Dining Guide: The Best Waterfront Restaurants on Lake Erie — Ohio

With approximately 300 miles of shoreline, there’s no shortage of lakeside dining options in the Buckeye State.

Hamburger Mary’s
Eat, drink and be Mary at this flamboyant dining experience. Bite into a juicy gourmet burger, plate of chicken and waffles or indulgent fried Twinkies while enjoying a variety of evening entertainment, from drag shows and karaoke to trivia nights. 26 Main St., Toledo, Ohio, 419-205-9393

The Heights
Grab a seat at Toledo’s only rooftop bar, where an expansive patio and sleek, industrial decor meets an inviting and comfortable atmosphere. Marvel at panoramic views of the Maumee River while sipping on refreshing handcrafted cocktails, award-winning wine or craft beers and diving into palate-pleasing small plates and wood-fired flatbread pizzas. 444 N. Summit St., Toledo, Ohio, 419-243-7565

Kobe Bay Seafood, Fusion & Bar
Modern, colorful digs complement an array of Japanese hibachi dishes, sushi, noodles, seafood boils and more at this trendy upscale restaurant featuring an extensive wine list and multilevel patio seating with views of Toledo’s beautiful downtown skyline on the banks of the Maumee River. 18 Main St., Toledo, Ohio, 419-464-0299

The Real Seafood Co.
Dine in style at this vibrant, contemporary riverside seafood restaurant that pleases patrons by combining fresh fish offerings from the waters of New England, Lake Erie and the Gulf of Mexico with authentic flavors of seasonal and local produce. Or, opt for a steak, pasta dish or selection from the raw bar as you soak up the sun or enjoy an evening under the stars. 22 Main St., Toledo, Ohio, 419-697-5427

Dock’s Beach House Restaurant (seasonal)
Take a stroll on the beach before enjoying patio dining right at the water’s edge with glimpses of Put-in-Bay. Savor fresh-caught Lake Erie perch or walleye dishes and amazing beach cocktails. Whether you’re looking for a laid back night out or exceptional dining experience, Dock’s is the perfect destination for any occasion. Dock’s also offers half hour rentals on jet skis, standup paddleboards and kayaks. 252 W. Lakeshore Drive, Port Clinton, Ohio, 419-732-6609

Jolly Rogers Seafood House
The casual atmosphere at the “best little fish house around” can’t be beat. Hang out on the patio and enjoy a menu filled with everything from fish dinners, sandwiches and tacos to peel-n-eat shrimp, deep-fried oysters and salmon power bowls. For those with a large appetite, opt for a perch or walleye boat — an entire pound of Lake Erie’s finest filets. 1715 E. Perry St, Port Clinton, Ohio, 419-732-3382

Cleats Marblehead
Overlooking the East Harbor Marina, this vibrant casual sports bar has been touted as “home of the world’s best wings,” which can be enjoyed with 21 signature sauces and other lakeside pub grub, include a Lake Erie Monster pizza featuring parmesan alfredo sauce, shrimp, lobster, bacon, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. 6801 E. Harbor Road, Lakeside Marblehead, 419-734-9464

Crabby Joe’s Dockside (seasonal)
There’s nothing crabby about this casual eatery located on the West Harbor. Grab a seat outside, watch the boats float by and enjoy a cold drink and filling seafood steam pot complete with potatoes, corn on the cob and a “liquid gold broth” or other lakeside fare. 5927 E. Saylor St., Lakeside Marblehead, 419-967-9055

Bluebird Cafe (seasonal)
Bluebird Cafe offers super-fresh paninis, salads and smoothies, as well as fresh berries-and-cream and organic frozen yoghurt made with dairy from grass-fed cows. Grab a seat outside and enjoy a view of the pier and beach.
100 Maple Ave., Lakeside Marblehead, Ohio, 330-417-1494

Hidden Beach Bar (seasonal)
Opened in 2014, this hot spot is a favorite for local and visitors alike, offering outdoor, harborside seating with views of the water and Lake Erie islands. Enjoy perch piled high on a toasted brioche bun with a variety of cold libations while listening to live music. Come by land or sea and don’t forget to check out the shop for boat and part supplies, as well as nautical giftware and apparel. 8725 N Shore Blvd, Lakeside Marblehead, 419-734-2818

