This comprehensive guide to the best outdoor dining in Chicago includes over 150 of the best patios and rooftops in the city.
When creating this list, we focused on atmosphere. This list includes restaurants that have beautiful dining spaces that feel like outdoor dining rooms, not restaurants that just have a couple tables on the sidewalk.
Last updated: May 2022
Chicago Streets Closed for Outdoor Dining
A few Chicago streets have been closed to traffic to make more room for outdoor dining. These streets include Fulton Market Street in the West Loop, Clark Street in River North, and Rush Street in the Gold Coast.
Best Outdoor Dining in Chicago:
This list of the best outdoor dining in Chicago is organized by neighborhood.
American, Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Bakery, Vegetarian/Vegan
A bakery and byob cafe that serves breakfast and lunch daily (they are not open for dinner). The menu balances sweet and savory and offers dishes like rustic peasant quiche, a Latina omeletta, a fried egg sandwich, Japanese style soufflé hot cakes, lemon-raspberry French toast, and crepes. Starting at 11 am, sandwiches, bowls, and salads are available. Separate vegetarian/vegan and gluten-free menus are available.
Fireside Restaurant & Lounge
American, Lunch, Kid friendly
Covered Back Patio, Sidewalk Patio
This casual American restaurant opened in 1904! The menu has a mix of pub fare and American classics like wings, burgers, sandwiches, smoked ribs, and pizza. The large heated all weather patio is a beautiful place for a meal.
Technically, Half Acre is in the small neighborhood of Bowmanville which borders Andersonville and Ravenswood. The space on Balmoral Ave is home to a taproom and beer garden that serves casual pub grub like cheese curds, nachos, bratwurst, and burgers. Brunch is available on weekends.
A rustic Italian restaurant with a covered patio that serves pasta like four cheese ravioli, rigatoni with sausage and caramelized onions, pappardelle with mushroom ragu, and orecchiette with spicy lamb sausage plus meat entrees including steak, wood grilled lamb, and pork shoulder.
Middle Eastern, Vegetarian
Large Back Patio with igloos in the winter
Fiya serves Israeli soul food influenced by Arab, Palestinian, Kurdish, and African cuisine. The dinner menu has hummus served with handmade pita, shakshuka, Georgian bread boats, Moroccan style trout, lamb kofta, and Iranian Mahi Ba Somagh. A large patio offers al fresco dining.
American, Southern, Lunch
Sidewalk Patio, Back Patio
One of the most well known restaurants in Andersonville, Big Jones serves traditional Southern cuisine for lunch and dinner. You can find all your soul food favorites on the menu: fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese, buttermilk biscuits, gumbo, red beans & rice, alligator tail and andouille sauce, fried shrimp po’ boys, shrimp and grits, and fried catfish.
Gastropub, American/Belgian, Lunch
A gastropub serving over 65 beers that is open for lunch and dinner 365 days a year. The menu is Belgian inspired and includes mussels cooked in beer, sausage, loaded pommes frites, and a pork chop served with spaetzle. Like most restaurants in Andersonville, Hopleaf has a patio.
Parson’s Chicken & Fish
Parson’s appears on this list several times – the restaurant has four locations and they all have large outdoor seating areas with twinkle lights and picnic tables with red and white umbrellas. Go here to grab a casual meal or to sit and relax with friends while drinking Negroni slushies in the sun.
Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Vegetarian/Vegan
“A travelers cafe”, Kopi Cafe is a casual bohemian cafe serving a large breakfast menu all day plus sandwiches. The focus is vegetarian, vegan, and seafood cuisine. Kopi Cafe is open from 10 am until 7 pm daily, with the exception of Monday nights when a live music series goes from 8 pm until 10 pm.
Honey Butter Fried Chicken
A casual counter service restaurant known for fried chicken. The menu includes fried chicken and fried chicken sandwiches with eight different dipping sauces plus sides like pimento mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and coleslaw. It lives up to the hype.
Ravinia Brewing Co
Mexican, Brewpub, Kid friendly
Beer Garden Patio
This restaurant and taproom serves Ravinia Brewing Co’s local craft beer and Mexican cuisine. The menu features over a dozen classic and creative tacos (some have Nashville hot chicken, or hot dogs while others have chicken tinga or barbacoa beef). Burritos, tortas, tostadas, and salads are available too.
Wherewithall serves a four course menu featuring seasonal American cuisine. The menu rotates weekly, changing on Tuesdays. A separate a la carte bar menu is available and features items like wings and steak frites.
The Bristol is a modern American restaurant with Italian influences serving rustic cuisine in a welcoming space. The restaurants offers both an a la carte menu and an eight-course tasting menu.
The Leavitt Street Inn & Tavern
A tavern serving craft cocktails, local beer, and pub food like burgers, fried chicken, and shareable snacks.
