Food & Drink

Al Fresco Fabulousness: 12 Must-Try Outdoor Eats in Chicago!

Chicago has no shortage of great restaurants, but with the beautiful summer weather, outdoor seating is a must for any dining experience.

Whether you're looking for a romantic dinner under the stars or a casual brunch with friends, the Windy City has plenty of options to satisfy your cravings while enjoying the fresh air.

From cozy patios to rooftop decks with stunning views, Chicago's restaurants offer a variety of outdoor dining experiences.

Many establishments have adapted to the current climate by expanding their outdoor seating options, making it easier than ever to safely enjoy a meal outside.

Whether you're in the mood for Italian, Japanese, or American cuisine, there's something for everyone on this list.

Chicago's diverse culinary scene means that you can explore different neighborhoods and try new dishes while enjoying the summer weather. So, grab your sunglasses and sunscreen, and let's dive into the best restaurants with outdoor seating in Chicago.

1. Gibsons Italia

Gibsons Italia
233 N Canal St, Chicago, IL 60606 (Google Maps)

Gibsons Italia is a swanky Italian steakhouse with outdoor seating. The restaurant boasts a tri-level dining experience with two fireplaces and a roof deck.

The vast wine list pairs perfectly with the high-style Italian steak and pasta dishes. The impeccable service is attentive and knowledgeable, making for a perfect date night spot.

The stunning views of the Chicago skyline and river add to the seductive restaurant experience.

Don't pass up the Brussel sprouts and make sure to try the Banana Oreo Cake for dessert. Gibsons Italia is definitely worth a visit for the carnivores and pasta lovers alike.

2. Farm Bar

Farm Bar
1300 W Wellington Ave, Chicago, IL 60657 (Google Maps)

Farm Bar is a cozy tavern offering farm-to-table American cuisine with a focus on seasonal ingredients.

The outdoor seating area is a great spot to enjoy a meal and drinks while soaking up the atmosphere of the neighborhood.

The menu includes delicious appetizers like poutine and cheese curds, as well as satisfying main dishes like the fried fish sandwich and chicken schnitzel.

The bar offers a variety of craft beers, ciders, and cocktails to complement the meal. The service is friendly and knowledgeable, making for a pleasant dining experience.

3. The Dearborn

The Dearborn
145 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60602 (Google Maps)

The Dearborn is a chic American tavern that offers seasonal fare and cocktails. The restaurant boasts a stylish decor and handsome architectural digs.

The outdoor seating area provides a cozy and inviting atmosphere for diners. The menu offers a wide range of unique appetizers including Duck Rillette with toast and Shrimp and Grits.

The main courses feature classic American dishes like Fried Chicken and Fish & Chips. The drinks menu is equally impressive with unique cocktails like the DB Spanish G&T and themed drinks like the 'Wicked' cocktail.

Service is impeccable with attentive staff and managers who visit each table to ensure customer satisfaction. The Dearborn is a great spot for a casual lunch or a night out with friends.

4. Gather

4539 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (Google Maps)

Gather is a chic restaurant with outdoor seating that serves up delicious New American fare.

With an open kitchen, patrons can watch as their meals are prepared with care. The staff is friendly and accommodating, making for a pleasant dining experience.

The menu offers a variety of dishes, from hand rolled spaghetti to braised pork shoulder, all of which are fresh and flavorful.

Whether you're looking for a romantic evening out or a casual lunch with friends, Gather is definitely worth a visit.

5. The Gage

The Gage
24 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603 (Google Maps)

The Gage is a gastropub with outdoor seating and a great view of Millennium Park.

The menu is small but thoughtfully crafted, with inventive American eats and a long list of beers. The service is friendly and professional, and the staff is attentive to details.

The ambiance is upscale but easygoing, making it perfect for a fancy meal or a casual drink. The portions are enormous, so it's best to come with a group or be prepared for leftovers.

The restaurant is a great spot for people watching on a sunny day, and the outdoor patio is open year-round.