Bay Harbor
Experience an elevated, yet casual waterfront dining destination perfect for any occasion — from romantic dinner dates and family get togethers to girls’ night out. Take the sights and sounds of Sandusky Bay on the patio as you indulge in an extensive wine menu and steak and seafood cuisine. Although located next to Cedar Point, admission to the amusement park is not required to access the restaurant. 1 Cedar Point Drive, Ste. 104, Sandusky, 419-625-6373

Dockside Cafe (seasonal)
Soak up some sun at this open-air, seasonal walk-up counter café featuring picnic table seating and a full bar. Pair a flavorful sangria with a tasty lobster roll or order of walleye tacos or ahi tuna soft tacos. 611 W. Shoreline Drive, Sandusky, Ohio, 419-503-2296

Great Lakes Grinders (seasonal)
Named after the Italian American dock workers of East Coast ports in the early 1900s whose daily lunch consisted of a delicious, filling sandwich, Grinders is dedicated to elevating midday meals on Lake Erie. Savor a scrumptious sub and an amazing view or grab a to-go meal for a day at the beach. 411 E. Water St. Sandusky, Ohio

Landmark Kitchen and Bar
Located in the heart of downtown Sandusky, Landmark promises a friendly neighborhood atmosphere and a contemporary menu based on fresh, local ingredients and flexitarian eating trends. Pair a glass of grapes with a palate-cleansing salad, gourmet sandwich, wrap or pasta dish. 101 E. Water St., Sandusky, Ohio, 419-502-1213

The Original Margaritaville
Located in an old gristmill alongside a waterfall, this picturesque venue provides the backdrop for a fun and relaxing dining experience. Snag a spot on the gigantic 10,000-square-foot deck or wraparound porch and cure your craving for a Tex-Mex meal and refreshing margarita. 212 Fremont Ave., Sandusky, Ohio, 419-627-8903

Paddle Bar
If you’re looking for a piece of island paradise on the mainland, Paddle Bar is for you. Located inside Paddle & Climb outdoor shop, Paddle Bar’s colorful and lively Key West vibes are complemented with a full bar, food trucks and tons of entertainment. 305 E. Water St., Sandusky, Ohio, 419-502-1044

Rayz on the Bay
Panoramic views with glimpses of the Sandusky Bay, Edison Bridge and Cedar Point’s skyline set the backdrop for a easygoing dining experience. Pair a plate of Lake Erie perch with the destination’s famous boneless chicken ballz smothered in a variety of ingredients — including sauteed mushrooms, coleslaw and cheddar cheese — or tossed in your favorite dipping sauce. 1101 E. Bayview Drive, Sandusky, 419-684-7970

Harbor House Bar & Grill
Cruise into the harbor and watch other boaters float by as you raise a glass of tropical paradise at this casual hangout featuring an extensive menu. From pierogies and fried pickles to bangin’ shrimp tacos, pulled pork mac and a variety of walleye dishes, you’re sure to leave satisfied. 132 N. Main St., Huron, Ohio, 419-616-6088

Erie Steak & Seafood Co.
Experience lake life at its finest at Erie Steak & Seafood Co. Nestled in Oasis Marina, this restaurant offers panoramic views from the patio. The restaurant’s seafood- and steak-centered menu offers an eclectic array of local fish favorites, ocean specialties, tender prime cuts of meat and a selection of pasta, salads and appetizers. 301 Lakeside Ave., Lorain, Ohio, 440-288-2051

The Shipyards Boiler Room
Stroll Lorain’s Harborwalk neighborhood and take in the views of the Black River and Charles Berry Bascule Bridge before taking a blast into the past at the Shipyards, a 25,000-square-foot industrial building home to the Boiler Room, a beer-centric bar offering a rotating selection of regional and nationally acclaimed brews and locally drive menu of updated American classics. 500 Shipyard Way, Lorain, Ohio, 440-230-8481

Pier W
Pier W clings to the side of a cliff in a building that was designed to resemble the hull of a luxury cruise liner. Diners descend the stairs (or elevator), past a wall-sized aquarium and into a gorgeous open dining space with blue accents that complement the view of Lake Erie in the foreground and a shimmering city skyline in the distance. Sustainably harvested seafood plays a starring role on the plate, but the menu also includes locally sourced land-based fare, including beef, lamb and pork. 12700 Lake Ave., Lakewood, Ohio, 216-228-2250

