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The 10 Best Chicago Restaurants For Brunch
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The 10 Best Chicago Restaurants For Brunch

Picture of Danai Molocha
Updated: 9 February 2017
In the last few years, weekend brunch has reached new heights in the Windy City. Every weekend, long queues wait patiently for a seat in their favorite restaurant, lured in by mountainous pancakes, fancy charcuterie and therapeutic cocktails. In the competitive Chicago culinary arena, this is our top 10 guide to places that turn brunch into art.
Terzo Piano fried egg, grilled bread, nduja, crispy kale, grated parmesan
Terzo Piano fried egg, grilled bread, nduja, crispy kale, grated parmesan | Photo Credit Galdones Photography

Terzo Piano

Terzo Piano is a sleek, minimalist choice for art-loving urbanites. Resting on the third floor of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing, it offers Sunday brunch with top flavors and a great view. Chef di Cucina Megan Neubeck creates seasonal cocktails and food options that take pride in their local, organic ingredients (there’s a list of chosen farms on the menu). You can linger over a Belgian waffle or a tortilla Espanola, a grilled lamb burger or an arugula salad with smoked trout. The cocktails feature a Modern Lady, complete with Valentine elderflower vodka, blood orange, St. Germain liqueur and egg white.

159 E Monroe St, +1 (312) 4438650.

Lula Cafe
Lula Cafe restaurant view | © Anthony Tahlier

Lula Cafe

Named after the notorious Southern belle, actress Tallulah Bankhead, Lula Cafe pioneered the sustainable, organic food movement. Using the best local produce from the farms it supports, Lula stays at the top of its game with elegantly presented dishes that range from smoked pecan sticky bun to ricotta and farm egg raviolo, accompanied by the celebrated Chicago Intelligentsia coffee.

2537 N Kedzie Blvd (between Linden Pl and Logan Blvd) Logan Square, +1 (773) 4899554.

Allium

Part of the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, Allium is pretty pricey. The restaurant serves a family-style brunch, with small plates of Aged Bijou Goat Cheese in Pastry Fruit Mostarda and Smoked Salmon ‘Baklava’ to share. Enjoy the Nutella Hotcakes all to yourself accompanied by a hand-crafted brunch punch. Just save some space for the interactive dessert buffet.

Four Seasons Hotel, 120 East Delaware Place, +1 (312) 799-4900.

Jam
© Ken Carl | Jam

Jam

Jam has a modernist-meets-classic interior, blending playful, colorful details and minimalist geometric repetition, where you will savor everything from Trout Quiche and Burrito Suizo to the Veggie Malted Custard French Toast and Massaged Kale Salad; there is also a special kid’s menu. Beverages include a rich bodied espresso with cocoa & honey flavors and a Merlot-like finish. Executive Chef Jeffrey Mauro swears by fresh and affordable ingredients, which he manipulates to healthy and creative effect.

3057 W. Logan Blvd., +1 (773) 2926011.

The Publican
Signature oyster dish | © The Publican

The Publican

A generous interior with high ceilings seats a party of over a 100 in The Publican, all side-by-side on a walnut communal table reminiscent of 16th Century European banquets. All around it, English pub-style cocktail tables accommodate those standing — ideal for whoever is waiting in line for a coveted brunch spot. The Publican features two different brunch variations at weekends: there’s a choice of Hama Hama Oysters and Truffled Egg Fettunta for Saturday, or Chachouka (baked eggs with cauliflower, pine & nuts and feta) for Sunday. There is an exclusive house blend for coffee lovers.

837 W Fulton Market, + (312) 7339555.

Perennial Virant
Biscuits and Gravy with gunthrop farm chicken sausage, two eggs sunnyside up | © Corey Nunn/Perennial Virant

Perennial Virant

A convivial bon-viveur by nature, lauded chef and restaurateur Paul Virant (also a mighty competitor in Iron Chef America) wanted to create Perennial Virant as an extension of his home. Capturing the culinary essence of the Midwestern seasons and using preservation to major effect, he recreates local flavors with foreign touches. Brunch items start with homemade doughnuts and move to Vie bread French toast with rhubarb jam, via corned beef hash. Mimosas, Bloody Mary’s and a choice of ales, wines and teas surpass by far the number of food dishes, so you will find at least a couple to ideally complement your brunch.

1800 N Lincoln Ave (at Clark St) Old Town, +1 (312) 9817070.

Birchwood Kitchen
Croque Madame | © Jane Mejdahl/Flickr

Birchwood Kitchen

The traditional, the contemporary and the wholesome meet at Birchwood Kitchen, a Wicker Park cafe where freshness is key and lab-produced ingredients and additives are treated like devil’s work. A Croque Madame or a Croque Vert — a fancy way of saying sourdough bread with eggs, gruyere cheese, and a choice of either country ham or market vegetables — Belgian waffles and a selection of sides (applewood smoked bacon, fruit salad, roasted red potatoes) rub shoulders on the small brunch menu. Tuesday to Friday 9am-2pm, and even longer on weekends (for the late-starters), you can order at the counter and then take a seat on the terrace, or by the open kitchen to enjoy the preparation of the seasonal goods.

2211 W North Ave (between Leavitt St and Bell Ave) Bucktown, +1 (773) 2762100.

Nellcôte
Nellcôte restaurant view | © Nellcôte

Nellcôte

Ornate and decadent, with Art Nouveau wrought-iron gates, a white Italian marble grand staircase, Parisian herringbone wood floors and crystal chandeliers, Nellcôte is nevertheless a casual affair. A modern playground inspired by the Villa Nellcôte in the French Riviera, where the Rolling Stones used to party with fellow ‘70s bohemians and socialites, this Chicago gastro-villa takes its menu seriously. It spices things up with small plates rooted in European cuisine and kitchen-crafted cocktails. The pasta dough is made from house-milled Midwestern wheat, but food is shareable and affordable (quiche lorraine, sunnyside-up egg pizza, organic salmon).

833 W. Randolph, + (312) 4320500.

Trenchermen
Bar view | © Trenchermen

Trenchermen

Trenchermen is a bar that serves adventurous choices. The coffee program features a monthly coffee/pastry pairing featuring Stumptown Indonesia Sulawesi Toarco Toraja and klappertart, among Kenyan doughnuts, pretzels, Greek yogurt and Japanese duck pastrami ramen. Try the Funky Chicken, a cocktail of Mexican lollipop rye, lemon jam and gumballhead.

2039 W North Ave (between Damen and Hoyne Aves) Wicker Park, +1 (773) 6611540.

The Bristol
Restaurant view | © The Bristol

The Bristol

Set in arty Bucktown, The Bristol favors casual, communal eating. Every Saturday and Sunday its menu alternates between Smoked Ham Benedict and Apple Salad, Duck Garbure and that ever popular Basque Cake. The hand-crafted cocktails range from the brunch classic mimosas to bristol bellini and poire & elderflower — or a choice of teas provided by rare tea cellars.

2152 N. Damen Ave, +1 (773) 8625555.