Shore leave

By Sue Cornell
For Points East

There is something very special about bringing your boat alongside, or near, a seaside restaurant, stepping off onto the hard – windblown, suntanned, and a bit wobbly after hours on the water – and savoring the local fare while reliving the day. State by state, here’s a sampling of what coastal New England has to offer in the way of “dock and dine” establishments.

Crab Shell Restaurant: 46 Southfield Avenue, Stamford Landing, Stamford, 203-967-7229,, monitors VHF Ch. 9 on weekends/holidays. Crab Shell has 11 slips for customers, no reservations – first-come, first-served. Stamford’s only waterfront restaurant with dedicated boat slips. Live music, lobster rolls, frozen drinks, free water taxi in summer, won “Best Maine Lobster Bisque.”

The Restaurant at Captain’s Cove: 1 Bostwick Avenue, Bridgeport, 203-335-3710, Transient space available for boats 20 to 50 feet in length, no charge for coming in for the day, $2/foot for overnight. Captain’s Cove Seaport is a large complex encompassing a marina, restaurant and shops; restaurant specialties are “shoreside” seafood dishes such as fish and chips, lobster rolls and fried clams. Band concerts every Sunday.

Outriggers Restaurant, Brewer Stratford Marina, 555 Broad St., Stratford, 203-377-8815, Call for transient availability. Continental and fresh seafood dishes, fine dining, full bar, casual waterside atmosphere, seasonal outdoor bar, live music, nightly specials, happy hour, private party room overlooking the Housatonic River and Long Island Sound.
Dockside Seafood and Grill: Bruce & Johnson’s Marina, Block Island Road, Branford, 203-488-3007, Call for transient availability. Full-service, full bar, indoor/outdoor dining, live music, spectacular views of Branford Harbor.

Nellie Green’s: 50 Maple St., Branford, 203-483-8400,, Branford Landing Marina accommodates boats up to 50 feet, but call Nellie’s or the marina (203-483-6544) ahead. Quaint setting for restaurant and bar with outdoor seating and waterfront views. Features Spanish squid; raw bar with native clams, oysters, shrimp and scallops; along with Allen Brothers Prime Steaks. Signature dishes are lobster sliders and lobster-grilled cheese. Fish never see the freezer.

Guilford Mooring: 505 Whitfield St., Guilford, 203-458-2921, Plenty of dock space at Guilford Lobster Pound for tie-ups as long as you are dining at Guilford Mooring or the Lobster Pound, no charge. Low-tide depth seven to eight feet. Variety of signature items: Guilford Fish and Chips, steamers, New England crab cakes, chicken Milanese, and “the finest New England clam chowder you will ever taste.”

Guilford Lobster Pound: 505A Whitfield St., Guilford, 203-453-6122, Plenty of dock space for tie-ups; just call ahead. Come by boat, kayak, jet ski, or canoe. Located on Guilford Harbor, with large deck over the water. Hot lobster rolls, homemade clam chowder, stuffed clams, hot dogs and daily specials. BYOB.

Rocky’s Aqua: 34 Riverside Drive, Clinton, 860-664-3788, free docking at Cedar Island Marina Island for diners, but check in at gas dock first. Restaurant nestled in the Marina overlooking Clinton Harbor, Cedar Island, and Long Island Sound; three outside dining areas, American menu: Signature dishes include PEI mussels and Combo Arreganata-Scallops, shrimp and scrod.
Shanks: 131 Grove St., Clinton, 860-669-4224, Eight or more slips, depth is three feet at low tide; phone for boat parking. “Food Boat,” located at Harborside Marina, restaurant was created from a 1974 Bruno & Stillman 42-foot commercial lobsterboat. Fried/grilled seafood, with salads, burgers, and more.

Lobster Landing: 152 Commerce St., Clinton, 860-669-2005. One space for transients; call ahead for availability. Famous for hot-buttered lobster rolls. A 100-plus-year-old weathered shack. Salad, fries. BYO alcohol.

The Boom: Brewer Pilots Point Marina, 63 Pilots Point Drive., Westbrook, 860-399-2322, Call for transient availability. Lunch, dinner and cocktails; white-tablecloth, full-service dining, waterfront views, open air dining on wrap-around veranda overlooking marina docks.

The Back Porch: 142 Ferry Road, Old Saybrook, 860-510-0282, Boaters can pull up to the fuel dock at Between the Bridges Marina and receive two hours complimentary docking; charge if docked longer. Outdoor waterfront dining with New England American cuisine, weekly specials, happy hour six days a week, live entertainment Wednesdays through Sundays.

