Good brunch isn’t exactly hard to come by in the Windy City, recognized as one of the country’s best brunch cities by Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure. In densely populated River North, the sumptuous and memorable Chicago brunch experience may even be magnified. The downtown Chicago neighborhood has dozens of restaurants worthy of your time and brunch money. Here’s a look at 11 of Chicago’s best brunch destinations within walking distance of your River North apartment.
Baptiste and Bottle is an upscale New American restaurant on the 20 floor of the Conrad Chicago Hotel. One of Chicago’s hottest 2016 restaurant openings, Baptiste was recognized as one of Chicago’s best new brunch spots by Thrillist in 2017. For a sweet or savory brunch you’ll remember, served in a dining room with views to match, indulge at Baptiste and Bottle. It’s a 10-minute walk from AMLI’s River North apartments.
101 E. Erie St., 20th floor, (312) 667-6793
For oyster, smoked salmon, and other seafood-centric brunch fare in a casually upscale setting, pay a visit to Beacon Tavern. This beloved Magnificent Mile brunch destination is just a five-minute walk from AMLI River North.
405 N. Wabash Ave., (312) 955-4226
Selected by OpenTable diners as one of America’s 100 best brunch restaurants in 2016, Beatrix’s popularity is well-deserved. There’s something for everyone on the bistro’s brunch menu, which is inspired by culinary traditions from around the world. And although demand for brunch tables still outpaces supply by a long shot, Beatrix’s recent opening of a third Chicago bistro means more Chicagoans get to savor their brunch each weekend. Reservations are still recommended, but residents of AMLI’s River North apartments can try their luck at no-reservation seating without much hassle. The delightful flavors of Liege, Pueblo, and Tel Aviv at this River North brunch favorite are just a two-minute walk away.
519 N. Clark St., (312) 284-1377
Bernie’s Mediterranean-inspired menu features several dishes you can savor without having to suffer from brunch guilt. There’s a blueberry acai bowl, wood-roasted banana oatmeal, a turkey burger, several flavorful salads, and avocado toast. Relatively speaking, even the more sinful options (brioche French toast, specialty doughnuts, patatas bravas) aren’t that bad. Bernie’s is a 15-minute walk from AMLI River North.
660 N. Orleans St., (312) 624-9892
The décor and cuisine at this aptly named River North restaurant reek of Bohemian inspiration. Brunch here for generous servings of contemporary Austrian, Czech, German, and Polish dishes. And if you appreciate mixology in the morning, pair your meal with one of Chicago’s more inventive brunch cocktails. In addition to weekend brunch, Bohemian House serves a weekday prix fixe brunch from 7am to 3pm for 4. The next time you’re craving Central European cuisine, keep in mind that Bohemian House is a three-minute walk from AMLI River North.
11 W. Illinois St., (312) 955-o439
Conceived and named for the time-honored early weekend meal tradition, this River North restaurant is a must-try for any Chicago-residing brunch enthusiast. Brunch’s atmosphere is inviting and its menu expansive. Whet you’re appetite with breakfast nachos, French toast nibbles, chicken and waffle bites, and other tempting shareable plates. When you’re ready for the main course, indulge in California- and Mexican-style eggs benedict, banana split French toast, or another Brunch specialty. Also making the cut for OpenTable’s best brunch restaurants list in 2016, Brunch’s Orleans St. location is a half-mile from AMLI River North.
