Take a seat on the lively stretch of Uptown sidewalk outside Lucia's, where owner Lucia Watson has been changing her seasonal, locally focused lunch, dinner and weekend brunch menus on a weekly basis for 28 — yes, twenty-eight — years. A handful of tables are for customers dropping in on Watson's excellent counter-service cafe and bakery.
1432 W. 31st St., Mpls., 612-825-1572, www.lucias.com
At Mill Valley Kitchen, the lovely dining room is a tough act to follow, looks-wise. But the restaurant's pretty patio manages to stand up to its indoor competition. The kitchen cooks with a health-conscious touch, and service is attentive and accommodating.
3906 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-358-2000, www.millvalleykitchen.com
The patio outside Icehouse nudges up to a handsomely landscaped, only-in-Minneapolis plaza (its most talked-about features are granite blocks, salvaged from the rubble of the long-gone Metropolitan Building). At lunch, look for scrupulously prepared sandwiches and salads, and dinner means pretty small plates and inventive, eclectic entrees. Weekend brunch, too.
2528 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-276-6523, www.icehousempls.com