Say hello to your next dinner date. From Perennial Virant to Le Colonial, we’ve got the city’s best in alfresco dining.
At these enduring (and still-fresh) classics, alfresco dining never goes out of style.
1. Coco Pazzo Café
Pan-seared duck breast over polenta is served with a side of premier people-watching. Scope Michigan Avenue shoppers while sipping on one of 15 wines by the glass or 100 by the bottle. Wine Director Tamra Weiss recommends Castello di Bossi, a light and refreshing rosé ($40). 636 N. St. Clair St., 312.664.2777
2. Le Colonial
The second-floor veranda channels French-colonial Vietnam with palm trees, iron railings and ceiling fans circulating the summer breeze. Go guilt-free with one of the low-calorie cocktails, such as the Mekong Sunset (Ketel One Citroen, tangerine-ginger tea and muddled orange). 937 N. Rush St., 312.255.0088
3. Lula Cafe
For 15 years, this Logan Square gem has pioneered the patio-to-table movement. Flower boxes filled with herbs and edible flowers provide beauty as well as inspiration for a six-course vegetarian tasting menu ($48). And if the summer nights get a bit chilly, just ask for a complimentary blanket. 2537 N. Kedzie Ave., 773.489.9554
4. Perennial Virant
Chef Paul Virant takes advantage of his patio’s proximity to Green City Market for his ever-changing menu, which offers buttered radishes with lemon pickled turnips and asparagus salad with marinated feta. 1800 N. Lincoln Ave., 312.981.7070
5. Piccolo Sogno
Under the shade of an ivy-covered tree in this charming “secret garden,” enjoy a seasonal Italian wine list and rustic dishes—from squash blossoms stuffed with fontina, tomato and olive oil puree ($11) to the signature ravioli ($16). 464 N. Halsted St., 312.421.0077