Patio, Sidewalk Patio, Heated Tents in Winter
You may recognize Lottie’s from the shows Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Med. This classic bar opened in 1934 and serves a large menu feature bar food staples like cheese curds, chicken wings, burgers, pizza, tacos, and sandwiches. During the colder months the patio becomes Camp Lotties, a set of seven private heated tents with televisions.
Burgers, Fast Casual
Small Cheval has two locations in Chicago and is a sister restaurant to the hugely popular Au Cheval. Au Cheval is so famous for their burger that they created Small Cheval, a fast casual restaurant serving burgers, fries, shakes, shots, and beers.
Patio, Sidewalk Patio
A red sauce Italian restaurant with a big menu that includes all the classics like fettuccine alfredo, lasagna, rigatoni with meatballs, homemade ravioli, veal marsala, chicken parmigiana, and eggplant parmigiana. Club Lucky has a tendency to be busy so make a reservation in advance.
Costa Rican, Lunch, Vegetarian
Iraq’s sunny patio is an ideal place for a meal on a summer evening. The menu includes empanadas, tacos, sandwiches, burritos, and the national dish of Costa Rica, Casado. The two most important things to know about Irazu are that it is BYOB and cash only.
Patio, covered and heated in winter
Ada Street serves a mix of classic and contemporary cocktails and a small food menu featuring bites, pasta, and larger entrees. The food has global influences with dishes like mussels in Thai curry broth, Parisian gnocchi, and grilled pork char siu on the menu.
The Robey’s Cabana Club
6th Floor Rooftop
The Cabana Club is open seasonally (opening May 20, 2022) and offers 180-degree views of Wicker Park and the Chicago skyline.
Chinese, Asian, Dim Sum, Lunch
A chic modern Chinese restaurant that has earning Michelin Bib Gourmand recognition. The restaurant offers an extensive menu with over a dozen different chicken, pork, beef, and seafood dishes. MingHin cuisine also has locations in Lakeshore East, South Loop, and Streeterville.
Dolo Restaurant and Bar
Named one of the best new restaurants in America by Esquire in 2015, Dolo offers customers both Chinese cuisine and a full bar (something most of the other restaurants in Chinatown lack). The restaurants serves live seafood and gourmet dim sum in an upscale space. The outdoor patio is opening for summer 2022.
American, Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch
Somerset is located in the Viceroy Hotel but it doesn’t feel like a hotel restaurant. The restaurant serves breakfast/brunch, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. In the summer, there is a large sidewalk patio. The menu has a balance of pastas, seafood, and meat inspired by country club culture. A four-course tasting menu is offered at dinner for $75.
Blue Door Kitchen & Garden
American, Southern, Romantic
Blue Door Kitchen has a charming rustic dining room and a large garden patio. While the space feels formal, the cuisine is casual. The dinner menu includes fried chicken, shrimp and grits, steak, and salmon en croute.
NoMI at the Park Hyatt
NoMI’s rooftop garden offers panoramic city views. In addition to having a 30-foot-long bar serving artisanal cocktails, French-influenced American cuisine from NoMI Kitchen and NoMI Lounge’s sushi are available.
An elegant restaurant serving traditional barbecue. The stars of the menu are the meats that are cooked low and slow, including the brisket, ribs, and pulled pork. In addition to barbecue, the menu has Southern classics like shrimp & grits, fried chicken, and macaroni and cheese.
Italian, Mediterranean, Romantic
Located in a former Gold Coast home, La Storia opened as an Italian restaurant and over time the menu has embraced more Mediterranean influences. The menu has a variety of pastas including gnocchi genoese, lasagna all bolognese, tagliolini Neri frutti di mare, and goat cheese agnolotti plus meat and seafood dishes like swordfish in trapanese sauce and a rack of lamb. The courtyard patio with twinkle lights is one of most romantic places to dine in Chicago.
American, Gastropub, Lunch
A sister restaurant to Gibsons and Hugo’s, Luxbar is a bar with formal appearance, a casual atmosphere, and a large sidewalk patio. The restaurant serves elevated bar food including a selection Gibsons steaks, burgers, and pan pizza. We recommend the Lux Royale Burger and a side of truffle fries.
Tavern on Rush
American, Steakhouse, Lunch
A restaurant in the heart of the Gold Coast with a large sidewalk patio that provides the perfect viewpoint for people watching. The menu features steakhouse classics including ten different steaks and fifteen different side dishes. There are also several seafood options. Tavern on Rush serves weekday lunch, weekend brunch, and dinner every night.
Italian, Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch
A seafood focused Italian restaurant with homemade pastas and whole roasted fish. Nico Osteria serves breakfast/brunch, lunch, and dinner seven days a week.
