Chicago's Outdoor Dining Scene 2011: Show Me Chicago's Top Picks.

Show Me Chicago’s Top 10.
From the rooftops to the patios to street-side tables, Chicago is awash with outdoor dining options.  Many spots are heated to extend the season–so get out there and enjoy.  After careful research-eating, drinking and people watching–here are Show Me Chicago’s top ten.

The Winners are:
1.  The Purple Pig.

Tribune photo by Terrence Antonio James.

This little piggy, located at 500 N. Michigan on the Magnificent Mile has been the talk of the town since the father and son Bannos team opened it last year.  In addition to the indoor space there is a 40-seat sidewalk cafe with both bar-height communal tables and some standard size two-person tables.  The menu features small-plates and creative entrees. 312 464 1744.
2. The Terrace at Trump.

Tribune photo by Chris Salata.

The outdoor terrace, adjacent to the restaurant Sixteen, offers a sophisticated yet relaxing atmosphere plus a magnificent view of the Chicago skyline. You’ll see Lake Michigan, the Chicago River and the Wrigley Building, Hancock and more.  Go on a Wednesday or Saturday evening in the summer and get a birds eye view of the Navy Pier fireworks.  The menu is casual with sliders and champagne-based cocktails popular choices.  Expect to spend a little extra for the view and the Trump ambiance. 401. N. Wabash, 312 588 8600.

3. Feast.

Show Me Chicago photo.

This Bucktown beauty has a large covered outdoor space and a trendy vibe.  It is especially popular for brunch and breakfast.  Go early on a weekend–by 10a.m. and you can most likely get a seat without a wait as most of the neighborhood sleeps in. Expect an expansive menu with original creations and specials–including a list of hangover cure offerings.  1616 N. Damen, 773 772 7100 Breakfast, Monday through Friday, 11a.m. to 2p.m. Weekends, 9a.m. to 3p.m.

4.  Longman & Eagle.

Photo credit: Longman & Eagle.

This Logan Square winner of the Michelin’s Bib Gourmand award for good food for good value offers just that. Expect reasonably priced creative comfort food plus to-die-for desserts along with a laid-back atmosphere on a relatively quiet tree-lined street.  Highlights include the Pork Belly BLT and interesting boozey creations including whiskey flights, and large collection of bourbons. 2657 N. Kedzie Ave. (at Schubert Ave.) 773 276 7110.

5. Athena.

Tribune photo by Charles Osgood.

Head to Greektown’s Athena and grab a table at their streetside courtyard or wait at the bar until one is available.  Enjoy reasonably price authentic Greek cuisine, a view of the Chicago skyline and a party atmosphere at this popular outdoor space. 212 S. Halsted St. 312 655 0000.

6. Epic Sky.

Tribune photo by Chris Salata.

This contemporary rooftop space is the trendy new spot to see and be seen with views of the Chicago skyline.  The menu features a raw bar and small-plate offerings.  112 W. Hubbard St. (312) 222 4940.

7. The Outdoor Terrace at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Tuesdays on the Terrace.
The MCA offers seasonal outdoor dining on the Terrace adjoining their indoor restaurant Puck’s.  Guests will find an inviting park-like atmosphere overlooking the Museum’s sculpture and Lake Michigan.  The luncheon menu draws on Mediterranean and Asian influences.

On Tuesday evenings in the summer, the MCA offers a live jazz series, Tuesdays on the Terrace. The free series is hosted by local radio personalities and features some of Chicago’s finest jazz musicians.  5:30p.m. to 8p.m. A dinner buffet featuring locally grown produce is available for $22 per person or bring a blanket or rent a lawn chair ($5.00) and sit in the garden. Hamburgers, hot dogs, and snacks are available plus a cash bar.  Tickets and reservations for this event at (312) 397 4043.  220 E. Chicago Ave. General phone (312) 280 2660.

8.  The Roof.

Metromix Chicago photo.

Twenty-seven stories up in the Wit Hotel, this rooftop space offers an outdoor getaway right in the middle of Chicago’s downtown Loop.  A young crowd, good vibe, great spot to be seen and a reasonably priced appetizer menu make this a popular choice.  There are 150 outdoor seats plus 150 more in the adjacent indoor space which offers an outdoor feel.  Also an awesome bar.  201 N. State St. (312) 239 9501.

9. Terzo Piano.

Terzo Piano on the third level of the Chicago Art Institute’s Modern Wing is headed by award-winning chef Tony Mantuano.  The menu features authentic Italian ingredients and local, organic, and sustainable foods in simple but elegant dishes. The outdoor Bluhm Family Terrace just outside Terzo Piano offers spectacular views of the Chicago skyline and Millennium Park. Although not required, reservations are strongly recommended: (312) 443-8650. The restaurant is accessible from Millennium Park via the Nichols Bridgeway or through the Modern Wing entrance on Monroe Street without paying museum admission.

10.  Oak Street Beachstro.

Tribune photo by Alex Garcia.

This al fresco dining oasis, overlooking what is arguably one of the most beautiful beaches anywhere, is a must for anyone who loves the outdoors. Decent prices, average food but worth it for the atmosphere. Warning:  On a beautiful day prepare for crowds and a long wait. 1001 N. Lake Shore Dr. (312) 915 4100.

Agree or Disagree.
Everybody has their own lists and favs.  Let us know what yours are and why?  Leave your comments below.


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  • So nice Chicago photo......... Thanks for a lot

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