There is absolutely nothing better than Connecticut in the summer with its clear blue skies, hot beaches, clams, lobsters, swimming, boating, and outdoor dining.

Everyone knows there are an abundance of expensive restaurants on the water's edge in southern Fairfield County. Lovely as they might be, I'm not driving an hour to pay for a view of Long Island Sound when there are some excellent outdoor dining spots right here in the greater Danbury area. Here are some outstanding restaurants where you can enjoy alfresco dining in the greater Danbury area.

1. DOWN THE HATCH - This is my favorite outdoor restaurant of all time! Situated right on Candlewood Lake in Brookfield, we cruise on over on our pontoon at least once a week to enjoy dinner during the summer months. This legendary Candlewood Lake eatery not only offers a gorgeous view of the lake, but their burgers and dinner salads are to die for. The Hatch is open from the end of April until the end of October.

Down the Hatch - Ethan Carey Photo

2. ECCO EATERY AND BAR AT LA ZINGARA - Ecco is the upstairs outdoor eatery at La Zingara in Bethel located at 8 PT Barnum Square in Bethel. Even though it's enclosed in greenhouse type glass, it has the feel of being outdoors on the deck. The restaurant features gourmet, farm-to-table Italian fare, along with their signature craft cocktails, and a nice selection of craft beers.

La Zingara Restaurant in Bethel, CT - YouTube Screen Shot

3. BERNARD'S RESTAURANT AND SARAH'S WINE BAR - This critically acclaimed restaurant is located in Ridgefield, and has been rated one of the finest French restaurants in Connecticut Magazine. Both Bernard's and Sarah's Wine Bar offer outdoor dining.

Bernard's Restaurant Ridgefield - YouTube Screen Shot

If you've dined at a great restaurant that offers outdoor dining, please let us know about it by commenting on this blog. Thanks!

Listen to Ethan Carey on the Ethan & Lou Show weekdays from 5:30-10AM on 95.1 FM. You can listen online at i95rock.com/listen-live/ or by downloading the radioPup app for your mobile device.