Best Alfresco Dining in Chicago
The Bean's the thing
Patrons of Park Grill, centered in Millennium Park, can catch glimpses of themselves in the famous Cloud Gate sculpture (better known as the Bean; pictured at left). The eatery has two sit-down outdoor restaurants: Prairie-style Park Grill and the casual Plaza at Park Grill.
At the sophisticated Park Grill, South Side native and Chef Bernie Laskowski serves his take on American classics and traditional ethnic dishes, such as the falafel with wheatberry salad ($12) and creamy carbonara pasta with a slice of crisp pork belly on the side ($18). Other winners: watermelon gazpacho topped with shredded crab ($5) and the wild mushroom flatbread ($11). Can't choose a dessert? The cookies, candies and chocolate plate offers two of each ($5).
Most of the food at the Plaza at Park Grill is grilled. Duck taco appetizers wrapped in homemade tortillas make a light meal ($10); so does the grilled peach salad ($8). Entrees ($10-$18) include burgers, sandwiches, sea scallops with red pepper chutney and apricot-thyme glazed chicken. Lemon meringue parfaits are $5. A silver almond bean garnishes the signature "beantini" cocktail.
Park Grill, 11 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago (312/521-7275).