One of the most frequently asked questions, after what time does The Breakers open and where should I get brunch, is where can I eat on the waterfront? For a city built on an island, this is pretty much our time to shine. The following neighborhood eateries, clam shacks, upscale restaurants and bistros have the most enviable water views around, along with some of the best meals of your life, of course.
A classic harbor-side restaurant with al fresco seating, indulgent food and sophisticated charm, 22 Bowen's is situated amid the buzz of Bowen's Wharf. Opt to dine on their patio, or head across the cobblestone path to Portside (open seasonally), the restaurant's open-air, harborside bar serving up cocktails and bites.
Tucked away on Waite's Wharf overlooking the harbor is @ The Deck where a casual atmosphere and fresh, local seafood reign supreme. Their waterfront patio serves up lighter fare like fish & chips and RI calamari, alongside a selection of craft cocktails.
This dockside cafe tucked away in Newport Shipyard (an actual working shipyard) is often referred to as one of Newport's hidden gems, and with good reason. The cafe's outdoor seating is situated next to some of Newport's most impressive boats and yachts; not to mention we've heard people say the pancakes are some of the best they've ever had. We won't deny it. (Open seasonally)
The Black Pearl is pretty much a Newport icon. It opened in the 1970s and has been serving award-winning chowder since. Their waterside patio is located smack dab in the middle of Newport's historic Bannister's Wharf and recently received a revamp, now outfitted with chic bistro seating and retractable pergola for enhanced shade. Savor harbor views and a new menu including raw bar options, sandwiches, soups and more.
Pro tip: Don't skip the chowder. Like we said, it's kind of world-famous.
Make your way down scenic Ocean Drive where you'll find Castle Hill peacefully tucked away. Their upscale, elegant dining room offers 180 degree views of the bay and overlooks a 42-foot high flagpole built to replicate the mast and rigging used on the 1905 Herreshoff NY-30 class sailing yachts. In sum, you feel like you're dining on an exclusive ship. Opt to dine indoors, or head outside to their waterfront lawn spotted with Adirondack chairs overlooking the bay—a summer staple. Offering panoramic views, classic New England fare and warm-weather cocktails, you might find it hard to leave.
Step outside onto the patio adorned in a sunset-inspired palette and soft flowing draped fabric panels commissioned from a local sail-maker for an ethereal experience. Like something out of a dream, The Cafe at The Chanler overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and First Beach below. Enjoy a Mediterranean-inspired menu with classic New England fare for lunch and dinner.
A classic Newport dining experience, the legendary Clarke Cooke House dressed in America's Cup prints and sailing memorabilia on Bannister's Wharf overlooks Newport Harbor. The first-floor Candy Store serves casual fare and crave worthy summer sushi while the second floor offers casual dining in the Bistro. On Friday and Saturday nights, head to the third floor Porch and Club Room for elegant fine dining (proper dress required). After dinner, wander upstairs to the candlelit sky bar where the tables get pushed to the side for dancing after eleven.
Welcome to the place where the food has just as much character as the atmosphere, laden with string lights, Day of the Dead skulls, and a Buddha or two strewn about. The menu here boasts California-style Mexican dishes contrived with fresh ingredients and homemade, to-die-for sauces with bold flavor. Grab a seat on the outdoor patio for a lively experience in the heart of downtown Newport, or by the window in their new upstairs dining room with front row views of the boats leaving harbor.
Pro Tip: Do not skip the blood orange margarita *chef's kiss*
Located at the new Hammett's Hotel on the waterfront in downtown Newport, this freestyle Italian restaurant is the first solo venture from renowned Executive Chef and Rhode Island native Kevin O'Donnell. His original take on Italian dining comes complimented by a carefully crafted bar program offering a mix of classic and reinvented cocktails, beer from local breweries and a predominantly Italian wine list. As for the menu, think small but robust, with offerings including Ricotta Love Letters, Tagliolini and Corn Found on an Italian Street (AKA the only corn we want.)
A quick ride to Goat Island (don't worry, you can drive or walk) will land you at Newport Harbor Island Resort. When it comes to outdoor dining at this chic seaside hotel, you have your fill of options. Choose between The Restaurant, delivering fresh fish, ripe vegetables and hand-selected specialties with both indoor and outdoor seating options; The Firepits, offering light bites, cocktails and entertainment alongside a collection of outdoor fire pits overlooking the bay; and The Pineapple Club (open seasonally), a casual gathering spot situated on the bay offering specialty cocktails.
Located dockside at the end of Bowen's Wharf, The Landing offers commanding views of Newport Harbor and the Newport Bridge. Savor a variety of seafood, raw bar options and more from their outdoor deck overlooking the water.
You'll be hard-pressed to find a seat closer to the harbor than on the deck at The Lobster Bar. This waterfront restaurant at the end of historic Bowen's Wharf offers scenic bay views and a menu made for lobster lovers. Lobster rolls? Check. Baked stuffed lobster? Got it. RI lobster bake? Got that too. Not a lobster fan? Not to worry, their menu offers plenty of other delights from the sea.
Skiff Bar at Newport Marriott overlooks the adjacent harbor. Menu options here include American favorites from locally sourced ingredients.
