If huge crowds and long waits don't fit into your idea of summer fun, try one of these underrated patios.
PIZZA LUCÉ HOPKINS
What's to like: The newest location of this beloved pizza spot covers its patio with a beautiful overhead pergola and features a walk-up bar.
Surprise: The restaurant is right on the speedy Cedar Lake trail, making it a popular stop for cyclists who can ride all the way from downtown Minneapolis.
Info: 210 N. Blake Road, Hopkins. 952-767-0854. www.pizzaluce.com
NGON VIETNAMESE BISTRO
What's to like: The owner of this Frogtown favorite built a mini-oasis out of brick and wood behind the restaurant, complete with herb garden and fountain.
Surprise: Ngon is the only Vietnamese restaurant with an extensive all-Minnesota tap list -- a dozen of the very best from Surly, Lift Bridge, Summit and more.
Info: 799 W. University Av., St. Paul. 651-222-3301. www.ngonbistro.com.
LORING PASTA BAR
What's to like: Forget the sidewalk cafe. The setting here is a hidden deck near the top of this Dinkytown restaurant. With only six tables, it's about as romantic as it gets.
Surprise: It's so under-the-radar you almost have to know the secret handshake to get up there. Call ahead for availability.
Info: 327 14th Av. SE., Mpls. 612-378-4849. www.loringpastabar.com.