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Chicago Best Bites 2016

Everpresent as one of the top destination food cities, Chicago had so much to offer in 2016. We cannot wait to see what next year has in store for us!

While we spent the majority of our weekends brunching around town and sharing our experiences with readers, we had the pleasure of encountering some outstanding dishes at some really great restaurants.

So here it is—our list of the Best Bites of 2016. We have covered it all, from the best eggs Benedicts and pancakes, to some unique titles that are just as special as the restaurants responsible for them.

We hope you enjoy reading about them as much as we enjoyed eating them. Happy brunching and see you in 2017!

Best Bagel: Reno
With both editors here being originally East Coast gals, it’s no surprise that the Old Bay bagel at Reno won us over. They have a variety of bagels, but take our word for it when we tell you to go for the Old Bay spice one! Logan Square, Chicago

Reno Brunch

Best Classic Eggs Benedict: LOKal
The gourmet duck confit Benedict at LOKal rings in as our winner for the best eggs Benedict of the year. They were superb, and we were pleasantly surprised by how delicious they were! Lincoln Park, Chicago

LOKaL Lincoln Park

Best Eggs Benedict with a Twist: Oyster Bah
The beautifully constructed fried oyster egg Benedict at Oyster Bah was the best Benedict with a twist that we tried this year, thanks to its colorful presentation and its delicious, unique flavor. Lincoln Park, Chicago

Oyster Bah Brunch

Best Lobster Benedict: Siena Tavern
Leave it to the fabulous people at Siena Tavern to make a lobster eggs Benedict that are what lobster lovers’ dreams are made of. The presentation is exquisite and the dish is delish! River North, Chicago

Siena Tavern Brunch

Best Biscuits: Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits
The biscuit breakfast offerings at Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits are unique and flavorful. We especially loved the spicy avocado biscuit! Ravenswood, Chicago

Bang Bang Pie! Brunch

Best Cinnamon Roll: Taus Authentic
Do you remember the cinnamon rolls that you mom used to buy at the store when you were a kid? Well, the genius pastry chefs at Taus Authentic have recreated that exact dish for a delectable, ooey gooey version that is Bitch-approved. Wicker Park, Chicago

Taus Authentic Brunch

Best Doughnut: The Vig
We described the doughnut holes at The Vig as “pure heaven,” thanks to the caramel pistachio sauce and a raspberry cream cheese glaze. It’s no surprise that they were our best doughnuts of 2016. Old Town, Chicago

The Vig Brunch

Best Scrambled Eggs: 3 Arts Club Cafe
The creamy, perfectly scrambled eggs at Restoration Hardware’s 3 Arts Club Cafe are seriously some of the best we have had this year, and maybe ever! Made with creme fraiche, topped with chopped chives, and served with buttery toast and a grilled avocado, these eggs are delectable, divine and perfect at any time of the day. Gold Coast, Chicago

3 Arts Club Cafe

Best Hash: Eightbar
If you are a seafood lover then you had better head over to the brunch at Eightbar and order the Eightbar Hash. Made with king crab (and lots of it), sauteed mushrooms, and topped with Hollandaise sauce, this dish is our guilty pleasure. Gold Coast, Chicago

Eight Bar Brunch

Best Breakfast Pizza: Osteria la Madia
Of course the Italians are going to win best pizza. The delicious wood-fire oven cooked pizza at Osteria la Madia with fresh prosciutto and fried farm eggs is cooked perfectly and topped with just the right amount of Italian cheese. River North, Chicago

Best Throwback Dish: HopCat
The Canadian French toast sticks at HopCat were a phenomenal throwback dish. The added element of sophistication was the black velvet toasted caramel cream cheese spread on the side. Lincoln Park, Chicago

HopCat Brunch

Best Coffee: Little Goat Diner
The Little Goat latte at Little Goat Diner was our favorite caffeinated beverage in 2016, and trust me, we had plenty! The creaminess of goat’s milk, blended with fresh espresso, topped with cinnamon, is just decadent. West Loop, Chicago

Little Goat Brunch

Best Spiked Coffee: Happy Camper
The spiked coffee at Happy Camper is our winner for the best spiked coffee this year. It is delicious, and arguably goes down way too fast; it is the perfect Sunday pick-me-up. Old Town, Chicago

