Imagine yourself sipping on a cold, perspiring glass of pinot grigio while lapping waves provide the soundtrack to a summer night of al fresco dining on exquisite culinary creations beside the lake. Here, we highlight a variety of top-notch destinations.
Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery
Sip on one of the 21 vinifera wines offered at Canada’s only beachfront winery on the shores of Lake Erie. Recently named one of the top 10 wineries to visit in Canada, Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery produces quality VQA wines from its own sun-soaked terroir. In-house, grab-and-go picnic baskets, charcuterie boards and charcuterie cones, along with the new beachfront service hut (May through September) are just some of the many reasons you will want to spend the entire day enjoying the beautiful grounds. 7258 County Road 50 W, Amherstburg, Ontario, 519-738-9253
Gray’s on the Water Socialhouse
This pub-style restaurant nestled on the shores of Lake Erie offers the best patio views in Essex County. Stop by for lunch or dinner and nosh on a sampling of shareable plates, sandwiches, wraps and burgers or main entrees such as Campari Pasta, Pizzermo Pizza or Beef Stew. 304 Robson Road, Leamington, Ontario, 519-326-4231
Molly & OJ’s Restaurant
A historic cornerstone in the resort-like community of Erieau, Molly & OJ’s is a family-run restaurant set on the beautiful north shore. Discover a bustling, inviting family atmosphere that boasts rich flavors and some of the best surf and turf around, including fresh perch and pickerel from Lake Erie. Looking for a more casual experience? Head next door to The Sandbar Pub for bar food and big screen TVs perfect for cheering on your favorite sports teams. Extend your stay at the Lakeside Cabin Rentals, located behind the restaurant, offering a private beach and bonfire area. 875 Mariners Road, Erieau, Ontario, 519-676-8812
Bayside Brewing Co.
Pair a pint of locally crafted brew with a selection of salads, starters, burgers, pastas and fish dishes and head to the patio of this casual eatery. Beat the heat with the destination flagship beer, the Long Pond Lager, which is full of flavor and a light crisp finish, or the Lighthouse Light Lager, boasting a malt-forward and sweet taste, but perfectly balanced with hops for a playful citrus finish. 970 Ross Lane, Erieau, Ontario, 519-676-8888
Rondeau Joe’s Pub & Eatery (Seasonal)
This pet-friendly family pub and eatery, located on Rondeau Bay, serves a variety of craft and local beer, as well as burgers, ribs, wings, nachos, perch, pickerel, pizza, pastas and much more! Rondeau Joe’s takes pride in sourcing most of its products from local, Ontario purveyors. 11521 Wildwood Line, Morpeth, Ontario, 519-674-0006
GTs on the Beach (Seasonal)
In a port filled with palate-pleasing destinations, GTs on the Beach stands out as Ontario’s largest beachfront patio and host of sand volleyball and frequent life entertainment. The menu features fresh Lake Erie pickerel and perch, as well as plenty of plant-based and gluten-free options. Cool off with a red or white sangria, icy margaritas or cold craft beer. Reservations are recommended at this local hot spot. 350 Edith Cavell Blvd., Port Stanley, Ontario, 519-782-4555
Famous for neon orange-ade and a special sauce to accompany hot dogs and French fries, Mackie’s has been an essential part of any visit to Port Stanley’s Main Beach in Ontario since 1931. Step right off the sand and into this fast-food restaurant for some grub and arcade games. 124 William St., Port Stanley, Ontario, 519-782-4390
Sandbar on the Beach
Owners Stephen and Carissa Ayerhart have made their dreams come true in building a destination where people can come relax, enjoy great food, drinks and soak up beautiful Lake Erie views. They continue to update their menu to keep it fresh and trendy while supporting local craft brewers, wine makers and produce purveyors. Make reservations for the last Saturday of the month to enjoy dinner and a Yuk Yuk’s comedy show. 45 Cedar Drive, Turkey Point, Ontario, 519-426-4009
The Beach House
Diners can watch the action on the beach and commercial fishing boats come into the harbor with the latest catch while they sink their teeth into perch, walleye and smelt specialties on the back deck. Don’t miss Sunday brunch, which has never been so decadent with The Beach House’s twist on eggs Benedict. 2 Walker St., Port Dover, Ontario, 519-583-0880
Knechtel’s on the Beach
On a busy beach day in Port Dover, the bathing-suit-clad masses line up at Knechtel’s on the Beach for heaping plates of lightly breaded fish. More than 300 pounds of Lake Erie perch pass through the restaurant’s walk-up windows each day. 15 Walker St., Port Dover, Ontario, 519-583-1908
Hippo’s @ Mohawk Marina (Seasonal)
Hippo’s is the place to be if you’re looking for a casual, laid-back outdoor dining experience with a waterfront view. Stark with an order of Lake Erie perch tacos, sandwich or dinner. But make sure to leave room for a sweet treat — a thick and smooth old-fashioned chocolate, strawberry or vanilla milkshake, sundae or banana split. 2472 N. Shore Drive, Lowbanks, Ontario, 905-774-1229
Beach House Restaurant & Patio (Seasonal)
Beach House Restaurant is steps away from the main entrance of Bay Beach, welcoming Lake Erie lovers with a large patio to relax and soak up the sun. The menu offers a range of tasty worldly flavors and spices that showcase many ethnicities, including eastern European, Mediterranean, Indian and more. Start with the Burek, a flaky phyllo pastry filled with either meat, cheese, potato, spinach or leeks served with a drinkable yogurt. For dinner, enjoy the Balkan Cabbage Rolls, which offer a smoky flavor and are served with a rich sauce and mashed potatoes. Or try to Pork or Chicken Souvlaki Dinner, which features marinated and grilled meat on skewers served with roasted potatoes, rice, a Greek salad and Tzatziki sauce. Leave room for dessert with a Banana Nutella Crepe. 4130 Erie Road, Crystal Beach, Ontario, 289-644-3322
Happy Jack’s Restaurant & Patio
Serving the Niagara and Western New York regions for more than 50 years, this family-owned restaurant highlights a range of traditional Chinese dishes and a patio with river views. Enjoy comfort-style family recipes featuring Cantonese, Hong Kong and Canadian flavors that have been passed down for multiple generations. 98 Niagara Blvd., Fort Erie, Ontario, 905-871-3970
Vaticano Italian Restaurant
If you’re looking for delicious Italian cuisine, find your heart’s desire this upscale destination, where simple ingredients and preparation showcase the chef’s passion for creating an extraordinary culinary experience. Please your palate with a variety of flavorful dishes and glass of grapes from the extensive wine menu while enjoying lunch or dinner on the patio set to a magnificent riverfront backdrop. 90 Niagara Blvd., Fort Erie, Ontario, 905-871-6244
Southsides Patio Bar & Grill
Those searching for a more casual riverfront dining option will appreciate Southsides Patio Bar & Grill, offering an eclectic range of food options, from Buffalo Mac & Cheese and Crab Cake BLT to Shrimpcargot and Brisket Grilled Cheese, as well as classic American fare, including burgers, wraps, pizza and wings. 80 Niagara Blvd., Fort Erie, Ontario, 905-871-3244
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