Best Chicago brunch restaurants
Lula Cafe isn’t a vegetarian restaurant, but with dishes like a tofu-veggie scramble with ginger-miso sauce and a grain bowl with hazelnut vinaigrette, Jason Hammel’s menu appeals to vegetarian diners. Breakfast and brunch are available daily (except Tuesday), which means if you’re an ambitious Logan Square–ite, you can pop in for coffee and a vegetarian burrito before work. On weekends you’ll likely wait, but the house-made pastries, gingerbread French toast and a gin Bloody Mary are worth the trouble.
When was the last time you had eggplant enchiladas, avocado toast accented with green almond vinaigrette or Dark Matter nitro coffee on draft at a diner? Dove’s Luncheonette, the Southern-tinged Tex-Mex spot in Wicker Park, is not your average greasy spoon. If you overdid it last night, make your first order the Back to Life cocktail, a sundae glass crammed with marinated seafood and peppers, a.k.a. your magical hangover cure.
It's time to change up your brunch routine, and Mott St. is the perfect place to do it. The West Town restaurant offers an enticing lineup of Asian-remixed brunch classics. Try the kimchi fried rice, black bean shrimp and grits or the eggplant Benedict. Looking to hit the reset button after an indulgent weekend? Our favorite menu item is the Bowl of Awesome, a serving of creamy yogurt topped with all kind of healthy goodies including raw honey, bee pollen, hemp seeds and seasonal fruit.
For a touch of bohemian glam in the morning, this is the weekend revival you need. Start with a spicy Bloody Mary or go for a flight of beer and order a Bohemian creme donut straight away—it's topped with chocolate stout glaze and stuffed with decadent malted cream. From there, it's a battle of sweet vs. savory with tough choices like lavender French toast with roasted pear or tempura fried chicken atop a nori biscuit. The delightfully unexpected flavors throughout the menu will wake up your senses in no time.
This no-frills Humboldt Park café is serious about its French-inspired eats, and brunch is the best time to dabble in a little bit of everything. We recommend ordering from the a la carte menu, where you can piece together a well-rounded spread of caviar toast, sauteed calf brains, griddle cakes and seared foie gras. If you're looking for something of the Americana variety, there's a customizable breakfast sandwich on the menu, too. Do save room for the expertly crafted pastries or take a few to go.
Paul Fehribach's exploration of Southern culinary history draws on historic recipes to tell the story of Southern cuisine. For an introductory course, drop by the Andersonville stalwart for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, when the smell of fresh-baked cornbread muffins and fried chicken wafts from the kitchen. The menu is filled with hits, but we're particularly fond of the Biscuit Art section, which includes four biscuit sandwiches that are hearty enough to feed a small family. You can't go wrong with the sweet and spicy chicken option: It's adorned with zesty pickles and a perfect sunny-side up egg. You're going to need a fork and a knife for this one.
Fact: Chef Stephanie Izard makes a mean brunch. Proof: the all-day breakfast menu at West Loop mainstay Little Goat Diner. Channel your inner 5-year-old when you tuck into dark chocolate chip crunch pancakes topped with chocolate malt butter or the Fat Elvis waffles, which are layered with topped with banana, peanut butter-flavored butter and bacon maple syrup.
If there is a lovelier place to grab brunch in all of Chicago, we have yet to find it. Cellar Door Provisions is so tiny that if you blink, you might just miss it. We recommend keeping your eyes wide open so that you can taste the delicious treats coming out of the kitchen. The menu changes daily, but expect loads of super seasonal ingredients, soul-warming preparations and some of the most daring fare in the city.
This West Loop spot is crowded during every meal, so you should probably make a reservation to cut the wait time and get right down to sharing orders of thick maple-syrup-braised bacon, egg scrambles and brunch pastries like coffee cake. Round out your meal by splitting orders of egg-topped frites and spicy pork rinds. The drinks, like a chipotle-tequila Bloody Mary and a $5 blend of Montenegro, beer and grapefruit juice, turn brunch into a party.
A weekend afternoon in Pilsen is best started with a visit to Michelin-starred Dusek's. (Don't let the prestige fool you—this Pilsen eatery is as humble as they get.) For brunch, there's a lot too choose from: Ricotta beignets or a sticky bun? Brioche French toast or fried chicken and waffles? A juicy Lucy burger or the Thai sausage sandwich? Take a deep breath and mull it over with a Beermosa in hand.
