Brunch. How I have missed thee. I’ve tried my best at home — stratas, bagels and lox, quiche, waffles, even the occasional Dutch baby — but it just isn’t the same. My bacon is never as crispy, everyone has to eat the same thing, and there’s no good excuse for day drinking at home when household chores are calling. But hallelujah! I’m all vaxxed up and ready to get back out there and I bet you are too. So, call your friends, make a reservation, and lift that Bloody Maria or Mimosa in a toast to brunch at one of the best restaurants for brunch in Chicago.
120 E Delaware Pl, Chicago, (312) 280-8800
James Beard Award-winning chef Jonathon Sawyer’s globally inspired restaurant in the newly renovated Four Seasons Hotel provides all the reasons to get up on a weekend morning. Kickstart your Saturday or Sunday with a glorious bowl of Steel-Cut Oats with Brûléed Banana and cinnamon-peanut brittle or go decadent with the Breakfast Bolognese with a poached egg and crispy breadcrumbs. I’m intrigued by the Teeny Tiny Croissant Cereal served with house-made horchata, but who am I kidding? I’m going straight for the Turtle Pancakes with decadent dulce de leche and Georgia pecans, with a side of crispy bacon. Sorry, not sorry.
2542 N Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, (773) 365-1900
Logan Square has welcomed chef Doug Psaltis’ contemporary Greek restaurant with open arms, and it’s easy to see why. The brunch menu is an inviting mash-up of Greek and American dishes, like the Obvi Avo Toast with the addition of feta, dill, and Aleppo pepper, or the Tsoureki French Toast with cinnamon butter and tahini honey. Choose from a plethora of mezze offerings (I’m eyeing the Tiny Cretan Sausages, Zucchini Chips, and the Crispy Kataifi Cheese Pie), salads, and of course Georgie’s Gyros with fresh wood-fired pita bread. Beverage options include La Colombe coffee drinks, both boozy and zero-proof cocktails and a Halva Date Shake that sounds like happiness in a glass.
6157 N Broadway, Chicago, (773) 754-7429
When a restaurant’s mascot is a pig named Reginald Swinebottom III that smokes a pipe and wears a monocle and top hat, and the menu states that “Brunch is not brunch without booze. That’s just a late breakfast, or an awkward lunch,” you know you’re in for a fun ride. So, head over to Edgewater, knock back a Spiked Kyoto Black Cold Brew gilded with FEW Bourbon or a shot of Bailey’s, grab a Spicy Pickled Egg, and pull up a seat. This is stick-to-your-ribs, North Woods kind of brunch. Hence the gargantuan pile of Breakfast Poutine, a somewhat intimidating Burger for Breakfast (replete with tomato jam, cheese, sausage links, and hollandaise sauce), or a Wisconsin Handpie. You’re gonna need a nap.
1300 W Wellington Ave., Chicago, (773) 281-2599
This Lakeview hangout is a sister restaurant to Evanston’s Farmhouse and River North’s Farmhouse Tavern, and a similar vibe of regional Midwest cuisine and, well, farmhouse décor prevails. The Breakfast Flatbread — laden with herbed goat cheese, sunnyside egg, veggies, and sausage — is the perfect table snack while waiting for your entrée. A Farm Bar Quinoa Bowl, chockful of smoked trout, quinoa, green chickpeas, kale, feta, and more, is one of the healthier choices, so feel free to order a Buttermilk Biscuit on the side! Spring Vegetable Hash and the Farm Eggs Benedict would both be lovely companions to the Bee-llini, a combo of Bubbly Bee sparkling wine with fresh grapefruit juice.
5212 North Clark St., Chicago, (773)-944-0429
This Andersonville favorite might be on Clark Street, but let the truly global menu here unmoor you a bit from your surroundings. No matter your palate, you’re sure to find something that suits your fancy on chef Rolf Pederson’s creative menus. At brunch, that might mean the Indian-inspired Fried Potatoes with tamarind, chaat masala crema, and cilantro, or the Japanese-style Shrimp Okonomiyaki, a large cabbage pancake topped with spicy mayo, furikake, pickled ginger, and bonito flakes. Jerk Shrimp & Grits brings the Caribbean to mind, while thoughts of Mexico are evoked by the Horchata French Toast topped with shaved Mexican chocolate. What a way to travel without ever leaving Chicago!
441 N Clark St., Chicago, (312) 985-6909
River North has a new destination weekend brunch with the opening of Lil’ Ba-Ba-Reeba! from Lettuce Entertain You. An offshoot of their longtime Lincoln Park tapas place, you’ll find all sorts of tasty brunch tapas on order, including a Kale & White Cheddar Tortilla (a riff on the traditional Spanish potato omelet), Brunch Patatas Bravas (topped with a sunny-side-up egg), and favorites like Chorizo-Wrapped Date Pintxos filled with manchego cheese, Ibérico Ham Croquetas with sherry aioli, and a Gazpacho Bloody Mary. The Watermelon Sangria Spritz might be the perfect summer-day drinking beverage.
