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An outdoor patio.
Las Fuentes in Lincoln Park has been busy this summer.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

The 20 Essential Outdoor Dining Spots in Chicago

These classic spots are more important than ever

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Las Fuentes in Lincoln Park has been busy this summer.
| Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Outdoor dining is more important than ever, as health experts recommend patios over eating inside. Chicagoans are always eager to dine al fresco, as the city’s identity morphs during the warmer months. While there are newer options around town, these essential spots are classic restaurants that provide some of the best food and drinks in the city. The list has been revamped with 10 additions. Newcomers include Mott St, Rica Arepa, and RPM on the Water.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Moody's Pub

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5910 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 329-5694
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Moody’s Pub in Edgewater has been long a hideaway for groups and dates, with a treelined private patio besides a tiny restaurants off Broadway. For those who want more than a beverage, the burgers are very underrated with thick patties highlighted by Moody’s bleu cheese variety. 

Moody’s Pub [Official Photo]

2. Las Fuentes Restaurant

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2558 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 935-2004
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Las Fuentes is known for reliable Mexican food and margaritas, and its secret weapon has been a beautiful private patio that’s also good for private events, including weddings. Located near DePaul, the space attracts more than students. It’s a solid, unpretentious spot for group hangs, dates, and even family dinners. 

An outdoor patio. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

3. Parson's Chicken & Fish

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2952 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL
(773) 384-3333
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A massive patio? Check. Negroni slushies? Ready to go. Fried chicken? Of course. The party never stops at Land and Sea Dept’s sizzling chicken shack, where patrons can easily spend an entire day hanging out. The food is worth sticking around for; the lineup of greasy goodness includes hush puppies, fried fish, and crunchy chicken that’s been brined and dipped in buttermilk hot sauce. A second Chicago location is now open in Lincoln Park.

Parson’s Chicken & Fish [Official Photo]

4. Rica Arepa Venezuelan Restaurant

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4253 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60639
(773) 543-3000
Visit Website

Hermosa’s dining scene has erupted in recent years, and one of the reasons is the delightful Venezuelan food at Rica Arepa. The signature with shredded chicken and beef, plus gouda, is a sweet and savory treat. There’s also a solid veggie option. The private patio is comfortable, allowing customers to peacefully sink into an empanada in a casual atmosphere. 

Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

5. Taxim

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1558 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 252-1558
Visit Website

Taxim has been a trailblazer in Wicker Park, proving that great Greek food is found outside of Greektown. A modern approach to Greek, Taxim has a small rooftop space overlooking Milwaukee Avenue’s Hipster Highway. It’s an intimate spot that always delivers. (Note: the photo is from 2019 and doesn’t represent the current pandemic layout)

TAXIM's HAYATI (roof deck) opens tomorrow for Catholic Easter lunch at 12 noon, and then again for dinner at 5pm. Come out and enjoy the beautiful weather!!

Posted by Taxim on Saturday, April 20, 2019

6. Big Star

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1531 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL
(773) 235-4039
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The most-visited patio in town needs little introduction. Come early (dogs are welcome) or expect to wait a while as the line is sometimes hours long. Those who tough it out are rewarded with tacos, margaritas, whisky, and a prime spot for people watching. A second location is at Hotel Zachary across from Wrigley Field.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

7. Mott St

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1401 N Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 687-9977
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Chef Edward Kim’s creative Asian cuisine goes outdoors at Mott St’s patio, along Ashland Avenue in West Town. It’s a versatile space that provides an escape, whether it’s trying Kim’s new fire chicken, or classics like imperial rolls or that famous burger. 

8. Frontier

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1072 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
(773) 772-4322
Visit Website

Chef Brian Jupiter has made Frontier in West Town one of the most unique restaurants in the city. Known for whole-animal service, the restaurant is a meat lover’s paradise. The patio area is comfort, a nice spot to watch a game or relax with a craft cocktail.

Frontier [Official Photo]

9. El Barco Mariscos

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1035 N Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 486-6850
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For nearly 20 years, El Barco Mariscos has been educating Chicagoans to the depth of Mexican cuisine. El Barco concentrates on coastal Mexican cuisine. The parilada seafood platters are formidable, but the crowd pleaser continues to be the whole red snapper that comes fried or grilled. Customers will save a few calories going grilled, but the deep fried variety is tastier. 

