As summer rolls in, we’re taking every chance we can get to get outside and enjoy the season. With water views, live music, fire pits and more, the patios of our coastal city do not disappoint. Here are some of our favorite spots to eat outside in Virginia Beach.
As the name entails, this place is like eating out on your own back deck if, instead of a lawn, your yard was an expansive body of water. The Back Deck looks out over Wolfsnare Creek, an inland offshoot of the Chesapeake Bay, where you can spend your time sipping on craft brews while you watch boaters, stand-up paddle boarders, and maybe even the occasional dolphin fin swimming by. Don’t leave without trying their fish tacos, which are $2 each, every Tuesday.
Opening their doors in 1939, Steinhilber’s is the oldest family-owned restaurant in Virginia Beach, and for good reason. While their huge outdoor patio, with fire pits, string lights, and water views was added fairly recently, it has only added to the grandeur and elegance of this Virginia Beach staple, who also gets our vote for best-fried shrimp in the area.
This spot in the ViBe Creative District is a bakery by day, and a pizza joint by night. They use seasonal, organic, local and fresh ingredients in everything they make, and it’s obvious in every savory bite. Come in, grab a slice or two, a glass of wine or a cold craft beer, and enjoy it out on their patio picnic tables.
The best food is also the freshest food, and no one takes that sentiment to heart like Commune, located in the ViBe Creative District. With a flexible breakfast and lunch menu, each delectable dish is crafted solely with regional and local ingredients, from the bread to the meats and the cheeses.
Serving up fresh seafood and great cocktails at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, Calypso Bar & Grill boasts the largest covered patio at the beach. Their outdoor seating comes with panoramic oceanfront views provide the perfect backdrop for a regular lineup of some of our favorite Va Beach bands.
For three generations, the family-owned and operated Waterman’s Surfside Grille has been serving up a taste of Virginia Beach - offering a range of fresh seafood, steaks, slow roasted ribs and burgers, and the can’t-miss Orange Crush cocktail - all while overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. As with most of these places in our coastal city, their Fresh Fish of the Day is always the best place to start, but their crab cakes are also phenomenal.
This popular Irish pub at the Oceanfront offers a festive bar menu (try their Irish Wake cocktail with white rum, gold rum, blue Curaçao, Fresca, and fresh squeezed OJ), delicious food, including traditional Irish dishes. Come on a nice night to sit outside on their new patio with fireplace tables and weekly live music.
After the sun goes down, treat yourself to a cocktail and a show at Hot Tuna, a local favorite with delicious seafood that is matched only by their fun atmosphere after dark. Enjoy it at their outside bar by the warmth of their fire pit tables. Popular local artists perform at Hot Tuna every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Operating out of the new DoubleTree by Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, offers fresh fish, local oysters, hand-picked crab cakes, and fresh sushi, all with an unbeatable view of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and Atlantic Ocean. Formally known as “Mahi Mah’s,” Mahi’s has been a local favorite for decades and, while it may have been recently revamped, the bones of what made this place so popular for so long are still firmly in-tact.
This is a great place to come experience all the classic favorites you know and love, while enjoying a nice day. Located just down the road from the Virginia Beach Oceanfront and ViBe Creative District, you're never far from this spot.
Java Surf, located at the Oceanfront, is a great spot for everything from a fresh cup o’ Joe to brunch fit for King Neptune himself. With their focus on locally sourced, organic ingredients, Java Surf is about as fresh as it can get for your mid-morning grub-fest. The open-faced bagel melts are a go-to for us. Try “The Lighthouse” and experience meat and cheese Nirvana topped with the sweet and spicy kick of Sriracha. How can you go wrong with that? To keep the theme of freshness going, there’s just something about their fresh-squeezed OJ that keeps us coming back for more.
For one of the only dining experiences offering unimpeded views of the Chesapeake Bay and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, grab a chair out on the deck at Buoy 44 Seafood Grill. Dig into some steamed oysters or the delicious Flounder “BLT,” and be sure to stick around for a breathtaking sunset over the water.
The original Beach Bully opened in 1986 at the Oceanfront, and they’ve been an area staple ever since. Their outdoor seating includes picnic benches that pair perfectly with their Carolina-style barbecue - which uses a vinegar-based sauce, that is tangier than traditional BBQ. Try the Carolina-style pulled pork sandwich to start. Although it comes on the side, we suggest adding the coleslaw directly on to the sandwich – trust us on this one.
