17 Waterfront Restaurant Patios in Boston to Visit This Summer
Not all patios are created equal. These seaside standouts, though, are in a league of their own.
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Not all restaurant patios are created equal. Some are on rooftops! Some have better space heaters on cool nights. And some, well, some are right on Boston’s waterfront, which is what you really want. If not now, soon—and if not you, then definitely your in-laws when they swoop into town demanding a lobster roll with a sea view.
Here’s the recipe for a lovely night on the wharf: Start with a comfortable setting just off Causeway Street that boasts sweeping views of the Zakim Bridge. Pair the scenery with cool cocktails from Will Piquette, a rising bar star in the employ of Alcove owner and veteran drinksmith Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli. Add “farm coast” cuisine by chef Brian Paszko—think: summery salads, seafood, and snacks from the fertile coast of southern New England. Serve. Immediately.
50 Lovejoy Wharf, Boston, 617-248-0050, alcoveboston.com.
The Barking Crab
The Barking Crab’s audacious red- and yellow-striped tent screams “HERE!” from its longtime plot right on Fort Point Channel. In the unlikely event you miss it, listen for the similarly roar-like calls of “Smitty!” as old friends are reunited over their post-pandemic oyster shooters, rum runners, and crab leg platters. This is Boston, this is home.
88 Sleeper St., Boston, 617-426-2722, barkingcrab.com.
Battery Wharf Grille
This is one of those hotel restaurants you would never think to wander into as a local—because, why? Because of the terrace, that’s why, a lovely little brick-lain plot that’s right on the water and perfect for digging into cuisine of the “modern New England” (read: fish, sometimes not) variety, while scoping the Battery Wharf Hotel guests who arrive via water taxi and work for companies that still spring for waterfront rooms. You can delete Bumble tomorrow.
3 Battery Wharf, Boston, 617-994-9001, batterywharfhotelboston.com/dining.
Belle Isle Seafood
As soon as you cross the bridge from East Boston to Winthrop, you’re welcomed by one of the best places around to get a (large, very large) lobster roll loaded with tender tail, knuckle, and claw meat. There’s plenty of other fresh and fried seafood dinners available inside these spare, warehouse-like quarters, which—true to its salty legacy—remains staunchly cash-only. But you’re here for the waterside deck right across from the Logan airport runways, a pretty cool place to watch planes take off while daydreaming of your own first post-vax vacation.
1 Main St., Winthrop, 617-567-1619, belleisleseafood.com.
The Boston-born chain of northern Italian steakhouses has a few locations now, but its newest is its flashiest, enjoying an enviable position right on the waterfront. If you don’t “do” wind, feel free to request a table by the huge wall of windows inside—otherwise, take to the other side for patio dining on chops, pasta, seafood towers, and desserts (the butterscotch budino is quite a treat), with enough gluten-free options to blow you away.
26 Fan Pier Blvd., Boston, 617-261-4810, davios.com/seaport.
KO Pies at the Shipyard
Yes, there’s lovely outdoor seating for enjoying Sam Jackson’s Australian meat pies before the chef heads back to his native Oz at the end of the year. That said, there’s a reason these ground meat and veggie noshes—including monthly specials like the Mojo Castro with pulled pork, black beans, cilantro, and mint—are a popular street food down under: They’re made for walking, in this case along the Eastie shipyard, waving at boats with your free, non-ketchup-covered hand.
256 Marginal St., East Boston, 617-418-5234, kocateringandpies.com.
This three-story behemoth is a stunner in all seasons, but summertime is when it really excels. Grab a pint at nearby Harpoon before hitting up Legal’s picturesque patio—or killer third-floor roof deck—for some steamers, New England fried clams, and freshly shucked shellfish.
270 Northern Ave., Boston, 617-477-2900, legalseafoods.com.
Lookout Rooftop and Bar
Want a slightly elevated waterfront experience? (See what we did there?) Along with craft cocktails, the seventh-story lounge on top of the Envoy Hotel serves up breathtaking views of the Harbor and the Skyline. And even when the weather is cold, the place trots out glowing, plexiglass igloos that small parties can reserve to huddle inside with hot drinks and noshes.