10. Shanghai Terrace

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108 E Superior St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 573-6695
Visit Website

Within the Peninsula Hotel, near the Mag Mile, Shanghai Terrace has been serving Cantonese food in a formal setting for years. Folks may scoff at the high prices, customers will pay less for dim sum in Chinatown, but Chinatown restaurants don’t need to pay steep property taxes which is needed for the view. It’s a trade off, but worth it for those who don’t mind the prices. 

11. Homestead on the Roof

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1924 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL
(773) 332-2354
Visit Website

Farm-to-table doesn’t get more literal than at this 85-seat patio located above Roots Handmade Pizza in West Town. Its organic rooftop garden supplies much of the veggies and herbs used. Menu highlights include skin-on pork belly, fried quesadilla de hongo, and tostada de camaron.

12. The Dawson

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732 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL
(312) 243-8955
Visit Website

A massive West Town establishment with modern industrial design and a lively atmosphere, the Dawson’s large outdoor space feels like a sophisticated summer soiree. Frozen Mai Tais and bites of chicken-fried lobster are highlights on the patio. String lights illuminate the space and an outdoor fireplace keeps it open in the evening.

The Dawson [Official Photo]

13. Piccolo Sogno

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464 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL
(312) 421-0077
Visit Website

A trip to Tuscany should be on every summer bucket list but for a cheaper alternative, head to Tony Priolo’s classic Italian restaurant. The vibrant garden patio provides an intimate escape from city life while rustic dishes highlight seasonal flavors. Add an extensive wine list and the end result is one of the most romantic experiences in Chicago.

Piccolo Sogno/Galdones Photography

14. RPM Seafood

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317 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ megaplex along the Chicago River can’t be missed as a partnership between the city the Chicago’s largest restaurant group created the project. Pizzeria Portofino is on the bottom level, but there’s also RPM Seafood which is more sceney and serves more composed dishes. 

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

15. Aba

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302 N Green St 3rd floor
Chicago, IL 60607
(773) 645-1400
Visit Website

Lettuce Entertain You’s West Loop restaurant has quickly become a go-to destination for al fresco dining and summertime vibes. The popularity is in part due to its rooftop patio, which is decked with cozy couches, lush greenery, and even heated igloos during winter. CJ Jacobson supplies ramped-up Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food, such as hummus, kebabs, and housemade Stracciatella.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

16. Gibsons Italia

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233 N Canal St
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 414-1100
Visit Website

Gibsons Restaurant Group’s tri-level achievement, situated next to the Chicago River, impresses on all fronts. Steaks are predictably a highlight of the menu but don’t forgo the gold-extruded pastas, either. And if that’s not luxurious enough, guests can dine outside while soaking in some of the best sights in Chicago.

Marc Much/Eater Chicago

17. Beatnik on the River

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180 N Upper Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 526-3345
Visit Website

Beatnik, the popular restaurant and cocktail lounge in West Town, expanded to a second location down by the Chicago River last year. The 80-seat patio captures the bohemian-inspired feel of the original and is decorated with verdant plants, comfy daybed seating, and fringed umbrellas for shading. The Spanish- and Mediterranean-influenced menu includes curry meatballs, smoked octopus, and Lebanese-style roasted lamb.

18. The Duck Inn

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2701 S Eleanor St
Chicago, IL
(312) 724-8811
Visit Website

It’s a known fact that hot dogs and burgers are best enjoyed outdoors. That’s why eaters flock for Kevin Hickey’s ramped-up comfort foods on the backyard patio. His signature Duck Inn dog, made from beef and duck fat, is dragged through a garden of Chicago-style toppings, while the hamburger sandwich features Brun-uusto cheese and dijonnaise on rye bread.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

19. Kimski

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960 W 31st St
Chicago, IL
(773) 890-0588
Visit Website

Sausages topped with “kraut-chi,” housemade pierogis, and kimchi poutine are just a couple of the creative fusion offerings at this Bridgeport eatery. The Korean-Polish street fare pairs perfectly with the brews and cocktails next door at Maria’s Packaged Goods and patrons can sample them on the back patio. The addition of Pizza, Chicken, Ice Cream offers more menu items for the patio.

