Italians call it dining “al fresco” — out in the open, under sunlight or starlight, in the fresh air.

In Central New York, it’s something we have to wait for. But when that warmer weather finally hits, you can count on folks grabbing every available outside seat.
Here’s a look at some of the outdoor dining opportunities around Central New York — and you’ll notice being near the water helps, but isn’t essential:

1) Borio’s Restaurant, 8891 McDonnells Parkway, Cicero: An outstanding view of Oneida Lake rewards those who sit outside — but if you have to, the views are pretty good  through the dining room windows, too. Seafood, prime rib, etc., plus live bands on the patio.

2) The Cascade Grill, 2846 Route 38, Moravia. Billed as Owasco Lake’s only waterfront restaurant, the Cascade has three decks open during the season, overlooking the lake’s southwest corner. There’s also dock space for boats. Casual dining, with steaks, seafood and local produce.

3) 1820 House, 1715 E. Lake Road, Borodino. The deck offers a truly stunning view of Skaneateles Lake. Specials include Lobster Bisque, Veal & Lobster Picatta, and Scallops  Diablo.

4) The Retreat, 302 Vine St., Liverpool. When the weather turns warm, the outdoor patio with its own tiki-flavored back bar starts rocking. The lines are long, but the party is  happening. And the menu has a little of everything.

5) The Brewster Inn, 6 Ledyard Ave. (Route 20), Cazenovia. The outdoor patio leads to the lawn, which leads down to Cazenovia Lake. Enjoy the fine dining and the extensive wine list — one of Central New York’s best.

6) Byblos Restaurant, 233 N. Clinton St., Syracuse. A new Lebanese eatery near Clinton Square, with 24 seats outside during good weather. Or just take your food to go and head to  the square.

7) Rudy’s Lakeside, 78 County Route 89, Oswego. There are lakes and then there are lakes, and Rudy’s offers tables alongside Central New York’s greatest: Lake Ontario. Enjoy the fish fry and the special Texas Hot Sauce.

8) Alliance Bank Stadium: What says summer more than a hot dog at the old ballpark? Nothing.

9) Armory Square: From the porches at PJ’s Pub & Grill and Empire Brewing Co. overlooking Walton Street; to the street-level seating outside The Blue Tusk and Clark’s Ale House; to the charming brick-lined courtyard at Pastabilities, there are plenty of fresh air options in Syracuse’s hottest nightlife district.

10) Baldwinsville: A river runs through it (the Seneca River), and that provides the attraction for outdoor seating at the Edgewater Grill and the Lock 24 Restaurant. Then there’s Mohegan Manor, which has a large porch out back, overlooking a garden with a fountain. 

Food & Drink Editor Don Cazentre can be reached at 470-2297 or by e-mail at Find Food & Drink updates at