The Best Lakeside Restaurants in Chicago | Chicago Classic Magazine

By Bob Glaze

Now that fall weather has arrived in Chicago, it’s a great time to take advantage of the many lakeside restaurants, located either directly on or near Lake Michigan beaches, before they close for the season. From north to south, my favorites include:

In Edgewater, a short walk east of the Granville Red Line stop, is a wonderful new find, The waterfront cafe. It’s a casual, seasonal restaurant with a large outdoor terrace that’s located along the lake in Berger Park. Went here with a friend on a perfect July day and had a great crab salad sandwich. I highly recommend the experience and suggest you go early as waits can be a bit long. They are open for lunch and dinner, as well as live music.

The waterfront cafe

In Uptown, be sure to have lunch at Montrose Beach at The platform. The beach house is open in the summer and early fall and has good outdoor seating. I was back for the second time and loved my fish tacos overlooking Lake Michigan. There is parking on the street or on lots nearby.

Montrose Habor wharf

Then be sure to walk along Montrose Beach, Montrose Harbour, Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary and Montrose Beach Dunes Natural Area. The views are truly stunning. The bird sanctuary is a stopping point for food, shelter and rest for migrating songbirds in Illinois in the spring, and again in the fall according to In Your Own State newsletters. Among the migrating songbirds you may see are warblers, thrushes and purple swallows. You may also spot woodpeckers and owls.

Montrose Harbor

Views of Montrose Beach

Montrose Beach Dunes Natural Area

Located along the north side of Diversey Harbor, one block from Lake Michigan, is Bacino’s Italian Grill at 248 W Diversey Pkwy. This is a casual, seasonal restaurant offering a wine list, cocktails, sandwiches, salads and pizzas. It has a lovely backyard setting with outside seating. I enjoyed my grilled chicken panini sandwich and the service!

Bacino’s Italian Grill

Bacino’s Italian Grill

The lakeside restaurant is located at the Theater on the Lake. This is a wonderful place to have lunch or dinner by the lake with elegant decor and great views. They have indoor and outdoor seating. I found the service and food to be excellent. I absolutely loved the pulled pork sandwich for lunch and highly recommend it! I was just back and loved their shrimp sandwich. You can make reservations online, which I particularly recommend when the weather is nice.

The lakeside restaurant

The Theater on the lake hosts perform with live musical events. Valet parking is available. 2401 N. Lakeshore Drive in Fullerton.

To the south, at North Avenue Beach is Avli among the castaways, a waterfront boathouse. As a fan of their other places in Chicago, I enjoyed lunch with a friend and their great food. They have a menu of mezes or starters, salads, sandwiches, bowls and desserts. The grilled salmon wrapped in pita with tzatziki, onion and tomato was very good, accompanied by tasty fries. 1603 N. Lake Shore Dr. There is a parking lot next to the boathouse. The views are incredible.

Avli among the castaways

Avli among the castaways

The next stop is in the Gold Coast at Oak Street Beach. During the summer and fall months, be sure to hit the beach. I was there for lunch at Whispers Oak Street Beach on a beautiful August day at 1001 N. Lake Shore Dr., I enjoyed watching the boats and people on the beach while listening to the classic Frank Sinatra. They have a bar as well as the restaurant. You won’t believe you’re in Chicago!

Whispers Oak Street Beach

Whispers Oak Street Beach

Near Navy Pier is Cafe Oliva on Ohio Street Beach and next to Olive Park. It’s from the same team as “The Dock” in Montrose Beach. This is a seasonal bar and restaurant located directly on the beach with an exceptional view. It is open daily for lunch and dinner. It has a menu with mussels, burgers and sandwiches, salads, coconut shrimp, fried calamari, fish and chips and fish tacos. 550 E. Grand Ave.

Cafe Oliva

Cafe Oliva

Recently opened at Navy Pier, celebrity chef Art Smith’s new family restaurant, Meeting. It offers Southern comfort food, including fried chicken, fried catfish, fried green tomatoes, cookies, mac and cheese, and collard greens. I really enjoyed my shrimp and grits before a Sunday matinee last week at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. They also have a large outdoor patio.

Meeting

Meeting

If you know any members of the Chicago Yacht Club, be sure to visit their clubhouse at 400 E Monroe St. The views of Monroe Harbor are truly stunning overlooking the boats. They also have their more casual Belmont station at 300 W. Belmont Ave.

Chicago Yacht Club

Chicago Yacht Club

Belmont–Chicago Yacht Club Station

Go out and enjoy this beautiful weather and great food!!

For more travel destinations and recommendations, visit globalphile.com.

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