Slideshow: Staff Picks: The Best Outdoor Patios in Chicago

Birchwood Kitchen
Birchwood Kitchen
Like everything else at Birchwood Kitchen, the back patio is comfortable and homey. I love to meet a friend or two for lunch and spend a lazy afternoon soaking in the sunshine over bowls of gazpacho and whatever summer beer we've brought along. —Kate Bernot

[Courtesy of Birchwood Kitchen/Facebook]

Bar Toma
Bar Toma
The patio at Bar Toma provides a perfect getaway from the hustle-and-bustle of the Magnificent Mile. Open from breakfast through to dinner, its my go-to location for everything from a morning cappuccino & cornetti, a stellar egg and mushroom (Uova e Funghi) pizza, or a late-night bite of gelato! Caveat: expect to wait upwards of 1-2 hours for a piece of prime real estate during the rip and roar of a beautiful sunny weekend. —Huge Galdones
Piccolo Sogno
Piccolo Sogno
Best outdoor seating area in Chicago? There's only one right answer to that question. Hidden behind a high fence at the relatively grungy intersection of Grand, Milwaukee, and Halsted is the gorgeous outdoor seating area at Piccolo Sogno. If you decide to have lunch in this peaceful sanctuary, which doubles as Chef Tony Priolo's garden, make sure you have no important plans for the rest of the afternoon because you're not going to want to leave. —Daniel Zemans

[Courtesy of Piccolo Sogno/Facebook]

Big Star
Big Star
Although it's no secret spot, every time the weather starts to creep closer to the 70s, I start dreaming of tacos al pastor and margaritas from Big Star. The wait for an outdoor table may bleed into the ninety minute mark on weekends, but as long as I'm waiting inside with a margarita or michelada in hand, my patience is never tested. —Anna Deem

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Terzo Piano
Terzo Piano
Honestly, I'm with Joe on this one. I've never understood the allure of sitting on some dingy little chairs on some crowded sidewalk. But even I can get behind the stunning outdoor patio of Terzo Piano in Grant Park. Featuring stunning views of Millennium Park on the surrounding skyline, this is one of the most beautiful places to dine in the city. —Nick Kindelsperger

[Courtesy of Terzo Piano/Facebook]

Irazú Cafe
Irazú Cafe
While visitors to Chicago's northwest side often flock to a certain popular taco joint adjacent to Wicker Park when the weather warms up, area-residents know Irazú provides the same high-quality food and equally stellar alfresco experience without the noisy crowds and hour-plus wait. Ample patio space, some heat lamps and a generally low-key atmosphere make this tiny BYOB Costa Rican cafe the perfect place for the foodie's version of a sun salutation. —Michell Eloy

[Irazú Cafe/Facebook]

Bobtail Ice Cream
Bobtail Ice Cream
I find few things more enjoyable than a scoop of Cubby Crunch, a fresh spring breeze, and the bench outside of Bobtail Ice Cream on the sleepy corner of Broadway and Wellington. —Lindsey Becker

[Photograph: Lindsey Becker]