West of Halsted and River North, this is a fun area of Chicago to explore and find some really great food options!
You will first come to Flo, a fun spot for breakfast or brunch with New Mexican specialties. 1434 W. Chicago.
The vegetarian food at Green Zebra is also excellent. There is good weekend brunch with the best grits in Chicago. Chef Shawn McClain received the James Beard Award in 2006 for Best Chef Midwest. 1460 W. Chicago.
Habana Libre is the perfect spot for great Cuban specialties. The combination platter, which serves three people easily, is a wonderful value. They recently opened for brunch; it is also BYOB. 1440 W. Chicago. It is the perfect spot for a group dinner with friends. Reservations are taken for larger groups.
Mexique, in a sleek space, has good Mexican specialties. It received a Michelin Star in 2013. 1529 W. Chicago.
Whisk, at 2018 W. Chicago, recently opened and is a great spot for its daily brunch. Dinner is also served.
Located in the old West Town Tavern location at 1329 W. Chicago Ave. is Charlatan. They offer a very creative, seasonal menu. It was a perfect spot on a cold Chicago night with long-time friends. I enjoyed the escarole salad and the great cinnamon dusted scallops. It continues to get good reviews.
There are some great restaurants along Division Street also:
I recently tired the the casual Mana Food Bar, a Michelin Bib Gourmand recommendation, featuring vegan and vegetarian options. They have a large menu of salads, Indian dishes and Asian specialties. I enjoyed a casual dinner with a local friend.
Taus Authentic: I thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to a new restaurant getting rave reviews. It has a warm, contemporary and sleek décor. I really enjoyed the panzanella kale salad with cherry tomatoes, Japanese cucumbers, dill croutons, blue cheese in a lemon-caper dressing and the sea trout entrée with spring pea risotto, honey-thyme carrot puree and baby carrots. 1846 W. Division
Across the street is a fun spot for brunch. Harvest Moon is a farm-to-table gastro-pub with a brunch and live music on weekends. The chickpea hash, the breakfast pot pie and side of braised apples were all very good. 1805 W. Division.
Mirai Sushi at 2020 W. Division comes to mind as a fun spot for sushi. Bangers and Lace at 1670 W. Division is a fun spot for craft beer, sandwiches and salads. They do have a brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
For the best gelato, check out Black Dog Gelato at 859 N. Damen, just north of Chicago Ave. The goat cheese, cashew and caramel flavor is one of the best I have ever had anywhere!
Bite Cafe: At 1039 N. Western, this is a casual, neighborhood restaurant that is perfect for brunch. The menu is excellent.
Our most recent find is Homestead on the Roof. At 1924 W. Chicago Ave., this is a wonderful farm-to-table with a small indoor dining room. But the highlight is the 1,000 sq. ft. rooftop restaurant surrounded by its rooftop garden. It is the perfect spot on a Chicago summer night. The menu features farm-fresh seasonal fare in its dinner, desserts, and hand-crafted cocktails. They have a good selection small plates and large plates that can easily be shared. We loved gougeres and the smoked oxtail croquettes to start and equally enjoyed the scallops with the foie mousse, the duck entree and the walleye with the langoustine remoulade. The desserts were also excellent. We loved the nutella drumstick and the peach dessert.
Just west 2524 W. Chicago is Shokolad Pasty & Cafe which a Ukrainian cafe offering pastries, cookies and a savory breakfast/lunch menu with sandwiches,crêpes and pierogi. The sandwiches were huge and very good.
I also just tried enjoyed Tryzub at 2201 W. Chicago. They features pierogies, crepes, potato pancakes and other Ukrainian specialties. They serve brunch daily. I enjoyed a smoked salmon omelette and pierogies. The decor is attractive and somewhat formal.
Nearby, I recently tried A Tavola a small, cozy spot from 1995 that is known for its seasonal Italian menu from local ingredients. They have great gnocchi, pasta, fish, beef and more. They offer a tasting menu as well. 2148 W Chicago Ave.
Next door to C.C. Ferns and The California Clipper is the Spinning J Bakery & Soda Fountain at 1000 N. California Ave. They feature, pies, scones, coffee, breakfast sandwiches, ice cream and home made sodas. It has a very vintage feel. Up the street two blocks is another great spot for breakfast, lunch and Sunday brunch. The Flying Saucer at 1123 N. California. This casual diner has a large menu and good food. I enjoyed the Flying Saucer benedict, an english muffin with ham, baby spinach, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, two poached eggs and roasted red pepper sauce. served with one side. It has been opened over 13 years and features organic and locally sourced ingredients.
Another recent find is Windy City Cafe at 1062 W. Chicago Ave. Open for breakfast and lunch they feature a large selection of breakfast items from omelettes, benedicts, skillets, frittatas, pancakes, egg specialties and sides. The smoked salmon benedict was excellent.
Haywood Tavern: Thanks to the NY Times, I found this casual spot for brunch at 2759 W. Augusta in Humboldt Park. I enjoyed the smoked salmon plate. I can’t wait to try Cafe Marie-Jeanne across the street at 1001 N. California. The brunch menu looks great.