One of Chicago’s most iconic steakhouses, Gibsons is the place to go for the classic steakhouse experience. The steaks are the centerpiece of the menu but there are plenty of seafood options as well. Save room for dessert, Gibsons serves giant slices of their indulgent (but worth very calorie) cakes and pies. Gibsons serves both lunch and dinner daily.
Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House
Located next door to sister restaurant Gibsons, Hugo’s focuses on seafood and has a slightly more laid back atmosphere. In addition to shellfish and fresh fish, the menu includes a selection of Gibsons steaks.
Vietnamese, Romantic, Lunch
Le Colonial is an upscale Vietnamese restaurant with French influences that serves lunch and dinner. The menu has an even mix of meat and seafood dishes. The restaurants signature dish is Ca Chien Saigon, crispy whole red snapped with a spicy garlic glaze. Meat dishes include chargrilled Berkshire pork ribs, roasted duck, and caramelized filet mignon.
Plein Air Cafe
French, Breakfast, Lunch
Located right next to the Chicago landmark Robey House, the Plein Air Cafe is a French-inspired cafe serving pastries and breakfast daily until noon, plus salads, sandwiches, baguettes, and bowls after 11 am. Plein Air Cafe closes at 8 pm on weekdays and at 6 pm on weekends.
Medici on 57th
American, Pizza, Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch
Medici has been in Hyde Park for 60 years. The bakery sells breads, pastries, cookies, and pies while the restaurant serves a mix of American standards like chili, roast beef on rye, Italian subs, burgers, Italian pasta dishes, and both thin curst and pan pizzas. Breakfast sandwiches are available on weekdays and a full brunch menu is served on weekends.
Located within the Sophy Hotel, Mesler Kitchen is an upscale but welcoming restaurant serving American fare ranging from a spicy fried chicken sandwich and lobster rolls to New York Steak and crab cakes.
A welcoming rustic Italian eatery serving fresh pastas, wood fired pizzas, and classic meat and seafood mains. Ceres’ Table is a Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient for 2021 and 2022.
Frasca Pizzeria + Wine Bar
Italian, Pizza, Kid-friendly
A low-key neighborhood Italian spot with great pizzas, pastas, Italian entrees and a lovely selection of meats and cheeses.
Italian, Kid friendly
A neighborhood trattoria serving cuisine from Rome, Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio. The menu has items like bucatini with mussels in a spicy tomato sauce, handmade cavatelli in a tomato and basil sauce topped with ricotta, and pollo Francese. A kid’s menu and a gluten-friendly menu are both available.
This location beside Wrigley Field is an offshoot of the hugely popular Wicker Park taco joint. Big Star is known for serving incredible tacos – the Panza (pork belly) is a stand out – and strong margaritas. The taco menu is small, while the whiskey and bourbon menu spans four pages.
The Smoke Daddy
American, Barbecue, Lunch, Kid-friendly
Smoke Daddy is one of Chicago’s best barbecue restaurants. It is known for the ribs and the burnt ends. If you feel like ordering something a little lighter, the Wrightwood salad is excellent.
Located on the second floor of the Hotel Zachary, Mordecai has views of Wrigley Field. The cuisine is new American and the menu includes entrees like burgers, roast chicken, salmon, and steak frites. Family-style pastas are served on Wednesdays.
Global, Mediterranean, Romantic
Large Sidewalk Patio
Ella Elli’s global and Mediterranean inspired menu is broken into sections containing charcuterie and toasts, vegetables, pizza and pasta, and seafoods and meats. When compared to the cuisine at the other 4 Star restaurants, Ella Elli takes a big step towards fine dining while still remaining approachable. Grilled octopus with rice, Catalan aioli, and cilantro and Australian Wagyu with roasted turnips, leeks, butterball potatoes, and romesco are two current menu items. During the warmer months, Ella Elli has a beautiful sidewalk patio decorated with flowers and twinkle lights.
Tuco and Blondie
This family-friendly Mexican spot serves lunch, dinner, and brunch and has a menu that focuses on tacos, fajitas, and enchiladas. If you have children, check out their Kid’s Patio Class schedule which includes music classes. (The classes are offered in colder months but at a different location).
Coda di Volpe
This rustic/chic restaurant serving a menu of Southern Italian pizzas and pastas is one of the best restaurants in Lakeview. Weekend brunch is served in addition to dinner.
Located beside music venue and bar Schubas, the Tied House serves New American cuisine in a bright casual space with a large patio. The menu has a mix of sharable small plates, sandwiches, and a few larger entrees and includes items like a fried chicken sandwich, a smash burger, and crab spaghetti alla chitarra.
