Where and Wear: Café Robey
Café Robey is probably my favorite brunch spot in Chicago. Everything from its ambiance, to its food, to the friendliness of its staff draw me to it time and time again.
As its name suggests, Café Robey is located on the ground floor of the Robey, one of Wicker Park’s most prominent hotels. It’s somewhat hidden, as you can’t enter directly into the café; rather, you must pass through a side entrance through the hotel first.
Every time I enter the restaurant, I’m met with its bustling atmosphere, married seamlessly with a chic and upscale backdrop. From its bar to the decorations on the marble tables, the space is tastefully furnished and decorated. Despite being upscale in appearance, it is also comfortable and somewhat understated. This is one reason why I love the ambiance of Café Robey so much: it prioritizes a sense of warmth and being inviting, rather than overt luxury or exclusivity. Moreover, every time I’ve been, the staff has been incredibly welcoming.
The restaurant offers both brunch and dinner, but I can only speak to the brunch menu. It offers drinks ranging from coffee, to fresh-squeezed juice, and of course, cocktails and champagne. As for food, their entrees are generous in portion, yet tasteful and refined in presentation and culinary detail.
Last weekend, I ordered the Brioche French Toast. I was presented with cubes of toast stuffed with mascarpone stacked on top of each other, with a fruit compote drizzled over the dish and maple syrup on the side. Although I had ordered the same thing last spring, I noticed that Café Robey changed the stuffing of the toast from a lemon curd to mascarpone, and the berry compote was now peach. My waiter explained to me that they changed the entrée slightly to fit a more autumnal taste profile—the sweeter mascarpone replaced the tangy lemon curd, and the new compote complemented this well.
As for the “wear”: There’s no official dress code, but most people dress quite well. I wore a suede jacket, a black top and jeans, and black booties. A “smart casual”, or something chic that you’d wear on a date, is definitely safe.
Finally, I actually brought my school bag (the black leather backpack from Cuyana). After brunch, I headed to the lounge upstairs to catch up on some work. It had a similar feel to Café Robey in that it was elegant and understated, but it was also slightly calmer than the restaurant. Ironically, the lounge was more of a café than Café Robey, as it served coffee and had a full bar.
I highly recommend having brunch at Café Robey and relocating to the lounge if you ever want to spend a day in Wicker Park but also take the time to stay on top of school or work.
Feature image via.