French dining has always been associated with luxury and perfectly crafted cuisine. However, many believe that you can only enjoy this type of unique experience by taking a trip to Europe. Well, you’re in luck, because Chicago has some incredible outdoor opportunities to feel like a European traveler this Summer. Whether it be going all-in on a luxurious dining experience or settling into a comfy chair at a quaint cafe, there’s something for everyone to experience in the Windy City.
If the name hasn’t given it away already Pierrot Gourmet is the closest you will get to an authentic French cafe in the windy city. Contrasting the hectic city sidewalks, their outdoor seating area is a space of tranquility and relaxation. Sip on espresso and dig into a French pastry as you watch the world go by from their street-facing patio. Just make sure that you don’t expect to see the Eiffel Tower in the distance as you daydream about a European escape.
Just off of Randolph Street there is a hidden cobblestone alley that transports diners into the heart of France. With champagne as their primary focus (given the name, that seems pretty reasonable), RM Champagne Salon offers a wide variety of bubbly and even more options for dining. With an eclectic mix of French classics like the Croque madame and new dishes like the RM burger, you’ll be sure to find something for everyone at this secret European hideaway.
Nestled within the University of Chicago campus, Plein Air Cafe takes the hustle and bustle out of life and leaves room to relax. The name literally translates to “in the open air” in French, so you know that this is a great place to enjoy some coffee and pastries outside. Minimalist decor and a white color palette also work together to create an open and welcoming vibe in this Hyde Park hotspot.
Spanning three storefronts in Logan Square, Lula Cafe could be considered the poster child for farm-to-table eating in Chicago. They pride themselves on using quality ingredients and unconventional cooking methods. Whether it be a birthday, anniversary, or just a random Wednesday afternoon, Lula Cafe encourages anyone and everyone to stop by. And, if their traditional menu doesn’t satisfy you, stop by on Monday nights for a $45 fixed price dinner which is never the same as the week before.
Author: Colin Jay