Chicago is known for its many steakhouses. In fact, a recent Census poll showed that 67% of Chicagoans were actually born in one. OK, that’s not true, but we do like them, and we have a lot. But not every great steakhouse in the city has heated outdoor seating - except the nine on this guide.
Bavette’s is our favorite steakhouse in Chicago. First, because the actual steak here is the best in the city. Second, because you can come here, not order a steak (entrees like the mushroom stroganoff and the pork chop are outstanding), and still have a fantastic meal. And since every single table on their sidewalk patio is right under a heater, the 50-degree weather won’t interfere with your enjoyment of your bone-in ribeye.
We go to Maple & Ash when the average Chicago steakhouse just doesn’t feel quite special enough. Along with fantastic food, this place has giant silver candelabras on the tables, big booths covered in velvet, and a $165 tasting menu called “I don’t give a f*ck.” And their heated patio is covered by a big fancy tent (complete with a chandelier) and yes, candles on the tables. So if you’re looking for someplace to have a fancy-ish meal outside, this is a contender.
Prior to the arrival of Swift & Sons, The West Loop didn’t have a proper steakhouse - the kind with a whole section of the menu devoted to potatoes. But now it does, and we’re glad because this place has great steaks and the service is excellent. Plus, now that it’s fall, their outdoor patio (which they share with Cold Storage and the pop-up Joo-mak) has plenty of heaters to keep you, and your double-stuffed baked potato, warm.
Tango Sur is an Argentinian steakhouse in Lakeview that stands out from most of the steakhouses in the city. It’s more affordable (steaks start at around $18), plus it’s BYOB. The steaks are delicious, but the environment is even better - the patio is always fun and upbeat, along with being full of plants and heaters.
Gibsons is the most iconic place on this list, and it’s perfect for experiencing all the things people love about Chicago steakhouses: great steaks, great sides, and attentive, friendly service. But it’s here with a caveat - only the tables on the sidewalk have patio heaters, the ones out in the street for extended outdoor dining do not. But if you don’t mind throwing caution into the wind (or the promise of a six-pound dessert makes it worth the risk), this is an option.
Nothing says “Big Night Out” in Chicago like a River North steakhouse that’s owned by former reality show stars, and RPM Steak checks both of those boxes. It also has really good food, including some very expensive cuts of steak (there’s a whole section of wagyu and kobe), truffle options everywhere, and a nice heated patio. Get the chocolate cake covered in gold leaf while you’re at it.
This newish steakhouse in the Loop (it opened in 2015) is a little hard to classify. It isn’t iconic like Gibsons, or sceney like RPM, but it still serves fantastic steak, seafood, and somewhat absurd (yet delicious) sides - like a giant piece of bacon topped with maple syrup and dark chocolate. Plus, the huge patio has lots of heaters and a nice, open view from Wacker.
When GT Prime first opened in the Gold Coast, it was a meat-centric small plates restaurant. Thankfully, a few years ago they went full-steakhouse with a long menu of delicious meat - from ribeye to bison tenderloin to wagyu to a $250 “chef’s select” assortment with slices of everything. And this year they’re taking full advantage of the neighborhood’s expanded outdoor seating by putting tables out in the street with plenty of propane heaters.
Gene & Georgetti is Chicago’s oldest steakhouse - it’s been around since 1941. So obviously this place has lots of experience rolling with the punches. This year included doing takeout for the very first time, creating a coffee window, opening up a sidewalk patio, and, yes, adding heaters to their outdoor seating.