Best Places to Brunch in Chicago in January
Wondering where to eat brunch this weekend? The theme this week is all about what's hearty and comforting for these winter months. From Spanish tortilla to crispy chicken livers, here's our picks for the top brunch spots in Chicago this week:
Mercat a la Planxa: One of the newest brunch menus in town can be found at Mercat a la Planxa, which has long served one of our favorite brunch spreads with its focus on Spanish cuisine and a penchant for savory satisfaction. The updated menu is a prix fixe three-course format for the affordable price of $27 per person. Along with complimentary seasonal fruit and churros with espresso dulce de leche, the menu includes items like lobster-laden scrambled eggs, Spanish tortilla with house-smoked salmon, and Spanish torrijas bread pudding with cinnamon, honey, and Seville orange. Pair your dishes with bracing cocktails like the avocado-packed El Bolero or the Corpus du Sang, made with garlic- and basil-infused gin, tomato water, lemon, and olive brine.
bellyQ: Another new brunch menu is on hand on bellyQ, Bill Kim's acclaimed Asian bastion in the West Loop. The shareable small plates menu is available Sundays from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., featuring items like sausage-egg-cheese sliders with blueberry compote, stir-fried long noodles with egg and Napa cabbage, and housemade dumplings aplenty. To drink, there's wine on tap and the signature Belly Mary made with your choice of alcohol and two of the restaurant's house sauces.
Beatrix: You love the Beatrix in River North. Now there's more to love with a new Streeterville location and an expanded menu. That means there's more opportunity to indulge in wholesome fare like ten-grain oatmeal, pepper and egg white sandwiches, spicy chicken tinga, green chile enchiladas, quinoa cakes with poached eggs, cheese blintzes, and cauliflower grits with fried egg and crispy Brussels sprouts. Don't forget about Beatrix's incredible fresh squeezed juices, like the cherry chia cooler or the "Power Greens" with kale, romaine, celery, pineapple, and mint.
m. henry: Winter is the time for blisscakes. That is, heavenly pancakes at m. henry, which are some of the best in Chicago. Their apt name comes from fluffy pancakes layered with warm blackberries and vanilla mascarpone cream. They're all topped with a streusel-like coating of brown sugar and oats, making for one killer bite after another. Other brunch highlights include bacon-wrapped baked eggs, breakfast bread pudding, and cinnamon roll French toast. Time to forget about those resolutions already.
The Bristol: Glorious in its refined simplicity, The Bristol is one of Chicago's true brunch gems. At once a neighborhood staple for locals and a draw for diners city-wide, the restaurant has perfected the template with invigorated classics that set a new standard. Like vanilla and plum cream doughnuts, a smoked ham Benedict with mustard hollandaise, lime-splashed braised pork chilaquiles, and a slurpable "hangover breakfast" brimming with noodles, pork broth, and life-giving vegetables. There's even a quarter pounder with cheese, albeit far greater than its fast-food counterparts thanks to locally sourced beef, pickled onions, garlic aioli, and duck fat fries.
Sweet Maple Cafe: Another venerable mainstay in Chicago's ever-growing brunch scene is Sweet Maple Cafe. This Little Italy charmer is an enriching slice of Southern comfort, and for years it's been peddling down-home cuisine to packed dining rooms. You'd be right to join the droves for a taste of some of the best biscuits in town, along with fried chicken livers with grits, corned beef hash, gigantic pancakes, and home fries strewn with peppers and cheese.
Charlatan: In West Town, Charlatan has quickly established itself as a new neighborhood stalwart for both dinner and brunch with a proclivity for local sourcing and creative cookery. On weekend mornings, that means egg sandwiches heaped with black kale pesto and mortadella, pear custard pie with honeysuckle honey, braised beef neck with soft polenta and poached egg, and a sausage and pepper sub with Calabrian sausage, apple-fennel jam, and Calabrian aioli.
- Matt Kirouac