Vishnu, my sister, my brother-in-law, my cousin, and I met up for breakfast at the Wicker Park location of The Bongo Room last weekend. For those of us from Chicago, it was not our first visit. My cousin, however, was a Bongo Room newbie, and I think he really enjoyed his first meal at this Chicago establishment.
First things first, get ready to wait! From my personal experiences and other people’s reviews, this popular restaurant is always packed. Also, ensure your entire party is present when they call your table. If it’s not, you won’t be seated!
In terms of ambiance, The Bongo Room looks and feels like your typical big city brunch restaurant – a little on the smallish side and filled with people ready to eat delicious sweet and savory breakfast foods. Personally, I don’t find the Wicker Park location to be super special in terms of decor, but I do appreciate and love the hustle and bustle. Makes for a fun experience!
The service we received wasn’t over-the-top amazing, but it was great for how packed the place was. During this particular visit, our waitress had a fun sense of humor and made frequent stops by our table to ensure our coffee mugs remained full…always appreciated!
Now for the food…
The breakfast menu itself is full of both traditional and not so traditional foods – everything from scrambles to pancakes. Don’t get me wrong, the menu isn’t filled with endless options, but it includes something for everyone.
From a veggie perspective, if you’re craving something sweet, you won’t run into any issues. So many options! Someone ordered the Banana Pancakes, and I was able to snag a bite (or two or three!). You guys, this simple sounding dish was finger licking fantastic. The pancakes were soft and fluffy, the bananas added a nice fruity sweetness, the pecans added a necessary crunch, and the maple cream…ummm, it’s the stuff dreams are made of. Think sweet maple cream cheese in sauce form. And there’s no shortage of the good stuff. It literally covers every inch of the pancakes. Delicious!
For my main meal, I went with the Vegetarian Croissant Sandwich (one of the only savory options aside from the omelettes), except I swapped out the croissant for sourdough toast. So this was definitely a lesson in how not to switch out a croissant for toast because it just won’t taste as good. I liked my meal a lot, especially all of the different flavors and textures – cucumber, sauteed spinach, sprouts, etc. – but the bread didn’t cut it. The breakfast potatoes that came on the side were good. My only wish was that they were crispier on the edges.
Overall, everyone really enjoyed their meals. Vishnu raved about his Shrimp Scampi Benedict (a special). In my opinion, The Bongo Room continues to impress with it’s sweet breakfast options – decadent, rich, and sinfully delicious.