Boystown / Northalsted:
Wilde Bar & Restaurant
American, Irish, Gastropub, Lunch, Kid-friendly
A cozy gastropub with fireplaces and shelves filled with books. The large menu includes soups, salads, sandwiches, and burgers, plus entrees like shepherds pie, fish and chips, chicken curry, and meatloaf.
The Kalamata Chicken at this casual family-owned Greek restaurant is Tina Fey’s favorite meal in Chicago. Somehow, the chicken is crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. It comes on top of thick crunchy fries that are drowned in a vinegary sauce. It’s magic on a plate. Spanakopita, salads, and gyros help to round out the menu.
American, Fine Dining, Romantic
Sitting on the edge of a pond in the heart of the park, this Michelin starred restaurant serves a $110 seasonal tasting menu with the option for a wine pairing. A brunch tasting menu is served on Sundays for $49 per person.
Galit serves a four-course tasting menu highlighting seasonal cuisine. The menu has familiar Middle Eastern dishes like hummus, falafel, tabouli, and shawarma plus unexpected items like foie gras blintzes and pastrami.
Fine Dining, American, Romantic
Boka is a Michelin starred restaurant offering both an eight-course seasonal tasting menu and an a la carte menu. The entrees on the a la carte menu include roasted chicken, slow roasted short rib, and a whole dry aged duck.
A casual pizza joint with a large back patio. The menu features classic bar food in addition to a variety of pizzas. The pizza menu has the classics like pepperoni and sausage, plus pizza with toppings like pulled pork and pineapple.
Parson’s Chicken & Fish
American, Lunch, Kid-friendly
Parson’s is a casual restaurant known for negroni slushies, fried chicken sandwiches, and fried fresh fish. It’s the type of place where you can grab a quick meal, or hang out and sip drinks with friends.
American, Lunch, Late-night
An infamous Chicago hot dog stand where things can get a little wild and your meal comes with a side of insults from the staff. Wiener Circle stays open until 2 am on weeknights and 4 am on weekends.
Mon Ami Gabi
French, Romantic, Kid-friendly
A traditional French restaurant located beside the park, Mon Ami Gabi has an a la carte menu in addition to a prix fixe menu that changes weekly. The menu has several steaks plus mussels, roast chicken, escargot, and beef bourguignon.
Italian, Pizza, Kid-friendly
Stella Barra shares an entrance with Summer House Santa Monica next door and serves pizza and pasta. The kid’s menu gives children a chance to choose their own pizza toppings. During the weekday happy hour, cocktails are $8 and individual pizzas are $7.95.
A neighborhood French bistro with a garden patio that serves sustainable farm-to-table cuisine. The menu is traditional French and includes escargots, terrine de foie gras, French onion soup, salads lyonnaise, cassoulet, and steak frites.
Gene’s Sausage Shop & Delicatessen
German, Polish, Lunch
Lincoln Square was originally settled by German immigrants and this rooftop beer and wine garden helps to the neighborhood to its history. The menu includes polish sausage, bratwurst, schnitzel, and pierogi. The restaurant is located above a market and deli.
American, Burgers, Lunch, Kid-friendly
Jerry’s specializes in sandwiches and has over three dozen on the menu, plus several burgers. The menu has it all: fried chicken sandwiches, blacked chicken sandwiches, corned beef sandwiches, skirt steak sandwiches, pork belly sandwiches, seafood sandwiches, and vegetarian sandwiches. The menu has soups, salads, and sides too.
American, Kid-friendly, Lunch
The Warbler serves lunch and dinner daily and the menu has flatbreads, sandwiches, pastas, and entrees like pork loin and butternut squash falafel. A family-style supper is available from 4:30 pm – 6 pm on weeknights for $27 a person and includes a selection of five dishes from the dinner menu including a salad, two appetizers, vegetable dishes or a pasta, and a flatbread. Kids under nine-years-old eat free.
A sister restaurant to The Warbler which is located next door, Gather serves modern American comfort food like pork belly, chicken liver mousse, uovo raviolo, braised pork shoulder, and a burger. Dinner is served nightly and brunch is available on Sundays.
Andros Taverna serves traditional and contemporary Greek cuisine in a rustic casual setting. Start your meal by dipping fresh warm pita in traditional spreads like taramasalata, spicy whipped feta, and tzatziki. The crispy kataifi cheese pie can’t be missed. Then move on to wood fired meats and seafood, gyros, or entrees like eggplant moussaka. Pair it with sides like lemon potatoes or Greek fries topped with feta.
A glamorous restaurant from the same owners as The Vig in Old Town that periodically hosts live music. The cuisine is casual American with burgers, fried chicken, and a fried fish sandwich included on the menu.
Parson’s Chicken & Fish
The first of Parson’s four locations in Chicago, the Logan Square restaurant is known for it’s huge outdoor seating area with picnic tables and a game area. Parson’s serves negroni slushies, fried chicken sandwiches, and fried fish. It’s the type of place where you can grab a quick meal, or hang out and sip drinks with friends.
