10 outdoor dining spots that offer picture-perfect views of Detroit River, Lake St. Clair

At the Waterfront Restaurant Wyandotte, you can board the Aloha Tiki Tour boat.
At the Waterfront Restaurant Wyandotte, you can board the Aloha Tiki Tour boat.

The umbrellas are up. Chairs and tables are arranged. Patios are open.

The COVID-19 pandemic has helped stretch dining al fresco into more months of the year, but as temperatures heat up, it's in full swing in metro Detroit.

With metro Detroit's vast shoreline, dining at restaurants on or accessible by water is a summertime favorite. You can't beat the swell views. Along the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair, you'll find some cool spots, old and new, from quick casual to fine dining.

At several, it's where you can enjoy the outdoors, watch boats go by and soak up the sun and warmth.

Rolling into our second pandemic summer, outdoor dining is more welcoming than ever.

So sit back. Sip some craft cocktails, margaritas, or cold beer. Order a burger, fish sandwich or lobster corn dog and enjoy the outdoors.

Here's a sampling of places to dine that dot the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair. Be sure to check ahead for days, hours and seating availability. Patio seating at many restaurants is on a first-come, first-served basis. Many of these on-the-waterfront restaurants can be reached by car or boat.

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Brownie's on the Lake

24214 Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores

About: With a view of Lake St. Clair, Brownie's on the Lake is owned by the Joe Vicari Restaurant Group, which is known for its Andiamo Italian restaurants. There's an outside tiki bar and a covered waterfront room. You also can opt for seating indoors or at the main bar. The patio was recently remodeled with seating for 100. Brownie's signature items include its street tacos, the Brownie Burger, pan-fried yellow-belly perch fillets served with Caribbean coconut rice and vegetables, and Lake Superior whitefish. A host of entrees include barbecue ribs, chicken, and Brownie's Mac & Cheese.

For info: 586-445-8080 or browniesonthelake.com.

Coriander Kitchen and Farm

14601 Riverside Blvd. Detroit

Coriander kitchen is reachable by car, boat or kayak.
Coriander kitchen is reachable by car, boat or kayak.

About: Visit this Detroit canal district restaurant by bike, boat, car or kayak. The restaurant is in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood at the former Tommy's and Fisherman's Marina on Riverside and near several Detroit parks. Menu inspiration comes from local produce and regional food sources. Led by chef Alison Heeres and farmer Gwen Meyer, the restaurant is as close as it gets to farm-to-table. Meyer operates the Coriander Farm on Scott Street on Detroit’s east side near Eastern Market. On the menu are snacks, flatbreads, salads, sandwiches and sides. There's warm halloumi with green garlic zhug (a Mediterranean hot sauce), a fish sandwich and a cheeseburger made with grass-fed beef. The one-third-pound burger is made with beef sourced from Marrow Butcher shop in Detroit's West Village.

For info: 313-822-4434 or corianderkitchenandfarm.com.

JP's Waterfront Food and Spirits

13400 Gibraltar Road, Gibraltar

JP's Waterfront Food and Spirits
JP's Waterfront Food and Spirits

About: Located on the grounds of and behind Humbug marina, JP's Waterfront sits on the shore of the Detroit River not far from the mouth of Lake Erie. Its outdoor bar patio has a lounge section where you can hang out while waiting for a table. On the patio, nearly 30 seats overlook the water. Garage doors open to the patio. Inside there are 85 seats, including the bar area. The menu is typical bar food and includes half-pound burgers, wings, pizza and nachos. A selection of fish includes cod, perch, walleye, salmon and shrimp. You can get fish battered, sautéed or blackened. Entrée specials change weekly. Bar happy hour specials are 11 a.m.- 4 p.n. Monday-Thursday. For boaters, 34 transient boating slips are available as well as five smaller boat slips for jet skis and kayaks.

For info: 734-672-6299.

The patio at JP's Waterfront Food & Spirits.
The patio at JP's Waterfront Food & Spirits.

Joe Muer Seafood

400 Renaissance, Detroit

On the river side of Detroit's RenCen, this upscale seafood spot has one terrific view of the Detroit River and Windsor. Joe Muer Seafood is part of the Joe Vicari Restaurant Group, which also operates Andiamo Riverfront with outdoor seating at the RenCen. There is seating for 42 on the patio, where you can sip on one of the more than a dozen specialty cocktails while enjoying the restaurant's signature appetizer: a lobster corn dog. Seafood — everything from whole lobster to Alaskan king crab legs — is the menu highlight. The raw bar has shrimp cocktail, a variety of East and West coast oysters and a raw bar plateau platter that includes raw oysters on the half shell, shrimp cocktail, king crab legs, split lobster tail, smoked fish and spicy blue crab salad. The menu is a mix of Muer traditions such as Dover sole and crab-stuffed Atlantic flounder and modern classics like salmon and filet mignon. There's also a happy hour and a lunch menu. A second Joe Muer Seafood is located in Bloomfield Hills.

For info: 313-567-6837 or joemuer.com.

MacRay Harbor

30675 North River Road, Harrison Township

MacRay's restaurants will open for the season starting Memorial Day weekend. The harbor's N42 poolside tiki bar on Lake St. Clair will be open Friday-Sunday. Hours vary depending on the weather. The tiki bar menu has signature cocktails such as the MacRay Margarita and St. Clair Sangria, plus a variety of salads and sandwiches. Inside is the Helm at MacRay Harbor, where the menu features appetizers, soups and salads. Main entrees feature beef, pork, lamb and chicken. A separate seafood menu includes favorites such as Michigan Lake Perch.