Liv’s Shack: Harbor One Marina, 26 Bridge St., Old Saybrook, 860-388-0246, call VHF Ch. 9 for transient availability. Up to 90 feet LOA; six-foot deep. Offshoot of Liv’s Oyster Bar in Old Saybrook, features some the more casual fare from the Oyster Bar; lobster roll perfected over the years is biggest seller (fresh lobster meat poached in butter and served on a grilled New England style hot dog roll), seating (outside only) on deck with marina views.

Fresh Salt: Saybrook Point Inn & Spa, 2 Bridge St., Old Saybrook, 860-388-1111,, monitors VHF Ch. 9 or call 860-395-3080. $1/foot for a three-hour period; 20 slips available, six-foot deep, but varies depending on slip; fresh and seasonal local ingredients of Connecticut; works closely with local farmers and artisans. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Recently named “The Best Sunday Brunch.”

Marley’s Café: Brewer Essex Island Marina, 11 Ferry St., Essex, 860-767-2489. Call for transient availability. Contemporary casual fare with Caribbean, Latin, and Asian accents; indoor/outdoor dining with views of the Connecticut River. Frequent reggae music provides a true island atmosphere. Dinner menus change bi-weekly; BYOB.

Abby’s Place Restaurant: Brewer Dauntless Shipyard, 37 Pratt St., Essex, 860-767-0560. Call for transient availability. Breakfast and lunch, year-round; dinner from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. Summer Happy Hour; acoustic music Friday and Saturday nights.

Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough: 117 Pearl St., Groton, 860-536-7719, Dock can hold up to eight boats; can hold boats that draw 13 feet at low tide. Restaurant borders the channel in Long Island Sound at the mouth of the Mystic River. Legendary seaside restaurant specializing in steamed lobster, clams and their famous hot lobster roll.

Costello’s Clam Shack: Noank Shipyard Groton, 145 Pearl St., 860-572-2779, Free docking at the Noank Shipyard while dining. Shipyard accommodates vessels up to 200 feet. Offers seaside dining, specializing in fried and steamed seafood; known for clam strips, whole bellies, as well as fried and grilled fish tacos.

Breakwater: 66 Water St., Stonington, 860-415-8123, Free transient dockage for boaters dining at the restaurant – both a nine-foot-depth fixed dock as well as a seasonal floating dock, first-come, first-served. Features seafood, specialty cocktails, stunning sunsets and views of Stonington Harbor and Fishers Island Sound.

Dog Watch Café: 94 Water St., Stonington, 860-415-4510, Free transient dockage at Breakwater, half-mile walk or anchor at Dodson’s with RT pickup for $5 per person (monitors VHF Ch. 78A). Most famous for seared tuna; also features local seafood, including Watch Hill oysters and Bomster clams. Harborside eatery overlooking Dodson Boat Yard.

Aldo’s Boat to Boat: Great Salt Pond, Block Island,, monitors VHF Ch. 71 or 401-466-5871. Delivery boat; just listen for greeting: “Andiamo . . . andiamoooooo!” Morning run: coffee, fruit, muffins, donuts, breakfast sandwiches. Afternoons: fresh swordfish, oysters, shrimp cocktail, signature Italian Taco, stuffed clams, homemade breads, pies, éclairs: End of June through Labor Day.

Ballard’s: 42 Water St., New Shoreham, 401-466-2231, Transient dockage for any size boat, first-come, first-served, about $2/foot, 10 slips available. Monitors Channel 69 or call 401-465-3136. The ultimate Block Island summer party, with its own beach, live bands every day, tiki bars, lobster 13 ways, sushi bar, and famous organic banana mudslides.

Chelo’s Hometown Bar & Grill: Brewer Cowessett, Marina, 2225 Post Road, Warwick, 401-737-7299, Call for transient availability. American (New), American (Traditional), barbeque, burgers, Italian, and sandwiches.

County Cork Irish Pub: Brewer Greenwich Bay Marina, 50 Waterfront Drive, Warwick, 401-732-2675, Free dinghy docking while dining. Authentic Irish “pub grub,” set in the heart of Warwick Cove overlooking marina.

Coast Guard House: 40 Ocean Road, Narragansett, 401-789-0700, Six-tenths of a mile from State Pier No. 5 (aka Monahan’s Dock). Accommodates three boats, depth roughly six to eight feet, free. Waterfront restaurant showcases local seafood, several al fresco dining areas during the warmer months, and fire pits with panoramic views to snuggle up by.

George’s of Galilee: 250 Sand Hill Cove Road, Narragansett, 401-783-2306, Anchor in the Harbor of Refuge and dinghy in to George’s own beach. Proprietary oysters come from as close to the ocean as you can get (Gansett Point oysters); boat-to-plate fresh seafood (day boats go right to the backdoor), sustainable, award-winning stuffies, fun atmosphere.

