From patios to porches: Outdoor dining on the Island

Dine outdoors this summer at Sharky's Cantina in Oak Bluffs. — Ralph Stewart

Besides outdoor showers and going to the beach, one of my favorite things to do in the summer is eat outside. When the forecast is clear and you are able to fend off the mosquitoes, there isn’t anything better than dining under the stars.

There is an abundance of outdoor seating at restaurants on the Island, from casual takeout spots and harbor haunts to elegant patios and porches. Here is just a selection of restaurants where you can dine al fresco.

Venture outside of downtown Vineyard Haven to Mon Amour, a small restaurant nestled behind Tivoli Paint Store off of State Road. Dine on the slate patio under candlelight surrounded by trees adorned with twinkling lights, or inside the restaurant at one of the butcher block tables or at the bar. Chef David Spooner uses classical French techniques while incorporating influences from Asia and Italy.

House specialties include the lobster spring roll with glass noodles, ginger, cilantro, and a ginger-chili glaze; house-cured charcuterie; and the grilled veal chop with caramelized onions, asparagus, spaetzle, and red wine demi-glacé. Everything is made in house from the puff pastry, bread, and desserts to stocks, sauces, and charcuterie. “All sauces and reductions are gluten free,” said Mr. Spooner, alluding to the fact that most dishes can be made gluten-free. Mon Amour features a variety of wine-based cocktails such as Dubonnet and limonata and white Porto and tonic. Get seated before 6 pm at the bar or on the patio and received 20 percent off of food. For more information, call 508-693-8444 or visit

When you step into The Terrace at Charlotte Inn in Edgartown you feel as though you have stepped back in time. The glass-paned conservatory dining room provides an elegant dining experience with an outdoor feeling. Polished silver, matching China, fresh flowers, and white table tablecloths add to its allure.

During warmer months, try to get seated on the outdoor stone patio, a tranquil space complete with ivy-covered lattice walls and a bronze statue of a little girl with a fountain trickling from her pail. Dine in this secret garden-like location under flickering candlelight and enjoy dishes prepared with fresh and local ingredients by chef Justin Melnick. Sample the fried Katama Bay oysters and local calamari with a lemon bacon aioli, or try the lobster duo: a sautéed lobster tail in a creamy saffron brandy sauce with a salad of faro, pea tendrils, and fava beans accompanied by chilled butter poached lobster claw meat with crispy house-cured bacon. For more information, call 508-627-4751 or visit

Stop by the back door at The Home Port in Menemsha for takeout with a view. Grab your food and sit on a picnic table on the deck while taking in the Menemsha sunset. Don’t forget, BYOB.

In its 83rd year, The Home Port has revamped its menu and formed a new culinary team of chef Matthew Safranek, formerly of Atria, joined by John Thurgood. Back-door offerings include chowder and bisque, fried and broiled seafood, as well as non-seafood items such as chicken fingers, cheeseburgers, and sirloin steak. For appetizers, try the smoked bluefish paté or baked stuffed quahogs. This year, all the pies are homemade. Choose from pecan, blueberry, key lime, and Iowa chocolate cake.

Stop by the walk-up raw bar on the deck, which has half priced oysters and clams from 5 to 6 pm. Takeout is available from 11:30 am at the back door, to be enjoyed before or after the beach. If you want to grab and go, patrons are encouraged to call in orders for easy, no-wait pick-up with a new car hop service. Staff will be in the parking lot assisting people with parking for takeout orders. If you prefer to enjoy the sunset on the beach, the restaurant offers bike delivery to Menemsha beach, just call in your order and let them know what time you will be there. Call 508-645-2679 or visit for more information.

On your way to or from South Beach in Edgartown, stop by the Right Fork Diner in Katama for takeout or dine in. The takeout window opens at 11 am serving a light fare menu that includes crab cake sandwiches, lobster rolls, burgers, salads, and fried seafood. Wash it all down with a raspberry lime rickie, frappe, or egg cream, or try a sundae or cone for dessert.

Enjoy your fare on picnic tables while watching the biplanes take off and land. Or dine at the restaurant, inside or outside under an umbrella on the porch, or at a seat at the rail. The Right Fork Diner serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. On Sunday and Monday evenings enjoy Local Smoke barbeque, which offers dry-rubbed, slow-smoked pulled chicken and pork and St. Louis style ribs. Tuesday through Saturday, stop by for the regular menu including dishes such as sesame tuna, paella, lobster risotto, and steak au poivre. Call 508-627-5522 or visit

New outdoor seating

New this year is the outdoor patio at The Black Dog Tavern in Vineyard Haven. Head to the Black Dog for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and sit in the shade while enjoying the summer breeze under the wooden structure. Visit or call 508-693-9223 for more information.

Also new is the outdoor seating at Sharky’s in Oak Bluffs. Head up Circuit Avenue and you will see the tiki-inspired seating area located next to the Locker Room. Call 508-693-7501 or visit for more information.