15 Waterfront Restaurants to Hit Up This Summer in Chicago

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Summer is a fleeting, precious time of the year for Chicagoans, one that we look forward to while we wait for the worst snows of January and February to pass — a time when, for once, our faces don’t hurt while we’re outside. Though restaurants are still adjusting to a pandemic-era summer season, people seem to be managing to get out and enjoy views of the lakefront, the Riverwalk, and other waterfront spots. If you’re looking to enjoy some of the best parts of a Chicago summer while you can, check out these waterfront restaurants.

waterfront restaurants chicago
Photo Credit: Rivers Facebook Page

Rivers

30 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606

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At the appropriately-named Rivers Restaurant and Bar, one can take advantage of the outdoor patio seating area that sits only a stone’s throw from the Chicago river. The menu at this restaurant includes fish, seafood, steaks, and other items.

waterfront restaurants chicago
Photo Credit: South Branch Tavern & Grille Facebook Page

South Branch

100 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606

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South Branch is a restaurant on the Chicago Riverwalk that has an approachable menu of American food, as well as a full craft beer list. Enjoy the outdoor seating along the river with a brew and a burger, or perhaps indulge fish tacos and a “beermosa.”

waterfront restaurants chicago
Photo Credit: Offshore Chicago Facebook Page

Offshore

1000 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

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This rooftop restaurant and bar is at Navy Pier and offers amazing lake and city views. Try a Salmon Poke Bowl, or perhaps go for the Nashville Style Hot Chicken Sandwich.

waterfront restaurants chicago
Photo Credit: Chicago Cut Steakhouse

Chicago Cut Steakhouse

300 N LaSalle St, Chicago, IL 60654

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At this waterfront restaurant, you’ll find the classic indicators of a great steakhouse: soups and salads, sides like mac ’n cheese and whipped potatoes; an array of beef cuts, and an impressive seafood selection.

waterfront restaurants chicago
Photo Credit: River Roast Instagram Page

River Roast

315 N LaSalle St, Chicago, IL 60654

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The social house provides “dramatic city and water views from every seat,” and the patio is open! If you’re feeling particularly carnivorous, try the Crispy Chicken Sandwich. If you’re feeling like something a little lighter, maybe go for the Chopped Salad.

waterfront restaurants chicago
Photo Credit: Beatnik On the River

Beatnik on the River

180 N Upper Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606

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Beatnik is a restaurant on the river in Chicago that draws inspiration from all over the world. Get a taste of the Mediterranean with the kalamata olives and fried pita of the Fattoush Salad, or experience a bit of Mexico with Huitlacoche Arepa.

waterfront restaurants chicago
Photo Credit: RIVA Crabhouse

Riva Crabhouse

700 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

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Check out Riva for great seafood, steak, and a large wine menu. At this waterfront restaurant near Navy Pier, you’ll be able to take in the lake views while sipping an Italian Pinot Grigio.

waterfront restaurants chicago
Photo Credit: Island Party Hut Facebook

Island Party Hut

355 Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago, IL 60601

If you’re in the party mood, hit up the literal Party Hut on Chicago’s Riverwalk! In addition to burgers, brats, and other party fuel, you can keep things loose with Mai Tai or sangria.

Photo Credit: Harray Caray’s Tavern Facebook Page

Harry Caray’s Tavern

700 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

One of the few lakefront spots that’s easily reachable right now, Harry Caray’s Tavern is near the main entrance to Navy Pier. The tavern’s burgers and barbecue are made all the more delightful by a dog-friendly patio.

Photo Credit: Tiny Tapp Facebook Page

Tiny Tapp & Cafe

55 W Riverwalk South, Chicago, IL 60601

Whether your appetite is big or just tiny, you’ll find just the right food to fill you up at Tiny Tapp & Cafe. We recommend starting with elotes at this restaurant on the Chicago Riverwalk. Other popular menu items include fish tacos and the Chicago dog.

Photo Credit: Pinched Facebook Page

Pinched on the River

443 E Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60611

This scenic spot between Bennet Park and the Chicago River offers delicious helpings of Mediterranean-inspired food, as well as plenty of beverage options for unwinding at the end of the day.


Photo Credit: Chicago’s First Lady Floating Rooftop

Check Out This Floating Rooftop Bar In Chicago

Want to literally elevate your waterside game? Check out the scoop on this floating rooftop bar in the city.

Check Out This Floating Rooftop Bar In Chicago


Photo Credit: Chicago Brewhouse Facebook Page

Chicago Brewhouse

33 E Riverwalk, Chicago, IL 60601

Another casual Riverwalk spot, Chicago Brewhouse offers outdoor seating right at the edge of the water, and with it a wide selection of street foods and sandwiches to go with an ice-cold beer or fruity cocktail.

Photo Credit: Pizzeria Portofino Facebook Page

Pizzeria Portofino

317 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

Close your eyes and pretend that the Chicago riverfront is actually the Italian Riviera as you eat pizza, antipasti, and seafood with a bubbly and refreshing Venetian Spritz.

Photo Credit: O’Briens Riverwalk Café

O’Briens Riverwalk Cafe

45 E Riverwalk S, Chicago, IL 60601

You’ll find a casual eating and drinking experience at O’Briens restaurant on the Riverwalk in Chicago. With lots of burgers, sandwiches, salads, and sides to choose from, the river is bound to look more beautiful while you fill your stomach.

Photo Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo

The Patio at Cafe Brauer

2021 N Stockton Dr, Chicago IL 60614

Schedule a visit to Lincoln Park Zoo (it’s free, but you currently have to pick a time-slot beforehand) and take a little break from visiting your fuzzy friends to have a patio lunch by the pond at Nature Boardwalk.

 

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Featured Image Credit: Pizzeria Portofino Facebook Page

 

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