Food & Drink

The Best Brunches in All of Chicago

Updated On 02/04/2019 at 06:33PM EST Updated On 02/04/2019 at 06:33PM EST
Proxi
Proxi | Paul Strabbing
Kailley Lindman Photography/Mad Social

MAD Social

West Loop

Amazing breakfast options in a warm, wood-paneled space
MAD Social's pancakes might just be the best in Chicago, and you really aren't going to want to miss out on these airy, salted caramel whipped butter-topped babies. There's also an impressive lineup of savory eats, like Korean-style short rib Benedict, Havarti mac and cheese tossed with sweet corn, wild mushrooms, and crispy Brussels sprouts, and an exceptionally photogenic chicken-and-waffles number made with a churro waffle and pork belly.

Kailley Lindman pHotography

Lula Cafe

Logan Square

A neighborhood favorite staffed by self-taught chefs
A perennial favorite among local chefs and everyday eaters alike, this sunny eatery, helmed by recent Jean Banchet Award-winning chef Jason Hammel, has long been one of Chicago's brightest brunch stars. The menu changes at the season's whim, but house-made pastries and buckwheat pound cake French toast with dulce de leche, cranberry compote, and whipped cream provide a bit of stick-to-your-ribs satisfaction, while the ever-evolving "Royale" breakfast sandwich, which recently featured Hen of the Woods mushrooms, taleggio, chile honey, and a fried egg, tries to redefine the common breakfast sandwich -- and succeeds.

The Publican

West Loop

Part farmhouse and part beer hall with plenty of space to sit
The formula at The Publican is simple. Order the barbacoa beef tongue with braised cabbage, the smoked salmon, the pork schnitzel with honey crisp apple, baby kale, tarragon, and sunnyside eggs, and the wheat beer mimosa, or even some bourbon-spiked coffee. You can't go wrong.

Fat Rice

Fat Rice

Logan Square

Where Portuguese and Asian food collide in Logan Square
Go for the namesake arroz gordo brimming with curried chicken, char siu, chili prawns, and clams, and stick around for Portuguese egg tarts and Macau rice crisps with nori, sesame, pork floss, and fish-sauce caramel. And you should absolutely wash it all down with a sweet bourbon tea imbued with red vermouth, anise hyssop, and mint.

Nana

Nana

Bridgeport

Proudly organic restaurant in a cozy exposed-brick space
One of Chicago's most prominent organic and sustainable restaurants, Nana still manages to do epic brunch fare like huevos rancheros, a killer Cuban sandwich, and subtly spicy Mexican hot chocolate French toast with marshmallow cream and a flurry of toasted coconut. As if that wasn't good enough, you can even reserve group tables on weekends here.

Gather

Lincoln Square

Farm-to-table neighborhood spot focusing on community and Southern flavor
This quiet hideaway offers classic brunch fare done right, with a Southern edge. Try the chicken and waffle with maple syrup, daikon radish, cucumber, bean sprouts, cilantro, and sweet chili aioli for a unique comfort food commingling, and wash it down with one of several creative cocktail options, coffee, juice, or a breakfast beer.

Hot Chocolate Chicago

Mindy's Hot Chocolate

Wicker Park

Equally good for its sweets and its titanic burger
Mindy's is one of Damen Ave's brunch heavy-hitters. The rotating cocktail menu, which sometimes includes creations with cold-brew coffee and fresh-squeezed fruits, is perfect for quenching your booze thirst. And the standard brunch fare (French toast, steak & eggs, etc.) and unique seasonal dishes are perfect for quenching pretty much anything else. Their burger is also one of the best in Chicago, by the by.

Matthew Gilson

Roister

West Loop

Intimacy doesn't get much closer with this restaurant-in-a-kitchen
It's no secret that this Michelin-starred spot's fried chicken is otherworldly, but thanks to the addition of a supremely fluffy waffle, rich honey butter, and whiskey syrup, its brunch form arguably is its best form. Find a spot at the bustling kitchen bar, and enjoy both the energy and the warmth of the open hearth as you knock back a breakfast-y cocktail, like the Roister Mimosa crafted with sparkling wine, orange marmalade, and brioche, cinnamon toast smeared with foie gras mousse, strawberry jam, and a sprinkling of black pepper, sausage-stuffed biscuits and gravy with pickled greens, and more.