70 Sleeper St., Boston, 617-530-1538, theenvoyhotel.com.
Nautilus Pier 4
One of the splashiest new openings in town, Nautilus Pier 4 is a Boston sibling to the original restaurant in Nantucket. This city outpost, though, is much bigger, boasts a sprawling patio at the Seaport’s iconic Pier 4 address, and turns out a globally inspired menu of plates for sharing—like East Coast oysters wrapped in nori with wasabi aioli and a spicy chili barbecue sauce; Berkshire pork belly buns with a coffee mayo and pickled cucumbers and herbs; and house-made dandan noodles with heritage pork, peanuts, and a dash of tongue-numbing Szechuan peppercorns.
300 Pier Four Blvd., Boston, 857-957-0998, thenautilus.com.
Dine in full view of the historic Charlestown Navy Yard and the USS Constitution on the roof deck, or on the huge, first-floor patio. Downstairs, there’s an outdoor bar, with rosé magnums and cocktails like the Pier 6 Sunset, a soothing tincture of bourbon, white vermouth, lemon juice, and ginger beer. Plus: There’s a complimentary (weather-dependent) seasonal water taxi directly to the equally scenic East Boston sister spot, ReelHouse.
1 8th St., Boston (Charlestown), 617-337-0054, pier6boston.com.
… like we said, ReelHouse! On this sprawling, 130-seat deck, you’ll take in panoramic views of the harbor and skyline from the unique vantage point of Eastie. There’s a granite-topped outdoor bar, yacht-themed décor, tropical cocktails, and a seafood-focused menu from chef Marc Orfaly.
6 New St., East Boston, 617-895-4075, reelhouseboston.com.
Rowes Wharf Sea Grill
Acclaimed chef Daniel Bruce no longer has Meritage, which was a fine destination even for non-guests at the Boston Harbor Hotel (it closed right before the pandemic). He is, however, still flexing his considerable talent at Rowes Wharf Sea Grille, the property’s casual-elegant (or is it, elegant-casual?) restaurant right on the water. Go for the grilled salmon with crispy capers, rosemary and chipotle emulsion, and a grapefruit and fennel salad. Blue mussels, meanwhile, are lazing in white wine with garlic butter and fennel pollen—which, to be honest, sounds like a very lovely dip.
70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, 617-856-7744, roweswharfseagrille.com.
Sail Loft’s side patio dangling over the harbor is small, but the mugs of chowder are not. They are, in fact, rich and overflowing—and among the absolute best in the city. The snug loft has all the other fried-seafood standards you’d expect to find in a no-frills, wood-paneled shanty like it, plus big windows overlooking the harbor for when you can’t find space on the little plank outside.
80 Atlantic Ave., Boston, 617-227-7280, thebostonsailloft.com.
Temazcal Tequila Cantina
There’s more than 250 tequilas for sipping at the Seaport location of this small local chain of Mexican restaurants, which affords a practically eye-level view of the water from its expansive patio that opens to the dining room from a wide wall of retractable windows. Pro-tip: If you start seeing double the boats, you’ve had too much. Order some lobster guacamole with nachos to soak things up.
250 Northern Ave., Boston, 617-439-3502, temazcalcantina.com.
Sullivan’s Castle Island
It ain’t fancy, but that’s not what you’re here for. You’re here for some yummy cheap eats, including hot dogs and burgers for a few bucks apiece, and lobster rolls for not many more (by the standards of lobster rolls). Dodge rollerbladers and walk ’em over to the beach, or stroll the Harborwalk around the perimeter of grassy Castle Island park. It’s summa’, kehd.
2080 William J Day Blvd., South Boston, 617-268-5685, sullivanscastleisland.com.
A rare waterfront restaurant on the south side of the city, Dorchester’s Venezia has been around for a quarter-century, but the views still feel like a discovery. How often do you get this vantage point of the water, where the Neponset River meets the ocean bay? The Italian cuisine is uncommonly good, too, from the seafood pastas to turf-turning classics like chicken piccata, plus a standout burger topped with gruyere, fried onion rings, bacon, and cherry mayo.
20 Ericsson St., Dorchester, 617-436-3120, veneziaboston.com.
Woods Hill Pier 4
As waterfront dining goes, it’s hard to beat natural foods activist-turned-restaurateur Kristin Canty’s chic setup at an iconic Seaport address. The sprawling patio is a superlative setting for chef Charlie Foster’s upscale locavore cuisine, which sources many of its ingredients straight from sibling Woods Hill Farm in New Hampshire.
300 Pier 4 Blvd., Boston (Seaport), 617-981-4577, woodshillpier4.com.