Happy Camper Brunch

Best Pancakes: Bar Siena
Bar Siena’s puff cake changed the way we think about food, especially pancakes. The pancake had lemon-whipped ricotta churned into the batter, and it was life changing! West Loop, Chicago

Bar Siena

Best Over-The-Top Pancakes: Elly’s
The diner pancakes at Elly’s are certainly over-the-top and extra indulgent. With seasonally inspired hotcakes, and menu staples like oven baked German or Dutch Apple pancakes, you won’t encounter any shortage of decadent options here. Old Town, Chicago

Best Granola: 3 Arts Club Cafe
Fresh vanilla yogurt, topped with bananas and house-made granola, and drizzled with honey, we simply love this dish at 3 Arts Cafe. The granola is delicious, and packed with pecans, and it’s a picture-perfect version of what granola should be. Gold Coast, Chicago

3 Arts Club Cafe

Best Omelette: Jam
The simple, yet delectable omelet was prepared perfectly at Jam. We loved the combinations of Spanish chorizo, sauteed onions, queso tres leches and piquillo peppers. And the side of cornbread didn’t hurt either! Logan Square, Chicago

Jam Brunch

Best Breakfast Burrito: Feast
This burrito at Feast was packed full of scrambled eggs, Pepper Jack cheese, refried beans, guacamole, and sour cream. Served with crispy, breakfast potato balls, this Mexican delight hit the spot and won our hearts for best burrito. Wicker Park, Chicago

Feast Brunch

Best French Toast: Chez Moi
Chez Moi‘s brioche French Toast came topped with raspberry coulis, strawberries, blueberries, and orange slices, for a delicious flavor combination. The entree tasted as delicious as it looks in the photo—absolute perfection. Lincoln Park, Chicago

Chez Moi Brunch

Best Over-The-Top French Toast: (Tie) Hutch and Cafe Marie Jeanne
We ate so many amazing French toasts this year, but out of top contenders we couldn’t pick just one. The the smoked pecan French toast at Cafe Marie Jeanne is a bread pudding-like concoction of whatever leftover bread they had; biscuits, croissants, you name it. It comes smothered in caramel sauce and is over-the-top awesome.

Meanwhile, the croissant French toast at Hutch was our favorite dish of our visit, and was a decadent treat, topped with strawberries and mascarpone. Lakeview and Humboldt Park, Chicago

Cafe Marie Jeanne Brunch

Best Pastry: Cafe Spiaggia
Hands down the best pastries the year came from Cafe Spiaggia. The Sfogliatella are little ricotta filled puff pastries, similar to croissants, and just better, to be honest. The pastries were accompanied by a creamy chocolate mousse, only adding to the goodness of this dish. FYI, the crostata at Cafe Spiaggia would come in at a close second place. Gold Coast, Chicago

Cafe Spiaggia Brunch

Best Quiche: Sip
The quiche at Sip is packed with flavor thanks to red peppers, artichokes, feta, and spinach, and has a perfectly crunchy crust. We will definitely be back for more. Southport, Chicago

SIP Southport & Irving Park Brunch

Best Crepe: Bistro Zinc
It should come as no surprise, but our winner for best crepe comes from the wonderful French Gold Coast spot, Bistro Zinc. The perfectly cooked and folded crepe comes made with bananas and Nutella and is topped with a dollop of mascarpone for some added creaminess. Gold Coast, Chicago

Bistro Zinc Brunch

Best Croque Madame or Monsieur: (Tie) Cafe Marie Jeanne and Bistro Zinc
Both of these French-inspired restaurants had awesome Croque Madames and Monsieurs. Completely rich and full of flavor, it was too difficult to decide between the Bistro Zinc and Cafe Marie JeanneGold Coast and Humboldt Park, Chicago

Bistro Zinc Brunch

Best Brunch Cocktail: Forno Rosso
Yes Way, Frosé is what we said to our winner for this year’s best cocktail. The frozen rosé beverage at Forno Rosso was a summer favorite, and by far one of our favorite food trends of 2016. West Loop, Chicago

