Not every morning involves waking up with a hangover that requires us to eat a full seven pounds of greasy bacon. More and more these days, we wake up feeling good, refreshed, and ready to make Jim Harbaugh proud by attacking the day with enthusiasm unknown to mankind. And when that’s the case, it’s great to have some brunch spots where you can eat something on the healthier side. We’re talking quality yogurt and granola, vegetable quiches, or even a salad if you’re getting a late start to your day.
Here’s where to eat a healthy brunch when you find yourself in this situation.
Check out the rest of our Guide To Being A Little Healthier, presented in partnership with Bai (a drink that helps us be a little healthier).
3 Arts Club might be the prettiest restaurant in the country. You hear that, people in L.A.? We have a prettier place than you do, and it’s even indoors. The restaurant is located in a highly attractive restored atrium of a multi-story Restoration Hardware, and once you get over the fact you're eating in an expensive couch store, you'll thoroughly enjoy your meal. In addition to the comfy couches and chandelier fit for a palace hanging in the middle of the room, there are plenty of healthy eating options, and there’s nowhere better to sit and hang for brunch.
Beatrix is a place that can solve all of your problems. Casual date? Beatrix. Work dinner? Beatrix. Coffee date? Beatrix. Healthy brunch? Beatrix, obviously. Keep it simple with oatmeal or an egg white omelette, or get more interesting with cauliflower grits and eggs or quinoa cakes with poached eggs. There are also fresh juice options like pear and passion fruit that are a nice sweet but still not entirely unhealthy touch.
Eating at The Kitchen will help keep both you and your neighborhood healthy. Not only is it a restaurant, but the same group has an established charity to help build gardens with local schools and help teach the importance of growing local food. Win-win all around. And The Kitchen in River North is in a beautiful old warehouse space right on the river where you can hang out for a lazy weekend brunch.
As the name suggests, this casual Wicker Park restaurant is best-known known for hot chocolate and desserts. But that’s not all Mindy’s is good at. While the homemade marshmallows are awesome, there are actually plenty of great brunch options, and even some healthy ones. Opt for things like homemade granola and yogurt, a quinoa bowl, or a mushroom panini in a great environment to sit and hang. Stay strong and save the dessert for another time.
The future is here, and it’s Left Coast. They have everything from oatmeal, acai bowls, and veggie hashes to salads, healthy wraps, and $10 cold pressed juices and smoothies. But we particularly like some of the more breakfast and brunch options that are more than just avocado toast. Of course, they do have avocado coast (two kinds), but there are also corn tostadas with scrambled tofu or a hash with yams, red bell pepper, kale, and spinach. As far as fast-casual restaurants go, Left Coast has a lot of seating, including a great patio, which makes it a nice place to sit and eat.
Sometimes the key to being healthy is just moderation and being sensible. Don’t get too carried away by thinking this Saturday or Sunday afternoon brunch is the last meal you’re ever have. At Cellar Door Provisions, they're all about sensible options without depriving you of quality and taste. The menu is always changing but you can count on things like a vegetable quiche, fermented beet soup, and parsnip congee. Don’t sleep on their excellent homemade breads either.
If you don’t have a favorite vegetarian restaurant in Chicago, then we just decided for you - it’s Bad Hunter. Most restaurants in Chicago that focus on veggies are geared specifically towards people who don’t eat meat, but not Bad Hunter. Bad Hunter is a really good restaurant that just happens to focus on veggie-centric items. That includes brunch too, where you can get things like a butternut squash polenta or lemongrass breakfast sausage in an egg drop mushroom broth. It’s excellent, and you won’t even be mad that it’s not so bad for you.
Imagine your favorite neighborhood bagel place. Now pretend that bagel place got a PhD and is super sophisticated. What does sophisticated bagels and lox mean? It means cured jasmine trout, pastrami cured lox, and lime-cured hamachi served on half a bagel as a tartine. It means Snaggletooth. Opt for the complete tasting of fish on its own which is excellent and healthy, and pair it with some chia yogurt + granola. Snaggletooth is great to grab on the go, but there are also a couple of tables where you can sit for a cup of coffee with your food.
Tweet is a funky breakfast and brunch spot in Uptown where the menu is massive. They serve almost anything, from eggs and pancakes to eight different kinds of breakfast burritos, corn arepas, chilaquiles, and even a bison burger. But there’s also an extensive portion of the menu with healthy options, including a dedicated gluten free menu. Get a salad, portobello burger, a healthy lox plate with veggies, or even their gluten free pancakes and waffles that will fool you into thinking there’s hardcore gluten in them.
3 Greens Market is basically a local community center - that’s how warm, welcoming, and versatile it is. It’s a great place to sit and get work done, they have a coffee bar that doubles as cocktail bar, there’s also an excellent salad bar and Small Cheval style burgers. And there’s even a great brunch buffet on the weekends that lets you customize your brunch with a little bit of everything you like. Get some salad or a veggie egg white frittata - there are plenty of options for a casual yet healthy meal.