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Jun 13, 2012 07:00 PM

Looking for outdoor lunch spot in CT RIver Valley

Going to be around Old Saybrook/Essex/Deep River tomorrow and would like a nice spot for an outdoor lunch, waterfront preferred. On the short list so far I've got Fresh Salt at the Saybrook Pt Inn, The Blue Oar and The Back Porch. Any thoughts? Thanks!

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  1. Fresh Salt is a lovely spot, but a better place just for drinks, in my opinion.
    The Blue Oar has good food, a little pricey for what you get. Be ready for picnic tables, etc. The last I remember you order at the window and they bring your food to the table, no alcohol, BYOB. It may have changed since last year.
    I have not been to the Back Porch.

    Looks like a beautiful day for an al fresco lunch, enjoy!

    2 Replies
    1. re: dennisl

      We think the Blue Oar is a wonderful experience - no pretension; good, but by no means fancy, food; BYOB; not the most comfortable seating (a ploy to turn the tables over me thinks); the river in front of The Oar and adjacent marina is a no wake zone, so there's not much boat motor noise. Not too pricey in our opinions. It's not much to look at, but you're going to be looking the river anyway.

      1. re: dennisl

        Thanks to all for your replies ....our itinerary turned out slightly different than we intended ....we hit 2 wineries (Paradise Hills and Gouveia - very happy w/both), lunch at The Griswold Inn as we did a bit of shopping in Essex. Cute outdoor patio on the side, had a nice quiche & salad.

        Then we wanted to be closer to home so we stopped in Mystic. Disappointing visit to L'Attitude 41 at Mystic Seaport. We didn't need another full meal so I got a bowl of NE chowder....tasty, nothing special, lukewarm (which is fine w/me, it's how I like my food, but it's not right) friend ordered the "crushed olive oil potatoes" and they were hard, no excuse for that. She then ordered a dessert instead ......some sort of chocolate mousse w/a shell coating on a cakey bed ....flavorless and she sent that back too (I took a bite as a second opinion and she was right). On the plus side the service was very good AND they took both items off the check (I thought they might take one off but not both).

        I'm going to save this thread for your replies as I like this area and intend to be back again this summer.

      2. I don't think much of the food at Back Porch. Seems like more of a drinking/partying place.

        Bill's Seafood in Westbrook isn't far down rt 1 from Old Saybrook and has seating outside overlooking a beautiful marsh.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ptmacp

          Sorry but Bill's may have some "ambience"- tons of umbrella covered tables on a deck overlooking a marsh (better hope it's not low tide) but the food is atrocious. The last time I ate there the crab cake I ordered had been deep fried in old oil and made me ill.
          There are a couple places I would recommend way above Bill's: Johnny Ad's in Old Saybrook, Dad's in Niantic, either Lenny & Joe's locations.

          1. re: bookwrm81

            Oh my. Johnny ads is repulsive. It may have been good when you went in the 1950s but now it is worse than Lenny and Joes. And I can't imagine less "ambiance" than its tired walk up windows and rude staff. Filthy too.

        2. How about Marley's at Essex Island Marina? It's an awesome location, fun taking the ferry over, and has both outside and inside dining. They are BYOB as well.