A good creme brûlée requires skill. First, there’s the rich creamy custard, and then there’s the topping of crisp caramel or sugar which, if not done correctly, can easily ruin the dish. Fortunately for us in Chicago, there are a variety of restaurants that have perfected the art of the creme brûlée. As a classic French dessert, many French restaurants offer a stellar creme brûlée, but they aren’t the only places that do. Keep reading to find the best of the best of this creamy but crunchy treat.
1958 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
Le Bouchon is a Wicker Park/Bucktown restaurant that offers French classics through and through. While the space is small, the flavors are big from the house-made pate to the grilled hanger steak. Cap off your meal with the absolutely perfect creme brûlée, which is a butterscotch custard topped with caramelized sugar. It’s worth every penny of the $9 you’ll spend on it.
Palmer House Hilton: Lockwood Restaurant & Barl
17 E. Monroe St.
Chicago, IL 60603
For an elegant dining experience and a special day out, head over to the historic Palmer House Hilton’s Lockwood restaurant. The menu here is a seasonal one, but you’ll more often than not find creme brûlée on the menu, both during dinner as well as afternoon tea. But the flavors of the creme brûlée depend on the season, too! The custard ranges from meyer lemon to ginger. No matter what time of year and no matter which creme brulee is on the menu, you’re in for a treat.
Glazed & Infused
813 W. Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
Yes, Glazed & Infused is a popular donut shop, one that offers a crazy amount of wonderful flavor combinations. One of those many flavors are an out-of-this-world and hand-crafted creme brûlée donut… but it’s not always available. It’s one of their seasonal treats. When it is available, it’s the perfect glaze atop the donut, and the perfect amount of creme brulee in the center. Simply put: heavenly. But be sure to call ahead to make sure they have it! Then again, you really can’t go wrong with any of their donuts.
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840 N. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
The menu at this French bistro includes all sorts of creatively-inspired French classics from Chef Martial Noguier. One of those fabulous dishes is the perfect end to the meal: the black and white creme brulee. It all starts with a vanilla bean custard and bittersweet chocolate mousse and is topped with a crackly turbinado sugar. It’s as decadent and wonderful as it sounds, as the chocolate and vanillas melds just right.
3257 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60657
The cuisine at this Lakeview restaurant can perhaps best be described as Japanese-French, an interesting and delightful combination. And that’s part of the reason the creme brulee… or creme caramel… here is worth a visit. One of their most popular creme brulees is, hand down, espresso, as it’s perfectly executed and balanced with the mousse that accompanies it.
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Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not blogging about food, she’s working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products. Some of her writing can be found at Examiner.com.