Outdoor Dining in Chicago
Pop 5: Your Fave al Fresco Dining Destinations
Welcome back to the Pop 5, featuring Chicago's best places to do anything and everything. Last week, we told you about the best places to buy workout wear. This week, we're highlighting a different kind of recreational activity: eating. In honor of the unofficial start to Summer, I've compiled your favorite outdoor dining destos in the city.
- The name Piccolo Sogno (464 N. Halsted St., 312-421-0077) literally translates into "little dream," which is pretty much how we feel about its adorable outdoor patio (pictured above). The Halsted strip is not the most attractive, but you won't have to worry about viewing it in Piccolo's hidden garden, complete with fully grown trees and comfortable patio seating on a wooden deck. Luckily, the food matches the ambiance. While the pizzas and pastas are divine, lighten up for Summer with a caprese salad or griglia mista: grilled calamari, shrimp, octopus, tossed with orange, fennel, tomatoes, olives, potatoes, arugula, and lemon oil.
- Another hidden respite is the outdoor patio at Duchamp (2118 N. Damen Ave., 773-235-6434), which is concealed by surrounding buildings and a wooden fence that just so happens to have a nice wooden bar to match — very incognito. The resto pays homage to French painter Marcel Duchamp, who was also an American citizen, so the cuisine is an amalgamation of global flavors and the down-home goodness of the good ol' US of A. Who knows? You may find your Summer love while chowing down on some PEI mussels at one of the long, wooden communal dining tables.
- Tavern on Rush (1031 N. Rush St., 312-664-9600) is positioned directly in the Gold Coast area that locals (and tourists) know as the "Viagra Triangle." While we'll leave that to your imagination, there's no denying that the outdoor patio at Tavern is one of the most seen and be seen outdoor (an indoor) dining destos in town. The people watching is just as delicious as the oversize salads, sammies, and mains — both of which offer something for everyone.
- Market Bar and Grill (1113 W. Randolph St., 312-929-4787) doesn't stop at one outdoor dining area, but rather three: a beer garden, sidewalk patio, and rooftop deck, all of which are jam-packed this time of year. But don't just think of Market as a great place to grab a bite (like juicy burgers, huge sandwiches, and shareable apps) after work or late into the night (because it is); the weekend brunch satisfies with dishes like bananas foster french toast and housemade biscuits and gravy. Don't forget the bloody mary or mimosa. After all, this is a bar and grill.
- The outdoor covered piazza at Terzo Piano (159 E. Monroe St., 312-443-8650) in the modern wing of the Art Institute will most likely never go out of vogue — just like the collections within. Diners include everyone from ladies who lunch to tourists and everyone in between. Trade people watching for killer views of Millennium Park, Michigan Avenue, and the Bluhm Family Terrace while enjoying the signature cuisine of Chef Tony Mantuano. Along with tradish antipasto, pasta, fish, and meat preparations, look for fun menu items like the grilled housemade hot dog on celery seed bun with pickled tomato mustard, shaved celery-onion salad, and pickles, served with hand cut french fries. Who needs to barbecue when you can go to Terzo Piano instead?
Source: Piccolo Sogno