6. The Duck Inn

The Duck Inn
2701 S Eleanor St, Chicago, IL 60608 (Google Maps)

The Duck Inn is a must-visit for foodies looking for a unique dining experience.

This retro-inspired restaurant with outdoor seating offers creative duck dishes and other American comfort food, along with an extensive selection of cocktails and local beers.

The service is top-notch, and the ambience is cozy and inviting, making it perfect for a date night or a night out with friends.

Whether you're looking for brunch, happy hour, or dinner, The Duck Inn has got you covered. Don't miss out on this hidden gem!

7. Virtue Restaurant

Virtue Restaurant
1462 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL 60615 (Google Maps)

Virtue Restaurant is a must-visit for those who love southern cuisine. The restaurant's outdoor seating area adds to the overall experience, with its chic and funky vibe.

The open kitchen adds a unique touch to the dining experience. The menu offers a variety of vegetarian options, and the portions are hearty and flavorful.

The staff is knowledgeable and attentive, providing excellent service. The cocktails and wines pair well with the food, and the desserts are a must-try.

Despite the restaurant's popularity, the wait times are reasonable, and reservations are recommended. Virtue Restaurant is definitely worth a visit for those looking for delicious southern fare in a unique and welcoming setting.

8. Wilde Bar & Restaurant

Wilde Bar & Restaurant
3130 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657 (Google Maps)

Wilde Bar & Restaurant is a literary-themed Irish pub that serves American bar fare.

The restaurant has an extensive beer list and leather banquettes.

The outdoor seating area is a great place to enjoy a meal with friends or family.

The service is welcoming and friendly, and the avocado toast is a must-try. Wilde Bar & Restaurant is a great spot for brunch or a casual dinner.

9. Matisse Tavern & Grill

Matisse Tavern & Grill
674 W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60614 (Google Maps)

Matisse Tavern & Grill is a gastropub that offers globally influenced pub grub.

The restaurant has a cozy indoor dining area with a decent-sized bar, but the outdoor patio is where it's at.

With a chill, speakeasy-reminiscent atmosphere inside and a fantastic outdoor seating area, Matisse Tavern & Grill is worth a visit.

The food is consistent and delicious, with good vegetarian options. The service is impeccable and the staff is fun. The atmosphere is perfect for a summer evening in the city.

10. Piccolo Sogno

Piccolo Sogno
464 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60642 (Google Maps)

Piccolo Sogno is a charming Italian restaurant with a lovely outdoor seating area.

The menu offers authentic Italian dishes that are full of flavor and made with fresh ingredients. The wait staff is attentive and friendly, providing excellent service.

The outdoor seating area is perfect for enjoying a meal on a sunny day or a warm summer evening. The ambiance is relaxed and inviting, making it a great spot for a romantic dinner or a casual catch-up with friends.

If you're looking for a delicious Italian meal in a delightful setting, Piccolo Sogno is definitely worth a visit.

11. Bar Roma

Bar Roma
5101 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640 (Google Maps)

Bar Roma is a rustic Italian restaurant and bar with a charming outdoor seating area. The food is well-executed, and the cocktails are superb.

The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, making for a relaxing and enjoyable dining experience.

The wine list is extensive, and the service is prompt and attentive. The restaurant can get busy, so reservations are recommended.

The ambiance is cozy, making it an ideal spot for a date or a night out with friends. The restaurant also offers a great Happy Hour, making it a fantastic value.

12. Ella Elli

Ella Elli
1349 W Cornelia Ave, Chicago, IL 60657 (Google Maps)

Ella Elli is a chic Italian-Mediterranean eatery and bar with a beautiful outdoor seating area.

The venue boasts swanky decor that sets the perfect ambiance for a romantic date night or a night out with friends.

The sharing plates are a must-try, and the classic cocktails are expertly crafted. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, making the dining experience even more enjoyable.

If you're looking for a fine dining restaurant with a neighborhood feel, Ella Elli is the perfect spot.