There’s no shortage of alfresco dining options around town. To help you narrow down the choices we turned to those who know Chicago best: the concierge. Here’s a look at five of their favorite spots to eat outdoors.
When it comes to waterfront seating, concierge Paige Herrera of Corporate Concierge Services says you can’t do much better than the riverside terrace at River North restaurant River Roast. James Beard award-winning chef Tony Mantuano and executive chef John Hogan’s menu is comprised of contemporary American tavern fare featuring such standout items as their Big Fish Roast served with Mediterranean chips and their soul-warming Golden Goblets of perfectly-seasoned fried chicken with honey. Best described as an ideal gathering place to kick back with friends, the iconic views found here of the city’s architecture—on the banks of the Chicago River, no less— simply can’t be beat.
If you’re craving an authentic French crêpe, nothing beats La Crêperie. Described as a quiet, tree-filled oasis in the hectic Lakeview neighborhood by concierge Douglas Pickett of the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, this Chicago institution has been around since the early ‘70s and their backyard patio is truly a gem. The crêpes here range from simple (a plain buttered crepe) to savory and sweet and everything between. Paired with a lovely rosé and a summer breeze? You’re sure to fall in love with this local favorite, sans doute.
Skip to a Greek Island on Athena’s umbrella-shaded patio, which concierge Jan Viscum of the Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile calls one of the most beautiful in the city. Decorated with fountains, flowers, and columns derived from the architecture of ancient Athens, this Greektown favorite offers the ideal setting to enjoy old-world fare like loukaniko, dolmades, and lamb with artichokes complemented by amazing skyline views.
A lush escape from the busy six corners intersection of Grand, Milwaukee and Halsted is The Dawson. No matter if you’re looking to enjoy a frozen mai tai in front of the wood-burning fireplace on their spacious patio or share a canteen drink with friends at one of the communal tables, this sprawling establishment offers up one of the best outdoor dining options in the city. Tip: Go on a Monday night and delve into their endless (yes, we mean all-you-can-eat) mussels twenty bucks.
90 Miles Cuban Cafe
If you’re looking for a casual meal and to experience Chicago like a local, corporate concierge Akilah Perry suggests 90 Miles Cuban Cafe, a BYO neighborhood gem. This hot spot has two spacious patios to choose from, each boasting a colorful and lively atmosphere that’s as enchanting as the fare. You’d be remiss not to try their Cuban sandwich or ropa vieja, and make sure to bring a bottle of rum or wine to take advantage of their excellent mojito and sangria mixes.