Aron Gent

20. Truth Italian Restaurant

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56 E Pershing Rd
Chicago, IL 60653
(312) 715-8796
Visit Website

For the past five years, Truth restaurant has been one the most underrated Italian spots in Chicago. With fresh pastas, killer mozzarella sticks, and more, this Bronzeville restaurant is a fun place to shoot the breeze with friends and family.

Truth/Google

1. Moody's Pub

5910 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60660
Moody’s Pub [Official Photo]

Moody’s Pub in Edgewater has been long a hideaway for groups and dates, with a treelined private patio besides a tiny restaurants off Broadway. For those who want more than a beverage, the burgers are very underrated with thick patties highlighted by Moody’s bleu cheese variety. 

5910 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60660

2. Las Fuentes Restaurant

2558 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614
An outdoor patio. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Las Fuentes is known for reliable Mexican food and margaritas, and its secret weapon has been a beautiful private patio that’s also good for private events, including weddings. Located near DePaul, the space attracts more than students. It’s a solid, unpretentious spot for group hangs, dates, and even family dinners. 

2558 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60614

3. Parson's Chicken & Fish

2952 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL
Parson’s Chicken & Fish [Official Photo]

A massive patio? Check. Negroni slushies? Ready to go. Fried chicken? Of course. The party never stops at Land and Sea Dept’s sizzling chicken shack, where patrons can easily spend an entire day hanging out. The food is worth sticking around for; the lineup of greasy goodness includes hush puppies, fried fish, and crunchy chicken that’s been brined and dipped in buttermilk hot sauce. A second Chicago location is now open in Lincoln Park.

2952 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL

4. Rica Arepa Venezuelan Restaurant

4253 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60639
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

Hermosa’s dining scene has erupted in recent years, and one of the reasons is the delightful Venezuelan food at Rica Arepa. The signature with shredded chicken and beef, plus gouda, is a sweet and savory treat. There’s also a solid veggie option. The private patio is comfortable, allowing customers to peacefully sink into an empanada in a casual atmosphere. 

4253 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60639

5. Taxim

1558 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Taxim has been a trailblazer in Wicker Park, proving that great Greek food is found outside of Greektown. A modern approach to Greek, Taxim has a small rooftop space overlooking Milwaukee Avenue’s Hipster Highway. It’s an intimate spot that always delivers. (Note: the photo is from 2019 and doesn’t represent the current pandemic layout)

1558 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

6. Big Star

1531 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

The most-visited patio in town needs little introduction. Come early (dogs are welcome) or expect to wait a while as the line is sometimes hours long. Those who tough it out are rewarded with tacos, margaritas, whisky, and a prime spot for people watching. A second location is at Hotel Zachary across from Wrigley Field.

1531 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL

7. Mott St

1401 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Chef Edward Kim’s creative Asian cuisine goes outdoors at Mott St’s patio, along Ashland Avenue in West Town. It’s a versatile space that provides an escape, whether it’s trying Kim’s new fire chicken, or classics like imperial rolls or that famous burger. 

1401 N Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

8. Frontier

1072 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
Frontier [Official Photo]

Chef Brian Jupiter has made Frontier in West Town one of the most unique restaurants in the city. Known for whole-animal service, the restaurant is a meat lover’s paradise. The patio area is comfort, a nice spot to watch a game or relax with a craft cocktail.

1072 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60642

9. El Barco Mariscos

1035 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

For nearly 20 years, El Barco Mariscos has been educating Chicagoans to the depth of Mexican cuisine. El Barco concentrates on coastal Mexican cuisine. The parilada seafood platters are formidable, but the crowd pleaser continues to be the whole red snapper that comes fried or grilled. Customers will save a few calories going grilled, but the deep fried variety is tastier. 

1035 N Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

10. Shanghai Terrace

108 E Superior St, Chicago, IL 60611

Within the Peninsula Hotel, near the Mag Mile, Shanghai Terrace has been serving Cantonese food in a formal setting for years. Folks may scoff at the high prices, customers will pay less for dim sum in Chinatown, but Chinatown restaurants don’t need to pay steep property taxes which is needed for the view. It’s a trade off, but worth it for those who don’t mind the prices. 

