Rhode Island’s Best Restaurant Roofs and Decks

Thursday, June 27, 2013


As we sweat out an early summer heat wave, we are drawn to the water and its cooling breezes. We are fortunate to have a plethora of rooftop bars and decks to relax and recharge on while enjoying majestic views and tasty food and drink. We set out to find 5 cool spots for you to enjoy this summer and came back with these 5 (we know...tough job!) Also, keep an eye out next week for our list of the 25 Best Food Trucks in New England!

The Roof Deck, Vanderbilt Grace, Newport

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We've never had a tie before, but here we are. These first two on the list are interchangeable and they represent the best we have here in Rhode Island. Imagine sweeping views of Narragansett Bay. Imagine delicious cocktails. Imagine food overseen by a top chef. Imagine old-school opulence. You're getting there. This former mansion turned top-notch hotel is one of the most majestic spots in Newport. The restaurant, Muse, is the playground of Chef Jonathan Cartwright. He is one of the best working anywhere today and it shows at Muse. The hotel is a small, boutique hotel that has the feel of New York or Monaco. We're here for the roof deck though. The sweeping views of the bay and the bridge are unparalleled, especially around sunset. Every Wednesday night is movie night on the roof deck. For about the same price as a normal movie ticket you get truffled popcorn and the best "movie theater" you've ever experienced. On July 24th they're showing the Great Gatsby. Does it get any more Newport than that!? We'll be there! 41 Mary St. 846-6200, www.vanderbiltgrace.com

Top of Newport, the Hotel Viking Newport

The grand-daddy of Newport rooftop decks, the Top of Newport is Bellevue Avenue at its finest. This rooftop was originally part of the Presidential Suite at the hotel. When you rented the room, you had a small elevator that whisked you up to the roof and it was all yours. As you can imagine, this severely limited the number of us regular folks who got to experience it. Thankfully the folks at the Viking decided that this space should be enjoyed by the masses and the Top of Newport was born. The hotel sits on the highest point on the island, so when they say "top of Newport", they mean it. The executive chef at the hotel, Kevin Thiele, was just named the 2013 Chef of the Year by the March of Dimes. You can trust that he will take good care of you. They feature a wonderful Spirits and Stogies night on Wednesday, pairing Thiele's food with selected spirits and a terrific array of top-notch cigars. The menus are online and the cost is only $39 per person...which is a major bargain. Also check out the live entertainment with local bands providing a terrific soundtrack to a summer evening. 1 Bellevue Ave. 847-3300, www.hotelviking.com 

Deck at Matunuck Oyster Bar, East Matunuck

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One of Rhode Island's small business success stories, Matunuck Oyster Farm began in the early 2000's with a mission of bringing the delicious oysters of Potter's Pond to local diners. Fast forward a decade and you have Perry Raso standing guard over the oyster farm, a burgeoning restaurant and a farm any landlubber could love. A childhood love of shellfish from the pond pushed Raso to URI and an advanced degree in aquaculture. He then began farming some of the briniest little bivalves seen on these shores. Fans clamored for a restaurant and Matunuck Oyster Bar was born. This is where we find ourselves...sitting on the back deck and enjoying a selection of fresh shellfish while watching the sunset over Potter's Pond. You'll be hard pressed to find a better combo. The restaurant gets busy--as expected--so get there early! The restaurant also grows a lot of it's own vegetables and herbs along the pond at Matunuck Vegetable Farm. 629 Succotash Rd. 783-4202, www.rhodyoysters.com

Deck at the Boat House, Tiverton

It doesn't take a lot of work to figure this one out: Take the Newport Restaurant Group and Chef Jonathan Cambra and add in the Waterfront in Tiverton and you have bliss. The folks at Open Table named this one of the top 100 Scenic Views in the U.S. in 2012 and we wholeheartedly agree. Perfect ingredients in talented hands become delicious dishes at this range. The deck area features sweeping views of Mount Hope Bay and the shoreline beyond. It's an easy place to forget about life's lesser problems and enjoy elevated shore cuisine at its finest. We love the crab cakes here. The candied onions add a nice bit of sweetness against the flavor of the sea. They are also masters of the seared scallops, always providing that perfect crust. 227 Schooner Dr. 624-6300, www.boathousetiverton.com 

The Dune Cottage at the Ocean House, Watch Hill

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Much like everything at the Ocean House, things are pretty perfect at the Dune Cottage., an idyllic spot located on a heavenly stretch of beach here in Westerly. A teak deck and a shady pergola host comfy chairs and tabled while the waves crash a few feet away. It could be Malibu if it weren't for the decided lack of celebrity (save for a Taylor Swift or Ivanka Trump on occasion). Featuring a lighter fare menu that fits the setting, the food focuses on Mediterranean flavors and local ingredients. This combo works perfectly. Check out the grilled skewers featuring creative ingredients and local seafood. The drinks are refreshing and serve to keep you well-hydrated for beach activities...at least that's what the wife kept saying as she ordered another! 1 Bluff Ave. 315-0579, www.oceanhouseri.com


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