Brunch is a Chicago weekend institution, the ultimate antidote after a night of partying into the wee hours. While standard brunch far is always welcome, why not go for for a more unique brunch experience? Here are five restaurants that offer a deliciously international twist on brunch.
El Mariachi Tequila Bar (3906 N. Broadway Ave.)
El Mariachi's weekend brunch will transport you to a lush Mexican courtyard via Chicago. All your brunch favorites are on hand, but a touch of Mexican gourmet flair adds a little spice. The French toast is soaked in tres leches and served piña colada style, topped with toasted coconut and almonds. The pancakes are prepared with carrots (pictured). The skillets, served with corn or flour tortillas, are rich in chorizo, papas, and melted Chihuahua cheese. Guacamole is prepared tableside here and the mimosas are bottomless. Looking far ahead to the summer, call ahead to reserve a table on the sunny, spacious patio.
Ethiopian Diamond (6120 N. Broadway St.)
Ethiopian Diamond's all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch serves up a wonderful selection of authentic, flavorful Ethiopian food. You'll find a a variety of vegan and meat dishes, including Kay Wat (beef stew), meat martar (kitfo), or red lentil stew, all perfect for digging into with spongy injera bread. Strong and elegantly served Ethiopian coffee will get you up on your feet again and ready to face the day. At $13.95, it's one of the best brunch bargains in the city.
Sinhá (2018 W. Adams St.)
Jorgina Perieria hosts lively brunches in her near West Side home every Saturday. Her creations are colorful and delicious, and you're bound to taste sweet and savory brunch treats that you've never tried before, including Bobo De Camarão (fresh shrimpin a puree of dried shrimp, cassava meal, coconut milk, and fresh ginger) and Picanha (Brazilian seasoned top sirloin). The Brazilian staff wear baianas that are native, flowing lacy dresses popularized in 1940s Carmen Miranda films, and Brazilian musicians play a variety of tunes ranging from classical to popular to samba to bossa nova, transporting you direct to Rio. Reservations are required.
Bistronomic (840 N. Wabash Ave.)
Fuel up before a busy day of shopping on Michigan Avenue at Bistronomic, a contemporary French bistro that features big flavors and housemade, modern French cuisine, all served in a friendly, relaxed Gold Coast setting. And though Bistronomic is rooted in France, it showcases seasonal and sustainable ingredients, many of them sourced from area farms, giving you a true taste of the Midwest. For brunch, warm up with the fluffy Belgian waffles, served with a side Nueske's applewood smoked bacon; the wild mushroom omelet, served with truffle oil and a side of red bliss potatoes; or the Ciabatta club sandwich, with roasted turkey, herbed mayonnaise and a fried egg (pictured above). Bottomless mimosas encourage lingering.
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba (2024 N. Halsted St.)
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba offers a lively Spanish brunch in Lincoln Park. Four types of eggs Benedict and a wide selection of tapas are perfect for large group sharing. Order a side of the delicious date glazed bacon and fluffy buttermilk waffles. Splurge and pig out on the beef tenderloin with poached egg and hollandaise on a toasted, house-made English muffin, accompanied by manchego breakfast potatoes and grilled cherry tomatoes (above). The make-your-own-bloody mary bar lets you choose your premium vodka and special condiments to customize your cocktail.