Anthony Tahlier

Somerset

Gold Coast

A stacked brunch menu served in exquisitely designed blue-and-gold space
The folks behind Michelin-starred Boka bring serious weekend brunch chops (and seven-days-a-week breakfast!) to the Viagra Triangle. Sweet bites range from gooey butter coffee cake and a house-made maple brown sugar pop tart to French toast blanketed with roasted bananas, walnuts, and butterscotch, while savory options hit high notes with the crispy chicken sandwich with kimchi aioli and a duck carnitas breakfast burrito.

Band of Bohemia

Ravenswood

A self-proclaimed culinary brewhouse with a brunch lineup as serious as its beer
Stop by this Michelin-starred brewpub for this tantalizingly botanical Jasmine Rice brew soaked up with a colossal Osetra Reserve caviar crepe cake layered with smoked sturgeon, creme fraiche, and cultured butter, tempura fried chicken and a nori-spiked biscuit, and a wholly rich and hearty Bohemian creme doughnut lacquered with chocolate stout glaze and burgeoning with Bohemian malted filling.

Uncle Mike's Place

Uncle Mike's Place

West Town

The best place in town for Filipino breakfast
Ditch the American brunch standards for a proper Filipino breakfast at this all-day eatery. The longaniza breakfast features anise wine-cured sweet chorizo with two eggs (any style) and garlic fried rice, while the top-selling marinated skirt steak is served with two eggs, your choice of hash browns or grits, and toast; both dishes are fan favorites, and shouldn't be overlooked.

Proxi | Paul Strabbing

Proxi

West Loop

Globetrotting brunch fare by way of Randolph Row
On the heels of its dinner service success, this eclectic spot adds "weekend brunch" to the ever-growing list of reasons to pay it a visit. Kick things off with a Proxi Michelada (Mesh & Bone Sotol, Negra Modelo, Clamato, gochujang, Worcestershire, lime, and Tajin salt rim), before immersing yourself in a wondrous world of grilled sourdough laden with whipped bone marrow butter and strawberry-Thai basil jam, coconut and pandan leaf French toast, kimchi fried rice, and chef Andrew Zimmerman's famous tempura elotes.

Luella's Southern Kitchen

Lincoln Square

Stick-to-your-ribs soul food
Whether you're looking to cure a hangover or bulk up to survive winter in Chicago, this Southern staple on the North Side is here to provide the weekends-only brunch goods. It takes its name in honor of chef/owner Darnell Reed's great-grandmother who moved to Chicago from Mississippi the '40's, and brought a bevy of recipes and a passion for cooking with her. Her memory lives on through dishes like kale ambrosia (kale, citrus segments, pineapple, goat cheese, candied pecans, toasted coconut, and cranberry vinaigrette), biscuits drenched in tasso and andouille gravy, and Southern Benedict made with Slagel Farm pork belly, poached eggs, Creole hollandaise, and a sweet potato biscuit.

Taffy Apple French Toast | Batter & Berries

Batter & Berries

Lincoln Park

A French toast shrine in the heart of Lincoln Park
If you fancy yourself some fancy French toast, look no further than this cafe, where a French toast flight is the obvious order move. It comes with a sample of all four varieties, including blueberry, strawberry, lemon, and caramel, so there's no need to deliberate. For something a little less sweet but still involving the eponymous batter, go for the "Cluck-N-Gaufre" waffle, which spotlights a sweet potato waffle that's stuffed with bits of fried chicken and topped with a buttermilk herb fried chicken breast and nutmeg hot sauce.

Mott St

Wicker Park

Brunch favorites with an Asian fusion twist
Chili-marinated pork job skillets, kalbi and eggs, and ricotta brick toast with beets, preserved lemon, and pepitas comprise the heart and soul of this Sunday brunch haven led by chef/owner Edward Kim. The concept's lauded Mott Burger (double chuck patties, sweet potato frizzles, pickled jalapenos, hoisin aioli, miso butter, American cheese, and dill pickles) is also available and worth trying -- if you haven't already.