The Boiler Room
Pizza, Vegetarian/ Vegan
Covered Patio, heated in winter
A thin-crust pizza joint serving both pizza by the slice and full pies. The menu includes classic and creative pizzas, the option to build your own, and a vegan pizza. Gluten-free pizza is available too. The Boiler Room is known by locals for its PB&J special which includes a slice of pizza, a PBR, and a shot to Jameson Whiskey for $12.50.
A craft brewery that serves modern Asian fusion cuisine like “rangoon royale” made with crab, lobster, and shrimp. The shaking beef with Vietnamese butter sauce should not be missed.
Park & Field
American, Gastropub, Kid-friendly
Park & Field is known for their 6,000 square foot patio which has fire pits and bocce courts. The indoor space has a vintage sports club theme. On weekends, the restaurant hosts a bottomless boozy brunch for $45 a person. The menu is casual American bar food like chili, pretzels with cheese, buffalo chicken nuggets, burgers, and sandwiches.
Mi Tocaya Antojeria
A James Beard nominated restaurant serving small plate regional Mexican dishes like fried oyster tacos, steak burritos, a DIY quesabirria, and morita glazed skate wing “ribs”. The food is beautifully composed, the flavors are bold, and the space is colorful and unpretentious.
90 Miles Cuban Cafe
Cuban, Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch
A family-owned BYOB Cuban restaurant with a large patio serving up empanadas, sandwiches, and traditional entrees like ropa vieja, bistec de palomilla, and lechon.
The Loop is home to the Riverwalk, an area beside the Chicago River with several restaurants that are open seasonally.
Located on the rooftop of the London House Hotel, this restaurant has some of the best views of the Chicago River and landmark architecture. A full menu is served and there are both indoor and outdoor spaces. The menu includes a mix of American tapas, appetizers, and entrees. This is a popular spot for cocktails after work.
This restaurant on the rooftop of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel has an open air terrace and some of the best views of Grant Park, Millennium Park, and Lake Michigan. This is an ideal place to watch the summer fireworks on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The menu features comfort food served family-style.
Avli on The Park
Located in Lakeshore East, this restaurant serves traditional Greek cuisine. The menu includes spreads like taramosalata, tzatziki, and hummus plus moussaka, chicken skewers, and seafood.
An elevated pub that is open for weekday lunch, weekend brunch, and dinner. The Gage serves bar fare like burgers, steaks, and fish and chips. The pub’s location between The Art Institute and Cloud Gate make it a perfect place for lunch during a day of sightseeing.
Located next door to sister restaurant to The Gage, Acanto is an Italian restaurant and wine bar serving handcrafted pastas, pizzas, and meat mains. Lunch is served on weekdays and dinner is served nightly.
Beatnik on the River
Global, Mediterranean, Lunch
Vibrantly decorated with Moroccan and Indonesian furnishings, Beatnik serves weekday lunch, weekend brunch, and nightly dinner. The year-round patio overlooking the river is one of Chicago’s most stunning outdoor dining spaces. The menu emphasizes bold flavors and includes octopus tika masala noodles, chicken bao, arepa, and a burger. This is one of the trendiest and most popular restaurants in the Loop.
These casual outdoor restaurants located along the Chicago Riverwalk are open seasonally during the Spring, Summer, and Fall.
City Winery at the Chicago Riverwalk has a full bar and food menu. For part of the winter, City Winery offers dining in heated igloos.
A bar serving Chicago street food and sharable plates like jumbo pretzels, tacos, hot dogs, and Italian Beef.
Beat Kitchen serves tacos, pizzas, and sandwiches.
Tiny Tapp & Cafe
The Cafe serves coffee and pastries while the Tapp serves beer, wine, cocktails, burgers, and sandwiches. In the summer, Tiny Tapp hosts a live music series.
The Northman Beer & Cider Garden
A riverfront beer garden with long communal tables serving craft beer and cider, snacks, and sausages.
Burgers, Fast Casual
A sister restaurant to Au Cheval that serves burgers, fries, shakes, shots, and beers. This location has a 100 seat patio and some seating inside.
A lively bar and pizza place with creative pizzas, this is a popular spot for happy hour.
A restaurant serving traditional Tuscan-style Italian cuisine. In the summer they have a large patio space.
Back Garden Patio
A classic Italian restaurant with a romantic patio.
Retractable Rooftop Patio
A lively sports bar with bar food and a roof deck.
