Al Fresco Dining on the North Shore

Doesn’t every meal taste better outside?

In the too-short season known as summer in Chicago, there are hundreds of restaurants inviting you to join them in the great outdoors.

Pull up a wrought-iron chair, and grab your SPF 30—these are some of our top North Shore al fresco options with a recommended summery dish to enjoy in the great outdoors.


Barrington Country Bistro
Go at lunchtime for the Salumi Sandwich, with fennel salami, Serrano ham, arugula, brie and apricot preserves on a ciabatta roll. 700 W. Northwest Hwy., 847-842-1300

Their Tuna and Avocado Sumiso—lots of diced big-eye tuna and avocado tossed with sake-miso sauce and daikon sprouts. Raw and summery! 736 W. Northwest Hwy., 847-382-1988


Bobby’s Deerfield
You’ll find me on their patio happily eating the Augie’s Cackler, a happy marriage of grilled, marinated chicken breast, tapenade, arugula and French feta on a whole-grain Kaiser roll. 695 Deerfield Rd., 847-607-9104

Tom & Eddie’s
I’m hanging with the stroller brigade, a Peanut Butter Cup Milkshake in one hand, and a Blue Chip Burger (blue cheese cream, garlic aioli, tomato, avocado and potato chips on top of a juicy burger) in the other. 740 Waukegan Rd., 847-948-5117



Coast Sushi
Now that they’ve got their liquor license, throw back a sake or two with their Crunchy Spider or Spicy Hamachi Roll. 2545 Prairie Ave., 847-328-2221

How about a glass of Found Punch and the Chef’s Board, a rotating selection of house-made goodies, always including interesting charcuterie, cheese and vegetables? 1631 Chicago Ave., 847-868-8945

Quince at the Homestead
Sit on the veranda with the Club Sandwich of the Week and a Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale, or enjoy one of Chef Andy Motto’s super-seasonal dishes off the dining room menu. 1625 Hinman Ave., 847-570-8400


Glenview House
Kick back with one of their many craft beers and a pressed Cuban Sandwich, made here with 8-hour braised pork, house-cured duck ham, Manchego cheese and pickles on a telera roll. 1843 Glenview Rd., 847-724-0692


Hackney’s on Harms
A time-honored North Shore tradition: a patio table, a Patty Melt, a half-brick of onion rings, and thou. 1241 Harms Rd., 847-724-5577


I’m crazy about their cocktails, especially teamed with the killer Sichuan Green Beans with cashews and fish sauce aioli, and some Spicy Shrimp Tempura to share. 493 Roger Williams Ave., 847-849-1009

Bella Via
How about a simple Caprese Salad, a thin-crust spinach pizza and a glass of Prosecco? That’s how they do l’estate back in Italia. 1899 Second St., 847-681-8300


For the true French bistro experience, try a glass of dry rosé and a Fresh Shellfish Platter with oysters, crab claws, clams and shrimp served with mignonette and cocktail sauces. 301 Waukegan Rd., 847-433-1078


Grille No. 43
You can’t get much more summery than Seared Ahi Tuna with chilled roasted veggies, salmon caviar and yuzu-soy sauce. 28800 N. Waukegan Rd., 847-234-7643 

They make an awesome Japanese BBQ Pork Sandwich with Kentucky soy, shaved cucumbers, fried leeks, homemade “ranch” dressing and a side of hand-cut fries that will take you back to the best picnic you never had. 28 E. Center Ave., 847-295-1000


Arriba! The Elotitos—market-style corn on the cob, dipped in house dressing and rolled in crumbled cotija cheese and dusted with ancho chile powder—is the best way to relive a summer street fair while sitting at a table. 770 N. Western Ave., 847-295-3500

Market House on the Square
Revisit July in Cape Cod with the terrific Crab Cake, “more crab than cake,” seasoned with Old Bay and sweet peppers and served – of course – with remoulade sauce. 655 Forest Ave., 847-234-8800


545 North
The Yucatan Fish Tacos are worth the drive: white corn tortillas filled with grilled mahi mahi, jalapeno pico de gallo, shredded romaine lettuce and chimichurri aioli. 545 North, 545 N. Milwaukee Ave., 847-247-8700, 


Earth and Ocean
Of course, the sushi is terrific, but there’s something about the Chicken Wings, done popsicle style in a sweet and spicy glaze, sprinkled with Buddha Dust and dried shrimp powder. Hundreds could be eaten. 125 Randhurst Village Dr., 847-398-3636


A Mamacita Margarita (all natural and sugar free, but there’s still tequila, fresh lime, lemon and prickly pear juice and agave nectar) and the Campachena Ceviche (citrus-marinated shrimp and crabmeat) can keep me going for a while. 992 Willow Rd., 847-559-0939



Tapas Gitana
Sangria me and pass the Plato de Esparragos con Jamon – blanched asparagus served with thinly-sliced Serrano ham and Manchego cheese, drizzled with sherry vinaigrette. 310 Happ Rd., 847-784-9300

Three Tarts Bakery
One of my favorite summer lunches is their Roasted Chicken and Artichoke Sandwich, followed by a slice of dreamy coconut cake. Throw in a large, freshly brewed iced tea, and happiness is achieved. 301 Happ Rd., 847-446-5444


Any Hum Liqueur-flavored cocktail will complement the Asada, grilled skirt steak with tomato, chipotle-goat cheese, herby chimichurri sauce and yucca frites. Like being on the beach in Cabo, without the sand getting in your food. (Lead photo courtesy of Libertad) 7931 Lincoln Ave., 847-674-8100


Convito Café & Market 
You can hear Lake Michigan in the background while you eat your Grilled BLT Salmon Salad, served on a bed of baby spinach and arugula and dressed with lime vinaigrette and avocado coulis. 1515 Sheridan Rd., 847-251-3654


I’m really digging their California Turkey Burger, because it’s miraculously moist and smeared with red pepper hummus, topped with avocado and micro greens, and served on a multi-grain English muffin. And did I mention the sweet potato fries? 505-507 Chestnut St., 847-441-0134 

It’s the perfect time to enjoy the Thai Duck (or Chicken) Salad, a riot of textures and flavors tossed in a gingery dressing. 1003 Green Bay Rd., 847-446-7100

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