Last visit September 2012 to the South Loop location
I go to the Bongo Room a couple of times a year, I love breakfast food and I REALLY love decadent breakfast food. If you go on a weekend, expect a fairly long wait, the hostess usually quotes a time longer than the actual wait time but it can be 20-40 minutes depending on when you get there. Since it is breakfast, tables do open up more quickly than for lunch or dinner and your meal comes very fast! It's not hard getting a table on the weekdays but the menu is more limited than the weekends.
My 1st visit was to the original location on Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park, since then I've been going to the South Loop location which is a little more spacious and closer for me to get to, that is also true for most visitors. On the weekends expect a high noise level and don't plan on dawdling over your food as I'm sure they like to turnover the tables for the long line of people who got there after you. Service is friendly and fast. Expect to spend about $15 person with tax & tip, breakfast selections were about $10-14.
Favorite Dish The Bongo Room specializes in dessert masquerading as breakfast but there are also plenty of savory items on the menu, eggs benedict, eggs, omelettes, a breakfast burrito and croissant sandwiches. Judging by my last visit, the savory items are becoming more popular than the sweet.
On several visits I've had the Chocolate Tower French toast (only served on the weekends), three pieces of bittersweet chocolate chunk bread stuffed with maple mascarpone, banana creme brulee sauce, bananas and shaved chocolate. I've also had the Smore banana pancakes, banana nestle crunch pancakes, banana oreo pancakes and red velvet pancakes with a vanilla creme sauce, all positively decadent and not even possible that I could finish them, like having dessert for breakfast, I usually stop when I start getting a sugar buzz. The menu changes every time I go but there are always several tantalizing choices.
If you're not starving, think about getting a 1/2 order, 2 pancakes instead of 3 at about 2/3 of the price, it was still more than I could finish. You can also get 1 pancake of 2 different kinds if you can't decide. Neither option is listed on the menu but they are very flexible on the menu.
Wildest pancake flavors you've ever heard of. The menu is ever-changing but it's always a safe bet for a yummy, filling brunch.
Favorite Dish Get a regular breakfast, like the Burrito, and go for a side order of 1 pancake to share.
Dabs had suggested this as her all time favourite breakfast venue not a place for diabetics I must warn you cause she described sugary sinful treats galore.
The ultra chocolatey french toast Kristi described is on their brunch menu on the weekends and as we were visiting during the week we perused the normal menu as well as the specials.
Sandy & I decided to order a sweet and savoury item and then swap which was a good decision. The Breakfast Buritto was ultra puffy a cilantro, jalepeno tortilla packed with guacomole, scrambled eggs, melted cheese, sour cream and salsa with hash browns on the side.
I indulged in french toast with vanilla bean cream, strawberries and bananas which was delightful.
I also would highly recommend this place for breakfast I believe it gets very busy and the place is rather small. Open Mon-Fri 8.30am - 2.30pm sat & sun 9am - 2pm (brunch menu)
When I heard about The Bongo Room, I only heard about the one in Wicker Park, but when Dabs [Kristi] organized a day's outing when Robert and his mother came to Chicago in celebration of her 75th birthday, The Bongo Room on Wabash Avenuewas selected for its convenience.
Both restaurants feature the same breakfast and lunch menues. The Wabash Avenue one is most well-known for its breakfast. Lunch menu begins at 11 a.m. and features sandwiches such as maple and mustard roasted pork loin & crab club.
We were here for the delicious breakfast fare! Thank goodness they have 1/2 orders. Kristi, Robert's mother, and I all ordered 1/2 orders; Robert, of course, ordered a full order!
Breakfast menu includes Eggs, Vegetarian Croissant Sandwich, Regular Croissant Sandwich, Breakfast Burrito, Omelettes, French Toast, Designer pancakes, Flapjacks, and Hotcakes.
Sides include Canadian Bacon, Bacon, Sausage, Hash Browns, Toast, Croissants, and Bagels.
The service was efficient and quite pleasant. The room is not huge, but because of all the windows on this corner building, it is very bright and comfortable.
Favorite Dish I had the French Toast with a carmel/apple sauce and gelato atop. I could only eat a little less than half of it. Too bad because it was really delicious. I also had a small fresh orange juice and a cup of Cappuccino.
We all seemed to be quite pleased with our orders and never felt rushed to leave...which was good because we had plenty to discuss and were in no hurry to go outside into the bitterly cold and windy Chicago weather on this February morning.
The Bongo Room is Chicago's answer to heavenly breakfasts. They feature exquisite offerings of pancakes and french toast, though there's a much wider selection on the weekend. Apparently the weekend wait is quite long though.
The Bongo Room has opened a new restaurant - same name, essentially same menu - in the burgeoning South Loop. I finally got around to trying it out in the summer of 2006. Well, it's good, but maybe it's just the new location, but I think something is missing. Maybe this new place is just too new and yuppie. Maybe there was some essential ingredient in the semi-decayed downtrodden neighborhood of the original place. (Admittedly, Bucktown/Wicker Park is hardly semi-decayed any more, but it was when the Bongo Room first opened.) Maybe I just don't like all the blonde Norwegian wood.
Anyhow, Bongo Room South Loop is a good option if you're in the neighborhood, but I think it's still worth a trip out the Blue Line to visit the original. (It's the Damen stop.)
The Zagat Guide agrees with Yooperprof: some of the best brunch in Chicago can be found at the Bongo Room on Milwaukee Avenue, near North Ave. in Bucktown.
This is a very popular place. On weekends, the crowds are formidable, with long waits the norm. You might want to think twice about coming here on a Saturday or Sunday morning. I'm not alone in thinking that not only does the service deteriorate, but also the quality of the food declines when they are slammed. On the other hand, if you're around mid-morning during the week, the Bongo Room can't be beat for freshly prepared and delectable brunches. I ate here on a Monday morning in the summer of 2004 and was again extremely satisfied.
Favorite Dish Any of their omelet concoctions are impressive; if you like eggs benedict things, those are excellent here as well.
Note that my rating just applies for weekdays - I would only rate Bongo Room "three squares" on a weekend.
Very funky and eclectic decor.
Favorite Dish If you've seen my other page, you already know food is a big deal to me.
Fortunately, Chicago is a great place for dining.
Try the Bongo Room for the best breakfasts in town.
I recommend Banana, Ginger and Walnut Pancakes.