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Flapjacks at Gather
Photograph: Anthony Soave Flapjacks at Gather

The 10 best brunch dishes in Chicago

From perfect pancakes to Bloody Marys topped with charcuterie, these are the brunch dishes and drinks we can't stop thinking about

By Amy Cavanaugh and Time Out editors

While we were diligently brunching around Chicago to compile the list of the 20 best brunch restaurants in the city, a few things stood out. Namely, they were dishes and drinks like an elaborately dressed Bloody Mary and a perfect stack of pancakes that we couldn't stop talking about when we got back into the office on Monday. Of the many, many brunch dishes we had, these were the 10 that stood out. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to brunch in Chicago

Our favorite brunch dishes

A10's brunch menu includes veggie crepes topped with cheese sauce and a fried egg.
Photograph: Amy Cavanaugh

Vegetable crepe at A10

Restaurants Italian Hyde Park
On paper, it practically sounds ethereal, but the veggie crepe, stuffed with broccoli and mushrooms, is actually quite hearty, thanks to a creamy cheddar sauce and a fried egg.—AC
Analogue's brunch includes these outstanding beignets.
Photograph: Courtesy Analogue

Beignets at Analogue

Bars Cocktail bars Logan Square
Only available at brunch, the sugar-coated beignets are light, almost fluffy, and easily the best version of the treat in Chicago.—AC
English breakfast at Au Cheval.
Photograph: Martha Williams

English breakfast at Au Cheval

Restaurants Contemporary American West Loop

No, you’re probably not going to finish the whole thing. But that’s shouldn’t stop you from ordering the fantastic English breakfast, with super-creamy eggs, griddled Texas toast, bacon baked beans, a perfect grilled tomato and a couple of thick-cut slices of bacon. Sure, it’s missing the blood sausage you’ll often find in London, but we guarantee you won’t miss it.—Amy Cavanaugh

Poached eggs with n'duja at Avec.
Photograph: Marzena Abrahamik

Poached eggs at avec

Restaurants Mediterranean West Loop

The name of this dish does not do it justice. Yes, there are poached eggs, but they’re placed on top of toast, which has a layer of Nduja, a spreadable, spicy pork sausage. Then everything is covered with a bright lemon hollandaise and greens, which (sort of) make the dish feel a little lighter. It’s the best new play on eggs benedict we’ve seen.–AC

Pork hash at Bite Cafe.
Photograph: Erica Gannett

Pork hash at Bite Cafe

Restaurants American Ukrainian Village

We’ve eaten numerous hashes this year, but few are as thoughtful as the one at Bite: Hunks of well-spiced, braised pork shoulder, potatoes, leeks, kale and butternut squash are set atop slices of sourdough toast, and then crowned with poached eggs and a generous splash of spicy hollandaise sauce. This sauce is the key—it ties all the flavors together and it's so delicious we practically licked the plate.—AC  


Flapjacks at Gather
Photograph: Martha Williams

Flapjacks at Gather

Restaurants Contemporary American Lincoln Square

Anyone who argues there’s no reason to order plain pancakes at a restaurant when you can easily make them at home hasn’t had the beauties at Gather. So moist, so fluffy, so light—I’ve never had better in any restaurant or home (sorry, Dad).—Laura Baginski

Whole wheat carrot pancakes at Kingsbury Street Cafe.
Photograph: Martha Williams

Whole wheat carrot pancakes at Kingsbury Street Cafe

Restaurants Contemporary American River North

The whole wheat and carrot say “healthy,” the maple cream cheese and pecans say “who the hell do you think you’re kidding?” These pancakes are like the lightest, fluffiest carrot cake you can imagine, with the whole wheat taking out some of the cloying sweetness. The maple cream cheese isn’t too heavy and the pecans add a perfect crunch.—LB

Belvedere Southern Mary at Old Town Social
Photograph: Martha Williams

Bloody Mary at Old Town Social

Bars Sports Bars Old Town

The Bloody Mary is fantastic and a meal unto itself—it's made with Grey Goose and topped with basically a whole charcuterie plate: thick wedges of salami and smoked cheddar, a giant pepper stuffed with prosciutto and provolone, and a pickled pod of okra.—Kris Vire


Buttermilk fried chicken and waffles at Table Fifty-Two

Restaurants Soul and southern American Rush & Division

The signature dish at Art Smith’s Table Fifty-Two is the fried chicken and waffles, and there’s a reason why: The chicken is perfectly fried, while the waffles are nicely crunchy. It comes with a tiny mason jar of warm maple syrup—pour it over the whole dish to give it a salty-sweet flavor.—AC

The Trench Double Burger at Trenchermen.
Photograph: Nathan Michael

The Trench Double Burger Trenchermen

Restaurants Contemporary American Wicker Park

The Trench Double Burger is the food we dream about on mornings where you're still half in the bag from the night before and brunch is necessary to make the room stop spinning. Two juicy patties with aged cheddar and pickles—it is in every way the perfect combination of meat, cheese and bread. Heck, it's the burger we dream about even when we aren't trying to cure a massive hangover. Plus, it goes down easily with one of Trenchermen's Beermosas, made of beer, grapefruit and honey.—Erin Delahanty


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