🍽 Outdoor dining season has arrived in New Jersey

🍽 OpenTable picked the top four outdoor dining spots from each region

🍽 BYOB, smoked meatballs and angry lobster are some specialties

It’s June. Sunny, hot, summery weather is upon us--the perfect opportunity to dine al fresco.

Luckily in New Jersey, there are plenty of restaurants that offer outdoor dining during the summer months. With so many to choose from, how do you narrow it down?

Online restaurant reservation service company OpenTable picked the top four restaurants for outdoor dining broken down by each region: North, Central, South and the Jersey Shore.

Do you agree with their picks?

The Hutton (Google Streetview)
The Hutton (Google Streetview)

North Jersey

The Hutton Restaurant & Bar

225 Hutton Street, Jersey City

Open Mon-Wed 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thurs-Fri 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Hutton is a neighborhood restaurant, beer, and wine bar in the Heights of Jersey City. It has a fantastic outdoor patio for spring and summertime dining with a vast selection of signature frozen drinks.

Come sit under their 200 year old oak tree and soak in the flavor and culture!

Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, some signature dishes include Crab Bucatini (tomatoes, butternut squash, and togarashi spice), Chopped Brisket and Gnocchi, Prosciutto-wrapped salmon, Hutton Burger, Crispy Cod Fish, and Chips, plus vegan favorites like Apple Guacamole, and Sweet Potato Tamale.

Some favorite cocktails include Fresh to Death (Prairie Cucumber Vodka, St. Germain, fresh lime, fresh mint, muddled cucumber), Jersey City Donkey (Jameson Caskmate, fresh lime, and ginger beer), and Fig on the Hudson (Figenza Vodka, Chambord, and pineapple)

Here is what people are saying about The Hutton on OpenTable:

“Had a wonderful brunch at The Hutton. Food was delicious and the service was excellent. Would definitely go back.”

“It’s a nice restaurant with indoor and outdoor patio seating. They have wide range of beverage and food menu. The outdoor seating is heated and nice for chilly days. Also, a nice place to catch-up a soccer or a football game.”

“We had the best service, food was so good, and atmosphere was lovely!”

Piccolo's (Facebook)
Piccolo's (Facebook)

Central Jersey

Piccolo Trattoria - Pennington

800R Denow Road, Pennington

Open - Lunch: Monday - Saturday: 11:00 am - 3:30 pm Dinner: Monday - Thursday: 3:30 pm - 10:00 pm, Friday - Saturday: 3:30 pm - 11:00 pm, Sunday: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm

Piccolo Trattoria is Mercer County’s finest BYOB and casual dining restaurant in the area, according to OpenTable. The feeling of family and home is evident when you arrive at the Tuscan-setting eatery.

Piccolo offers fine dining, outdoor dining and a bistro menu from homemade pasta to milk-fed veal, prime cuts of beef, pork, poultry, and lamb. Fresh seafood is delivered daily. For simpler tastes, they offer gourmet panini sandwiches, salads, soups, and of course, gourmet hand-tossed pizza.

The restaurant is known for its signature Brooklyn Pie, made with fresh plum tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, virgin olive oil, and fresh basil.

Three popular dishes include Pasta Vienna (pappardelle pasta sautéed with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes in an aurora sauce), Gnocchi Florentino (tossed with spinach and fresh mozzarella in a pink cream sauce), and Homemade Gnocchi (our homemade ricotta potato dumplings in a choice of gorgonzola cream sauce vodka cream sauce marinara bolognese or pesto sauce).

Some OpenTable reviews are below:

“Food is always delicious here. Great salad with balsamic dressing. Garlic knots are best I ever had. Authentic Italian pasta dishes are amazing. Service is on point.’’

“Great selection of Italian food. Always enjoy eating here, and nice portions. Outstanding service.”

“The food was excellent, as always. Sara was a lovely waitress. I once again had the best gnocchi in the world. Piccolo is a true family favorite!”

Bistro di Marino (Google Streetview)
Bistro di Marino (Google Streetview)

South Jersey

Collingswood - Bistro Di Marino

492 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood

Open: Dinner Daily 4:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m., Sun 4:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Collingswood native son, James Marino opened Bistro Di Marino, an intimate 40-seat BYOB restaurant, offering traditional and tasty Italian fare in a neighborhood restaurant setting. There is also an outdoor courtyard to enjoy a meal on a nice summer evening.

Some featured dishes include: Penne Vodka (braised prosciutto in a pink cream sauce with a touch of vodka), Baked Gnocchi (braised pancetta shitake mushroom and smoked mozzarella baked in a Tuscan pot, and Smoked Mozzarella Meatballs (stuffed with smoked mozzarella, and topped with house tomato sauce, basil, and freshly shaved Locatelli cheese).

What people are saying on OpenTable:

“The Collingswood location is the best bistro do Marino as they continue to expand. It’s the most consistent and has the best outdoor area.”

“Another great meal at Bistro Di Marino. Have never had anything but excellent food and service here.”

“Restaurant and outdoor area are lovely.”

Rooney's Oceanfront (Facebook)
Rooney's Oceanfront (Facebook)

Jersey Shore

Rooney’s Oceanfront

100 Ocean Ave. North, Long Branch

Open: Lunch Mon-Sat 11:30 am–4:00 pm Sun 11:30 am–3:00 pm Dinner Mon–Thu 4:00 pm–9:00 pm Fri, Sat 4:00 pm–10:00 pm Sun 3:00 pm–9:00 pm

If you haven’t been to Rooney’s Oceanfront, you need to experience this Jersey Shore gem. A unique dining experience since 1995, Rooney’s offers a picturesque location in historical Long Branch, according to OpenTable.

The bi-level outdoor deck for dining overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and the décor makes patrons feel like they’re close to the sea.

Fresh seafood is at the heart of Rooney’s cuisine and the menu changes continually to include exciting, new dishes for customers each and every time they visit.

Popular dishes include Rooney’s lobsters, of course. Live Maine lobsters are broiled, steamed, or stuffed with your choice of two sides.

Angry Lobster is a house favorite: Pan roasted lobster in its original shell, olive oil, garlic, hot pepper flakes, and basil, served over a bed of linguini.

Rooney’s Crabcakes are very popular. They are made with a cornflake crust and served with grilled asparagus, fingerling potato, and red pepper aioli.

Be sure to try the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail: U7 shrimp is served with both cocktail and green goddess sauces.

Spanish Octopus comes with Hasselback potatoes, chorizo, chorizo vinaigrette, chipotle mayo, and chorizo powder.

Rooney’s is also known for its Bloody Mary Shooter: Bluepoint oyster topped with pickle, celery, dehydrated olive, and Rooney’s Classic Bloody Mary Mix.

Positive reviews on OpenTable include:

“Rooney's is a Jersey Shore institution. Not many places combine a great view with fantastic food and impeccable service and Rooney's does. Looking forward to our next visit. And if you haven't gone... What are you waiting for??”

“The food is always good and the service was good. We were outside and the views added to our already great experience.”

“It was a perfect evening. The weather was perfect, the appetizer was perfect, the Bloody Mary’s were perfect, the dinner was perfect, service was perfect, dessert was perfect. As I said, it was a perfect evening.”

So, grab some friends, raise some glasses, and breathe in the salty ocean air as you dine outdoors at so many restaurants across the state of New Jersey this summer.

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