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