Forno Rosso Brunch

Best Mimosa: Bohemian House
The mimosa sampler at Bohemian House was not only Bitch-approved, it rings in as our favorite mimosa of the year, thanks to the three different flavored glasses of bubbly. River North, Chicago


Best Bloody Mary: Columbus Tap
One of our last brunches of 2016, Columbus Tap‘s Bloody Mary arrived just in time to be crowned our winner. Their new Brunch and Bloodies menu is no joke—they take pride in their Bloody Marys and we applaud them for it! The Loop, Chicago

Columbus Tap Room Brunch

Best Over-The-Top Bloody: Belly Up Smokehouse Saloon
The “Meal in a Glass” Bloody Mary at Belly Up Smokehouse Saloon is just that, hence why we have crowned it this year’s best “over-the-top bloody Mary.” It comes served with a chicken wing, a small grilled cheese sandwich, a piece of bacon, celery, an onion ring, and a fried pickle. Certainly over-the-top but sometimes so very necessary. South Loop, Chicago

Belly Up Smokehouse & Saloon Brunch

Best Breakfast Sandwich: Bongo Room
The Bongo Room has received lots of love over the years, being a brunch favorite in Chicago. But we have to hand it to them; the croissant sandwich is to die for! Our winner for best sandwich is this concoction made of egg, tomato, and cheese, on a buttery croissant. Andersonville, South Loop, and Wicker Park, Chicago

The Bongo Room

Best Bacon: Bakin’ and Eggs
We loved the five different types of bacon in the bacon flight at Bakin’ and Eggs; maple, pepper, jalapeno honey, cherry smoked, and mesquite. Our favorites were the jalapeno and the sweet maple. Lakeview, Chicago

Bakin' and Eggs

Best Brunch Tacos: Taco Joint
As we stated in our review, Taco Joint would be a strong contender for Best Bites this year, and as predicted, they made it! Everything about this spot is great, but with “taco” in it’s name, we obviously have to award them them best brunch tacos. Lincoln Park and River North, Chicago

Taco Joint River North Brunch

Best Chilaquiles: Cindy’s Rooftop
Of all the fantastic elements of our brunch at Cindy’s Rooftop, the cast-iron chilaquiles was the best of the bunch. These cheesy chilaquiles have amazing flavor: chorizo, Indian corn, charred scallions, chilies, and salsa verde, all with fried eggs on top. Magnificent Mile, Chicago

Cindy's Brunch

Best Brunch Dessert: Pinstripes
With brownies, pound cake, cheese cake, and a chocolate fountain with strawberries, homemade marshmallows, pineapple, Rice Krispie treats, and more, there is no question as to why the dessert station at Pinstripes is our pick for best brunch dessert. Streeterville, Chicago

Pinstripes Streeterville Brunch

Best Fried Chicken and Waffles: Bucks
While these are technically corn cakes, when we visited Bucks, we stated that this was the best dish we had in a long time, so we had to crown it our winner for best fried chicken and waffles. Even without being waffles, it still knocks the others out of the park! Wicker Park, Chicago

Buck's Brunch

Best Vegetarian Option: Flo
Of all the sweet and savory Latin American-inspired dishes at Flo, many of them are veg-friendly, making it the perfect spot to take your veggie-loving friend. Noble Square, Chicago

Flo Brunch

Best Avocado Toast: Meli Cafe
While top contenders include Eightbar and Siena Tavern, we had to spread the love and give credit when credit it due. When four of the Bitches gathered for brunch at Meli’s Cafe, we absolutely loved this unique and flavorful avocado toast. South Loop, Chicago

Meli Cafe

Best Frittata: Appellation at Pastoral
The frittata at Appellation was fluffy, and stuffed full of cheese and green onions making it hearty, while still being vegetarian. The yummy side of potatoes was an added perk to this dish. Andersonville, Illinois

Appellation Pastoral Brunch

Best Breakfast Pasta: Firefly Kitchen
Breakfast pastas can be tricky, but the team at Firefly executed a perfect breakfast mac and cheese. Made with bacon, sausage, creamy cheese, and topped with an egg, we fell in love with this dish. Wilmette, Illinois
Firefly Brunch


Chicago Editor

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