Best-of Guides Chicago

Where To Eat Outdoors In Chicago

11 Restaurants
Chicago denizens know that nice weather is all too fleeting, and that every drop of sunshine needs to be soaked up. Here's where to do just that while eating at MICHELIN Guide restaurants.
Updated on 08 September 2022
Table, Donkey and Stick
2728 W. Armitage Ave., 60647 Chicago
$$ · Austrian

When American comfort food just won’t suffice, look to Table, Donkey and Stick for a helping of cozy Alpine fare. To start things off, peruse the extensive charcuterie selection before tucking into boldly flavored and creatively plated dishes. Layered like a tower, the grilled lamb shoulder over a bed of creamy lentils surprises with every bite. Choucroute garni's rich beefy flavor is cut by the creaminess of the sauerkraut purée. Out-of-the box ideas keep coming through to dessert, where a scoop of pretzel ice cream atop a jalapeño caramel is equal parts spicy and sweet.

1350 W. Randolph Ave., 60607 Chicago
$$$$ · Contemporary

This is a hip and elegant offering brought to you by wife-and-husband team, Anna and David Posey, and what they do here is pure culinary magic—after all, "Elske" is Danish for “love." The spacious setting is equal parts minimal and intimate; while a lovely patio, complete with an open-air campfire, is perfect for a single (or several) sip. The chefs' deeply creative ethos is reflected in this menu with seasonal, responsibly sourced dishes, each rendered with impeccable skill. A night in their hands might unveil salt-cured anchovies fortified with a Meyer lemon oil or cured hamachi with kohlrabi and kombu. 

200 N. Green St., 60607 Chicago
$$ · Peruvian

Tucked into the 12th floor of hotel The Hoxton, this light-soaked and plant-draped rooftop overlooks the Windy City's skyline. Its tropical vibe makes the perfect backdrop for Chef Stephanie Izard’s wonderfully inventive pan-Latin cooking, which she punches up with global touches pulled from her diverse culinary background. The menu may lean Peruvian, but it also offers such favorites as ceviches, empanadas, botanas, and anticuchos. The kitchen takes liberties with traditional tastes, producing dishes that celebrate the area's vibrance and bounty. To wit: salmon ceviche with pistachio, avocado, and leche de tigre; as well as chicharrón del puerco with pickled vegetables and apple salad. Cool off with a swirl of coconut- and quinoa-topped vanilla soft-serve.

The Perch
1932 W. Division St., 60622 Chicago
$$$ · American

A whitewashed façade and verdant planters welcome diners to this warm and intimate dining room. In contrast, the interior feels more industrial, by way of large steel vats of beer, for which this bijou is clearly beloved. On the sidewalk out front are two rows of tables with umbrellas. Taste the splendor behind the top-shelf ingredients in a seared tuna salad with crunchy greens, sweet mango, and soft avocado. Oven-roasted artichokes may then appear, elegantly plated and deliciously tender; while bone-in ribeye is brought to life with a side of cauliflower. Top it all off with a slice of ultra-gratifying banana cream pie.

1840 W. North Ave., 60622 Chicago
$$ · American

This accomplished team is at it again, bringing distinctive flair and flavors to their live-fire creations. Sit in the bright dining room or dine on the roof with its retractable awning. Informed and pleasant servers steer diners through a panoply of inspired dishes, including complex salads, warming pastas, and wood-fired pizzas. Octopus panzanella with charred avocado, and farfalle pomodoro with creamy burrata are beloved, individually sized bites; while the mille crêpe with poached pear, oat streusel, and Earl Grey sorbet makes for an ingenious finale. Happy hour (from Sunday to Wednesday) is perhaps the best time to sample well-priced wines and bites.