Driven by organic, farm-fresh ingredients, Nana offers a truly exquisite brunch menu in Bridgeport. The fare here is deeply influenced by Latin American, Mexican and Spanish cuisines, which is evident in decadent dishes like the Nanadict, house-made sopes topped with poached eggs, chorizo and poblano cream. It'd be criminal to skip the crispy avocado fries, which are served with a chipotle-lime mayo that'll temp you to lick the bowl clean. There aren't many sweet options on the menu, but the seasonal French toast and pancakes (cherry and peaches and cream, respectively) are really all you need; share an order with the table.
Brunch is served daily at Cherry Circle Room, where food from Peter Coenen and cocktails from Paul McGee combine for a wonderfully delicious meal. While you peruse the menu, start with the CCR Milk Punch—coffee mixed with bourbon, rum and milk—then try a smoky Red Snapper alongside baked eggs with prosciutto. By the time the egg-topped ham sandwich with gruyere or gooey triple cheeseburger arrives, you’ll be ready for a refreshing gin fizz made with Earl Grey tea. Once you’re done, spend the afternoon playing bocce and, yes, sipping cocktails in the adjacent Game Room.
When calories don't count (every Sunday), book it to Bridgeport for hearty English-influenced eats at Pleasant House Pub. Craving something savory? Opt for the Royal Breakfast Butty, house-cured pork belly topped with a sunny-side up egg, cheddar, arugula and special sauce on a brioche bun. Or cure your sweet tooth with the vanilla bread pudding French toast, which is soaked in custard and adorned with seasonal fruit, maple syrup and chantilly cream.
By now, you've probably visited Sarah Grueneberg's pasta palace for dinner. (If not, stop whatever you're doing and make a reservation already.) Now it's time to venture back to the West Loop spot to try the lunch menu, which is available on Saturday and Sunday starting at 11:30am. You'll be able to enjoy many of the same dishes that appear on the dinner menu—octopus spiedino, 'nduja arancini and egg yolk raviolo—and try Grueneberg's take on brunch fare. The ricotta crespelle with roasted peach, cashew milk and oat granola is a good place to start, but purists will love the tigelle egg sandwich with bacon, broccoli schmear, tomato and parm fonduta.
At this adorable, sunny, daytime-only café, health food is tasty enough to eat. The owners are committed to organics and offer meat-free options, but they’re okay with a little cheese, butter and sugar every now and then. Case in point: thick, dense breakfast bread pudding and a heaping breakfast sandwich of fried egg, Gorgonzola, applewood-smoked bacon and fresh thyme. If that’s too good and gooey for you health nuts, there’s always the Vegan Epiphany, an organic tofu scramble that just may live up to its name.
Live large and head to Bridgeport for Sunday brunch at chef Kevin Hickey's neighborhood spot. The Duck Inn specializes in all things savory with menu items like chiliquelles with scallion crema, duck confit hash and fried cheese curds served with Bloody Mary ketchup. If you must, toss in a side order of beignets or a sticky bun to satisfy your sweet tooth. There's a short list of brunch cocktails to choose from, too—from mimosas and Bloody Marys to The Devil's Tongue, a mix of cachaça, blackberry liqueur, habanero shrub, lime and ginger beer.
Brunch at Soho House? While it sounds uber exclusive, locals know that the hotel's lobby is open to the public and serves fantastic brunch bites. Grab a seat at a long communal table or settle into a cozy nook and order a round of breakfast-friendly cocktail. From there, you'll peruse menu options like house-made pastries, basil-studded avocado toast, breakfast pizza and house granola with Greek yogurt and berries. Bring your laptop and plug in or get lost a copy of the day's paper, which are scattered throughout the space.
This Logan Square whiskey bar already blends high- and lowbrow with its menu of whiskey shots and fancy plates. The brunch menu does, too—you can dig into a plate of eggs and bacon with a cold PBR on the side, while your date noshes on granola with smoked blueberries and horchata gel. But no matter what you get to eat, you can come together over Dark Matter coffee and excellent drinks. If you still have room after your meal, go next door to the OSB and grab one of Longman's gourmet doughnuts.
