clock menu more-arrow no yes
Caffe Oliva
Caffe Oliva
Photo: Facebook

Your Summer Guide to Waterfront Dining

View as Map
Caffe Oliva
| Photo: Facebook

Summer weather is seemingly here to stay. For the warm, sunny days that have been few and far between, do it up right and stake out a spot at the best lake and riverfront patios in the city. Whether it's playing a game of ping-pong at Japonais or partying on the boat dock at Quay, there's plenty of places for dining and drinking on the waterfront this summer.


Eater Chicago intern Daniella Caruso contributed to this story.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Caffe Oliva

Copy Link
550 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(773) 828-9841

This summer hang out at the only spot in town that's got cabanas on the beach. Now that Grass Fed partner Josh Schonfeld has revamped the food and beverage program at Caffe Oliva, you can enjoy fresh Mediterranean fare like grilled calamari and Greek salads along with burgers and lollipop wings. Wash that all down with buckets of beers, mojitos and spiked lemonade cocktails while enjoying stunning views of the beach and Chicago skyline.

2. Castaways Bar & Grill

Copy Link
1603 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 281-1200
Visit Website

If you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax then you’ve come to the wrong place because the party never stops at Castaways. Located on the always-packed North Avenue Beach, this multi-level oasis features appetizers, burgers, salads, sandwiches and more as well as a full bar and various house cocktails. Live entertainment keeps the crowds coming.

3. The Dock at Montrose

Copy Link
200 W Montrose Harbor Dr
Chicago, IL 60640
(312) 742-5121

Surround yourself with sand, sun, water, volleyball courts and great food and drinks at The Dock. Always a popular hotspot, munch on some chips and guacamole and try a number of sandwiches, burgers and dessert options. A full bar and live music keeps the good times going into the night.

4. Quay Restaurant & Bar

Copy Link
465 E Illinois St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 981-8111
Visit Website

Last year, at the only water-level restaurant patio in the city, Quay introduced a floating dock where guests on boats can park, eat, and drink. This year, they added a service bar to privately serve those guests any alcoholic beverage their heart desires. If the patio is too hot for you, head up the stairs to The Atrium where you can relax and enjoy views of the river over some champagne and sushi.

5. Fulton's on the River

Copy Link
315 N La Salle Dr
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 822-0100
Visit Website

Located at the edge the Chicago River, Fulton’s on the River has great downtown views especially along the spacious outdoor cafe. This classic seafood and steakhouse offers everything from oysters and Alaskan King crab legs to bone-in rib-eye and filet mignon.

6. Bridge Bar Chicago

Copy Link
315 N La Salle Dr
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 822-0100
Visit Website

Speaking of Fulton's on the River, try Bridge Bar, located inside, for a drink after work. Enjoy views of the river and some of their unique cocktails which may feature some of their Slim Jim-infused bourbon.

7. Kim & Carlos Hot Dog Stand

Copy Link
1400 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60605

There are plenty of hotdog stands near the lake, but none like Kim and Carlos. After a long day exploring the Field Museum, make your way behind the building where you can order a hotdog or two, sit on the steps and enjoy the view. From Chicago-style to Polish to vegan, they've got something for everyone.

8. Japonais

Copy Link
600 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 822-9600
Visit Website

The only thing better than outdoor dining season is outdoor dining season with booze, food, and ping-pong tournaments. At Japonais, you can enjoy the warm summer weather, grab a seat in a cabana and sip on some refreshing craft cocktails before you beat all your friends in a crucial match of pong on the riverside patio.

9. North Pond

Copy Link
Lincoln Park
Chicago, IL 60614

For a great summer romance, take your beau to North Pond, located inside the quaint former ice skating shelter next to the Lincoln Park pond. With dramatic views of the Chicago skyline, the lake steps away, and a James Beard Award winning chef at the helm, you're pretty much guaranteed a second date.

10. Parrot Cage Restaurant

Copy Link
7059 S South Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60649
(773) 602-5333
Visit Website

Tucked away inside the South Shore Cultural Center, the Parrot Cage is located between the beachfront and the greens of the South Shore golf course. The restaurant is operated by the Washburne Culinary Institute and offers contemporary American cuisine inside an elegant dining room. In addition to the $30 prix fixe special on Wednesday and Thursday nights, experience a Sunday brunch buffet filled with classics.

11. Fullerton Beach Grill

Copy Link
Fullerton Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60614

Kick back and relax with a few beers and some quality barbecue courtesy of Rub BBQ. Smoked brisket, pulled pork and ribs are available as well as Chicago style hot dogs. A waterfront beer garden with table service keeps the thirsty crowds quenched.

