Your table awaits — Chicago’s outdoor dining season is underway

With summer on our doorsteps, it’s time to enjoy the area’s many al fresco dining options.

SHARE Your table awaits — Chicago’s outdoor dining season is underway
The outdoor patio at Aba, 302 N. Green Street, is open for business.

The outdoor patio at Aba, 302 N. Green Street, is open for business.

Jeff Marini

With pandemic restrictions increasingly easing, and Chicago making huge strides to a return to pre-pandemic normalcy, the area’s restaurant community is adding a spring/summertime favorite to its menus: al fresco dining.

Devasted by the pandemic, Chicago’s culinary scene has weathered more than a year of closures, carryout, deliver-only and limited indoor dining. But customers have done their best to patronize their favorite eateries and discover some new ones along the way.

Here’s a look at some of what the area’s outdoor dining scene is offering. But check out your neighborhood — there are hundreds of restaurants, diners and food-offering bars serving up some of the best food in the country.

Aba: The rooftop patio seating features heaters and fire pits throughout, and a Mediterranean menu from chef CJ Jacobson, highlighting influences from the Mediterranean, including Israel, Lebanon, Turkey and Greece. 302 N. Green Street;

Aire: Located at the Hyatt Centric in the Loop, this rooftop hotspot has a 360-degree view of the city and features fire pits, cabanas and couches. The menu includes an array of appetizers, flatbreads and salads plus craft cocktails and beer. 100 W. Monroe;

Angelo’s: The Albany Park restaurant has a streetside patio plus a handy covered patio in case of inclement weather. The menu includes pasta, pizzas and seafood plus craft cocktails and wine. 3026 W. Montrose;

The rooftop patio at Aire in the Hyatt Centric offers a 360-degree view of the city.

The rooftop patio at Aire in the Hyatt Centric offers a 360-degree view of the city.


Athena: This Greektown staple has a charming patio with a retractable roof, Greek columns and a waterfall. The extensive menu is full of Greek-inspired classics from flaming saganaki to gyros and solmades plus many varieties of lamb. 212 S. Halsted;

Avli River North & Avli on the Park. The River North spot offering contemporary Greek cuisine features a cedar terrace/patio and sidewalk café. The Lakeshore East location has a rooftop patio with fireplaces and a great view. 702 N. Wells and 180 N. Field;

Bar Avec: Located in River North, this new rooftop is inspired by the leisurely style of dining found at seaside diners in coastal Spanish and Portuguese towns. Chefs Paul Kahan and Ross Henke’s menu is simple fare that showcases seafood and seasonal vegetables as well as Avec classics. 640 N. Lasalle;

Bar Chido: A patio extends the fun atmosphere of this restaurant that offers a modern take on Mexican street food. There’s also a taco takeout window. 1012 Curtiss, Downers Grove;

The Barn Steakhouse: The Evanston restaurant features an outdoor space with Adirondack chairs and firepits. In addition to steaks, the menu includes seafood, salads and more. 1016 Church, Evanston;

Big Star Wicker Park & Big Star Wrigleyville: The outdoor patio of the Wicker Park location is a lively neighborhood cornerstone with tasty tacos, slushies and margaritas with music provided by DJs. A smaller streetside patio at the restaurant’s Wrigleyville location features the same food and honky-tonk vibe within sightlines of the ballpark. 1531 N. Damen and 3640 N. Clark;

BiXi Beer: The Asian-inspired brewpub located in Logan Square features a roof deck with a covered section for outdoor dining in inclement weather. Chef Bo Fowler’s menu includes noodles, burgers, seafood and more. 2515 N. Milwaukee;

The Bureau Bar + Restaurant: The South Loop restaurant and event space is equipped with outdoor patio seating, a pool table, live music, and a comprehensive menu including brunch options. 2115 S. State. Visit

Cabra: Stephanie Izzard’s Peruvian-influenced restaurant is situated atop the Hoxton hotel and includes a partially covered patio space with views of Fulton Market. The menu features small plates including salmon ceviche, goat empanadas, eggplant saltado and more. 200 N. Green;

Café Ba-Ba-Reeba’s all-season patio.

Café Ba-Ba-Reeba’s all-season patio.

