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A pancake cut into slices and fanned out around a cup of red chili sauce
A Korean seafood pancake.
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Where to Find Savory Pancakes in Chicago

Pajeon, okonomiyaki, latkes, crepes — they’re all here

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A Korean seafood pancake.
| Shutterstock

When it comes to pancakes, sweet breakfast stacks get most of the attention, but the savory variety deserve some love, too. After all, they’re reliably available at all times of day, not just breakfast, and in all sorts of restaurants, not just brunch places and diners. They also come in a range of shapes and sizes, with a wide array of fillings to satisfy any appetite. Here’s a list of some of the best places in Chicago to find pajeon, okonomiyaki, crepes, and latkes.

As of August 20, the city has mandated that everyone wear facial coverings while indoors. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Walker Bros. Original Pancake House

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153 Green Bay Rd
Wilmette, IL 60091
(847) 251-6000
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The best-known pancake at Walker Bros. and the Original Pancake House is the plate-sized apple pancake, but the chain puts on a nice savory display, too, with the Danish Garden, an eggy, souffle-like pancake that’s just as enormous, but filled instead with broccoli, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms, and topped with Havarti cheese. Walker Bros. also serves a satisfying plate of potato pancakes.

2. San Soo Gab San

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5247 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 334-1589
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Just about every Korean restaurant has some sort of savory pancake on its appetizer menu, but the haemool pahjun at San Soo Gab San stands out because instead of the regular scallions it’s stuffed with seafood: squid, octopus, mussels, and shrimp. This Korean barbecue spot has a second location in Morton Grove.

3. Gadabout

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5212 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 944-0429
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Gadabout in Andersonville specializes in global street food, and that includes shrimp okonomiyaki, a Japanese wheat flour pancake cooked on a griddle and filled with cabbage, scallion, pickled ginger, eel sauce, bonito flakes, and spicy mayo. It also happens to be the only pancake on the brunch menu.

4. Dancen

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5114 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 878-2400
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Connoisseurs recommend this Lincoln Square Korean bar for the fire chicken, but Dancen’s pancakes are entirely respectable. Customers have their choice of kimchi or seafood, both of which make a good accompaniment for barbecue and also serve as a sponge for soaking up soju.

5. Staropolska Restaurant

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3030 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 342-0779
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At this Polish joint in Avondale, pancakes come in two varieties: potato and zucchini. But there are more choices to be made. To get the potato with sour cream or applesauce? To get the zucchini flat or stuffed with chicken, onion, peppers, and goat cheese? To order the appetizer plate or enough for a whole meal? Pancakes do require a great deal of thought.

6. The Crepe Shop

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2934 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 857-0018

A proper savory crepe comes with lots of French-style fromage, and the offerings at the Crepe Shop in Lakeview are no exception. Choose from ham and fontina, lox and cream cheese, or just cheese, cheese, and more cheese (fontina, parmesan, and mozzarella).

7. Izakaya Mita

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1960 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 799-8677
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The menu at this recently reopened Bucktown izakaya has its own section devoted to okonomiyaki. Try them with Japanese seasonings like dashi, bonito, and ao nori, or add pork belly or shrimp and crab.

8. Brü Chicago

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1562 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(872) 802-0800
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This cafe in Wicker Park folds its rice crepes into a cone shape, all the better for customers to hold onto as they have a light breakfast on the go. Fillings include chicken teriyaki, spicy beef, and goat cheese, pear, and truffle.

9. Podhalanka

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1549 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60642
(773) 486-6655
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Just across the street from the Polonia Triangle, Podhalanka specializes in old-school Polish food, and for old-school Poles, potato pancakes qualify as bar food. Here they’re served up with a side of applesauce and sour cream.

10. Shokolad Pastry & Cafe

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2524 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 276-6402
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At this Ukrainian Village cafe, the crepes may be outshone by the pierogi and pelmeni, but they’re still available for whoever wants them. Choose from ham and gruyere, spinach mushroom feta, and the unspecified “meaty.”

11. Iguana Cafe

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517 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 432-0663
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The crepe menu at this pan-European cafe pays tribute to the great cities of Europe, from Amsterdam to Monte Carlo, and Berlin to Budapest. All contain cheese and vegetables, and some also have geographically-appropriate meat or poultry.

12. Gaijin

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950 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 265-1348
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For anyone who is curious about Japanese okonomiyaki, Gaijin is the place to go. This West Loop spot serves both Osaka and Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki (the difference is that in Hiroshima, the ingredients are layered instead of mixed together and served with yakisoba noodles) with a wide choice of fillings, plus negiyaki, stuffed with scallions instead of cabbage.

13. Little Goat Diner

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820 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 888-3455
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The breakfast menu at the Little Goat includes chef Stephanie Izard’s interpretation of okonomiyaki, filled with pork belly and topped with a poached egg, a satisfying translation of the American diner trio of bacon, eggs, and pancakes.

14. Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen

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1141 S Jefferson St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 939-2855
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Manny’s is one of the city’s foremost specialists in a certain kind of potato pancake. Forget thin, dainty, and lacy: the latkes here are thick and hearty, an excellent accompaniment to a solid deli sandwich.