109 W Hubbard St., Chicago, (312) 526-3511
The first Korean-inspired bar concept set in the middle of River North is a certified hit. They’re now serving brunch, with Bulgogi Hash playing a starring role. Marinated shaved ribeye, diced potatoes, peppers and onions topped with melted cheese and a fried egg? Sounds like a plan. Korean Fried Chicken and Waffles are topped with gochujang-maple syrup, and they do a take on the traditional Hawaiian dish Loco Moco with kimchi fried rice topped with a glazed beef patty, fried egg, and kimchi gravy. Wash it all down with Soju Mimosas or a Korean Bloody Mary, garnished with K-Pop Chicken, pickled cucumber, and citrus wedges. Time for some Seoul searching.
838 W. Kinzie, Chicago, 312-801-1181
Chef Amanda Salas brings the yummy to this industrial-chic West Loop brunch spot with extensive outdoor patio space. This is let’s-get-down-to-business elevated bar food, like the BLT & E breakfast sammy, a brioche bun stuffed with bacon-onion jam, sunny egg, chipotle mayo, arugula and tomato. Corned beef H*A*S*H* is rife with roasted potatoes and caramelized onions and topped with poached eggs and a stoneground mustard sauce. Save room for the dreamy Orange Creamsicle Pie in a walnut-graham cracker crust.
2456 N California Ave, Chicago, (773) 661-6028
The new sister restaurant to Aldo Zaninotto‘s Osteria Langhe, one of the best Italian restaurants in the city in my opinion, has landed in Logan Square. Chef Jacob Solomon’s dinner menu focuses on authentic Roman dishes and flavors, but the brunch menu skews more Mediterranean. Order me a Breakfast Pizza with ricotta, preserved tomato, and black trumpet mushrooms, top it with a sunny egg, and color me one happy gal. The Cured Salmon with Fennel Pollen Crackers, Cyprus Hash with sweet potatoes and Halloumi cheese, and spicy Shakshuka with lentils and poached eggs are also calling me. And with the Sunday Funday treat option, get a bottle of Prosecco with a selection of fresh juices. Who would complain?
35 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, (630) 590-9444
The big Crate and Barrel in Oakbrook takes a cue from IKEA with the opening of The Table at Crate, a sunny full-service restaurant amid the array of kitchen gadgets, platters, and house furnishings. It’s a stylish menu as well from chef Bill Kim (Urban Belly), who brings some extra wow to the menu with some bold, bright Asian flavors. Crispy Edamame Dumplings are served with ponzu sauce and cilantro, while the Spicy Tofu Noodle Salad with Korean BBQ mushrooms and spicy dandan sauce is a wonderful vegan and gluten-free option. Special brunch items include sweet and savory Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with smoked pork and shishito peppers, and a Hot Donut filled with chocolate pôt de crème. Shopping AND eating? If I must.
720 N State St., Chicago, 312-374-8995
Michelin-starred chef Carlos Gaytán is serving up a truly special Mexican brunch at his River North restaurant. He brings his signature flair to the weekend with stunners like the Duck Waffle (Belgian waffle topped with duck leg carnitas glazed with chipotle and hibiscus, sweet potato puree and a poached egg), Fish Tacos (featuring tempura-fried mahi-mahi, Brussels sprouts slaw, and pico de gallo on soft housemade tortillas), and a Chorizo Crêpe stuffed with melty Chihuahua cheese and creamy chipotle sauce. The refreshing Tzuco Margarita, flavored with fresh lime juice, elderflower, and cucumber, is never a bad idea.
3335 N Halsted St., Chicago, 773-395-9663
This well-established Boystown restaurant — a consistent Michelin Bib Gourmand winner — may not be new, but their brunch menu is, and it’s well worth a stop! Chef Devin Kreller hits all the brunch high points with his hot, crispy Beignets, dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with chocolate sauce for dipping. The Green Eggs & Ham Benedict combines house-smoked ham, poached eggs, asparagus, and chives on a toasted English muffin, napped with béarnaise sauce and paired with beef fat-fried seasoned potatoes. And there’s no denying the lure of Banana Bread French Toast, the rich, eggy bread gilded with caramelized bananas, pecans, and maple syrup. Is it Sunday yet?
Because You’re Not the Only One Who’s Hungry…
We hope you’ll get the chance to check out all of these incredible spots around Chicago, but the next time you do, take a moment to remember how fortunate you are to be able to enjoy such fabulous food. Feed your stomach, then your soul by paying forward your good fortune and supporting one of these food-centric nonprofits.
More from Better:
- 16 of the Best New Chicago Restaurants to Try in 2021
- Our Favorite Women-Owned Restaurants in Chicago and the Suburbs — Part 2
- Must-Try Women-Owned Restaurants in Chicago and the Suburbs — Part 1
Julie Chernoff, Better’s dining editor since its inception in 2007, graduated from Yale University with a degree in English — which she speaks fluently — and added a professional chef’s degree from the California Culinary Academy. She has worked for Boz Scaggs, Rick Bayless, and Wolfgang Puck (not all at the same time); and counts Northlight Theatre and Les Dames d’Escoffier International as two of her favorite nonprofits. She currently serves on the national board of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, an advocacy group addressing hunger issues in the U.S. and Israel for the nearly 46 million people — veterans, children, seniors, tribal nations, and more — who go to bed hungry every night.