Outdoor dining: Escape

If you're looking for a quick get-away from the busyness of your daily life, check out some of these quiet dining areas, located away from the hustle and bustle of it all:<br>
<br>
<b>Bennison's Bakery</b> (1000 Davis St., <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PLGEO100100501430000" title="Evanston" href="/topic/us/illinois/cook-county/evanston-PLGEO100100501430000.topic">Evanston</a>; 847-328-9434; <a href="http://bennisonscakes.com/">bennisonscakes.com</a>)<br>
 Aromas waft from the kitchen's screen door to six tables. Bracing coffee and bites (from $2) of sticky pecan rolls, flaky almond horns, croissants, warm ham/cheese sandwiches. Hours: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sat.; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sun.<br>
<br>
<b>Gruppo di Amici</b> (1508 Jarvis St.; 773-508-5565; <a href="http://gruppodiamici.com/">gruppodiamici.com</a>)<br>
You can't always please your squeeze or kids. Plop yourself at six tables, let the friends roam to discover an Irish pub, take-out gourmet shop, coffee shop and Indian/Pakistani restaurant. Here enjoy Roman-style pizzas, penne, antipasti. From $8. Hours: 5 to 10 p.m. Tues.-Thurs. and Sun.; 5 to 11 p.m. Fri., Sat; closed Mon.<br>
<br>
<b>Piccolo Sogno</b> (464 N. Halsted St.; 312-421-0077; <a href="http://www.piccolosognorestaurant.com/">piccolosognorestaurant.com</a>)<br>
Flee congestion of Grand, Halsted and Milwaukee into this leafy oasis. Fresh takes on Italian on veggies, pasta, pizza, seafood. Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Sun.-Thurs.; to 11 p.m. Fri., Sat.<br>
<br>
<b>Taxim</b> (1558 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-252-1558)<br>
Pick the sidewalk patio or rooftop (July) for Greek cuisine and wines. From $5 for appetizers and combination plates; breakfast yogurt bar. Hours: 8 a.m. to midnight for café/bar daily; dinner 5 to 10 p.m. Wed. through Mon.; closed Tuesday.<br>
<br>
<b>Topaz Cafe</b> (780 Village Center, <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PLGEO100100501180000" title="Burr Ridge" href="/topic/us/illinois/cook-county/burr-ridge-PLGEO100100501180000.topic">Burr Ridge</a>; 630-654-1616; <a href="http://topazcafe.com/">topazcafe.com</a>)<br>
West suburbanites love to unwind at this 80-seat patio.  Highlights of the American menu include superior fish and pasta dishes and clever desserts. Hours: lunch 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; dinner 5 to 10 p.m. Mon-Sat. and 4 to 8 p.m. Sun.<br>
<br>
<i>--Margaret Sheridan
(Photo: Branko Palikuca, owner of Topaz Cafe, on the restaurant's patio/Alex Garcia, Chicago Tribune</i>)
chi_090611_topaz_photo

( June 3, 2009 )

If you're looking for a quick get-away from the busyness of your daily life, check out some of these quiet dining areas, located away from the hustle and bustle of it all:

Bennison's Bakery (1000 Davis St., Evanston; 847-328-9434; bennisonscakes.com)
Aromas waft from the kitchen's screen door to six tables. Bracing coffee and bites (from $2) of sticky pecan rolls, flaky almond horns, croissants, warm ham/cheese sandwiches. Hours: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sat.; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sun.

Gruppo di Amici (1508 Jarvis St.; 773-508-5565; gruppodiamici.com)
You can't always please your squeeze or kids. Plop yourself at six tables, let the friends roam to discover an Irish pub, take-out gourmet shop, coffee shop and Indian/Pakistani restaurant. Here enjoy Roman-style pizzas, penne, antipasti. From $8. Hours: 5 to 10 p.m. Tues.-Thurs. and Sun.; 5 to 11 p.m. Fri., Sat; closed Mon.

Piccolo Sogno (464 N. Halsted St.; 312-421-0077; piccolosognorestaurant.com)
Flee congestion of Grand, Halsted and Milwaukee into this leafy oasis. Fresh takes on Italian on veggies, pasta, pizza, seafood. Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Sun.-Thurs.; to 11 p.m. Fri., Sat.

Taxim (1558 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-252-1558)
Pick the sidewalk patio or rooftop (July) for Greek cuisine and wines. From $5 for appetizers and combination plates; breakfast yogurt bar. Hours: 8 a.m. to midnight for café/bar daily; dinner 5 to 10 p.m. Wed. through Mon.; closed Tuesday.

Topaz Cafe (780 Village Center, Burr Ridge; 630-654-1616; topazcafe.com)
West suburbanites love to unwind at this 80-seat patio. Highlights of the American menu include superior fish and pasta dishes and clever desserts. Hours: lunch 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; dinner 5 to 10 p.m. Mon-Sat. and 4 to 8 p.m. Sun.

--Margaret Sheridan (Photo: Branko Palikuca, owner of Topaz Cafe, on the restaurant's patio/Alex Garcia, Chicago Tribune)

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