What could be better than nibbling alfresco while sipping cocktails? Doing them both from high above the city, watching the sunset is hard to beat. At the Affinia Hotel in Streeterville, the C-House restaurant serves smaller portions of its seafood-focused menu on the cozy rooftop, called C-View.
"We want to keep it light, people keep drinking, and then also kind of accentuate those summertime flavors; nice avocado and salads and stuff like that," said Seth Siegel-Gardner of C-View at the Affinia Hotel.
While you linger over cocktails and perhaps look down across the street at The Peninsula's Terrace - another great outdoor roof - try the mini-fish tacos, or a decadent lobster club with homemade chips. From the C-Bar downstairs: a delicious sampler of pristine seafood - both raw and seared.
In the Loop, the brand new Wit Hotel has already made a giant splash with its Rooftop restaurant and lounge, commanding views to the East, West and North don't hurt either.
"We want people to be outside and enjoy the city. So we figured we create this great venue that allows people to do that while they get to eat and drink," said Todd Stein, the chef at Roof Restaurant at the Wit Hotel.
Cocktails are a given here, but the food is more casual: mushroom pizzas with smoked mozzarella, grilled skirt steak with salsa verde and nicely charred fiorello peppers with minted breadcrumbs and chiles.
"It's kind of like dim sum Italian-style. The more people the more you get to try. You get a bite of this, you get a bite of that," Stein said.
In River North, the revamped Terrace at the Conrad Hotel is another respite from city traffic noise. Here, perched five floors above ground, food service is a bit more interactive, like the Teppan-style cookers, which allow you to choose beef, chicken and shrimp, cook them yourself, then dip into sauces or make into sandwiches.
"When we're looking at summer for the Terrace, it's all about fun, it's all about putting out fresh stuff, just exciting menus for the summer season," said John Doggett of The Terrace at The Conrad Hotel.
Even the drink program is fun: get the gang together for a pitcher or two.
"You can get mojito pitchers, you can get sangria pitchers, and its turned out to be a really big success," Doggett said.
And one of the most gorgeous views just opened up last week called the Terrace at the Trump at the Trump Hotel and Towers, sixteen floors above the river. Now there has never been a view like this because there has never been a building in this spot with this view of the city. Now the restaurant inside is Sixteen, it's a bit more high-end, but out here more casual bites more laid back, open till 11:30 at night, every night of the week. And the one word that comes to mind, when you think about all of these brand new rooftop dining options in Chicago is breathtaking.
Another great rooftop patio worth trying the food and drink is at NoMI, on the seventh floor of the Park Hyatt hotel.
The Terrace at the Conrad Hotel
521 N. Rush St.
Roof at the Wit Hotel
201 N. State St.
C-View at the Affinia
166 E. Superior St.
The Terrace at the Trump Hotel
401 N. Wabash Ave.
The Terrace at the Peninsula Hotel
108 E. Superior Street
Park Hyatt Chicago, 7th Floor
800 N. Michigan Ave.