Sometimes, food just tastes better in the open air. Add in some stringed lights, a little music, and a waterfront or cityscape view and suddenly your meal because an experience. Fortunately, Ohio is home to several dining establishments where you can dine al fresco and take in a beautiful atmosphere along with your delicious cuisine. Here are 12 of our favorites:
1. The Boat House at Confluence Park (Columbus)
At the confluence of the Olentangy and Scioto rivers, The Boat House overlooks the downtown Columbus skyline—and it's (surprisingly) the only restaurant in Columbus with a waterfront view of the city. Dinner, coffee and drinks are available here, and the restaurant doesn't open until 5 p.m. each day. The Boat House at Confluence Park is located at 679 W Spring St., Columbus, OH 43215.
2. Nuevo Modern Mexican and Tequila Bar (Akron)
For a "contemporary take on Mexican flavors," exceptional cocktails and rooftop patio seating with an incredible view, check out this impressive Mexican restaurant and bar. (Pictured: Carne Asada.) Nuevo Modern Mexican and Tequila Bar is located at 54 E Mill St., Akron, OH 44308.
3. Pier W (Lakewood)
This landmark Cleveland area restaurant is suspended over Lake Erie to give customers a cruise-like dining experience. It also features patio seating overlooking the water during the warmer months. This unique waterfront restaurant serves up exceptional seafood and offers lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Pier W is located at 12700 Lake Avenue (Winton Place) Lakewood, OH 44107.
4. New Sandusky Fish Company (Sandusky)
With fresh fish caught daily and cooked with expertise, you will experience what is arguably the best perch sandwich in Ohio at New Sandusky Fish Company. There's only outdoor seating here—but with a view like that it's all you really need. New Sandusky Fish Company is located at 235 E Shoreline Dr., Sandusky, OH 44870.
5. Moerlein Lager House Restaurant and Brewery (Cincinnati)
Along the Ohio River and right next to the Great American Ball Park sits "Cincinnati's premier brewpub." With a casual atmosphere and casual attire, this is the perfect way to spend your evening after a ball game or shopping spree. Moerlein Lager House is located at 115 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202.
6. Real Seafood Company Toledo (Toledo)
Experience fresh seafood from Boston, Florida and the Great Lakes at this local favorite in Toledo. Real Seafood Company Toledo is located at 22 Main St., Toledo, OH 43605.
7. The Crest Gastropub (Columbus)
This trendy spot to grab a drink or some grub features a rooftop garden guests can dine in. (The Bison Burger is a popular option here.) The Crest Gastropub is located at 2855 Indianola Ave., Columbus, OH 43202.
8. Boathouse BBQ (Marietta)
This family style barbecue joint along the Ohio River has received more than 12 awards for their exceptional ribs, wings and chili. Boathouse BBQ is located at 218 Virginia St., Marietta, OH 45750.
9. Alley Cat Oyster Bar (Cleveland)
With delicious oysters, shrimp cocktails and a surf and turf burger, this place is well known for its wide variety of seafood options and waterfront view of the Cuyahoga River. Alley Cat Oyster Bar is located at 1056 Old River Rd., Cleveland, OH 44113.
10. Flyboy’s Deli (Dayton)
Known for their delicious breakfast sandwiches and endless lunch options, this American restaurant, coffee shop and bar is popular among locals. Dine on their rooftop patio for an extra special experience. Flyboy's Deli is located at 2515 Far Hills Ave., Dayton, OH 45419.
11. Dockers Waterfront Restaurant and Bar (Kelleys Island)
Enjoy views of Lake Erie, from Cedar Point to Mouse Island, at this popular seafood joint on Kelleys Island. Known for their homemade crab cakes and lobster bisque, this restaurant features the best of the best seafood. It is located at 114 W Lakeshore Dr,, Kelleys Island, OH 43438.
12. Krueger’s Tavern (Cincinnati)
This beloved neighborhood restaurant and bar features patio dining on the roof, homemade sausages and varieties of canned, craft beer. Krueger's Tavern is located at 1211 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.
Have you been to any of these restaurants before? What other restaurants are there in Ohio that have incredible outdoor dining options? Let us know your thoughts!