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Bowl of Awesome at Mott St.
Photograph: Jason Little Bowl of Awesome at Mott St.

The best brunch in Chicago to try right now

Rise and shine for eggs, waffles and more brunchy goodness at Chicago's best restaurants

By Morgan Olsen
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Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but when the weekend rolls around, it's all about the best brunch in Chicago. Whether you're catching up with friends over short stacks or nursing a nasty hangover with the finest bottomless brunch Chicago has to offer, these spots have something for everyone. Some of the best restaurants in Chicago pull double duty to cater to the morning masses with eggs, benedicts, bacon and piles of pancakes. Next time you're searching for things to do in Chicago this weekend, consider eating your way through the best brunch in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Find the best breakfast in Chicago

Best brunch in Chicago

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

1. Lula Cafe

Restaurants Eclectic Logan Square

In Chicago, it's a well-known fact that Lula's breakfast burrito—which is loaded with scrambled eggs, avocado, tomatoes and melty cheddar—can cure even the nastiest hangover. Pastry chef Emily Spurlin, who's one of our favorites in town, only helps matters with her exquisite sweets, like tangerine-turmeric cake and chocolate-rye scones served with pecan butter. On weekends, you’ll likely have to wait for a table, but it's always worth it to experience this farm-fresh restaurant for brunch.

Photograph: Diego Padilla

2. Tzuco

Restaurants River North

Named one of our favorite new restaurant openings of 2019, Tzuco is Carlos Gaytán's love letter to his hometown of Huitzuco, Mexico. Brunch service here offers a few sneak peeks of the dinner menu through dishes like the cooling ceviche verde and the indulgent steak tartare. Plus, Gaytán puts his own spin on morning staples, like the duck waffles, which are served with sweet potato purée, jamaica glaze and brussels sprouts.

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Photograph: Benjamin Macri

3. Cellar Door Provisions

Restaurants American Logan Square

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 deliciously delicate 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.

L&E, Longman & Eagle
Photograph: Clayton Hauck

4. Longman & Eagle

Restaurants Contemporary American Logan Square

Brunch at this Logan Square mainstay is a rite of passage for Chicagoans and sophisticated out-of-towners alike, and you'll understand why when you see the menu. Hiding amongst cheffy bites like the avocado toast with smoked salmon ricotta is the PBR Breakfast: two eggs, bacon or house-made sausage, house potatoes and a can of ice-cold PBR. If you still have room after plowing through that plate, head next door to OSB, Longman's gourmet doughnut concept that's only open on the weekends.

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Avocado toast
Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki

5. Dove’s Luncheonette

Restaurants Mexican Wicker Park

This Southern-inspired Mexican spot has all the trappings of a classic diner with a seriously upgraded all-day menu that includes hangover-curing dishes like the Back to Life cocktail, with citrus- and habanero-marinated crab, squid and shrimp swimming in tomatoes, avocado and cilantro. The avocado toast—made fancy with queso fresco, tomatoes, red onion and fresno vinaigrette—is another crowd pleaser for brunch devotees.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

6. Café Marie-Jeanne

Restaurants Cafés Humboldt Park

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 for later.

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Photograph: Courtesy ROOH

7. ROOH

Restaurants Indian West Loop

Remix your Sunday Funday at this elevated Indian spot in the West Loop, where masala jackfruit tacos and mushroom fried rice are on deck for afternoon revelers. Make it a party by adding on bottomless mimosas or opting for the Boozy Brunch package, which allows each guest one brunch plate, a side and three cocktails, with options like a masala bloody mary and the Morning Dew, with scotch, coffee, amaretto and amaro.

Bowl of Awesome at Mott St.
Photograph: Jason Little

8. Mott St.

Restaurants Pan-Asian River West/West Town

Shake up your weekend routine at this West Town favorite, which is open for brunch on Sundays only (so plan your trip accordingly). Indulge in heartier dishes like the ricotta brick toast and the pork belly Benedict, or hit the reset button with the aptly named Bowl of Awesome—creamy yogurt topped with all kinds of healthy goodies including raw honey, bee pollen, hemp seeds and seasonal fruit.