Monahan’s Clam Shack by the Sea: 190 Ocean Road, Narragansett, 401-782-2524, Located at the top of a public state pier referred to unofficially as Monahan’s Dock, accommodates three boats, depth roughly six to eight feet, free. Classic New England clam shack serving traditional and newer items such as Grilled Ahi Tuna Tacos and Fish Reubens. Most popular are clam cakes, chowder and lobster rolls. Section with fire pits and yard games.

Evelyn’s Drive-In: 2335 Main Road, Tiverton, 401-624-3100, Dock space available; when approaching Nanaquaket Pond, motor slowly under bridge and Evelyn’s dock is inside on left. By sailboat, anchor outside the bridge, in the lee out of the southwest wind, and dinghy in. Pond is calm in all weather for a meal at anchor on the water. Classic seafood fare and new fusions, like the lobster chow mein.

Blount Clam Shack: 335 Water St., Warren, 401-245-3210, Four spots for transient boats at the shack; no fee for slips used while dining. Depth three to eight feet. Completely outside, seasonal, traditional clam shack located on the Warren River. Claims to fame: half-pound all-lobster meat, giant lobster roll; and clam cakes.

The Seafood Shanty: 31 Dock St., Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, 508-627-8622, Four slips for vessels 30 feet and under in Edgartown Harbor, first-come, first-served at $20/hr.; contact Harbormaster on VHF Ch. 74 for availability. Located on Edgartown Harbor with rooftop deck providing views of the harbor and Chappaquiddick; known for having the biggest and best lobster roll on the Vineyard.

Surfside Smokehouse: Brewer Plymouth Marine, 14 Union St., Plymouth, 508-927-4111, Call for transient availability. A fresh take on BBQ and seafood, utilizing the best ingredients from land, air and sea.

Woods Seafood: 15 Town Wharf, Plymouth, 508-746-0261, Transient dockage available in Plymouth as well as two docks at the restaurant; temporary moorings and shuttle. Classic New England clam shack serves fish and chips, lobsters rolls, seafood platters, fried clams, scallops, shrimp, bluefish and striped bass (seasonally). Full-service fish market; no charge to cook lobsters to take home.

Finz: 76 Wharf St., Salem, 978-744-8485, Transient dockage available by either VHF Ch. 9 or 978-744-2727; $3/foot for overnight, or hourly ($1.50) for a two- to three-hour stay while dining. Restaurant surrounded with windows overlooking the harbor with outside dining, fresh raw bar with local oysters, clams, chilled lobster, colossal crab and jumbo shrimp; also land-based selections.

Sea Level Oyster Bar: 94 Wharf St., Salem, 978-741-0555,, transient dockage available by either VHF Ch. 9 or 978-744-2727; $3/foot for overnight or hourly ($1.50) for two- to three-hour stay while dining. Casual rustic seafood and oyster bar perched on the north side of the wharf, next to the Salem Maritime & National Historic Site, with two floors overlooking Salem Harbor.

Victoria Station & Vic’s Boathouse: 86 Wharf St., Salem, Located at Pickering Wharf Marina, a public dock. Call the marina-reservation line (508-202-8958) to reserve a spot prior to arrival; $3/foot up to 55 feet; eight feet at dockside. A staple on the North Shore for over 38 years, with panoramic waterfront views of the Salem harbor docks. Best-known for slow-roasted Angus prime rib. Menu also includes classic American comfort cuisine, fresh seafood, and unlimited salad bar.

Roy Moore Lobster Co.: 39 Bearskin Neck, Rockport, 978-546-6696. Lots of dockage in Rockport Harbor for transients; no charge for day (minimal charge for night). Contact Harbormaster at 978-546-9589. No-frills eatery on the water, cooked-and-cracked local lobsters, clam chowder, raw oysters, shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon, stuffed clams and fishcakes. Open daily 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

BG’s Boathouse Restaurant & Marina: 191 Wentworth Road, Portsmouth, 603-431-1074, Forty-foot docking slip for guests arriving by boat; first-come, first-served. Three-foot depth at low tide. Call for availability when close. Also places for kayakers to land. Waterfront dining room, pub, and two outdoor decks. Specialties: boiled-lobster dinner, lobster roll, fried clams, steamers, and fresh grilled or blackened fish.

Stripers Waterside Restaurant: 133 Ocean Avenue, Kennebunkport, 207-967-3118, Contact Chick’s Marina (207-967-2782) for transient dockage, $1/foot per hour up to 160 feet; six-foot, seven-inch depth at dead low. Located within Breakwater Inn & Spa in an 1800s building, spectacular view of river, known for sunsets and Adirondack chairs; serves outside on lawn, all food on menu is local.

The Snow Squall: 18 Ocean St., South Portland, 207-799-0811, Public docking available directly under the Casco Bay Bridge; wide open, no need to call. Local, friendly, simple, casual, two full bars, many beers and cocktails; everything is homemade, nothing frozen.