Summer House
Get into the summer state of mind with Saturday or Sunday brunch set to the backdrop of some of the most magnificent lake and cityscape views in the Cleveland area. Looking for a delicious dinner? Summer House offers a creatively curated menu of contemporary American dishes. Share a serving of Lake Erie smoked fish dip before pleasing the palate with a pistachio pesto flatbread topped with tomato, pancetta, mozzarella and arugula. Or, opt for a selection of seafood from the raw bar. 12900 Lake Ave., Lakewood, Ohio, 216-270-2300

1330 on the River
Find your way to the Flats East Bank and enjoy the ambiance of the Cuyahoga River as you dine on a delicious menu of elevated pub grub, from a Slammin Salmon BLT, East Bank Fig Wrap or Zeeks BBQ Burger. Upgrade your side to the 1330 fries, featuring truffle, parsley, parmesan and a house aioli. From Taco Tuesdays to weekend brunches and late-night snacks, the good times never stop rolling. 1330 Old River Road, Cleveland, 216-675-0002

Alley Cat Oyster Bar
Alley Cat’s casual, but chic industrial design reflects the expansive view of the Flats and Cuyahoga River right outside its window. With its two-story patio, the restaurant gives diners an unrivaled front-row seat for the show on the river, with Great Lake freighters navigating the crooked waterway. The broad menu favors surf over turf. The raw bar, one of the few in Cleveland, features a variety of oysters. 1056 Old River Road, Cleveland, 216-574-9999

Bar 32
See Cleveland like you’ve never seen it before. Perched atop the 32nd floor of Hilton Cleveland Downtown, Bar 32’s stunning vista encompasses Lake Erie and the iconic Cleveland skyline. The small plate “coast to coast” style menu features fare from the East, West and Gulf coasts, as well as Cleveland’s North Coast, ranging from lobster rolls and mushroom flatbread to jumbo cocktail shrimp. Save room for the sweet, warm carrot loaf topped with Cleveland’s own Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream and candied pecans. 100 Lakeside Ave. E, Cleveland, 216-413-5000

Collision Bend Brewing Co.
Named for the narrow and crooked passages along the Cuyahoga River navigated by large commercial ships, Collision Bend Brewing Co. boasts a long patio perfect for taking in the sunset. Enjoy brunch, lunch or dinner with an elevated menu of American fare — from shrimp and grits and vegetable Poke bowls to potato pizza and fried green tomatoes. Quench your thirst with a generous selection of house-brewed beer, wine, scotch, whiskey, tequila, and craft cocktails. We love the Raspberry Smash, which combines High Bank Vodka, Apple Pucker, raspberry puree, apple juice, cranberry juice and lemon juice. 1250 River Road, Cleveland, 216-273-7879

e55 on the lake (seasonal)
End an afternoon of fishing or sightseeing on the pier with a front row seat to scenic views of Lake Erie at e55 on the lake, offering classic casual fare, including fish sandwiches, burgers, barbecue pulled pork and hot dogs. Opt for the Merwin’s BIG Pretzel, a freshly baked 1.5-pound soft pretzel buttered and salted and served with wharf mustard, queso and pimento cheese dip. 5555 N. Marginal Road Cleveland, 216-431-3349

Jade Asian Fusion
Jade Asian Fusion offers a fresh take on Asian-inspired dining. The first-floor sushi lounge serves traditional and creative fusion sushi and hot appetizers in a hip atmosphere that opens onto the riverwalk. Jade Dining, located on the second floor, serves dishes with a South American and Mediterranean influence. Here, an alluring bar area and semi al fresco dining complement decorative floor-to-ceiling garage doors that offer breathtaking views of Cleveland’s bridges and waters. 1048 Old River Road, Cleveland, 216-815-8700

Lindey’s Lake House
Discover a casual, fun, family friendly social spot with something for everyone, from fish and steak to burgers, late night snacks and a delicious drink menu. A local favorite for waterfront dining, it’s the ideal destination to watch freighters navigate the curvy Cuyahoga River. The Firecracker Shrimp — tempura dusted, tossed in a sweet chili aioli and topped with scallions and sesame seeds — is not to be missed. 1146 Old River Road, Cleveland, 216-727-0158

Merwin’s Wharf
Nestled in Cleveland’s Flats neighborhood, this riverfront destination connects guests to stunning views of water and wildlife, as well as recreational opportunities, while enjoying fresh, seasonal and locally sourced menu items. Make the most of the season by pairing a decadent Merwin’s Bloody Mary with an Adobo Quinoa Bowl. Or, opt for a Caprese or BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich and beer flight. 1785 Merwin Ave., Cleveland, 216-664-5696

Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar
Located in Voinovich Bicentennial Park, this sleek waterfront space — and its patio — is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Dine on casual, yet upscale modern Mexican fare and Latin-inspired dishes, while saving room for a margarita, handcrafted cocktail, boutique wine or local craft beer. 1000 E. Ninth St., Cleveland, 216-737-1000

Shooters on the Water
One of the first projects on the Flats West Bank, Shooters led the way in the rebirth of Cleveland’s riverfront. Every summer, this destination attracts thousands of visitors for its live music, docking options and broad menu of appetizers, salads, burgers and entrees. 1148 Main Ave., Cleveland, 216-861-6900

Brennan’s Fish House
Dine on the finest fresh seafood and freshwater fare, from fresh Lake Erie walleye and perch to oysters, frog legs, crab legs, southern fried catfish and even bouillabaisse. Not into surf? Enjoy a bowl of the restaurant’s legendary chili or steak or chicken dishes. 102 River St., Grand River, Ohio, 440-354-9785

Pickle Bill’s Lobster House
A waterfront landmark in Grand River since 1982, Pickle Bill’s is known for its all-you-can-eat seafood. Diners can eat in a barge on the water, getting their fill of deep-fried scallops, shrimp, fish and chips, Lake Erie perch and walleye or Alaskan snow crab. (You can also get all-you-can-eat prime rib, too.) The best part? It’s not a limited special. If the restaurant’s open and they’ve got it in stock, it’s available. 101 River St., Grand River, Ohio, 440-352-6343

Sunset Harbor Bar and Grille (seasonal)
Park yourself on the pier of this bustling lakefront spot that boasts boat slips and beautiful views. Enjoy a menu filled with everything from calamari fries, Cajun shrimp, lobster bisque and New England clam chowder to steak, mac-n-cheese, pork shops burgers and more. 625 Prospect St., Fairport Harbor, Ohio, 440-350-0500

Crosswinds Grille
Enjoy house-made small-batch wines, locally sourced farm-to-table fare and menus that celebrate the flavors of the seasons. Take time to relax and recharge with a stay at the property’s Lakehouse Inn Resort, where lakefront views, cozy accommodations and spa treatments hold the key to rejuvenating the mind, body and spirit. 5653 Lake Road E., Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio, 440-466-8668

GOTL Brewing Co.
Grab a pint and a picnic table and feast your eyes on a menu filled with delicious dishes you wouldn’t typically find at a brewery. Think po’ boys, pasta dishes, lobster corn dogs and fusion shrimp. Come with an appetite to indulge in the Black Rock Grill Experience, which uses a volcanic rock heated to 842 degrees to cook your steak oil- and fat-free. 5243 Lake Road E., Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio, 440-361-4864

Horizon’s Restaurant & Lounge
The glass-enclosed octagonal dining room was built to give guests an unfettered view of Lake Erie while live piano music — on weekends — enhances the culinary experience. In warmer weather, take advantage of al fresco dining at the more relaxed Horizons Terrace Grill just outside. Located in the heart of the state’s wine-producing region, the restaurant has its own certified wine specialist, who hand selects pairings to accompany the restaurant’s upscale American cuisine featuring local and seasonal fare, including 100% Ohio-raised beef, perch walleye and tofu made in Cleveland. 4888 N. Broadway, Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio, 866-806-8066

Old Firehouse Winery
An eclectic collection of fire paraphernalia adds to the historic charm of this quaint shoreline destination. During summer months, visitors enjoy spending time on the vast patio and gazebo overlooking the water. Known for its award-winning wines, Firehouse also boasts nightly entertainment. 5499 Lake Road E., Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio, 440-466-9300

Breakwall BBQ
Breakwall BBQ is so smokin’ good it draws people from far and wide for pulled pork and beef brisket overlooking the harbor marina. The deck comes to life at night with festive lights and weekend performances by local musicians. Try the loaded pork tots — a bed of fried tater tots or fries smothered in pulled pork, shredded cheddar cheese, jalapenos, black olives and cheese sauce with a side of sour cream. Almost everything served is made fresh, including the sweet vinegar-based coleslaw and two sauces on each table, with a hotter one in reserve for the more adventurous palate. 1205 1/2 Mariana Drive, Conneaut, Ohio, 440-599-2264

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