This is the brunch to save for an extra special occasion (or when mom's in town), but rest assured it's worth every penny. Guests are treated to four courses that regularly change, and you’ll see some of chef Iliana Regan’s signature items throughout the meal—think whiskey-glazed doughnuts, boules and owl-shaped foie gras. Drinks can be ordered a la carte or as a pairing (three full cocktails if you’re looking to get your morning going). We loved the rosewater mimosa concoction and their take on a Bloody Mary with tomatillo and jalapeño.
Brunching doesn’t have to derail your commitment to healthy eating—Beatrix offers dishes that are flavorful but light. Quinoa cakes with poached eggs come with a fresh tomato-basil sauce, 10-grain oatmeal gets a boost from dried cherries, and a menu of fresh-squeezed juices includes energizing power greens like kale, plus add-ins like pineapple and mint. After such a virtuous meal, reward yourself with a stop at the cookie bar for a perfectly sinful chocolate chip treat.
RM Champagne Salon is one of those places that has the rare ability to transport you somewhere else—specifically to a Parisian café. Slurp oysters, munch on Lyonnaise salad and devour a ham-stuffed croque madame. This French-tinged brunch is best enjoyed on the sunny out-back patio, but if the weather isn't cooperating, the cozy interior is a great place to hole up on a Sunday morning with friends and a glass of bubbly.
If you prefer your brunch with a side of scene, there's no better spot than 3 Arts Club Cafe inside Restoration Hardware in the Gold Coast. The tree-filled, glass-topped space is decked out in chandeliers, expensive furniture (of course) and an epic fountain. Be prepared to wait it out before you're able to get your hands on proper bites like a lobster roll, toast and jam, granola and a pristine scramble. A glass of champagne makes the perfect accessory here.
Mornings are an otherworldly experience at this uber-cool West Town hideaway from the folks behind Celeste. If you can, nab a spot toward the front of the restaurant, where sunlight pours in from the atrium-style ceiling and lush greenery fills the room. The morning menu is a global affair with dishes like chai cinnamon rolls, smoked baba ganoush, shakshuka with duck eggs and Spanish tortilla with uni. Stay cool with a boozy slushie or opt for one of the no-proof concoctions; we're big fans of the Wagon Wheels with carrot juice, lemon, cardamom, hoja santa and rosemary.
Judging by its name, you might assume that this spot is a Cali import, but Left Coast is a Chicago original that pushes the boundaries on what healthy food should be. Skip your usual coma-inducing brunch routine for fresh, tasty options like the Montecito hash—two poached eggs atop a bed of tender garnet yams, red bell pepper, kale, spinach, queso fresco and lemon yogurt—or the buckwheat pancakes topped with seasonal fruit, yogurt and granola. With locations in River North and Lakeview, it's easy o eat well every day of the week.
This River North seafood haven offers a sunny, reliable weekend brunch with a variety of sweet and savory menu items. If you can, grab a table near the window to catch some rays and enjoy ample people-watching. Don't skip the fried chicken and waffles—they're light, crispy and perfectly balanced. Seafood lovers should opt for the crab Benedict, clam chowder or shrimp and grits (you've gotta have some fish while you're here).
Chef and owner Darnell Reed taps into his grandmother Luella's southern roots and the recipes he learned as a child with this Southern restaurant. On the brunch front, that translates to soul-soothing dishes like sweet potato pancakes with allspice butter, Nashville hot chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits and kale ambrosia. Psst: Luella's is BYOB, so don't forget to bring some bubbly for mimosa-making purposes.
For those days when you don’t want to wait in line or just want a light brunch, head to Baker Miller for freshly milled grain dishes and biscuits. Think perfect grits topped with seasonal ingredients, oatmeal with sweet-cherry jam and cream, and warm sourdough cinnamon rolls. Be a peach and take some sprinkle sandwich-cookies home to your roommates.
Find a pre- or post-brunch drink
Chicago kicks ass when it comes to Bloody Marys—clearly, because we're also stellar at brunch. Whether you're looking for a light cocktail to help slowly cure your hangover alongside a cup of coffee or need a big Bloody Mary that could practically function as its own dinner to go with a side of fries, Chicago's got you covered.