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises

Café Ba-Ba-Reeba: Chicago’s original tapas bar has tented outdoor tables where patrons can enjoy a menu of authentic Spanish cuisine designed to share. 2024 N. Halsted;

Chez Moi: The French restaurant located in Lincoln Park features bistro-style outdoor dining with a romantic ambiance. Chef Dominique Tougne’s classic French menu includes onion soup, foie gras, steak frites, crème brulee and more. 2100 N. Halsted;

City Winery: The restaurant/music venue has a large dog-friendly outdoor patio where patrons can enjoy a selection of small and large plates, pizzas, salads, cocktails and, of course, wine. 1200 W. Randolph;

Coco Pazzo Café: This casual eatery has reopened with an outdoor patio and a new menu of small plates. 212 E. Ohio;

The Duck Inn:Enjoy everything duck (rotisserie duck, duck fat French fries, duck wings and more) under a tent on the Bridgeport restaurant’s backyard patio. 2701 S. Eleanor;

Found Kitchen & Social House: The restaurant includes an outdoor patio where you can enjoy chef Debbie Gold’s menu that highlights seasonal flatbreads, an array of cheeses, shared plates and kitchen driven craft cocktails. 1631 Chicago, Evanston;

French Quiche: There’s cozy patio hidden away in the back of this Lincoln Park establishment. It’s the perfect place to read the paper and enjoy quiche, sandwiches, sweets and more. 2210 N. Halsted;

Frontier: Chef Brian Jupiter’s bar/restaurant features a covered patio with string lights and a fireplace. Famous for its Whole Animal Experience perfect for a large group, the menu also features blackened salmon, wagyu ribs, char-grilled oysters and the fan favorite five-cheese mac. 1072 N. Milwaukee;

Fuller House: Enjoy signature American cuisine on this restaurant’s large outdoor patio while also soaking up some sunshine. 35 E. First, Hinsdale;

Fulton Market Kitchen: Chef Jonathan Harootunian offers a new seasonal menu with ingredients sourced from regional farms and markets at this part restaurant, part art gallery crossover that also has a comfortable outdoor patio. 311 N. Sangamon;

Geja’s Café: Enjoy fondue and fine wines on a pergola-covered patio at this North Side staple know as “Chicago’s most romantic restaurant.” 340 W. Armitage;

Gibson’s Italia: The restaurant’s outdoor area features a retractable roof and walls for warm summer nights along the Chicago River. Chef Jose Sosa’s menu pairs the tastes of Italy with the meat-based menu of Gibson’s Steakhouse. 233 N. Canal;

Greek Islands: The Greektown restaurant has a traditionally decorated outdoor space and a menu of favorite Greek classics. 200 S. Halsted;

Harold’s #88 Chicken Meets Beer: While the hook is the chicken, the South Loop location stands out with outdoor patio seating, “infused” smoothies, and an occasional Thursday comedy night. 1450 S. Michigan. Visit

Il Culaccino: Located in the South Loop, this Italian eatery has an outdoor patio with a retractable roof and walls. The menu boasts an extensive list of pasta dishes as well as salmon, chicken and veal. 2134 S. Indiana;

IO Godfrey: A year-round rooftop patio with a retractable roof, craft cocktails and a menu that features shared plates, grilled selections, sushi and flatbreads. 127 W. Huron;

The J. Parker: The rooftop restaurant sits atop Hotel Lincoln and features great views of the city and Lake Michigan. The menu features small plates, sandwiches and burgers. There’s also a breakfast menu. 1816 N. Clark;

Kennedy Rooftop: Located in Wicker Park atop the Hyatt Place Chicago, this outdoor deck has views of the Chicago skyline. The menu features sharable plates as well as burgers, salads and more. 1551 W. North;

Kimski: Operating within Bridgeport’s Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar, the Polish-Korean mashup has outdoor patio service, eats such as the “Puff Daddy,” a burger patty in between two pizza puffs, and Chap Chae noodles, a vegan stir-fry delicacy. 954-960 W. 31st. Visit

Kinzie Chophouse

Kinzie Chophouse

Courtesy Kinzie Chophouse

Kinzie Chophouse: The River North mainstay’s streetside patio features overhead awnings and large umbrellas. Order from the expansive menu (steaks, seafood, pasta) or just stop by for happy hour, which features its own drink and food menu that includes buy one get one free appetizers. 400 N. Wells;

La Josie: The West Loop eatery features a rooftop deck plus a sidewalk café. The upscale-casual Mexican restaurant’s menu includes tacos, enchiladas and more plus a full agave bar. 740 W. Randolph;

MacArthur’s Restaurant: The West Side institution, which boasts Southern comfort food such as smothered chicken, fried catfish, and collard greens, among many other eats, has an outdoor patio. 5412 W. Madison. Visit

Nobu Hotel: Located along the Randolph Street’s restaurant row, this restaurant and hotel has a rooftop space that is partially covered from the elements and has a relaxed, lounge vibe. The menu features small and large plates inspired by the team at Nobu. 155 N. Peoria;

Norman’s Bistro: The North Kenwood hotspot boasts outdoor patio service, a menu featuring signature sandwiches, and a weekly jazz set, among other amenities. 1001 E. 43rd. Visit