MARINA CAFE AND PUB
Just over the causeway on Goat Island is Marina Cafe and Pub, a small eatery overlooking the harbor that specializes in seafood with staples like the Marina clam chowder, Newport lobster roll, fish & chips and more.
A lively atmosphere, panoramic harbor views and locally sourced cuisine compliment your experience at this Newport staple. Choose from a lengthy selection of oysters from their raw bar. Pro tip: In the warmer months, head outdoors to their mahogany deck with pristine water views.
The former iconic Pineapples on Goat Island has been transformed into an easy, breezy place to sip, swim and while away the afternoon into the evening. The Pineapple Club at Gurney's Newport offers unobstructed views of Narraganset Bay and the Newport Bridge. The menu offers small bite and raw bar offerings along with salads and sandwiches. Catch DJ Nook playing every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5:00 - 10:00 PM. (Open seasonally)
Portside is like 22 Bowen's little sister restaurant: an open-air, harborside bar serving up cocktails and bites amid the liveliness of Bowen's Wharf.
The Reef is your spot for a piece of tropical paradise without leaving New England. Set on the harbor overlooking an impressive collection of boats, their outdoor patios are outfitted with palm trees, lounge seating, a collection of fire pits and three bars. The menu here is all about celebrating international flavor, inspired by the travels of sailors to ports around the world. Think: lobster rolls, sea scallops, Moroccan crusted salmon and more.
Just off historic Ocean Drive in OceanCliff, home t0 10 acres of rolling lawns with ocean views and 24 stylized guest rooms. The resort's onsite restaurant, The Safari Room, overlooks Narragansett Bay and the Newport Bridge for a scenic dining experience.
Saltwater at Newport Harbor Hotel combines New England charm and cuisine in a lively atmosphere. Enjoy classics like deconstructed New England clam chowder and buckets of waffle fries (not an exaggeration) all with a waterfront view.
The outdoor deck at Skiff Bar at Newport Marriott overlooks Newport Harbor and offers a menu of craft and local brews, specialty cocktails, and delicious appetizers including flatbread pizzas, signature wings and more. Lounge at one of the outdoor tables or plush seats and savor the sea breeze.
The sister restaurant of the downtown Diego's location, Diego's Barrio Cantina in Middletown serves up classic favorites from the original location including a variety of vegan offerings like the vegan nachos, vegan burrito, vegan tacos, a kale and peptic salad, and a vegan quesadilla. The outdoor deck overlooks Newport's reservoir for Mexican with a side of picturesque views.
Featured on Food Network's Best of Rhode Island, Flo's Clam Shack has been a staple for life-changing seafood in Newport since 1936. Grab a menu and place your order at the counter—we recommend the award-winning clam cakes—then grab a seat on either floor of this casual, oceanfront shack. For a worthwhile view, head upstairs to the front sun room overlooking Newport's First Beach.
Pro tip: Food Network's Chris Cosentino named the fried clam roll the best thing he's ever eaten. Don't skip it.
Nothing like enjoying oysters on the day they're harvested overlooking the ocean where they're grown. The farmstand located at Dutch Harbor overlooking the harbor in Jamestown is home to Walrus & Carpenter Oyster Bar, serving up fresh oysters from WCO's two oyster farms in Jamestown and Charlestown. While it's a take-out operation, there's plenty of picnic tables to indulge at while enjoying the view. Open Friday - Sunday, 12:00 - 5:45 PM.
The sister restaurant of the main land, family owner restaurant, Wickford on the Water, presents JB's on the Water. Located inside the Wyndham Bay Voyage Inn, overlooking Narragansett Bay and the Newport Bridge, with outstanding food and incredible cocktails.
Menu highlights include a classic New England Lobster Roll, Ahi Tuna Tacos, Clam Cakes and more.
15 Point Road in Portsmouth is known for upscale menu items (think: pesto crusted salmon and cajun pan-seared native swordfish) in a casual setting. Their menu is largely influenced by local offerings and their expanded front and back patio overlooks the Sakonnet River making for a serene experience.
From the owner of neighboring Tremblay's Bar & Grill comes this casual eatery in Portsmouth's Island Park. The menu the new Blue Anchor Grill offers a little bit of everything, including flatbreads, tacos, small plates and entree options from land and sea. When the weather is warm, head outside to the restaurant's beer garden outfitted with umbrellas, picnic tables and a canopy of string lights.
Welcome to the OG Flo's Clam Shack. Originally opened in Portsmouth in 1936, the renowned shack started as a chicken coop moved from Flo's farm to Island Park. The drive-in location serves most of the favorites from the Middletown location, including award-winning clam cakes, homemade 'chowda,' stuffed quahogs (a Rhode Island staple), and combo plates.
The type of neighborhood eatery where, in time, they'll know your order before you reach your seat, Graziano's 501 Cafe has been operating out of Portsmouth's Island Park for 11 years. It started as "Barnacle Bill's," then transformed into what we know today as Graziano's, where breakfast is served all day, and the expansive lunch menu offers burgers, salads, *deluxe* sandwiches, seafood favorites and more.
