The Top 5 Brunch Spots in Chicago
Chicago is a hotbed of culinary excellence. Accolades seem near endless, from Michelin three-starred Alinea to “Top Chef” Beverly Kim’s highly lauded mom-and-pop shop, Parachute. There’s the homey Honey Butter Fried Chicken in Avondale, plus hundreds of pizza joints with deep-dish pies to die for.
Google “best brunch in Chicago” and you’ll get hit with so many search results you won’t know where to start – much less which ones have the turkey omelet or French toast you’re craving. To help you along, we carefully curated five top brunch picks in and around downtown Chicago.
1. 20 East
You can be as naughty or as nice as you want at the Talbott Hotel’s upscale brunch, where custardy brioche French toast and maple-glazed bacon stand alongside healthful egg white frittatas stuffed with avocado, grape tomatoes and baby arugula. Tuck into our signature monkey bread with caramel and walnuts, or keep things simple with a green smoothie bowl or a prosciutto charcuterie board served with parmesan cheese and warm baguette bread. The refined atmosphere of this boutique hotel eatery extends to midday cocktails. In addition to tea service and mimosas, 20 East offers eye-openers like Brunch Punch and the aptly named Defibrillator with Jameson and espresso.
While we’re tempted to point visitors towards the top-rated Lula Café, you can score Chef Jason Hammel’s fresh fare in more scenic digs here. The eatery is located inside the Museum of Contemporary Art, making it an ideal pit-stop prior to an afternoon browsing Chicago’s most intriguing collection of modern and post-modern artwork. Vegetarians can nosh on the tofu scramble or egg sandwich made with refried lentils, avocado and adobo sauce, while seafood fans swim over to the cured salmon platter and east coast oysters. Marisol is known for health-conscious fare like granola and greens: Don’t miss out on the house salad, served with a natural dressing from the circa-1977 MoMA Artists’ Cookbook.
Windy City locals were seriously bummed when this breakfast fave shuttered the doors of its Logan Square eatery after five years. After a brief hiatus and a move to larger digs, Jam reopened in November in the old Yusho space on Kedzie Avenue. A 6-time Michelin Bib Award recipient, Jam is known for its decadent malted custard French toast, saucy lamb & grits and a crepe-enchilada-burrito hybrid slathered with tomato crema. Can’t stomach wheat? No worries. Order up a salad, or the popular gluten-free kohlrabi toast with blood orange and poached egg. There’s also plenty of tea, coffee and pastries for a quick bite.
A newcomer to the Chicago dining scene, Portsmith specializes in ocean-fresh seafood and raw bites. While you’ll find sweet potato pancakes and burgers here, most diners pull into port for something more unique: toast with uni butter or king crab buns, for example. Feed your inner Rockefeller with caviar-laminated brioche and a $135 plate of lobster, shucked oysters and shrimp, or bring things down to earth with a fisherman’s take on classic chicken and waffles. Fish is flown in daily, and founding chef Nate Henssler reels in global influences from his time at Homestead on the Roof, another Fifty/50 Group restaurant.
5. The Publican
If you love meeting new folks, check out this sleek Fulton Market restaurant styled after a European beer hall. Seating is community style, with large barn wood tables and swinging doors giving the place a rustic barn feel. Though known mainly for its frothy brews and meaty pork dishes, The Publican doesn’t disappoint on weekend mornings. The Saturday and Sunday brunch menus put a heavy focus on meats and seafood, with fresh oysters leading the charge. For heartier appetites, spicy mojo rojo sausage and dry-aged sirloin provide plenty of fuel to keep your belly full and your energy up all day. There are also plenty of sweet treats, from waffles and cinnamon roll French toast to homemade cranberry swirl pound cake.
If you’re looking to stay in the heart of the action, just minutes away from the restaurants and shops of Chicago’s famed Miracle Mile, consider the Talbott. The Gold Coast boutique hotel reopened in 2017 after a four-month makeover that merged the building’s 1920s glamour with modern style and amenities. Wake up for brunch at 20 East, then head out for a day exploring the Windy City’s top attractions. Call 800-825-2688 for reservations or book your stay online today.