Dining Chicago

Brunch Bites: Internationally Inspired Restaurant Brunch Menus Beget Masa Pancakes, Polenta Griddle Cakes, and More

In this week's batch of restaurant brunch bites, brunch takes on a Latin brasserie role at Barbakoa and adapts an Italian accept at Azzurra EnoTavola.

Polenta griddle cakes
(Polenta griddle cakes. Photo: Kaitlyn McQuaid Photography)

Tired of the same ol' brunch fare? Bet you've never tried brunch at a Latin brasserie before. Barbakoa provides just the right opportunity, as the Downers Grove restaurants rolls out weekend brunch. Under the direction of chef Dudley Nieto, Barbakoa's brunch menu pays homage to Argentina, Peru, Spain, and Mexico, exhibited in dishes such as sunny side-up eggs Yucatan-style with housemade tortilla, zape beans, habanero-tomato salsa, ham, sweet fried plantains, and green peas; scrambled egg tacos; Mexico City chilaquiles; Mexican French toast with candied pumpkin seeds and guava-piloncilo tequila agave; and masa pancakes with mescal-guava marmalade, almond whipped cream, and agave orange syrup. MASA PANCAKES.

From one medley of international brunch cuisine to another, Azzurra EnoTavola is an Italian Wicker Park newcomer doling out its own distinct brand of weekend fare. This means focaccia Benedict with prosciutto and sun-dried tomato hollandaise; polenta griddle cakes with seasonal preserves; nocino "Italian toast" with candied walnuts; Italian sausage frittata; mushroom and butternut squash strata; and more. There's also plenty of boozy beverages, from the whiskey-based Bloody Lawrence to the Il Gallo, a mixture of sweet white vermouth, orange juice, and Tallgrass Velvet Rooster Belgian Tripel.

Neighborhoods: Western SuburbanWest Town

Barbakoa is a modern Latin brasserie from acclaimed chef Dudley Nieto, offering a contemporary riff on cuisines from Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Peru, and more.

Rustic Italian cuisine lands in the heart of Wicker Park at Azzurra EnoTavola, the latest endeavor from acclaimed Italian restaurateur Marty Fosse (Anteprima, Ombra).

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