My dog Rex is usually the one who decides which restaurant we go to. Really though - we could be on the way to get pizza, but Rex pulls us all the way across the street and takes us to the Taco Shack, because he knows he’s going to get the scraps he wants there. It blows my mind every time.
Rex is a part of the family, so we really rely on the restaurants that have outdoor seating and are OK with dogs at the table. And in this crazy year full of masks and safety precautions, we’ve come to appreciate outdoor dining even more. That’s one of the things we love about New Smyrna Beach – outdoor seating is comfortable all year round.
Here’s a bunch of our favorite outdoor dining spots.
Since I already mentioned the tacos, I’ll start there. The Taco Shack is our go-to place to grab a bite. With window service and outdoor seating, it makes for the easiest option these days. Plus, their food never gets old. They’ve got a taco salad for when you want to be good, and a nacho burrito for when you’re feeling your bad side. Either way, I usually choose the mojo steak on both, because it’s my and Rex’s favorite.
JB’s Fish Camp is definitely a local favorite, I think because you just feel at home when you’re here. Rex loves sitting on the dock and watching all the birds, and we love trying to spot a manatee or dolphin. It’s also a fun place to take the family and catch your own dinner. That’s right – JB’s will set you up with all you need to catch a fish right off the dock. And once you do, you choose how you like it - blackened, fried, Cajun-fried or broiled. The kids always love that.
And of course I need to tell you about the best pizza spot. We’ve been loving Prima for their hand-tossed, oak oven-fired pizzas and cute Brooklyn vibes that help us still feel a little hip. But seriously, these pizzas are beautifully handcrafted and packed with flavors that keep us coming back. We usually order a vodka pie, some bubbly and extra meatballs for Rex.
If you’re going to eat outside, why not eat and drink in a treehouse? Norwood’s Eatery and Treehouse Bar is where we always take our friends that come to town, mainly because live music in a tree never disappoints. From tall stools that look like they were built for a log cabin, to railings made out of thick branches – this place delivers! They are also taking the pandemic very seriously, as we noticed all staff members wearing masks and there were new sanitation stations placed throughout the restaurant for staff and guests.
Our favorite restaurant, and probably everyone else’s, is The Garlic. We may be a little biased because my family is almost 100% Italian, and the smell of old school Italian fare makes us feel like we’re at home. But the outdoor seating is just the cutest. The bright string lights, soft lanterns, funky light fixtures and glowing pizza oven make this place hard to leave at the end of the night. We also just learned that they go through about 1,000 pounds of garlic every month, so they win in our book. We don’t take Rex here, but he sure loves all the leftovers we bring home.
There’s tons of other great outdoor dining options in the area too, so you won’t have any problems finding delicious, pandemic-safe meals. Just make sure to bring you mask, and tell the staff that Rex says hi.