September 28, 2022
Where to Eat & Drink

Where to Eat & Drink

Embrace spring, al fresco

Unique outdoor dining dots the northern Illinois area

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The first day you can stroll outside without bundling up in layers is worth celebrating. And what better way to toast the new season then with a glass of rose' in hand,on a patio with a view?

From the courtyard of a 19th century mansion, to the dock of an island restaurant that only can be reached via boat, there are plenty of unique area patios where you can gather to celebrate spring’s arrival. Check out these establishments for the perfect dining al fresco experience.

Meson Sabika
1025 Aurora Ave., Naperville

Built in 1847, the mansion that this Spanish tapas restaurant calls home boasts a gorgeous bricked patio in the tree-lined courtyard. Choose from a variety of cold and hot small plates that can be shared with the table. Meson Sabika offers three types of the rice dish paella: vegetarian, mariscos and valenciana. The Sunday brunch features paella along with a carving station, soup, fruit, and breakfast items.

Fuller House
35 E. First St., Hinsdale

Sip a handcrafted cocktail at this quaint patio nestled among the boutique shops in downtown Hinsdale. Or relax in the beer garden behind the restaurant’s ivy covered walls. The pub-style eatery features 10-inch wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas like arugula and prosciutto. No need to feel guilty ordering the burger of the month - Fuller House will donate $1 to a selected charity for each one purchased.

Port Edward
20 W. Algonquin Road, Algonquin

Scenic views of the Fox River surround the riverfront patio. Travel the world without leaving home by partaking in the cuisine of six countries at the international seafood and sushi buffet on Fridays followed by live music. Then come back on Sunday for the champagne brunch buffet featuring a seafood and chef carving station. Step into the wine cellar just below the lobby to select a bottle for dinner or to take home.

Docks Bar & Grill
313 E. Liberty St., Wauconda

Take in the panoramic views of Bangs Lake at the large wooden deck at Docks. Kick back and enjoy live music on Fridays and Saturdays. The menu offers a mix of casual selections like burgers and flatbreads along with entrees like walleye and the Friday fish fry. On Sundays enjoy an old fashioned supper of rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn, stuffing and a biscuit.

After the Fox
1406 N. Riverside Drive, McHenry

Sit under the umbrella tables on this riverside deck while taking in the amazing views of the Fox River and watching the boats dock along the piers in front of the patio. A variety of burgers and sandwiches are on the menu along with steaks, seafood and pork chops. The Friday fish fry serves up battered tilapia with deep fried pan potatoes and cole slaw or the fish of the day.

Public Landing
200 W. Eighth St., Lockport

Public Landing is housed inside the historic Gaylord Building. You might catch a glimpse of a wedding in the garden just beyond the patio. Enjoy a glass of seasonal craft beer as you peruse the menu options including roasted duck and sautéed calves liver. Even Fido can order off the Yappetizers menu of dog friendly entrees served with two dog biscuits and a bowl of purified water (available patio only).

2000 Orchard Road, North Aurora

The sustainable gastropub and brewery features a selection of over 400 whiskeys from around the world. Hardware’s 1.5-acre hop farm provides one of the base ingredients for all its beer. The patio surrounds the greenhouse and micro orchard where the restaurant’s produce is grown on site. Assemble a charcuterie board of meats and cheeses to share or keep the meal all to yourself by ordering an entrée plate, such as the pheducken (confit pheasant, duck and chicken) potpie.

Acquaviva Winery
47W614 Route 38, Maple Park

Take in the breathtaking views of this 40-acre estate vineyard while wining and dining on the patio. The winery boasts several award winning wines, including the Prairie Star – a white varietal with notes of tangerine – or the fruity Vitino red wine. Acquaviva serves up Italian fare with dishes including homemade gnocchi and bianca pizza. Stop by on Mother’s Day for a special tasting menu to celebrate great moms.

Port of Blarney
27843 W. Grass Lake Road, Antioch

Take a vacation to a “tropical island” without having to venture too far from home. The boating bar on Blarney island serves up happy hour specials Monday through Thursday, and an all you can eat fish fry on Fridays. Don’t have a boat? A shuttle departs every half hour to the island. Enjoy live music on Fridays and Saturday, or wake up early for breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays all summer long.

Prairie Street Brewing Company
200 Prairie St., Rockford

Enjoy views of the Rock River and boats in the Prairie Street Marinara at the patio of the historic Prairie Street Brewhouse. The restaurant offers year-around and seasonal beers in its two tap rooms. Snack on white cheddar cheese curds or try the custom blended beef burgers. The Ale Yeah Yoga, held bi-monthly, offers a 60-minute yoga class followed by a pint of beer and granola bar pairing.

Villa Verone
416 Hamilton St., Geneva

Enjoy the garden view while sipping a glass of merlot under the table umbrellas in this charming patio next to the trellis welcoming guests to Villa Verone. Authentic southern Italian dishes are served, including rigatoni bolognese, and a shrimp and scallop scampi in a garlic sauce over fettuccine. On date night, try the Prezzo Fisso fixed price menu per couple. After your meal, stop by the Upper Club on the second floor for live music on Fridays and Saturdays.

North Pond
2610 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago

Tucked away within the grounds of Lincoln Park, North Pond offers stunning views of both the pond and the Chicago skyline. The former warming shelter for ice skaters now boasts an “earth to plate” dining experience supporting local farmers. North Pond’s wine list features offerings from artisan producers who craft small lots of wine, and $1 from every bottle purchased goes to non-profit charitable organizations.