...and we love the Southern picks!

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
June 20, 2018
The Continental Naples
Credit: Courtesy The Continental Naples / OpenTable

There's something about eating outdoors. Whether it's on your own patio or tucked into a four-top under the shade of your favorite beach haunt's umbrellas, it's always a special experience.

With the first day of summer officially upon us, what better time to toast to a wonderful season of al fresco dining? OpenTable agrees, and today they have announced the 100 best al fresco restaurants in America for 2018.

The list sweeps locales from Hawaii to New York City, with a slew of incredible spots in the South. "From picturesque restaurants with shaded terraces to vibrant rooftops and sidewalk cafés, this year's list showcases the spots that take the al fresco experience to the next level," said Caroline Potter, OpenTable's Chief Dining Officer, in a company press release. "These restaurants offer friendly service and the ideal ambiance for diners looking to enjoy the warm weather and soak up the best sights of summer."

Creating this list is no tiny task. As OpenTable's official statement explains, the top 100 "...list is generated solely from more than 12 million verified OpenTable diner reviews for more than 27,000 restaurants in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. collected between May 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018. All restaurants with a minimum 'overall' score and number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then scored and sorted according to the percentage of reviews for which 'outdoor dining' was selected as a special feature."

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California had the most restaurants on the list with 30 winners securing their spot. Not surprisingly, Florida dominated the list for Southern states, with 26 restaurants total. Maryland and South Carolina had three each on the list. Here are the Southern spots that made the cut (in alphabetical order):

  • BALEEN- Naples, Florida
  • Boatyard- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Blue Moon Fish Co.- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • The Boathouse- Lake Buena Vista, Florida
  • Boatyard- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • BRAVO Cucina Italiana - Naples - Mercato- Naples, Florida
  • Campiello - Naples- Naples, Florida
  • Carrol's Creek Cafe- Annapolis, Maryland
  • Columbia Restaurant - Sarasota- Sarasota, Florida
  • Continental Naples- Naples, Florida
  • DeRomo's Gourmet Market & Restaurant - Bonita Springs, Florida
  • Farmer's Table- Boca Raton, Florida
  • Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar- Charleston, South Carolina
  • Gertrude's - Baltimore- Baltimore, Maryland
  • Gram & Dun- Kansas City, Missouri
  • The Grand Marlin of Pensacola Beach- Pensacola, Florida
  • JB's On The Beach- Deerfield Beach, Florida
  • Juvia- Miami, Florida
  • Kaluz Restaurant- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • The Kitchen | Shelby Farms Park- Memphis, Tennessee
  • La Mar by Gastón Acurio- Miami, Florida
  • Latitudes on Sunset Key- Key West, Florida
  • Louie Bossi's Ristorante Bar Pizzeria- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • MiraMare- Naples, Florida
  • Old Oyster Factory- Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
  • Ophelia's on the Bay- Sarasota, Florida
  • Preserved Restaurant- St. Augustine, Florida
  • Prime Catch on the Waterfront- Boynton, Florida
  • The Pump House- Rock Hill, South Carolina
  • River House Restaurant & Raw Bar- Louisville, Kentucky
  • Rusty Pelican - Miami- Key Biscayne, Florida
  • Shooters Waterfront- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse - Miami- Miami Beach, Florida
  • Sunset Terrace - Omni Grove Park Inn- Asheville, North Carolina
  • The Turtle Club - Naples- Naples, Florida
  • Ulele- Tampa, Florida
  • Woodberry Kitchen- Baltimore, Maryland

Catch ya on the deck!