12. Lake Shore Cafe

Copy Link
4900 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60615
(773) 288-5800
Visit Website

Get comfortable because Lake Shore Cafe serves comfort food all day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With sweeping views of Chicago's lakefront, it's a great place to spend a Sunday brunch or a Friday night for live jazz and a seafood buffet.

1. Caffe Oliva

550 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

This summer hang out at the only spot in town that's got cabanas on the beach. Now that Grass Fed partner Josh Schonfeld has revamped the food and beverage program at Caffe Oliva, you can enjoy fresh Mediterranean fare like grilled calamari and Greek salads along with burgers and lollipop wings. Wash that all down with buckets of beers, mojitos and spiked lemonade cocktails while enjoying stunning views of the beach and Chicago skyline.

550 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

2. Castaways Bar & Grill

1603 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60614

If you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax then you’ve come to the wrong place because the party never stops at Castaways. Located on the always-packed North Avenue Beach, this multi-level oasis features appetizers, burgers, salads, sandwiches and more as well as a full bar and various house cocktails. Live entertainment keeps the crowds coming.

1603 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60614

3. The Dock at Montrose

200 W Montrose Harbor Dr, Chicago, IL 60640

Surround yourself with sand, sun, water, volleyball courts and great food and drinks at The Dock. Always a popular hotspot, munch on some chips and guacamole and try a number of sandwiches, burgers and dessert options. A full bar and live music keeps the good times going into the night.

200 W Montrose Harbor Dr
Chicago, IL 60640

4. Quay Restaurant & Bar

465 E Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60611

Last year, at the only water-level restaurant patio in the city, Quay introduced a floating dock where guests on boats can park, eat, and drink. This year, they added a service bar to privately serve those guests any alcoholic beverage their heart desires. If the patio is too hot for you, head up the stairs to The Atrium where you can relax and enjoy views of the river over some champagne and sushi.

465 E Illinois St
Chicago, IL 60611

5. Fulton's on the River

315 N La Salle Dr, Chicago, IL 60654

Located at the edge the Chicago River, Fulton’s on the River has great downtown views especially along the spacious outdoor cafe. This classic seafood and steakhouse offers everything from oysters and Alaskan King crab legs to bone-in rib-eye and filet mignon.

315 N La Salle Dr
Chicago, IL 60654

6. Bridge Bar Chicago

315 N La Salle Dr, Chicago, IL 60654

Speaking of Fulton's on the River, try Bridge Bar, located inside, for a drink after work. Enjoy views of the river and some of their unique cocktails which may feature some of their Slim Jim-infused bourbon.

315 N La Salle Dr
Chicago, IL 60654

7. Kim & Carlos Hot Dog Stand

1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605

There are plenty of hotdog stands near the lake, but none like Kim and Carlos. After a long day exploring the Field Museum, make your way behind the building where you can order a hotdog or two, sit on the steps and enjoy the view. From Chicago-style to Polish to vegan, they've got something for everyone.

1400 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60605

8. Japonais

600 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60610

The only thing better than outdoor dining season is outdoor dining season with booze, food, and ping-pong tournaments. At Japonais, you can enjoy the warm summer weather, grab a seat in a cabana and sip on some refreshing craft cocktails before you beat all your friends in a crucial match of pong on the riverside patio.

600 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60610

9. North Pond

Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL 60614

For a great summer romance, take your beau to North Pond, located inside the quaint former ice skating shelter next to the Lincoln Park pond. With dramatic views of the Chicago skyline, the lake steps away, and a James Beard Award winning chef at the helm, you're pretty much guaranteed a second date.

Lincoln Park
Chicago, IL 60614

10. Parrot Cage Restaurant

7059 S South Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60649

Tucked away inside the South Shore Cultural Center, the Parrot Cage is located between the beachfront and the greens of the South Shore golf course. The restaurant is operated by the Washburne Culinary Institute and offers contemporary American cuisine inside an elegant dining room. In addition to the $30 prix fixe special on Wednesday and Thursday nights, experience a Sunday brunch buffet filled with classics.

7059 S South Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60649

11. Fullerton Beach Grill

Fullerton Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60614

Kick back and relax with a few beers and some quality barbecue courtesy of Rub BBQ. Smoked brisket, pulled pork and ribs are available as well as Chicago style hot dogs. A waterfront beer garden with table service keeps the thirsty crowds quenched.

Fullerton Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60614

12. Lake Shore Cafe

4900 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60615

Get comfortable because Lake Shore Cafe serves comfort food all day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With sweeping views of Chicago's lakefront, it's a great place to spend a Sunday brunch or a Friday night for live jazz and a seafood buffet.

4900 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60615

Related Maps