Diamond’s Edge Marina and Restaurant: Diamond Cove, Portland, 207-766-5850, Can accommodate boats up to 40 feet, monitors VHF Ch. 9. Restaurant overlooks one of the most painted coves in the country by artists at the turn of the last century. Options range from classics – like steamed whole lobster, Maine crab cakes, and Bangs Island mussels – to the unexpected, like ginger-rubbed tuna and vegetable strudel.

Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster Company: 36 Main St, South Freeport, 207-865-3535, Free 30-minute tie-up at town wharf while eating, or order to bring to boat. Also Brewer South Freeport and Strouts Point options for docking; live or cooked lobster, lobster rolls, seafood baskets, ice cream, whoopee pies. Everything is fresh every day.

Cook’s Lobster & Ale House: 68 Garrison Cove Road, Bailey Island, 207-833-2818, Allotted dock spaces at adjacent fishing wharf two-minute walk away, first-come, first-served (but never a problem). Accommodates large boats; live entertainment in summer (see website for concert schedule); lobster in every form imaginable, raw bar, variety of non-seafood items.

Dolphin Marina and Restaurant: 515 Basin Point Road, Harpswell, 207-833-6000, Visiting boaters can choose from over 500 feet of face dock, 40 inside slips, and 75 moorings; docks and moorings brand-new. Complimentary launch service; no charge for dockage or moorings. Specializes in Maine coastal fare, including lobster dinners, other local seafood and hand-cut steaks, but also known for fish chowder, lobster stew, blueberry muffins, and homemade desserts. Terrific views of Casco Bay and its islands,

The Dip Net Restaurant: 4 Cold Storage Road, Port Clyde, 207-372-1112, or visit The Dip Net Restaurant on Facebook. Accessible from the Port Clyde General Public Dock (limited parking on the dock in the peak summer months); rental of moorings in the harbor. FMI: Port Clyde General Store, 207-372-6543 Ext. 1. Wharfside, full-service outdoor restaurant, with a large menu ranging from steamed lobsters to fried haddock and homemade fries. Specialties? Hot toasted lobster rolls, steamed lobster, and unusual seafood entrées. Named “Best View on the St. George Peninsula.”

Tugboat Inn: 80 Commercial St., Boothbay Harbor, 207-633-4434,, monitors VHF Ch. 9. Approximately 10 transient slips and 12 transient moorings; dockside depth ranges from 10 to 15 feet, space permitting. Dockage for folks coming to the restaurant, and no charge for a short-term tie up while using the facility. Waterfront restaurant built from the side of an old tugboat; spectacular water views. Features Maine seafood as well as a wide variety of regional favorites.

Waterfront Restaurant: 48 Bayview St., Camden, 207-236-3747, Town Landing provides free docking for transients, first-come, first-served. Contact Harbormaster on VHF Ch. 16. Restaurant open year-round; buys from area fishermen and farmers. Traditional seafood dishes, homemade pastries and bread.

The Ocean’s Edge: 159 Searsport Ave., Belfast, 207-338-2646, Welcomes boaters on Penobscot Bay; connected to overnight accommodations at Belfast Maine Hotel. Casual fine dining; signature dish is fresh Maine lobster. Also features other seafoods, steaks and pasta, as well as the chef’s homemade desserts.

Buck’s Restaurant: 6 Cornfield Hill Road, Brooksville, 207-326-8688, easily accessible from both Bucks Harbor Yacht Club and Buck’s Harbor Marina. Fine dining restaurant with a relaxed casual atmosphere, menu shifts almost nightly based on the availability of fresh seafood and locally sourced produce; all desserts are made from scratch, in-house.

The Brooklin Inn: 22 Reach Rd., Brooklin, 207-359-2777, Dinghy ashore from Eggemoggin Reach and call for pickup from innkeeper. Restaurant, B&B and Irish pub; all organic produce and organic Maine-raised beef, lamb and poultry. Simple fine food; nothing fried. “Modern interpretations of Maine food,” haddock, mussels, oysters, steamers, clams, and halibut.

Eastport Chowder House: 167 Water St., Eastport, 207-853-4700, Dockage and seven moorings for customers. Can accommodate up to 48 feet LOA on docks and 60 feet on moorings. Lobster, steaks, prime rib, baked-stuffed haddock, swordfish, captains platters, fried this and that. “The end of the world” dining on pier and deck; can view whales while dining.

A resident of Killingworth, Conn., regular contributor Susan Cornell is an independently contracted writer, photographer, and marketing and public relations consultant. During the summer, she and her husband Bob “pretty much live at Brewers Pilots Point Marina” aboard their Nonsuch Halcyon.