There’s something special about dining outside in the summertime, and it’s an experience that’s all the more special at these 10 local patios.
What’s not to like about dining outdoors? There’s something special about enjoying a delicious meal surrounded by a bright sun and refreshing breeze.
And for good reason. We’ve spent the colder months cooped up inside our homes, but now that the weather is nice, we’re finding all the more reason to enjoy the great outdoors.
We’re lucky enough to reside in an area that’s full of amazing places to dine outdoors. Some places have breathtaking waterfront scenes and soothing landscapes, while others allow diners to enjoy a meal immersed in a picturesque setting.
Whether it’s a date night or a casual sit-down experience you’re looking for, these spots are worth adding to your to-do list.
Large, blue umbrellas keep the patio tables of this upscale pizzeria shaded on days when the sun is relentless. Flowers line a black railing, adding a unique splash of color and calmness.
Located in bustling downtown Barrington, Neoteca specializes in authentic, wood-fired pizza, made with fresh ingredients imported from Italy.
While the menu is loaded with Italian classics, like ravioli and spaghetti and meatballs, the wood-fired pizza is the fan favorite. Several options are available, including the Oliva, which comes with marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, olives and salami.
Complete your outdoor meal with one of several wine varieties, including Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Crystal Lake Brewing
Prior to COVID-19, this brewery had a small outdoor space with just four tables and accommodated 20 people. Last summer, co-founder John O’Fallon and his team opened additional tables in the parking lot to create an expanded beer garden that now seats 100 people.
Shaded by several individual tents, tables are situated right outside the brewery. A string of bright lights keep the party going long after the sun goes down.
Since there’s no restaurant in-house, guests are welcome to bring their own food. Be on the lookout for various food trucks that visit on Friday nights.
Enjoy a solid lineup of made-in-house beers featuring reliable favorites like Beach Blonde and Busted Prop. Seasonal specials include the Snack Bar, a strawberry rhubarb milkshake IPA.
Enjoy a delicious, juicy burger and pair it with a cold, alcoholic beverage on the patio of this downtown McHenry restaurant, which overlooks a scenic side stream of the Fox River.
There are several burgers on this loaded menu, including The Hurricane, which comes with macaroni & cheese, bacon and onion strings. The Windy City has Italian beef, mozzarella and spicy giardiniera.
Complete your outdoor experience with one of several Cobb’s Cocktails, like Tropical Minds with Cobb’s vodka, grapefruit liqueur, mint, lemon and club soda.
Take in the aura of an Italian winery at this lavish Maple Park destination. Bask in the scenic vineyard and the rolling hills between Geneva and DeKalb.
The scenery is so beautiful that you’ll most likely see weddings on most weekends.
The menu is loaded with options like the Salmone Al Forno, a baked Atlantic salmon that’s panko crusted with a lemon cream sauce and served with vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes.
Complete your meal with an award-winning wine produced and aged right on site. The Prairie Star, with subtle grass aromas and hints of tangerine, is a fan favorite.
Situated in the heart of historic downtown Geneva, Fiora’s is located in one of Third Street’s most picturesque houses, and the sprawling patio out front is a perfect fit. The result? An outdoor dining experience in an elegant atmosphere and a rich backdrop.
When live music is playing on a nice summer night, people sing along to the music and even dance in the street and sidewalks.
Enjoy entrees like the Pan Smoked Short Rib, served with sour cream and chive-whipped potatoes, chipotle barbecue sauce and a summer vegetable medley. Pair it with Domaine La Croix Belle Syrah, a wine with soft red fruit, cassis, violet and sweet spices with just a hint of licorice.
Eden Restaurant & Events
Located just off the Fox River in downtown St. Charles, this sprawling restaurant and event space has everything needed for a fun and memorable night out.
This exciting atmosphere is made popular with the help of breathtaking river views from the south end of downtown St. Charles. It’s further enhanced by top-notch Mediterranean cuisine like grilled lamb chops with potatoes, red pepper, peas, mint and tzatziki.
After dinner, take a stroll along the riverwalk that runs between the patio and this quiet stretch of the Fox River.
Enjoy live music outdoors on various summer nights. Check ahead to see the schedule.
Public House of Woodstock
Located in the heart of the Woodstock Square, this restaurant is housed inside the lower level of the old McHenry County Courthouse.
Black chairs and tables, covered by large black umbrellas, are situated right outside the courthouse on a spacious and scenic patio, so guests can enjoy an exceptional meal surrounded by rich history and the hustle and bustle of the Square.
For something different, try the Southwest Steak Risotto, a creamy Italian risotto with chorizo, pico de gallo, tortilla strips and wagyu steak.
The restaurant also hosts Paws on the Patio each Thursday, so diners can enjoy a meal with their four-legged friend.
Port Edward Restaurant
Set right off the Fox River, this patio combines fine dining with a beautiful backdrop in the heart of downtown Algonquin.
On Fridays, this place is home to an international seafood and sushi buffet. On Saturdays, come for the Prime Surf and Turf buffet, and on Sundays, check out champagne brunch. These meals can be paired with some live music.
Soup, steak and poultry are on the menu, but this place is all about the seafood. Hemmingway’s Trout is a whole trout deboned with bacon, onions and a side of galley pan fries, served in a skillet.
Gifts of the Sea Pasta has shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, calamari and octopus over pasta, then smothered in a white wine butter sauce.
After a long day on Geneva Lake, unwind with a meal from this lakeside restaurant, located off the docks at Gage Marine, in Williams Bay, Wis.
Pier 290 serves up American fare like the Surf & Turf Trio, which comes with a 4-ounce filet, two grilled prawns and a petite Maine lobster tail. This work of art is served with a roasted potato medley.
The outdoor bar area is complete with a sandy beach and fire pits, all located right off the docks. A new bandshell, which is used for live outdoor music, keeps the party going all summer.
Reservations are encouraged, but walk-ups are always welcome.
Two Brothers Roundhouse
This sprawling brewpub restaurant, which is also a music venue and banquet space, is home to one of the largest beer gardens you’ll ever see.
Located in Aurora, the entire facility is 70,000 square feet, so a large beer garden only makes sense.
Be on the lookout for occasional weddings and plenty of live entertainment in a variety of musical styles, including rock, blues and bluegrass.
The menu is loaded with classy and diverse options, like a smoked half-chicken, slathered in a Two Brothers whiskey barbecue sauce and served with roasted red potatoes and green beans.
Pair your meal with one of several beer options, like Pinball, a juicy pale ale with tropical and citrus fruit notes.