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Apr 29, 2009 04:01 PM

Outdoor dining in Lake County / North Shore?


Just looking for some ideas for outdoor dining in Lake County (Libertyville, Lincolnshire, etc) or along the North Shore (Wilmette, Evanston, Highland Park, etc)

As the weather gets nicer, we love to eat outdoors as much as possible. As anyone from Chicago knows -- we need to take advantage of those nice, warm days that come far and few between! For our anniversary in May, I'm hoping the weather will be a bit nicer and we can find a cute restaurant...

Any ideas? Looking for a little bistro or italian restaurant with a nice atmosphere and/or view (no parking lots!)


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  1. First, a bunch of recommendations in Evanston - the first three are IMHO the three best restaurants in Evanston, FWIW - and then one last one in Lake County:

    - I've dined al fresco at Va Pensiero, one of the best Italian restaurants on the North Shore. They have a small patio hidden back between the buildings; this and Chef's Station are the only ones I'm mentioning that are not right alongside the street.

    - And I've dined al fresco on the sidewalk in front of Oceanique, the higher-end seafood-focused restaurant on Main Street. They don't have a lot of room there, just 3-4 tables IIRC.

    - I've also dined quite a few times at Chef's Station, the consistently wonderful contemporary American restaurant in the Davis Street Metra station in downtown Evanston; however, I've never dined in their outside patio serving area alongside the building, only indoors.

    - I've also dined al fresco on the sidewalk in front of Jacky's Bistro, the French bistro on the side street right off Central Street.

    - Another place with a very small (and very cramped) sidewalk seating area where I've eaten is Dixie Kitchen, on Church in downtown Evanston.

    - And I've eaten al fresco on the huge patio at Wolfgang Puck's Grand Cafe, which has closed and re-opened as Bravo! I assume they will be using the same patio area for al fresco dining. I've eaten at a couple of their other locations - it's a national chain - and it's okay, but definitely a few steps down from the best Italian restaurants in Evanston (Va Pensiero and Campagnola). But the patio is large, and has umbrella tables for shade.

    - The one place I've eaten al fresco north of Evanston is in the sidewalk seating at Miramar, the French bistro (with a Cuban atmosphere) on the border between Highwood and Highland Park, within view of the Highwood Metra station.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Thanks, nsxtasy!! Sorry it took so long for me to reply. I really appreciate all of the good suggestions. Just what I'm looking for! We might try that first one - sounds wonderful!