15. Ahjoomah's Apron Korean Restaurant

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218 W Cermak Rd
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 326-2800
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At Ahjoomah’s Apron in Chinatown, the kitchen very kindly accommodates parties who are divided by pancake preferences by serving a half seafood-half kimchi version of its pajeon appetizer.

1. Walker Bros. Original Pancake House

153 Green Bay Rd, Wilmette, IL 60091

The best-known pancake at Walker Bros. and the Original Pancake House is the plate-sized apple pancake, but the chain puts on a nice savory display, too, with the Danish Garden, an eggy, souffle-like pancake that’s just as enormous, but filled instead with broccoli, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms, and topped with Havarti cheese. Walker Bros. also serves a satisfying plate of potato pancakes.

153 Green Bay Rd
Wilmette, IL 60091

2. San Soo Gab San

5247 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Just about every Korean restaurant has some sort of savory pancake on its appetizer menu, but the haemool pahjun at San Soo Gab San stands out because instead of the regular scallions it’s stuffed with seafood: squid, octopus, mussels, and shrimp. This Korean barbecue spot has a second location in Morton Grove.

5247 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60625

3. Gadabout

5212 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

Gadabout in Andersonville specializes in global street food, and that includes shrimp okonomiyaki, a Japanese wheat flour pancake cooked on a griddle and filled with cabbage, scallion, pickled ginger, eel sauce, bonito flakes, and spicy mayo. It also happens to be the only pancake on the brunch menu.

5212 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640

4. Dancen

5114 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Connoisseurs recommend this Lincoln Square Korean bar for the fire chicken, but Dancen’s pancakes are entirely respectable. Customers have their choice of kimchi or seafood, both of which make a good accompaniment for barbecue and also serve as a sponge for soaking up soju.

5114 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625

5. Staropolska Restaurant

3030 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

At this Polish joint in Avondale, pancakes come in two varieties: potato and zucchini. But there are more choices to be made. To get the potato with sour cream or applesauce? To get the zucchini flat or stuffed with chicken, onion, peppers, and goat cheese? To order the appetizer plate or enough for a whole meal? Pancakes do require a great deal of thought.

3030 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

6. The Crepe Shop

2934 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657

A proper savory crepe comes with lots of French-style fromage, and the offerings at the Crepe Shop in Lakeview are no exception. Choose from ham and fontina, lox and cream cheese, or just cheese, cheese, and more cheese (fontina, parmesan, and mozzarella).

2934 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657

7. Izakaya Mita

1960 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

The menu at this recently reopened Bucktown izakaya has its own section devoted to okonomiyaki. Try them with Japanese seasonings like dashi, bonito, and ao nori, or add pork belly or shrimp and crab.

1960 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

8. Brü Chicago

1562 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

This cafe in Wicker Park folds its rice crepes into a cone shape, all the better for customers to hold onto as they have a light breakfast on the go. Fillings include chicken teriyaki, spicy beef, and goat cheese, pear, and truffle.

1562 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

9. Podhalanka

1549 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60642

Just across the street from the Polonia Triangle, Podhalanka specializes in old-school Polish food, and for old-school Poles, potato pancakes qualify as bar food. Here they’re served up with a side of applesauce and sour cream.

1549 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60642

10. Shokolad Pastry & Cafe

2524 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

At this Ukrainian Village cafe, the crepes may be outshone by the pierogi and pelmeni, but they’re still available for whoever wants them. Choose from ham and gruyere, spinach mushroom feta, and the unspecified “meaty.”

2524 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

11. Iguana Cafe

517 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60642

The crepe menu at this pan-European cafe pays tribute to the great cities of Europe, from Amsterdam to Monte Carlo, and Berlin to Budapest. All contain cheese and vegetables, and some also have geographically-appropriate meat or poultry.

517 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60642

12. Gaijin

950 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60607

For anyone who is curious about Japanese okonomiyaki, Gaijin is the place to go. This West Loop spot serves both Osaka and Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki (the difference is that in Hiroshima, the ingredients are layered instead of mixed together and served with yakisoba noodles) with a wide choice of fillings, plus negiyaki, stuffed with scallions instead of cabbage.

950 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60607

13. Little Goat Diner

820 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

The breakfast menu at the Little Goat includes chef Stephanie Izard’s interpretation of okonomiyaki, filled with pork belly and topped with a poached egg, a satisfying translation of the American diner trio of bacon, eggs, and pancakes.

820 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

14. Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen

1141 S Jefferson St, Chicago, IL 60607

Manny’s is one of the city’s foremost specialists in a certain kind of potato pancake. Forget thin, dainty, and lacy: the latkes here are thick and hearty, an excellent accompaniment to a solid deli sandwich.

1141 S Jefferson St
Chicago, IL 60607

15. Ahjoomah's Apron Korean Restaurant

218 W Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60616

At Ahjoomah’s Apron in Chinatown, the kitchen very kindly accommodates parties who are divided by pancake preferences by serving a half seafood-half kimchi version of its pajeon appetizer.

218 W Cermak Rd
Chicago, IL 60616

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