644 N. Orleans St., (312) 265-1411
View this post on Instagram
The new seasonal menu is all about those Frontera classics. Get your swipe on. ... CHEF'S CHOICE ENCHILADAS: CARNITAS, “AL PASTOR” FLAVORS | Pork carnitas filling (grilled onion & pineapple), guajillo chile sauce (pineapple & achiote), crispy onions. ... PORK LOIN AL ALBAÑIL | Grill-roasted pork loin, brothy albañil sauce (serrano chiles, ripe tomatoes, bacon, ham hock stock), crumbled chicharrón, cheddar mashed potatoes, grilled green beans. ... CHICKEN BREAST, RED POBLANO CREMA | Wood-grilled chicken breast, roasted red poblano crema, roasted fingerling potatoes, wilted kale. ... STEAK HUARACHE | Crispy oval corn-masa "sandal" with wood-grilled flank steak & nopales, salsa mexicana (ripe tomatoes, serrano chiles, red onion, cilantro. lime), black beans. ... CHEF'S CHOICE GUACAMOLE: BACON & TOMATILLO | Michoacan avocados, roasted tomatillos & poblanos, smoky bacon (hickory and apple woods), cilantro, winter radish. ... CHEF’S CHOICE QUESO FUNDIDO: SMOKY PORK TINGA | Cedar Grove cheddar, chorizo, potato, caramelized onion, chipotle chile, avocado, fresco cheese, Mexican oregano. ... BLACK MOLE TAMAL | Fresh corn masa tamal steamed in banana leaves, smoked free-range chicken, classic Oaxacan black mole (chilhuacle chiles and 28 other ingredients). ... GULF SHRIMP, SPICY GARLIC, PEANUTS | Grilled fresh Gulf shrimp, spicy slow-cooked garlic mojo (with serrano chiles torreados), toasted peanuts, Gulf-style white rice, green onions. ... FEATURE FISH, OAXACAN YELLOW MOLE | Feature Fish cooked over the coals, yellow mole (guajillo chile, tomatillo, tomato, herby hoja santa), red chile cornbread, shaved fennel salad. ... CORNMEAL POUNDCAKE, BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM | Iroquois white cornmeal pound cake, local blueberry salsa, sour cream ice cream with blueberry swirl, candied kumquats.
Rick Bayless’ iconic Mexican restaurant turned 30 last year and still shows no signs of outliving its heyday. You won’t find many classic American brunch items at Frontera Grill. But if the thought of eating steak enchiladas and huevos rancheros triggers your Pavlovian reflex, snag a table at Frontera’s Saturday-only brunch. The outstanding menu is rich in food and drink offerings, including a dozen Latin-inspired brunch cocktails. Frontera Grill is across Hubbard Street from AMLI River North.
445 N. Clark St., (312) 661-1434
Rick Bayless is not the only celebrity chef immersed in Chicago’s brunch business. Giuseppe Tentori, who rose to fame when Food & Wine named him best new chef in 2008, has a good thing going on at his acclaimed River North seafood restaurant. Lobster lovers wax lyrical about GT’s lobster Benedict, lobster breakfast burrito, and lobster creole sauce-covered shrimp and grits. For those who don’t eat fish, the menu features chicken and waffles and a Latin twist on duck confit. Vegetarians have their choice of French toast, pancakes, an omelette, and a veg burrito. GT Fish & Oyster is a five-minute walk from AMLI River North.
531 N. Wells St., (312) 929-3501
Where is Chicago’s best brunch du jour? According to VinePair, the honor goes to Siena Tavern, another River North restaurant closely associated with its celebrity chef and owner. In spite of demonstrably robust demand, Siena Tavern’s brunch and brunch cocktail prices remain lower than average for the neighborhood. The mostly farm-to-table menu features a dozen savory dishes and half a dozen sweet brunch bites. On the beverage front, choose from a handful of house cocktails or build your own Bloody Mary or mimosa carafe. If you’re not boozing, get a nutrient boost from one of Siena Tavern’s refreshing cold-pressed juices. This busy brunch spot is just two minutes’ walk from AMLI River North.
51 W. Kinzie St., (312) 595-1322
If you’d describe your ideal brunch atmosphere as both refined and laid-back, add Travelle Kitchen + Bar to your brunch bucket list. Subtle sophistication oozes from the tablescapes, wall art, artsy food presentation, and flavor profiles, a sign that attention to detail is a cardinal rule followed by the restaurant’s culinary team and decorators. During its five-year tenure at The Langham, Travelle has established and maintained its hot spot for lunch and dinner in River North. Thankfully for regular patrons, the restaurant’s outstanding brunch seems to have stayed somewhat more under the radar.
330 N. Wabash Ave., (312) 923-7705
Venerable Chicago BYOB restaurant Yolk now serves brunch at seven Windy City locations. Four of these are within a mile of AMLI’s River North apartments, including Yolk’s newest outpost in Marina City Park. Two miles south, Yolk’s South Loop breakfast kitchen is a 10-minute walk from AMLI 900 and AMLI Lofts.
Yolk Marina City Park: 340 N. State St., (312) 477-7676
Yolk River North: 747 N. Wells St., (312) 787-2277
Yolk South Loop: 1120 S. Michigan Ave., (312) 789-9655
Yolk Streeterville: 355 E. Ohio St., (312) 822-9655
Yolk West Loop: 500 W. Madison, (312) 454-9655
Like what you just read? Why not subscribe to the AMLI Blog so you don’t miss another post?