Nestled within the ViBe Creative District and housed in a 1920s-era building on the Virginia Beach Historical Registry, Esoteric is serving up European-influenced fare using local ingredients, many of them sourced from its on-site garden, which it shares with Commune. The outdoor seating is draped in string lights and overlooks the garden. How’s that for knowing where your food came from?
This James Beard-recognized, AAA Four-Diamond restaurant, is serving contemporary American Cuisine with a creative use of locally sourced, seasonal farm-fresh ingredients. The restaurant, which has been credited for launching the farm-to-table movement in Virginia Beach, offers a warm, elegant dining room with an open view into the kitchen, as well as a large, covered patio perfect for high-end dining outside, rain or shine.
Located right off of the boardwalk, the outdoor seating here comes with a side of ocean views. Wash it down with a local beer from their large selection and one of their can’t-miss burgers. Try the Lager Heads Pale Ale, brewed especially for them by the local brewmasters at Smartmouth Brewing.
Located at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, Catch 31 is a prime location for outdoor eating. With views of Neptune Park, in addition to the unbeatable view of the Atlantic Ocean, this is one our favorite place to enjoy live music at Neptune Park, including national bands like The Wailers, Canaan Smith, and Vertical Horizon. Sit at the open-air fire pit and enjoy a farm-to-table menu highlighting the best of Coastal Virginia cuisine.
For laid-back, Hawaiian vibes that will have your taste buds singing, stop in or ride your beach cruiser through the pick-up window of Aloha Snacks at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. This place fast casual dining spot offers an unbeatable local vibe with a Hawaiian-inspired menu that you have to try. Their patio is a great place to enjoy a local beer, some of our favorite local burgers or poke, and regular live music.
The outdoor patio at The Green Cat Cafe is adorned with a vine-covered pergola and surrounded by a garden variety of potted flowers and plants for a charming place for your morning made-to-order juice like Gingerella, with ginger, pineapple, and wheatgrass, or Moon Mylk, with cashews, dates, alkaline water, cinnamon, vanilla, and Himalayan salt.
Chix is one of the Oceanfront’s most popular spots, and the ocean views and ample outdoor dining are a big reason why. With the classic Orange Crushes for which Waterman’s is known, and a menu of local classics like the Surf N’ Turf Shrimp Tacos or the Atlantic Feast of jumbo shrimp, a jumbo lump crab cake and fried fresh fish, is the perfect pairing of the old and the new.
Nestled within the Rudee Inlet, Rudee’s is instantly recognizable by their open-air Cabana Bar and outdoor dining, a haven of outdoor seating known for the unique gliding tables overlooking the inlet and marinas. The Cabana Bar is a full-service outdoor bar that serves local brews and signature cocktails around fire-pit tables, meaning on nice nights you may want to get there early because they fill up fast.
Located at the far end of the Rudee Inlet, Rockafeller’s offers some unbeatable views of the marina. This family-owned Va Beach staple works with local fishermen, oystermen, and farmers for food that is unmatched in freshness and in flavor.
Mermaid Winery is the first urban winery in the state of Virginia, with their grapes sourced from premier vineyards in Virginia and California. They also have over 800 wines from around the world that you can taste, too. Mermaid’s huge covered patio, with fire pits, couches and cafe tables, pairs perfectly with an easy-drinking glass of vino or a dessert sampler on a nice afternoon.
While the delicious, locally-sourced options should be enough to bring you in to try this long-time Shore Drive staple, the eclectic decorations and art-adorned pergola at Leaping Lizard is some of the best patio-dining in town.
Big Sam’s is one of our favorite seafood shacks in town. Small and unassuming, this place serves up fresh, local seafood, like Big Sam’s Hot Blue Crab Dip (blue crab is a Va Beach delicacy) and Fresh East Coast Oysters served raw or steamed. If you’ve never tried oysters before, go for raw to really get the full palette of flavor that comes only from our waters.
Located in the Chesapeake Bay District, this waterfront spot serves up fresh seafood that pairs perfectly with the inlet views. With fresh-caught fish delivered daily, and unbeatable crab cakes made with fresh, local, blue crab, Bubba’s is one of our favorite spots in town.
Operating out of a charming 1919 cottage in Pungo, The Bee & the Biscuit is one of our favorite places to go for a hearty southern breakfast. It’s no wonder their house-baked items, local flaky, buttery biscuits and Fresh Pie of the Day are an absolute must. Their new garden patio, with both covered and uncovered seating, overlooks their lawn and really adds to their home-cooked vibe.
Town Center’s dining scene offers ample opportunities to get some fresh air while enjoying your meal and a glass of wine. From high-end mexican cuisine, pizza, craft cocktails, and an endless selection of wine, Town Center has it all.