A tale of two brunches: Two of Chicago’s finest brunches

Here in Chicago we take our brunches seriously — perhaps because our winter nights are long and we need something to shake the cobwebs of sleep from our weekends, or perhaps because we just need a good hangover cure. From Lincoln Park to Bucktown to Pilsen each neighborhood has its favorite haunt, Midwest sized stacks of French toast heaped on top of hashbrowns and bacon in a mountain of carbohydrate bliss.

The downtown hotel scene has done well at tapping into and emulating the thriving city brunch scene. Two of our favorites are only a stone’s throw away from the Magnificent Mile, making them well-accessible to locals, visitors and tourists alike.

Mercat a la Planxa (638 S. Michigan Ave), part of Marriott’s Blackstone Hotel, hosts an excellent Spanish-inspired brunch on Saturday and Sunday mornings featuring a dazzling array of paella, tapas and sangria. Rolled across a sprawling, high ceilinged ballroom (pictured above,) the mood at Mercat is hip, laid back and inexpensive; one can get in and out of the restaurant for between $20 and $30 per person.

Just up the street in the Park Hyatt (800 N. Michigan Ave), NoMi‘s brunch is more of a high minded affair. With a main dining room that gazes over the Watertower square, the selection, service and dress code are nothing short of opulent. Custom ordered sushi or garden rolls from the in-house Japanese chefs? No problem. Hand cut roast from the carving station? They’ve got that too.

Sunday brunch at Nomi will run up to $55 per person with Saturday brunch an a la carte affair. For a real treat try NoMi on Mother’s Day, when a multi-course, no-holds-barred brunch will set you back over $100 each.