A restaurant with a huge amount of outdoor space saving Latin inspired street food. The menu has lots of small plates like hummus, flautas, queso fundido, tamales, ceviche, and nachos plus tacos and entrees including a burger, carne asada, and chicken enchiladas. Pilsen Yards hosts live music every Thursday and DJ sets every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. For a cocktail, check out their hidden cocktail bar, The Alderman.
La Vaca Margarita Bar
La Vaca serves margaritas and tacos in a hip 21+ cantina. In addition to a dozen different tacos, the menu has sharable dips and snacks, fajitas, and large main dishes like carne asada and enchiladas. Dinner is served nightly, it’s open until at least 12:30 am every night, and brunch is available on weekends.
Mexican, Kid-friendly, Vegetarian
A restaurant by XOCO alum Chef Alfonso Sotelo serving beautiful composed authentic Mexican cuisine. Choose from ceviches, tacos, tortas, and main courses like barbacoa beef, carne asada, chicken milanesa, and enchiladas de mole. An outdoor patio provides views of the Senkoe mural on the side of the restaurant’s exterior. The menu has several mouthwatering vegetarian options.
Pleasant House Pub
A pub serving savory vegetable and meat Royal Pies and British inspired pub food. The menu of Royal Pies includes steak & ale, chicken balti, mushroom & kale, and a vegan pie filled with vegetables in a spiced tomato sauce. The pub menu has items like a burger, bangers and mash, and a fried chicken sandwich. The weekend brunch menu has a full English breakfast, a brunch burger, and lunch fare. Lunch is served on weekdays, brunch is on the weekends, and dinner is nightly (except for Mondays when they are closed).
A small batch craft brewery serving seasonal globally influenced cuisine like pork adobo, spicy chicken parmesan, pork lumpia, and several burgers. Dinner is served nightly and brunch is served on weekends.
See Lincoln Square
A section of Clark Street has been closed to create space for patio dining.
Healthy, American, Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch
A relaxed restaurant serving American fare with plenty of healthy options. If you want something more indulgent, check out the pastry counter. Beatrix also has locations in Streeterville and West Loop. The River North and Streeterville locations are close to each other and this can cause confusion.
Ema combines a lighter California style of cooking and Mediterranean small plates. Signature dishes include spicy hummus and lamb Kefta kebabs and the menu features a variety of grilled seafood.
A smaller version of Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba in Lincoln Park, Lil’ Ba Ba Reba serves sangria, tapas, and pintxos. The menu is very similar to Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba’s, although paella is not offered.
American, Barbecue, Southern, Lunch
A casual restaurant serving barbecue and Southern cuisine with a country music theme and live music Wednesdays through Saturdays. The restaurant specializes in smoked bbq meats and also offers burgers, fried chicken, and several types of macaroni and cheese.
Frontera Grill serves regional Mexican cuisine with a focus on locally sourced sustainable ingredients. The restaurant has a large menu with Mexican specialities like Oaxacan pork loin with yellow mole and Puebla-style enchiladas plus a variety of wood-grilled meats.
The entrance to this basement bar is hidden in the alley behind Xoco. The bar has a huge mezcal and tequila menu while the food menu has a seafood and raw bar, vegetable dishes, “deluxe” tacos, and a few larger plates. A five-course chef’s experience is available for $60 per person, with the option to add three cocktails for $25 more. The menu has a variety of vegetarian options.
Tanta serves Peruvian classics like jalea, lomo saltado, and ceviche. The menu has a vegetarian section with a handful of options. Happy hour takes place on the rooftop bar from 5 pm – 7 pm on weekdays.
Italian, Lunch, Late Night, Kid-friendly
You can’t go wrong with Quartino. This small plates Italian restaurant has an affordable menu with something for everyone and a fun lively atmosphere. Quartino was doing small plates before everyone else and it works so well with Italian cuisine – you get to try everything you want without over ordering. When it comes to wine, Quartino has a huge wine list and sell wine by the quarter liter, half liter, liter, and bottle. Quartino is open from 11 am until 1 am every day – it tends to be busy at dinner so make a reservation. The best part: the Italian food is some of the best in Chicago.
An Italian restaurant serving pizzas, housemade pastas, and wood-fired meats. This location has a bit more a casual vibe when compared to the more romantic Wicker Park location.
A modern Italian restaurant from Top Chef Winner Fabio Viviani that serves weekday lunch, weekend brunch, and dinner. The housemade pasta is the star of the menu with classics like carbonara, lasagna, squid ink linguine, and cacio e pepe. Pizzas and a couple of meat and fish entrees are available, or if you are especially hungry, a 22-ounce ribeye. A four-course tasting menu is available for $85 per person.
RPM Seafood is a multi-level restaurant right on the Chicago River. The menu focuses on shellfish and seafood but also includes steaks and pasta.
A beautiful sunlight restaurant on the Chicago River specializing in thin crust pizza, pasta, and seafood.
