Life » Culture

Waterfront dining spots that hit the spot — whatever your mood


Castaway's on the Lake in Webster has been a summer mainstay since 1906. - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • Castaway's on the Lake in Webster has been a summer mainstay since 1906.
There are few pleasures sweeter than sharing a meal-with-a-view with family and friends, and some of the best views are available at waterfront restaurants. I love the meditative calm that washes over everyone when they’re around a body of water, and the instant feeling of privileged elegance that lakes and rivers lend to the dining experience.

Now, I’m not overly chi-chi about my waterside dining — one of my favorite lakeside eateries is Don’s Original on Culver Road in Seabreeze, “Where Quality Predominates.” I like to grab a ground round with mustard and extra pickles, and spend a sunset hour sharing my fries with the bickering gulls.

These four seasonal waterside eateries in and around Rochester strike a balance between special occasion and just-rolled-off-the beach.

Hedges Nine Mile Point Restaurant
Located at 1290 Lake Road in Webster, Hedge’s is open for its 94th season through mid-December, when it closes for three months. It offers classic surf n’ turf fare, with indoor and patio seating options, as well as a gazebo and lawn chairs to relax in with a cold beverage.

The menu boasts an extensive wine list featuring selections from the Finger Lakes, California, and around the world. Among the notable small plates is the sweet and spicy apricot and Sriracha duck legs (3 for $9, 6 for $16), the turf menu features burgers, steaks, and some pork and chicken entrees, and the surf options include a tempting wasabi and panko-encrusted Faroe Island salmon served with bok choy and red cabbage and topped with an Asian plum sauce ($38). Don’t forget to peruse the dessert specialties and cap the night with an item from the spiked espresso bar menu.

Castaways on the Lake
Open since 1906, Castaways is located on the sandbar that separates Irondequoit Bay from Lake Ontario at 244 Lake Road in Webster. Through the summer, it offers lunches and dinners of steak, cajun rubbed blackened prime rib, and all manner of seafood, pasta, and signature cocktails paired with unparalleled sunsets best viewed from the restaurant’s lakeside patio decks, which are heated on chilly nights. Free boat docking is available on the bay side.

Among the specialties are the chicken and shrimp jambalaya served with cajun sausage, peppers, and onions over rice ($19), honey Buffalo shrimp ($15), and coconut crusted grouper with mango-pineapple salsa ($32).

Pelican's Nest Waterfront Restaurant
Try riverside dining at Pelican’s Nest, located at 566 River St. next to the historic Charlotte Genesee Lighthouse. Positioned near where the Genesee empties into Lake Ontario, you actually get the best of both waterways. The restaurant is open through October, features casual American fare and live music, and has a patio that is quite literally on the edge of the river, with boat docking available right at the restaurant.

Standard starter snacks like wings, tacos, and nachos are offered alongside crab cakes and shrimp cocktails. You can order a variety of burgers, wraps, and salads, or opt for the Pelican Plate (it’s Rocheser, you know the drill; $15.99). Entrees include chicken french (again, it’s Rochester; $21.99) and a fish fry ($16.99). Check out the extensive signature cocktail list, too — there’s something for every mood.

Schooner's Riverside Pub
Located across the river from Pelican’s Nest is another dock n’ dine spot offering American fare and entertainment in a casual environment. Open for the summer, Schooner’s Riverside Pub is at 40 Marina Drive and features an open-air gazebo and large deck.

The starter menu is filled with hit-the-spot fried favorites including beer cheese fries, wings, and tacos (beef, chicken, shrimp, or fish; 3 for $12). Mains include a variety of wraps, seafood specialties like the jumbo coconut shrimp with sweet Thai chili sauce ($13), and grill mainstays. Careful with the signature cocktails, which come in a reasonable 16 ounces or the wear-your-life-jacket-to-the-table 32 ounces.

Rebecca Rafferty is CITY's life editor. She can be reached at [email protected].