For info: 586-468-1900 or macray.com.

Mike's on the Water

24530 Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores

Mike's on the Water in St. Clair Shores has a rooftop deck and outdoor patio seating.
Mike's on the Water in St. Clair Shores has a rooftop deck and outdoor patio seating.

Located in Michigan Harbor Marina, this spot in St. Clair Shores is home of the lobster roll. Owned by Michael LeFevre, Mike's on the Water opened in 2011 along what's known as the Nautical Mile. Inside, there's seating for 150; outside, the deck seats 75. There's additional rooftop seating, which was added in 2017. In 2018, Mike's added a food truck on the roof with a smaller menu. Its menu features burgers, perch sandwiches, a grilled bologna sandwich, plenty of fish options, salads and appetizers. A highlight is the lobster roll, which has been on the menu since 2013. It's so popular the restaurant keeps track of how many are served each year. On Aug. 9, 2018, its 50,000th lobster roll was served. Mike's serves about 16,000-17,000 lobster rolls each year.

Mike's on the Water in St. Clair shores
Mike's on the Water in St. Clair shores

For info: 586-872-2630 or mikesonthewater.com.

Portofino on the River

3455 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte

A Wyandotte mainstay for more than 30 years, Portofino on the River is on the banks of the Detroit River's Trenton Channel. More than 100 seats are available on its outdoor patios. Inside, there is seating for more than 100 in the dining room (with water views) and in the bar area. A large atrium also faces the water and is used for weddings and other private events. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, and the menu has a variety of small plates, including Portofino's signature coconut shrimp with orange marmalade sauce with a hint of horseradish. There also are salads, sandwiches and burgers. Entrees include seafood, pasta, chicken and steak options. The perch is a favorite as is the Cobb salad. At the bar, Portofino serves craft cocktails, including several made with its own flavor-infused vodkas. The restaurant's 100-foot luxury yacht is used for special events such as Friday night cruises as well as private outings.

For info: 734-281-6700 or portofinoontheriver.com.

Smuggler's Run on the River & Tiki Bar

1 St John, Wyandotte

Smuggler's Run and Tiki Bar in Wyandotte is known for its tiki bar.
Smuggler's Run and Tiki Bar in Wyandotte is known for its tiki bar.

About: Owner Kevin Travers calls Smuggler's Run tiki bar the "crown jewel" of the place. He believes it's the largest tiki bar in Michigan. Smuggler's Run, off Biddle in Wyandotte, sits on the Detroit River with views of downtown Detroit. You can arrive by boat or car. Space here is vast. The 20,000-square-foot patio area, which includes the tiki bar, has hosted weddings, graduations and private events. There's an adjacent 20,000-square-foot indoor restaurant. The menu is fast-casual and includes classic bar food, seafood and burgers. The tiki bar features Island-themed craft cocktails. There's also a banquet room and year-round catering. Hours are Thursday 3 p.m.-12 a.m. and Friday-Saturday 3 p.m.-2 a.m.

Smuggler's Run and Tiki Bar in Wyandotte
Smuggler's Run and Tiki Bar in Wyandotte

For info: 734-530-1788 or smugglerswyandotte.com.

Watermark Bar and Grille

24420 Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores

About: Watermark opened six years ago and is located in Safe Harbor Jefferson Beach Marina. The outside deck, which includes a tiki bar, has seating for 125. The menu here features some Greek fare, including saganaki along with filo-wrapped feta, calamari and grilled octopus. Salads include Greek and village salads, and the Big Fat Greek Burger is topped with kasseri cheese and tzatziki. Also available: other sandwiches and burgers, pasta and pizza. Watermark's surf-and-turf options range from salmon to sautéed perch to lamb chops and a tomahawk pork chop.

For info: 586-777-3677 or watermarkbarandgrille.com.

The Waterfront Restaurant and Lounge

507 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte

The Waterfront Restaurant Wyandotte has dockside seating.
The Waterfront Restaurant Wyandotte has dockside seating.

Located at the north end of Wyandotte, this waterfront restaurant on the Detroit River opened in spring 2016. You can arrive by boat, as several docks are available. Outdoors, there's a lower patio bar and seating with about 25 tables. There's also a rooftop bar with lounge seating. Indoors, there's seating for nearly 200, and one side of the bar area features garage doors that open. On the menu, you'll find a variety of starters, main dish salads, sandwiches and wraps, pasta and chicken entrees. There are more than a half dozen seafood options. The Waterfront's two steak offerings, a filet mignon and a New York strip, are served with a signature zip sauce. Most weeks, there's live entertainment that ranges from jazz to classic rock on Wednesdays through Sundays. You can also hop on one of the Aloha Tiki Tour boats for a river cruise.

For info: 734-286-9046 or thewaterfrontwyandotte.com.

The Waterfront Restaurant Wyandotte has patio seating dockside.
The Waterfront Restaurant Wyandotte has patio seating dockside.

Contact Detroit Free Press food writer Sue Selasky and send food and restaurant news to: 313-222-6872 or sselasky@freepress.com. Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: 10 metro Detroit outdoor dining spots that offer picture-perfect views