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9. Pacific Standard Time

Restaurants River North

Calling all vegetarians and vegans! Pacific Standard Time's revamped brunch menu offers a section devoted to meat-free eaters, with a hearty, veggie-packed grain bowl and sweet potato pancakes that are made savory with mushrooms, red onions, date syrup and a poached egg. Don't worry, carnivores, there's something here for you, too, with staples like the fried chicken and Slagel Farm burger.

Blood sausage hash and roe scramble at The Publican.
Photograph: Martha Williams

10. The Publican

Restaurants American West Loop

Fair warning: Brunch at this West Loop spot isn't a low-calorie affair. Start with the beverage flight—an aperitivo and soda, mimosa and bloody mary—before digging into the beef tagine with pomegranate-persimmon relish or the pecan-studded sticky bun. Promote yourself to hero status when you order the maple-braised bacon for the table to share.

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Café Cancale
Photograph: Brian Willette

11. Café Cancale

Restaurants Wicker Park

This sunlight-filled, French-inspired hang is tailor-made for the kind of weekend brunching that's fueled by platters of oysters and glasses of bubbly. For sustenance, consider the lemon crepe or the smoked trout rillettes. The littles can tag along, too, with kid-approved eats like French toast sticks and a picture-perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

Photograph: Eugene (Huge) Galdones

12. Little Goat Diner

Restaurants Bakeries West Loop

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 banana, peanut butter-flavored butter and bacon maple syrup.

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Dusek's
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

13. Dusek's Board and Beer

Bars Gastropubs Lower West Side

A weekend afternoon in Pilsen is best kickstarted with a visit to Dusek's, where the lengthy menu offers something for everyone in your group. Start with a half-dozen oysters before padding your tummy with a pastrami pork benedict or the sweet-tooth–satisfying French toast, topped with raspberry jam, cream cheese chantilly and a heavy hand of powdered sugar. Psst! A round of beer-mosas for the table is never a bad idea.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

14. Pleasant House Pub

Restaurants British Lower West Side

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 English Breakfast, a fried egg, sausage, black pudding, baked beans, grilled tomato, roasted mushrooms and toast. Or cure your sweet tooth with the challah French toast, which is soaked in custard and adorned with seasonal fruit, maple syrup and chantilly cream.

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DaleysRestaurant.venue.jpg
Photograph: Mark Wright

15. Daley’s Restaurant

Restaurants American Woodlawn

Depending on how you look at it, Daley’s Restaurant has been around since 1892 or 1937 (the first, the original opening date; the second, the current incarnation). Either way, it’s one of the oldest restaurants in the city. But there’s no time for this homey diner to dwell on the past—the space bustles with a mix of Woodlawn locals and U. of C. students, especially in the mornings, when they gather for the ethereal Belgian waffles (offered with a side of juicy chicken wings), hearty Denver omelettes and warm, buttery biscuits.

Photograph: John Khuu

16. Luella's Southern Kitchen

Restaurants Soul and southern American Lincoln Square

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 brown sugar and bourbon French toast, 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.

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Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

17. Beatnik

Restaurants Mediterranean East Village

Mornings are an otherworldly experience at this trendy 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 smoked baba ganoush, shakshuka with duck eggs and Spanish tortilla with uni.

Afternoon tea at the Allis
Photograph: Nathan Michael

18. The Allis

Restaurants Cafés West Loop

Brunch at Soho House? While it sounds uber exclusive, locals know that the hotel's lobby is open to the public and serves fantastic, affordable 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.

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Valois.venue.jpg
Photograph: Allison Williams

19. Valois Restaurant

Restaurants American Hyde Park

Quick thinking is the key to success at this classic cafeteria: Once the line reaches the counter, you have only a few seconds to place your order, pick a side, order a drink and pay. For breakfast, we like the generous stack of French toast with a side of poached eggs. There’s always the question of whether to eat the sweet, cakey biscuits with your meal or save them for dessert; either way, make your choice the first time around. Otherwise, it’s back to the line.

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