108 E Superior St
Chicago, IL 60611

11. Homestead on the Roof

1924 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL

Farm-to-table doesn’t get more literal than at this 85-seat patio located above Roots Handmade Pizza in West Town. Its organic rooftop garden supplies much of the veggies and herbs used. Menu highlights include skin-on pork belly, fried quesadilla de hongo, and tostada de camaron.

1924 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL

12. The Dawson

732 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL
The Dawson [Official Photo]

A massive West Town establishment with modern industrial design and a lively atmosphere, the Dawson’s large outdoor space feels like a sophisticated summer soiree. Frozen Mai Tais and bites of chicken-fried lobster are highlights on the patio. String lights illuminate the space and an outdoor fireplace keeps it open in the evening.

732 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL

13. Piccolo Sogno

464 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL
Piccolo Sogno/Galdones Photography

A trip to Tuscany should be on every summer bucket list but for a cheaper alternative, head to Tony Priolo’s classic Italian restaurant. The vibrant garden patio provides an intimate escape from city life while rustic dishes highlight seasonal flavors. Add an extensive wine list and the end result is one of the most romantic experiences in Chicago.

464 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL

14. RPM Seafood

317 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ megaplex along the Chicago River can’t be missed as a partnership between the city the Chicago’s largest restaurant group created the project. Pizzeria Portofino is on the bottom level, but there’s also RPM Seafood which is more sceney and serves more composed dishes. 

317 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654

15. Aba

302 N Green St 3rd floor, Chicago, IL 60607
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Lettuce Entertain You’s West Loop restaurant has quickly become a go-to destination for al fresco dining and summertime vibes. The popularity is in part due to its rooftop patio, which is decked with cozy couches, lush greenery, and even heated igloos during winter. CJ Jacobson supplies ramped-up Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food, such as hummus, kebabs, and housemade Stracciatella.

302 N Green St 3rd floor
Chicago, IL 60607

Related Maps

16. Gibsons Italia

233 N Canal St, Chicago, IL 60606
Marc Much/Eater Chicago

Gibsons Restaurant Group’s tri-level achievement, situated next to the Chicago River, impresses on all fronts. Steaks are predictably a highlight of the menu but don’t forgo the gold-extruded pastas, either. And if that’s not luxurious enough, guests can dine outside while soaking in some of the best sights in Chicago.

233 N Canal St
Chicago, IL 60606

17. Beatnik on the River

180 N Upper Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606

Beatnik, the popular restaurant and cocktail lounge in West Town, expanded to a second location down by the Chicago River last year. The 80-seat patio captures the bohemian-inspired feel of the original and is decorated with verdant plants, comfy daybed seating, and fringed umbrellas for shading. The Spanish- and Mediterranean-influenced menu includes curry meatballs, smoked octopus, and Lebanese-style roasted lamb.

180 N Upper Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60606

18. The Duck Inn

2701 S Eleanor St, Chicago, IL
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

It’s a known fact that hot dogs and burgers are best enjoyed outdoors. That’s why eaters flock for Kevin Hickey’s ramped-up comfort foods on the backyard patio. His signature Duck Inn dog, made from beef and duck fat, is dragged through a garden of Chicago-style toppings, while the hamburger sandwich features Brun-uusto cheese and dijonnaise on rye bread.

2701 S Eleanor St
Chicago, IL

19. Kimski

960 W 31st St, Chicago, IL
Aron Gent

Sausages topped with “kraut-chi,” housemade pierogis, and kimchi poutine are just a couple of the creative fusion offerings at this Bridgeport eatery. The Korean-Polish street fare pairs perfectly with the brews and cocktails next door at Maria’s Packaged Goods and patrons can sample them on the back patio. The addition of Pizza, Chicken, Ice Cream offers more menu items for the patio.

960 W 31st St
Chicago, IL

20. Truth Italian Restaurant

56 E Pershing Rd, Chicago, IL 60653
Truth/Google

For the past five years, Truth restaurant has been one the most underrated Italian spots in Chicago. With fresh pastas, killer mozzarella sticks, and more, this Bronzeville restaurant is a fun place to shoot the breeze with friends and family.

56 E Pershing Rd
Chicago, IL 60653

Related Maps