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Unexpected places for great doughnuts

We hit a ramen shop, a Czech restaurant and other surprising places that are serving amazing doughnuts

By Amy Cavanaugh and Rebecca Skoch |
Oiistar serves a bao doughnut.
Photograph: Martha Williams Oiistar serves a bao doughnut.

Made with everything from pizza dough to steam buns, many of the most unique doughnuts at Chicago restaurants can’t be bought by the dozen. We headed to a pizza restaurant, a ramen spot and elsewhere to turn up unexpected spots for these sugar-coated, doughy treats.

RECOMMENDED: The best donuts in Chicago

Unexpected places for great doughnuts

Vietnamese Cinnamon Donuts at Belly Q
Photograph: Tyllie Barbosa
Restaurants, Barbecue

Vietnamese Cinnamon Donuts at bellyQ

icon-location-pin West Loop

For $4, you'll get two warm, yeasty and feather-light Vietnamese cinnamon doughnuts at Bill Kim's Korean barbecue spot. The doughnuts come strewn with a mixed berry compote, and you can get them both for brunch and dessert.—AC

Coffee and Doughnuts at Bohemian House.
Photograph: Anthony Barlich
Restaurants, Czech

Coffee & Doughnuts at Bohemian House

icon-location-pin River North

Bohemian House serves up Bohemian-inspired fare, which thankfully also seems to mean these ethereal ricotta doughnuts ($9). The only thing better than dipping doughnuts into coffee is dipping doughnuts into a ridiculously smooth, rich coffee gelato, which is made with Bow Truss coffee and sprinkled with hazelnut brittle for crunch.—AC

Bars, Pubs

Drunkin’ Donuts at Boiler Room

icon-location-pin Logan Square

This popular Logan Square pizza joint does a playful take on the Italian classic fried dough dessert zeppole ($6). The same dough used to make the large New York-style pizzas is reimagined after dinner into a trio of chewy doughnuts. The tiny puffs of dough are fried-to-order and coated with cinnamon sugar. Served warm alongside a creamy cup of delightfully buzzy vanilla-and-Jameson soft serve, you’ll wonder why you don’t have pizza for dessert more often.—RS

Restaurants, Contemporary American

Donut Shop at Longman & Eagle

icon-location-pin Logan Square

Each weekend Longman & Eagle's back space, OSB, serves doughnuts, breakfast sandwiches, cocktails and coffee. The doughnuts ($3), made by Longman & Eagle pastry chef Jeremy Brutzkus, change each weekend, so all I can tell you is get the glazed grapefruit if that's available. If not, well, anything is worth trying.—AC

Bao Donut at Oiistar
Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, Japanese

Bao Donut Oiistar

icon-location-pin Wicker Park

There’s more to the menu than just ramen at this tiny Japanese spot in Wicker Park. The steam buns (bao) aren’t just savory and make a reappearance deep-fried for dessert. Bao are made with lots of milk and sugar, which makes them an ideal choice for these delicate treats. Rolled in cinnamon sugar, the bao are served with crème anglaise frosting for dunking, and the sugary-sweetness is balanced with an unusually tart drizzle of balsamic vinegar.—RS

Chai dolce de leche doughnut at Pub Royale
Photograph: Courtesy of Pub Royale
Bars, Pubs

Doughnut at Pub Royale

icon-location-pin Ukrainian Village

A welcome new addition amid the sports bar monotony of Division Street, Pub Royale sparkles with an inviting space and modern Indian menu. The doughnut here is made from risen dough and deep-fried to a crispy brown, with a soft and chewy interior ($5). The pillow of dough is served swimming in a pool of milky dulce de leche, spiked with peppery chai tea. It’s so good you’ll have to restrain yourself from scraping the sticky remains off the plate with your fingers.—RS