Nothing better than sharing a meal with friends while watching the sun set on Lake Erie.
Unfortunately, in Ohio, restaurants on the Great Lake are hard to find. Cleveland has only a few. (Thankfully Cleveland has plenty of waterfront dining in the Flats, on the Cuyahoga River.)
That’s why we created a list of restaurants where you can drink wine, savor the sunshine and gaze at the rollicking waves of Lake Erie.
Here’s a list of some of the best lakeside restaurants, organized from west to east. If we forgot your favorite, let us know on Facebook. Note: These are specifically lakefront restaurants, not riverfront.
The Boardwalk, Put-in-Bay: Live music, events and happy hours abound at the Boardwalk in Put-in-Bay. The complex — which includes the Upper Deck, Clawdaddy’s Bar, the BurGEE Bar and more — has great views of Gibraltar Island and boats in the harbor.
The Keys, Put-in-Bay: This spot has Florida flair, a fire pit and a great view of the Jet Express dock.
Dockside Sandusky: Grab a spot at a picnic table for happy hour, which occurs every time there’s a freighter in Sandusky Bay.
Hotel Lakeside Cafe, Lakeside: This 1873-built hotel has a relaxed dining room with gorgeous lake views and a special dinner menu is offered on Friday and Saturday evenings. Brunch is served on Sundays.
Jackalope Lakeside, Lorain: Since 1996, Jackalope Lakeside has been a destination at Spitzer Lakeside Marina in Lorain.
Pier W, Lakewood: The special event restaurant perches on a bluff overlooking the lake, and the city. Go for happy hour deals!
Nuevo Modern Mex, Cleveland: Skyline on one side, Lake Erie on the other. Enjoy a flight of guacamole and a margarita while watching the Goodtime III or the boats in the Rock & Dock. Private event space upstairs, too.
Whiskey Island Still & Eatery, Cleveland: Plunk down at a picnic table, grab a drink and watch the sun set over the Cleveland harbor.
Sunset Harbor Bar & Grille, Fairport Harbor: The only lakefront restaurant in Lake County offers indoor or outdoor dining and a full menu with a slant toward seafood. Plenty of special events on Lake Erie, as well.
Horizons Restaurant and Lounge, Geneva-on-the-Lake: Upscale American dining at the state Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake, with large windows and an outdoor patio, with views of Lake Erie.
Crosswinds Grille, Geneva-on-the-Lake: The upscale American restaurant is part of the Lakehouse Inn complex, which has its own private beach — and a bar on it — plus several patios.
GOTL Brewing Co., Geneva-on-the-Lake: The brewery has a patio overlooking Lake Erie offering the biggest beer selection on the strip.
Breakwall BBQ, Conneaut: Savor pulled pork and an incredible view at this low-key spot, open only in the summer season.