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8 Best Chicago Brunches
Savor local flavors at these favorite weekend brunch spots.
Round up some friends and grab a table at these Windy City restaurants.(Getty Images)
From popular neighborhood nooks and gastropubs to reservations-recommended elegant buffets, Chicago brunch spots – napkins down – deliver deliciousness. But how do you choose which is best for your budget and morning mood? Concierges and hoteliers from some of Chicago's best hotels shared their favorite eateries with U.S. News. Make sure to get a table at one of these places on your next trip to the Windy City.
"I dream about their pancakes," says Bernard Runo, concierge supervisor at the Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile. At its flagship location in Wicker Park, the restaurant's classically trained chef serves fresh, seasonal breakfast and brunch food in a unique way.
The pancakes have a cult following stoked by the restaurant's rotating seasonal flapjack flavors, including banana butterscotch and four-berry cheesecake. Brunch menu specialties include the shrimp and black bean burrito and the deconstructed lobster roll Benedict, served with green goddess hollandaise. The chocolate tower French toast – chocolate chunk bread stuffed with maple mascarpone – induces sweet dreams, too. Weekend brunch is served from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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Despite limited seating and counter service only, patrons line up at this neighborhood bakery and mill house in Lincoln Square. Onal Kucuk, general manager at Hotel Lincoln, went to Baker Miller for a brunch date with his wife. "I added scrambled eggs to the belly-bacon-feta-cheese BLT," he says. "It was so good."
Tuck into a hearty bowl of hand-rolled, heirloom oatmeal topped with jam dollops and smothered in warm cream. Creative combinations of eggs, sausages and smoked salmon are heaped on freshly baked breads, flaky biscuits and bowls of grits made from grains ground on site. House-made spreads like avocado mash, tomato jam, herb salsa and hollandaise aioli accent the restaurant's offerings. Sourdough baguette sandwiches come with a pie slice. Weekend hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Selections start at $6, and a kids menu is available.
"Elegant Irish pub meets an imaginative, chef-inspired menu," says Kristen Klus, head concierge at the Four Seasons Chicago Hotel, when describing this gastropub across from Millennium Park. Housed in a late 1800s landmark building, The Gage features a lively dining area that horseshoes a stalwart bar tended by skilled mixologists pouring drinks from the lengthy libations menu.
Share scones or cider-brined pork shoulder poutine before digging into an Irish banger breakfast or a bourbon caramelized peach French toast platter. Burgers, salads, and fish and chips balance breakfast choices starting at $13. Weekend brunch hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Worth the wait for a table, the Andersonville bakery-restaurant's innovative, savory-sweet BYOB brunch is dished up weekends from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Specialties include the avocado, scrambled egg and chorizo-topped tortillas; smoked Atlantic salmon chive omelet; and shrimp and crab cake Benedict. "The egg custard bread pudding and brioche cinnamon roll French toast are amazing," says Victor Colon, head concierge at The Langham, Chicago. Selections start at $10.
The Chinatown standby on Wentworth Avenue and West Cermak Road has packed in neighborhood families and tourists for decades. Open 24/7, Three Happiness' dated dining room shouldn't deter you from sampling the establishment's tasty steamed, baked and fried traditional snacks like popular steamed pork buns, shrimp dumplings, stuffed eggplant and noodle rolls.
"I look at what the Chinese people are pulling off the dim sum carts, and do the same to enjoy," Runo says.
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Servers wheel carts stacked with dim sum bamboo baskets on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and until 5 p.m. on weekends.
Just like Ralph Lauren's iconic, upper crust fashions, the American couturier expresses the same sophisticated style at his restaurant adjacent to the world's largest Polo store on North Michigan Avenue. The library-like, coffered-ceiling dining room displays art from Lauren's private collection. "Our guests love the only Ralph Lauren restaurant in the world because it's very intimate, clubby and beautiful," says Tim Batchelder, head concierge at The Talbott Hotel.
Appetizer, sandwich and salad selections depend on seasonal ingredients – and the chef's whim. Of five classic brunch items starting at $12, quiche Lorraine and poached eggs crowning rotisserie chicken black truffle hash always please. Attentive staff suggest wines for brunch, served on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"For amazing skyline views, live jazz and good cuisine, brunch at the John Hancock Center's 95th floor restaurant," says Mark Roberts, concierge at the Thompson Chicago.
The elaborate buffets and stunning lake views are Instagram-worthy. The starters buffet features chilled seafood, charcuterie, artisanal cheeses, seasonal salads and made-to-order omelets. Guests select entrees from a menu that includes lamb chops, banana waffles, braised short ribs and the chef's fish selections. Ice cream creations and fresh-baked pastries constitute the dessert buffet.
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Weekend brunch is offered from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and costs $50 for adults and $25 for children younger than 12.
The Peninsula Chicago
Choice abounds and elegance surrounds this brunch at The Peninsula Chicago, praised by hotel concierges citywide as the ultimate treat. Sparkling silver serving stations display Asian specialties such as Peking duck, sushi and dim sum, as well as classic, globally inspired brunch dishes.
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Chefs carve roasted meats and flip made-to-order omelets. Delicate decorated pastries look like fine jewels. Kids love the special food stations just for them. Guests dine at crystal-laden tables in The Lobby restaurant, which is flooded with natural light streaming through two-story windows.
Brunch, served Sundays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., is $75 for adults and $32 for children 12 and younger.
To experience more of what Chicago has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.
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