The Best Brunches In Chicago

Chilaquiles, bread pudding pancakes, and more great reasons to get out of bed this weekend.
Rémy Martin

photo credit: Neil Burger

Brunch is one of the best reasons to put on pants on weekend mornings, and luckily Chicago is full of options. Some are mellow and available during the week, others invite chaos with their bottomless deals. But when we talk about "best brunches," we're normally thinking of places where we linger with a plate of French toast and a mimosa. Lively spots rife with the energy of people who got to sleep in until 10am. So if you decide to subject yourself to the masses on a weekend morning, make sure you’re going to a place that serves great food. For the city’s best pancakes, waffles, biscuits and gravy, and more, check out the spots below.

If you’re specifically looking for dim sum, we have a guide for that. We’ve got you covered when it comes to bagels and breakfast sandwiches, too.


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River North

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightDinner with the ParentsFirst/Early in the Game DatesSpecial OccasionsDrinking Good Wine
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Obelix, a great French spot in River North, is open for brunch Saturday through Monday. And while they have delicious French staples, the best dishes on the menu have unexpected twists, like the “foie McGriddle.” Obelix is upscale enough to have white tablecloths, but it's not stuffy. They have a fun hip-hop playlist and friendly servers who are chill enough to crack a few jokes. This is one of Chicago's toughest reservations for dinner, but thankfully you can usually get a same-day table for brunch.

photo credit: Kelly Sandos



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When Avec started serving brunch, it was one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind. The West Loop staple and favorite does a great job at brunch, which includes an excellent french toast. You want the french toast. There are other dishes like brioche donuts, a lamb burger, and shakshuka, plus bottomless mimosas. And there’s communal seating, so be prepared to ask everyone to move whenever you need to use the restroom.

Signs you’re at a restaurant from the Bavette’s, Gilt Bar, and Ciccio Mio team: ’20s jazz, a dim dining room straight out of the Clue mansion, fantastic service, and great food. You’ll find all of the above at Armitage Alehouse, the same team’s Lincoln Park restaurant. But weekend brunch is one thing this place has that those other spots don't. The brunch menu is filled with pub-inspired dishes like a full English breakfast, a blood sausage, apple, and pork cheek pie, iron-pressed waffles, and a whole bunch of brunch cocktails.

Bread pudding pancakes may have initially got us in the door, but Southport Grocery is the definition of brunch. Everything on the menu is excellent and made in-house, from the seemingly simple breakfast sandwich to the gluten-free cupcake pancakes, and you might as well throw a grown-up pop tart in the mix just to be safe. Weekend waits should be expected, but the stretch of businesses along Southport just south of Addison will help you kill some time. Staring at the menu will not help kill time, but you’ll enjoy it anyway.

Lula Cafe has been doing farm-to-table food in Logan Square since before that was a thing, and it pretty much feels like the restaurant incarnation of a farmers’ market—the very popular Logan Square farmer’s market. And while Lula is definitely popular, even when it's busy you'll have a peaceful brunch surrounded by people interested in listening to music (and talking) at a reasonable volume. The menu is new American, and you can get everything from a smoked trout scramble and rye and fennel crepes, to sweet dishes like miso caramel french toast.

Mott Street calls itself "Asian-American feast-style dining," which means the twists on brunch classics here are designed for sharing. Bring a group and sit on the large outdoor patio, splitting things like bowls of congee, coconut pancakes, and kalbi steak and eggs. Most importantly, someone needs to get the amazing Mott burger. Actually, don't share this. Not only is the meat perfectly cooked, but the hoisin aioli and sweet potato shoestrings make this one of Chicago's best burgers.

Trivoli Tavern rounds out the Bavette’s-Gilt Bar-Ciccio Mio-Armitage Alehouse quintet, and like Armitage (also on this guide), all of the above applies. The menu here features strawberries and cream pancakes, crab cake benedict, a $40 smoked salmon bagel tower, and a whole bunch of brunch cocktails. Plus, they’re part of Gin Alley, which means they also have a very cute cobblestone outdoor patio.

The decision to have brunch at Dell Rooster in West Town is always a good one. This isn’t just because the all-day Latin American restaurant has great food (and it really, really does) but because it works for all sorts of situations. Yes, the oxtail sitting on fried sweet plantains is an example of a shared plate that shouldn’t be shared, the chilaquiles are always crispy, and the dulce de leche pancakes are delightfully sweet. But the space is decorated in cute chicken murals, and they play salsa music at a volume that’s still a vibe but doesn’t force you to scream across the table, which is always a plus.

If you’re familiar with M. Henry, you’ll recognize much of the food at Bryn Mawr Breakfast Club in North Park, since the chef here started at M. Henry. This place’s food (e.g. coffee cake french toast and chorizo benedict) is on the same level, but the good news is that here, there isn’t quite as long of a wait. It’s a cutely decorated spot, with counter seating that makes it perfect for dining solo—and there’s a back patio for the summer, too.

We can only assume the one love of Un Amor in West Town is brunch. That’s their sole focus, and it pays off. At this excellent Latin-American restaurant, you’ll find plates of juicy chicken and waffles with dry chile maple syrup and brunch-adjacent dishes like a tender skirt steak sandwich topped with duck fat onions. If brunch isn’t brunch without eggs, Un Amor serves them sunny side up on a cochinita pibil tostada, or scrambled in chorizo breakfast tacos. Come with friends so you can try everything, including a tower of churro french toast.

The fantastic funk and soul soundtrack, delicious food, and long wine list are just a few reasons to hang out at Bronzeville Winery for as long as possible. Sunday brunch is another reason. There’s a variety of mostly savory plates like shirred baked eggs, chicken and waffles, and shrimp and grits to go with your “bloody mary breakfast” drink option. This American restaurant also has the perfect combination of loud music and conversational buzz that prevents the entire dining room from overhearing why your friend thinks health insurance is technically a form of gambling.

Aba is a big, trendy restaurant, though you might mistake it for a club—there’s a bouncer, a valet, and a constant crowd. Even by West Loop standards, this place is a scene. The good news is that Aba is a scene that comes with fantastic food. They serve tasty Mediterranean dishes meant to be shared, and brunch includes options like whipped feta, shakshuka, and various kebabs over rice. The space is beautiful, and there’s a huge rooftop patio that’s perfect for hanging out over post-brunch drinks (even during the winter).

Big Jones in Andersonville shows off Southern cuisine by making dishes that have bold and bright flavors, and using few processed ingredients. They serve a lot of old-timey dishes (like chicken fried in leaf lard and “crawfish étouffée circa 1930”) throughout the day, but brunch is the only time you can get their famous buttermilk biscuit egg sandwich with Creole hot sausage or the excellent beignets. Plan on not moving very fast after eating here.

It’s not often we enthusiastically recommend a restaurant for lunch, dinner, and brunch. But Roux, a counter-service New Orleans-inspired spot in Hyde Park, is a great choice for all three meals. The restaurant is large, bright, and perfect for a Sunday brunch filled with fluffy biscuits and gravy, or a weekday breakfast with coffee and beignets. The entire menu is available all day long, and there’s a pastry case up front full of incredible baked goods, like a gigantic cinnamon roll where each bite somehow tastes like the gooey center—which everyone knows is the best part.

The Chicago Diner is a long-running institution and weekend brunch destination for a reason. Everything on the menu is either vegan or can be made vegan, including their famous “Radical Reuben,” so it’s a great place to go when you don’t want to explain your dietary restrictions seven times. There are sure things like quinoa chili and more adventurous moves like poutine or country-fried “steak,” but no matter what, you should order a vegan milkshake while you’re here.

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