Offshore: The large rooftop deck located at Navy Pier has spectacular views of the Chicago Skyline and Lake Michigan. The menu offers salads, pizzas, poke bowls, fish and burgers plus an extensive drink menu. 1000 E. Grand;

Open Outcry Brewery Company: The Morgan Park-based brewery, which has a rooftop beer garden and a community taproom, specializes in Neapolitan-style pizza. 10934 S. Western. Visit

Osteria Langhe: Patrons can enjoy the traditional Piedmontese cuisine of chef Cameron Grant in the relaxed atmosphere of a patio hidden behind this Logan Square eatery. There’s also a curated regional wine list. 2824 W. Armitage;

Pacino’s: Pull up a seat under the outdoor pergola at this Italian eatery where Sicily meets South Loop. Menu includes antipasti, pizza, salads, seafood, pasta and more. 1010 S. Delano;

Dine beneath a pergola at Pacino’s in the South Loop.

Dine beneath a pergola at Pacino’s in the South Loop.


Pilsen Yards: Sporting a menu including tequila and bourbon options, along with vegan pozole and “Drunken Tres Leches (rum, mezcal, charred pineapple),” the Pilsen eatery and event space has outdoor patio seating and other amenities. Live DJ vinyl sets from local creatives round out the ambiance. 1163 W. 18th. Visit

Pizza Friendly Pizza: Hidden behind the Empty Bottle music club in Ukrainian Village this is an urban patio that has an alt-rock energy. There’s a walk-up window to order chef Noah Sandoval’s Sicilian-style pizza and tables to sit at under twinkling lights. 1030 N. Western;

The Promontory: The Hyde Park-based restaurant and event space is equipped with an outdoor patio downstairs, an outdoor deck upstairs, and a menu featuring “Heavy Artillery,” a cocktail with bourbon, cognac, rum, pineapple, lime, black pepper, along with food options. 5311 S. Lake Park West. Visit

The Publican: The West Loop mainstay of chef Paul Kahan features a patio expanded into the closed-off street. The menu as always features an array of meat, seafood and vegetables. 837 W. Fulton;

Publican Quality Meats: Patrons can enjoy artisanal meats and cheese plus unique sandwiches in this outdoor café setting. There’s also a menu of charcuterie selections curated by chef-butcher Rob Levitt. 825 W. Fulton;

Reggie’s On the Beach: Reggies Chicago’s Jackson Park seasonal location opened this month. While the eatery has a similar menu (burgers, wings, etc.) as the original, the latest iteration sports an outdoor patio within the backdrop of a beachwalk shoreline behind the 63rd Street Beach House. 6300 S. Lake Shore. Visit

Roof on the Wit: Check out the sweeping skyline views at this bar atop the Wit hotel with a retractable roof plus an open patio under the stars. The menu features Neapolitan-style pizzas and classic cocktails. 201 N. State;

Saint Lou’s: The Fulton Market hangout spot has a new drink menu and a socially distanced, dog-friendly backyard patio with picnic tables, fire pits and a Bocce ball court. The food menu includes snacks, dips and poboys. 664 W. Lake;

Testaccio: The Logan Square restaurant’s cozy patio echoes al fresco street dining in Europe. The menu features Italian comfort food and wood-fired oven specialties from chef Jacob Solomon plus live music throughout the summer. 2456 N. California;

Tuscan Hen Market: The North Center eatery has a quaint European-style patio in its back courtyard where you can enjoy your favorite Italian dinner under the stars. 4019 N. Damen;

Tzuco:This Gold Coast restaurant features a patio with a cantilevered ceiling and removable side panels where you can enjoy chef Carlos Gaytán’s vision of Mexican cuisine. 720 N. State;

Uncommon Ground: The Edgewater location has a large patio where patrons can peruse a menu that includes seasonal bucatini, bacon wrapped meatloaf, BBQ roasted chicken and more. 1401 W. Devon;

Venteux: The French brasserie from chef Donald Young offers a Parisian-inspired garden patio with umbrellas, hanging plants and floral arrangements. Enjoy Young’s nouvelle French menu along with wine and craft cocktails. 224N. Michigan;

Virtue: The Hyde Park eatery has a wrap-around patio where you can choose from chef Erick Williams’s Southern-influenced menu, which includes blackened catfish, lemon chicken, pork steak and more. 1462 E. 53rd;

The Woodlawn: The Chatham eatery and event space, where the menu includes jerk chicken salad, jambalaya flatbread pizza, and turkey tips, among other eats, is equipped with a rooftop deck and outdoor dining. Starting today, The Woodlawn kicks off their “Underneath the Moon” rooftop DJ and dining series. 1200 E. 79th. Visit

Compiled by Mary Houlihan and Evan F. Moore

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