FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- It's officially summer. Time to head outdoors and enjoy a slice of sunshine with your entree (or cocktail).
Lucky for Fairfield County residents, there are plenty of options for dining alfresco.The only hard part? Picking just one. What follows is a sampling of outdoor spots; feel free to add your favorites in our Comments or on Facebook.
- Artisan Restaurant, Southport: Farm to table food with New England flare defines the food at Artisan at Delamar Southport. But it's the gracious atmosphere and spacious outdoor patio that cinches its deal as a summertime fave. Put On Sunscreen : 275 Old Post Rd., (203) 307-4222.
- Baldanza Organic Cafe, New Canaan: Happiness is a fresh-from-the-farm salad amidst a cozy patio, away from the hustle and bustle of the street. The family-run eatery specializes in organic ingredients from local farms. Put On Sunscreen: 17 Elm St., (203) 966-4000.
- Bartaco, Westport: Named "Best Outdoor Dining" in the county in our 2016 DVlicious contest, bartaco is known for its beachy vibe and affordable food. Fashioned after a Mexican taqueria, the eatery is popular for its creative street fare - think tacos -- as well as its extensive list of tequilas. Put On Sunscreen : 20 Wilton Rd., (203) 222-8226.
- Captain's Cove, Bridgeport: Put on your flip-flops and take in the water view of Captain's Cove where you'll find an abundance of seafood, along with burgers, hot dogs, salads and sandwiches. There's also a nice assortment of craft beer and inventive cocktails -- another reason to put on the sunscreen and stay . Put On Sunscreen: 1 Bostwick Ave., (203) 335-1433.
- Crew, Greenwich: An intimate patio with cheerful orange umbrellas can't help but put you in a sunshiney mood. Add innovative entrees, the restaurant's popular edamame hummus and some fun libations and you're bound to linger. Put On Sunscreen: 280 Railroad Ave., (203) 340 - 9433.
- Crab Shell, Stamford: Dining dockside just seems to make the day (or night) that much more enjoyable. Add to that fresh seafood, salad and other bar eats, as well as occasional live music and you've got yourself a great place to perch come summer. Put On Sunscreen : 46 Southfield Ave, Stamford, (203) 967-7229.
- Down the Hatch, Brookfield: The expansive lake view will have you at "hello." So will the extensive menu where you'll find lobster, steak, burgers and tons of seafood options. Put On Sunscreen: 292 Candlewood Lake Rd., (203) 775-6635
- ECCO Rooftop Eatery & Bar, Bethel: A big rooftop. Brick-oven fired pizzas. Truffle popcorn. Cubano sandwiches and craft beers. Nuff said. Put On Sunscreen: 8 PT Barnum Square, (203)744-7500.
- 55 Wine Bar & Wood Grille, Fairfield: A sidewalk patio and American cuisine with a Mediterranean flair makes this a win-win come summer. The nice list of wines and prix fixe menus also helps. Put On Sunscreen: 55 Miller St., (203) 955-1178
- Geronimo Tequila Bar & Southwest Grill, Fairfield: The long list of tequilas is one reason to come here; the other is the generous portions of food -- tableside guac, tomahawk steak and lump crabcake with chipotle aioli and jicama-mango salad, to name a few. There's also the expansive outdoor seating, upping the vibe and giving you yet another reason to linger. Put On Sunscreen: 2070 Post Rd., (203) 955-1643.
- Harlan Publick, Norwalk: Aside from the great outdoor patio, "Summertime Tuesdays" mean $5 small plates and half price craft beer taps and wine. You can also soak in the season with happy hour, held every Wednesday to Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Put On Sunscreen: 127 Washington St., (203) 831-0727.
- Knapp's Landing, Stratford: Located at the mouth of the Housatonic River and Long Island Sound, outdoor dining doesn't get any better than this. Enjoy the picturesque patio while you dine on the day's daily specials -- freshly caught on the East Coast. Put On Sunscreen : 520 Sniffens Ln., (203) 378-5999.
- L'Escale, Greenwich: It's easy to get into vacation mode from this outdoor terrace perch, especially when you add a cold glass of Chardonnay, the killer waterfront view and the stellar food and service. Put On Sunscreen: 500 Steamboat Rd., (203) 661-4600.
- Mill Street Bar & Table, Greenwich: Seasonal ingredients plucked from their Back 40 farm means everything on the menu is super-fresh and flavorful. Enjoy it on their backyard patio and it all just seems to taste better. Put On Sunscreen: 230 Mill St., (203) 813-3323.
- Overton's, Norwalk : Open since 1948, this long-time eatery is known for its come-as-you-are casual family vibe and standard American fare such as hotdogs, hamburgers as well as shrimp and scallop rolls. Put On Sunscreen: 80 Seaview Ave., (203) 852-9881.
- Sign of the Whale, Stamford: No need to swelter in the city. Head to the roof! The expansive rooftop area offers expansive views, its own bar, and lots of prime eating. Put On Sunscreen : 6 Harbor Point Rd., (203) 883-8282.
- Sunset Grill, Norwalk: Here, it's all about the view. Since it's at a marina located at the mouth of the Norwalk River, there are gorgeous sunsets to take in as well as plenty of boats to ogle over. Not to mention great food. Put On Sunscreen : 52 Calf Pasture Beach Road, Norwalk, (203) 866-4177.
- Terra, Danbury: Pizzas, homemade pastas, and wood-oven cooked dishes are on the menu at this bright and modern dining room in the Hotel Zero Degrees. And yes, there's a nice outdoor patio. Put On Sunscreen: 15 Milestone Rd., (203) 730-9595
- The Goose American Bistro and Bar, Darien: Live music and an upscale pub atmosphere make this place a real charmer. Put On Sunscreen: 972 Boston Post Rd., (203) 656-2600.
- The Whelk, Westport: Gorgeous views of the Saugatuck River? Check. Communal tables where conversation flows along with the vino? Check. A sizeable flagstone patio? Check again. Put On Sunscreen: 575 Riverside Ave., (203) 557-0902.
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