Semilla’s Latin Kitchen & Wine Bar
A casual restaurant serving a mix of Peruvian and Mexican specialities including ceviche, quesadillas, tacos, chicken with mole sauce, and skirt steak. Happy hour is offered from 4 pm until 5 pm daily.
Charmers Food & Floral Cafe
American, Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch
Charmers serves breakfast and lunch daily, and closes at 5 pm. The breakfast menu has pastries, bagels, and egg dishes while the lunch menu has a variety of soups and sandwiches.
Smack Dab Bakery
Bakery, Vegetarian, Vegan
A bakery serving breakfast pastries, breakfast sandwiches and burritos, and lunch sandwiches and burritos. Vegan and vegetarian sandwiches are available. Smack Dab is open from 8 am until 2 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. The restaurant does not serve dinner.
Volo Restaurant Wine Bar
Volo serves seasonal new American cuisine and offers over thirty boutique wine options. The menu has charcuterie and small plates like oysters, steak tartare, and flatbreads plus larger items like mussels, beef tenderloin, and duck confit. Chicago magazine named the hidden patio the best in the city.
Mediterranean, French, Kid-friendly
Rooftop and a Patio
A Mediterranean French restaurant with a rooftop patio serving seafood and chorizo stew, French herb roasted chicken, duck confit, pork chops, and a burger. The restaurant also hosts monthly wine tasting events.
American, Gastropub, Lunch, Kid-friendly
Sidewalk Patio, Patio
A family-friendly sports bar with over 60 beers on tap and a menu of casual bar food like wings, nachos, burgers, pizza, and sandwiches. The 100-person patio has flatscreen televisions and is dog friendly.
Grant Park Bistro
American, Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch
Located just across from the south end of Grant Park, this bistro serves casual American fare like burgers, sandwiches, steak, and pork chops. The restaurant is open all day and serves three meals a day every day. The breakfast menu is inspired by the Midwest.
The Chicago Firehouse
This firehouse turned restaurant suffered a devastating fire in 2014, was fully restored, and reopened in 2017. The restaurant has the look of a steakhouse and serves prime steaks plus fish and bar favorites like burgers, meatloaf, and short ribs. A spacious patio offers outdoor dining. There are also several spaces for private dining and events. This is one of the more formal restaurants in the South Loop.
Flo & Santos
Italian, Polish, Lunch, Kid-friendly
Flo & Santos serves a mix of classic Italian and Polish cuisine and American pub food. This spot is known for being the place to get pizza and pierogi. A large patio is open during the warm months.
Sociale serves a variety of small plate starters like charred octopus, crispy polenta fries, and crab cakes plus sandwiches, flatbreads, and meat mains. The cuisine is American with Mediterranean influences.
Roots serves up Quad Cities style pizza, and this location as a beautiful rooftop with a glass ceiling. Roots often collaborates with other restaurants to bring things like Korean Fried Chicken Pizza and Butter Chicken Pizza to the menu. They have a long list of salad options too.
A bar known for live rock music that serves bar eats like wings, fried pickles, burgers, and sandwiches. Reggies’ calendar is packed with music and food events. They host all you can eat tailgate buffets before Bears and White Sox games and there is a bus to take you to the stadiums.
The Hampton Social
A coastal inspired restaurant that embraces the “rosé all day” lifestyle. The menu emphasizes seafood but has salads, pizzas, and meat dishes too. The Hampton Social has a second location in River North. This location serves dinner daily plus brunch on weekends.
Robert’s Pizza and Dough Company
Chef-owner Robert is a New Yorker who takes pizza seriously and who spent decades perfecting his crust and pizza recipes. This pizzeria prides itself on dough that balances crispness and chewiness. The Menu is centered on pizza but also includes soups, salads, sandwiches, and pasta. In addition to serving dinner every day, Robert’s serves lunch on weekdays and brunch on weekends.
Located on the 18th floor rooftop of the Northwestern Medical Campus, Woodwind is a modern American restaurant serving weekday lunch, weekend brunch, and dinner nightly. A 3-course prix fixe lunch menu and a 4-course prix fixe dinner menu are available, in addition to an all-day menu with a mix of snacks, vegetarian meals, seafood dishes, and meaty mains.
Offshore Rooftop & Bar
Offshore has the largest rooftop deck in the country, making it the perfect place to dine on a sunny day while enjoying panoramic views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. In addition to the outside space, there is plenty of room inside so the space can be enjoyed during all seasons. Offshore is open for dinner Friday through Sunday and small brunch menu is served on Saturday and Sunday with the option for bottomless mimosas. The rooftop has an entertainment and game area plus several fire pits. Note: Offshore is 21+ after 9 pm, but they have a kid’s menu available before then.
