Restaurants and Food - Lincoln Park Zoo

Zoo Restaurants

As of early June 2021, the main four restaurants are open (Park Place Cafe, the Patio at Cafe Brauer, Landmark Cafe, and Bird's Eye Bar & Grill).

The main restaurant at the zoo is the Park Place Cafe, a pretty good restaurant with several stations to choose from. Visitors pick up their food from each station, and then pay together at a couple of cashier stations before going over to the seating. When the weather is nice, I really love the Patio at Cafe Brauer, a sit-down restaurant which has higher-end food with a delightful view facing of the nature walk with downtown buildings in the background. The biggest other options are Landmark Cafe, with zoo food classics to order and pick up from a window, and the Bird's Eye Bar & Grill which has limited options, but a relaxing setting with games to entertain kids. Only the Park Place Cafe is open year round, all other options are seasonal.

Bringing Food

There are a lot of benches to sit if you're bringing your own food, and you can often grab a table out front of the Park Place Cafe, or throw a picnic on the lawn if the tables are full. If weather is bad, however, there's not much covered space to sit with your own food. You can try to go to the Tadpole Room in the basement of the Park Place Cafe (look for the entrance on the west side), but that's often reserved for schools or other groups.


There is no shortage of options for treats at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The Ice Cream Shoppe by the Patio at Cafe Brauer is a very nice small store with a handful of ice cream flavors, and every other restaurant includes a variety of delicious treats, as well as a few carts around the zoo.

See More Information for more details on each restaurant and full menus.


The menus listed below are from mid-June 2021 shortly after the zoo and restaurant has expanded to regular capacity. These menus are similar, but often slightly smaller than the pre-Covid menus, and I'm guessing that some additional options may be added to the menus over time.

Park Place Cafe

Park Place Cafe is a fairly good museum restaurant. It has a nice array of options, at a fairly typical quality or slightly better and a typical price for a museum. Both indoor and outdoor seating are pretty limited, so be sure to arrive early.

In addition to the menu options below, there are several refrigerators with prepackaged salads, yogurt parfaits, fruit cups, and a variety of drink options, including juice and milk.

The Patio at Cafe Brauer

I love the Patio at Cafe Brauer. It has excellent food, including decent kids options, along with a beautiful view of downtown Chicago to the south. Prices are higher than at other restaurants at the zoo, but relatively typical for a more formal sit-down setting, often $15-20 per entree. There is also a good drinks list, including beer and wines by the glass.

Since the menu changes seasonally, the menu below is just one example (from June 2021). This is the standard lunch and dinner menu, but there is also a weekend brunch menu which includes breakfast options like pancakes and eggs benedict before noon, and "patio classics" like chilaquiles, steak and eggs, and a chorizo scramble during the entire brunch.

Landmark Cafe

A decidedly retro feel, with hot dogs and polish sausage as well as a variety of snacks and deserts. It's a small pavilion by the west entrance where you order and pick up your food at the window. There is a moderate amount of seating nearby.

Bird's Eye Bar & Grill

The Bird's Eye Bar & Grill has a unique setting, above the gift shop. There's not much of a view, but being up gives a calmer atmosphere. There are also a variety of games and chairs to relax while you wait for your food (or to entertain kids while others in the family finish eating).

Safari Cafe

Similar to the Mexican food stand in the Park Place Cafe, the Safari Cafe at the north end of the zoo gives some good choices at a small stand setting. There is some limited seating nearby. In addition to the menu below, there are also treats including cookies, and a small variety of beverages.

This menu is the 2019 menu. Safari Cafe hasn't reopened since I've visited, so I'm not sure what the menu will be when it does.