Locally sourced ingredients take on an innovative twist at Gulf Stream Bar & Grille where the menu fuses New England flavors with recipes from regions along the Gulf Stream. Located in Narragansett Bay's largest marina, this is your spot for comfortable, casual dining with a water view. Choose from raw bar offerings, sandwiches like the Caribbean Pulled Pork sandwich and the Jamaican Jerk Chicken Salad sandwich, and entrees from land and sea.
Pro tip: Bring your BFF to experience their doggie menu.
The menu at this neighborhood restaurant in Portsmouth's Island Park is full of comfort food, from New England clam chowder and a crock of French onion soup to fajitas, pizza and pasta. Located on the waterfront, Localz offers a coastal atmosphere with an expansive menu, live entertainment and an outdoor patio overlooking the Sakonnet River.
Named among the most scenic restaurants in the country by OpenTable, Boat House in Tiverton combines all the best things about New England into one fine dining experience: fresh seafood, an ocean breeze and nautical charm. Savor fresh, local seafood along the Sakonnet River.
This family-owned seafood shack open seasonally is located on Nanaquaket Pond in quaint Tiverton and has been a fixture of Rhode Island since its inception more than 40 years ago. Aside from scenic views, you'll find all your seafood favorites, like fried clams and traditional RI clam chowder; plus a few items with a twist, like lobster chow mein. Reservations Monday - Thursday only (must be made same day as dining experience). All parties limited to 5 or less guests.
Pro tip: Keep an eye out for Evelyn’s BIOBUG, a diesel VW Bug powered by clam cakes and Newport Biodiesel. Newport Biodiesel picks up the used fry oil produced by Evelyn's fried offerings, processes it, and then fills the BIOBUG with biodiesel. In 2010, Evelyn’s recycled 27,000 lbs of fry oil!
Specializing in Mediterranean inspired farm-coast cuisine, The Red Dory in Tiverton is highlighting the freshest ingredients sourced from local farms and fishermen. With views of the Sakonnet River, and al fresco seating in the warmer months, enjoy selections from their raw bar, or choose classic entrees like fish & chips and steak frites.
The Beach House is situated along the East Bay Bike Path in Bristol boasting scenic waterfront views of Bristol Harbor. Their outdoor patio is adorned in enchanting string lights, high-top seating and a spacious outdoor bar. As for the menu, think contemporary American meets classic New England: Clam chowder, clam cakes, flatbreads, pasta, burgers and more.
Located in what was previously the 1818 DeWolf Rum Distillery on Thames Street Landing is DeWolf Tavern, a harborside restaurant boasting entrees you would expect of a restaurant located on the bay: stuffed lobster, swordfish, and salmon, to name a few; but you'll also see a good deal of Indian influence thanks to Chef Sai Viswanath. Think: Lobster cooked in a tandoor oven (a cylindrical clay or metal oven), chickpea battered shrimp pakora with sweet chili sauce and pakora battered cauliflower manchurian.
Make your way over to The Lobster Pot for a taste of classic New England flavor. Opened in 1929, this seaside eatery offers traditional New England fare with a menu largely based on what's fresh from the market. Seafood lovers, feel free to build your own raw bar plate complete with oysters, littlenecks, shrimp and lobster cocktail to your heart's content. Did we mention its located right on the harbor? Grab a seat on the back patio, a bowl of quahog clam chowder (it'll change your life) and watch the boats bobble along the bay.
Founded in 1954, Quito’s started as a local fish market. Today, it operates as one of Bristol's most beloved eateries for cozy dining and delicious seafood. Their patio offers beautiful sunset views of Bristol Harbor for a dining experience both scenic and savory. Reservations only.
Enjoy outdoor dining on the deck overlooking Bristol Harbor at Thames Waterside Bar and Grille. The menu offers fresh local seafood and classic comfort food dishes like pulled pork sliders, flatbreads and lobster Mac and cheese.
With more than two decades of experience, Chef Brian Thimme combines a passion for locally sourced ingredients with his love of family to bring a unique style of contemporary cuisine to his newest restaurant concept, Bluewater Bar & Grill. The family-friendly restaurant offers a lively outdoor patio and an approachable menu with a contemporary flair.
Named the best cheap eats in RI by Travel & Leisure, Blount Clam Shack's menu may lack dollar signs, but nothing else. The award-winning, waterfront seafood shack opened back in 1943 and has since been serving up seafood favorites with a twist, like clambake chowder crafted with all the best parts of a clambake in a delicious soup; or their giant lobster roll made with 1/2 lb. lobster chunks. Not to mention, the quaint shack is located right on Warren's scenic waterfront.
This recently renovated waterfront restaurant was established in 1955, but the building and surrounding wharf date all the way back to the 1700s. You'll be hard-pressed to find a seat closer to the water than here, where the menu maintains a focus on fresh-from-the-sea offerings alongside a collection of boards, sandwiches, tacos and specialty cocktails. Make your way to the rooftop bar (seating available first come, first serve) outfitted in couches and cozy seating for the best view in the house.
Tag your photos #TheClassicCoast for the chance to be featured on our accounts.