A stretch of Fulton Market Street has been closed to traffic and has become home to some of the best outdoor dining in Chicago. In many cases, the patio is first come first served which means that you don’t need to make a reservations weeks in advance to dine at these spots.
Italian, Steakhouse, Romantic, Lunch
Gibson’s Italia is a three level Italian steakhouse on the Chicago River with two fireplaces, a roof deck, and spectacular city views. The large menu mixes upscale Italian cuisine with classic steakhouse fare.
A restaurant with a menu that explores the cuisines of Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, and Greece. This rooftop restaurant is one of Chicago’s prettiest outdoor spaces. It’s tempting to add this to the list of most romantic restaurants in Chicago, but is very lively and the ambiance is more social than romantic. The menu staples include short rib hummus, char-grilled lamb chops, and skirt steak shawarma.
Another restaurant by Chef Stephanie Izard, this one is on the rooftop of the Hoxton Hotel. The menu has a few different ceviches and empanadas to try plus steak, salmon, or eggplant Saltado – a Peruvian stir fry made with tomatoes, onions, peppers, and potatoes.
This is Chicago’s largest food hall and it’s an excellent place for dinner and drinks – especially if you don’t want to commit to one restaurant. Fifteen food stalls represent a wide variety of cuisines with something for everyone.
This restaurant from chef/owner/Top Chef winner Joe Flamm combines Italian cuisine and Croatian flavors. The menu includes several pastas plus risotto, fish, and meat mains. As of March 2022, it’s one of the hardest reservations to get.
American, Healthy, Pastries, Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Kid-friendly
Beatrix is a restaurant and market in the Fulton Market District. The market has grab and go options while the sit down restaurant serves breakfast and lunch on weekdays, brunch on weekends, and dinner sever days a week. The menu has a little of everything: chicken enchiladas, miso glazed salmon, meatloaf, and a mushroom quinoa burger. A gluten-free menu and a kid’s menu are available.
Freshly opened in at the end of January 2022, Lyra pairs contemporary Greek cuisine with a spirited atmosphere. The menu includes a pretty even mix of seafood, meat, and vegetable forward dips and sides.
Duck Duck Goat
Stephanie Izard’s restaurant gorgeous Chinese restaurant has a fun playful atmosphere and a menu offering dim sum and classic Chinese cuisine with some unique twists like duck and goat spring rolls and goat shoulder slap noodles.
Leña Brava serves wood-fired meals inspired by Baja, Mexico. Try fire roasted carnitas, carne asada, slow cooked short rib, or the signature striped bass. If you want to try mezcal and agave, that menu is nine pages long. Leña Brava’s Chef Rick Bayless is known for restaurants that honor traditional Mexican cuisine – it isn’t the Tex-Mex style that is typical of Mexican restaurants in America.
Mexican, Brewery, Lunch
A Rick Bayless brewery and taqueria serving tortas, tostadas, burritos, quesadillas, and tacos. It is the type of place where you can have beer and snacks or settle in for a full meal.
9 Muses Bar & Grill
A casual restaurant that offers several burgers in addition to classic Greek food including pita sandwiches, pasta dishes, salads, and sharable entrees.
Fabio Viviani’s casual Italian gastropub has a menu with a mix of pizzas, pastas, and Italian inspired bar foods. The restaurant serves lunch on weekdays and brunch on weekends in addition to dinner nightly. The brunch menu is one of the most man-friendly (hearty) in the city.
A beautiful dimly lit tavern with a decor that makes you feel like you have stepped back in time. Part of the Hogsalt restaurant group which helms some of Chicago most acclaimed eateries, Trivoli Tavern has a menu that includes seafood, pasta, steaks, and comfort foods like chicken pot pie, fried chicken, and fish & chips.
Formento’s was inspired by the red sauce joints of the 1950s. The menu has meaty entrees like pork chops, whole grilled branzino, and chicken parmesan. The pasta menu includes bucatini carbonara, canestri with pork neck gravy, and tortelloni with black truffle ricotta. They have a kids menu too.
Mexican, Lunch, Vegetarian
A Mexican cantina inspired by Midwest ingredients, Chikatana has a sophisticated menu with items like chorizo gnocchi, barbacoa short ribs, cabbage in mole blanco, and crispy pork belly. The lunch menu offers tacos, the dinner menu does not. On weekends, the brunch menu has brisket hash, churro French toast, and chilaquiles. All menus have plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Green Street Smoked Meats
A fast-casual Texas barbecue restaurant with long communal tables and lots of twinkle lights. Guests have the option of ordering smoked meats by the half pound, sides, and sandwiches.
Rooftop and a Patio
Parlor is a pizzeria with a lively bar atmosphere, multiple outdoor spaces, and a menu that includes over a dozen pizzas plus the option to build your own.