If my credit card was to send me a year-in-review wrap up a la Spotify, my most loved spending category would be brunch. In 2019, I enjoyed countless mimosas, saw the rise of the Aperol spritz, the fall of avocado toast, and attempted a double brunch in one day (should have worn looser pants). It’s been a wild year, but there were standout restaurants that should top your list as well. These brunches are the cream of the crop, whether you’re looking for a party brunch or quaint brunch date.
Best Cocktails: La Josie
Located in West Loop, La Josie stands out among brunches for its craft cocktails, seasonal plates, and tasty Mexican flavors. This family-owned restaurant garnered attention for its 2020 Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand Award and its brunch lives up to the hype. Our favorite dish was the chorizo queso fundido. Read the review here.
La Josie, 740 W Randolph St, (312) 929-2900
Best For All Palettes: Sunda
If you are looking for a dietary restrictions-friendly brunch spot, check out Sunda. This “East meets West” restaurant has special menus for vegans and gluten-free diners. But what will really wow the group is the sumo Bloody Mary. For a mere $40, you can get a Bloody Mary topped with grilled cheese, a steamed duck bao bun, a crab hand roll, crispy pork belly, shishito peppers, bacon, potatoes, lumpia, takuan, and kai-lan. Read the review here.
Sunda, 110 W Illinois St, (312) 644-0500
Best Winter Brunch: Stockton
The Stockton transports diners to a lush, green oasis even in the dead of winter. Grab a seat in the glass roofed atrium and prepare to be transported to paradise with glasses of frosé, cinnamon roll pancakes, and sushi. Plan to order a few plates and share with the table. Read the review here.
The Stockton, 1009 N Rush St, (312) 660-3111
Best Group Brunch: Recess at City Hall
If you’re rolling with a large group, Recess is the spot for you. This large, spacious restaurant offers group cocktails, adult juice pouches, and a hilarious ironic government theme. Wait until it warms up, and make a reservation for the whole crew. We plan to move here during warm days for some summer fun. Please forward our mail. Read the review here.
Recess at City Hall, 838 W Kinzie St, (312) 801-1181
Best Brunch Date: Joe’s Imports
Joe’s Imports has a wonderful way of making familiar, simple dishes feel both nostalgic and totally new at the same time. From their crispy, thin French pancakes to seasonal heirloom tomatoes sprinkled with salt and sage. This is the perfect spot for a leisurely brunch date. Read the review here.
Joe’s Imports, 813 W Fulton Market, (312) 736-1750
Best French Brunch: Francois Frankie
You don’t need to go to New Orleans to experience the legendary Carousel Bar. Skip the flight and head to Francois Frankie’s for an elevated, whimsical French brunch. This is the perfect spot to hit before a musical matinee. We were wowed by the oatmeal brûlée and omelet Francois, fluffy eggs stuffed with a creamy herbed cheese and topped with caviar and chives. Read our review here.
Francois Frankie, 222 W Randolph St, (312) 600-9659
Editor’s Choice: Mordecai
As restaurants introduce increasingly elaborate brunch dishes, it’s hard to shock us with something as simple as French toast. But Mordecai, a Wrigleyville lounge known for its whiskeys, makes this list for its amazing French toast. We’re still talking about it almost a year later. The cookie butter French toast is topped with fluffy whipped cream, thinly-sliced apples and shaved white cheddar cheese, cascaded in a pool of applejack syrup and crunchy cookie crumbles. While the menu changes, Mordecai will not disappoint. Read out review here.
Mordecai, 3632 N Clark St, (773) 269-5410
Best Outdoor: Cabra
Take your brunch to the next level with a rooftop poolside brunch at Cabra. Famed Chicago chef Stephanie Izard tackles Peruvian food with flair and style. Plan to order a few plates to share among the table so you can sample more and enjoy a communal vibe. Read our review here.
Cabra, 200 N Green St, (312) 761-1717