Get Fresh

Eight picks for outdoor dining

Los Angeles | New York | San Francisco

It's outdoor dining season and the pressure is on. You've got four months to eat as many meals as possible under the summertime sky. From cozy backyards to rooftop patios, here are eight not to miss:

RESTAURANT PATIO PERKS
Bang Bang Pie
(Logan Square)
One of summer's simple joys is a biscuit breakfast in this pie shop's side yard. Occasional breakfast specials–like peanut butter and jelly cinnamon rolls–are even better eaten at one of Bang Bang's picnic tables.
Ada Street
(Bucktown)
A charcoal grill is one of this brick-lined patio's many charms; come summer, chef Zoe Schor adds grilled flatbreads to the menu. Even indoor seats get wafts of fresh air, as the back wall of the restaurant retracts into the ceiling, like a garage door.
Mana Food Bar
(Wicker Park)
Summer is an ideal time to visit this tiny, no-reservations vegetarian restaurant, as a sidewalk patio doubles Mana's seats. We go regularly for healthy feasts of collard-wrapped vegetable maki, quinoa salad and saag paneer.

Lula Café 
(Logan Square)

This spacious sidewalk patio is at its most peaceful (and accessible) midday or late on weeknights. Plot your late lunch or dinner accordingly, as this perennial Logan Square favorite is an excellent spot for a rosé-soaked summer meal.
Gene's Sausage Shop 

(Lincoln Square)

A good beer garden is a valuable summer asset. A rooftop beer garden atop a renowned sausage shop is even better. Grab a picnic table, a bratwurst plate and a German brew, and toast the season.

Sumi Robata Bar
(River North)

Robata-grilled skewers and icy udon noodles with scallions, soy sauce and fresh wasabi can now be eaten overlooking Sumi's pebbled Zen garden. The new wooden patio is petite, so be sure to request it when making a reservation.
Nomi
(Downtown)
Nomi's sixth-floor garden is our go-to spot for a Downtown meal alfresco. A condensed version of the restaurant menu features simple dishes like a prawn-topped Caesar, white-bean hummus and platters of chilled shellfish.

Longman & Eagle
(Logan Square)

Two recent additions–last summer's side patio and this year's new OSB (off-site bar), whose side wall fully opens–make it easier than ever to eat outside at this Logan Square standby. Go on Saturdays for its weekly pop-up sausage shop.