401 N. Milwaukee Ave., 60654 Chicago
$$ · Korean

This prime location welcomes diners with a mural of former First Lady Michelle Obama dressed in a hanbok. Head through the restaurant to the quiet back patio. Chef Andrew Lim's forte lies in his contemporary take on familiar Korean food. Here you will find tables spread with delicious banchan, tailed by Wagyu beef tartare accented with Asian pear. Kimchi stew with glass noodles; fire chicken with Chihuahua cheese; and even that classic fried chicken gets a spin in this kitchen—the latter with ranch and pickled radish. In lieu of dessert, go for the special and thoughtful tea cellar menu.

615 W. Randolph St., 60661 Chicago
$$ · Mediterranean Cuisine

It’s a fun vibe here, as diners are tightly packed at a long counter with communal seats in the chic wood plank-encased room; servers do a good job attending to the crowd. Sit outside for a bit more space; outdoor tables are well-shaded and flanked by planters of herbs. Mediterranean flavors factor prominently in the kitchen’s stimulating creations, like a kale and carrot salad dressed with delightfully herbaceous and spicy green harissa as well as sunflower seeds for crunch. A thick slice of excellent whole grain bread spread with walnut-beet muhamarra is the foundation of an open-faced roasted salmon sandwich.

The Gage
24 S. Michigan Ave., 60603 Chicago
$$ · Gastropub

For more than a decade, this expansive, eclectic gastropub has catered to the Millennium Park crowds. Handsome banquettes and columns wrapped in celadon tiles lend a clubby allure, but the space’s buzzy vibe never feels overwhelming. While a bar stretching half the length of the restaurant gets its fair share of happy-hour crowds, the rear dining rooms offer a more relaxed setting. Pub classics with flair define the menu, like malt-battered cod with creamy tartar sauce and parsley-flecked thick-cut fries—a solid rendition of fish and chips. Keep it light with crunchy watercress and sugar snap pea salad with house-made burrata, or go all out with a plate of chocolate-toffee cream puffs garnished with tender cocoa-dusted marshmallows.

Blue Door Kitchen & Garden
52 W. Elm St., 60610 Chicago
$$ · American

Thank chef-to-the-stars Art Smith for raising the stakes of the local dining scene with this relaxed bistro. In 1871, this carriage house home is said to have survived the Great Chicago Fire. Today, the cozy and well-appointed dining room makes the most of its parquet floors, Louis XV-style chairs, welcoming bar, and open kitchen where Southern-leaning fare is prepared in full view. Deviled eggs are a solid staple, elevated ever so slightly with pickled peppers, and the juicy, crunchy fried chicken is a hit for a reason. Signature desserts, like the towering slice of hummingbird cake layered with banana and pineapple or the scrumptious bread pudding, are sized to share. This place becomes even more charming when the weather warms and the greenery-draped patio opens.

Tied House
3157 N. Southport Ave., 60657 Chicago
$$ · Contemporary

Not one but two sections of the menu here are devoted to bread—the first offering spreads like chicken liver mousse, the second a cheeseburger, a collard green melt and a panko chicken sandwich. Of course, this kitchen can do so much more and flexes its culinary muscles in other dishes, like fried sweet potato with salsa macha and cumin yogurt or a winning Spanish mackerel set on coconut-braised garbanzo beans and garnished with fistfuls of parsley and mint. However spacious the dining room might be, the long, marble-top bar is the focal point of the room. The covered patio is well-protected from the sun but open to the breeze and is a hot spot come the first hint of spring. 

Ciccio Mio
226 W. Kinzie St., 60654 Chicago
$$ · Italian

Pastas here are made in-house, and first timers will want to sample the lasagna Bolognese rotolo, a creative riff on the classic and far lighter than it sounds. Chicken Parmesan is another favorite, but groups should also consider the vesuvio, a Chicago preparation that promises a juicy half-chicken with crisped skin and a moat of impossibly crispy potato wedges in white wine sauce. Stuffed? There must be dessert, especially that towering swirl of fior di latte gelato dusted in fennel pollen and drizzled with chestnut honey.