Food & Drink

The 12 Best Brunches in Boston

Published On 01/22/2014 Published On 01/22/2014
Best Brunches BOS
Jacqueline Dole

Brunch: it's that meal you get when you don't quite want breakfast but you don't quite want lunch either. Or maybe you've already had breakfast and fully plan on having lunch, but you're just looking to slide something in between because you completely lack self-control. It's your world. Either way, when it comes to Boston's best hybrid morning-afternoon eating (and drinking!), you won't do better than these dozen spots.

Island Creek Oyster Bar

Island Creek Oyster Bar

Kenmore Square
They offer one of the best selections of oysters in the city, and the opportunity to wash them down with some of the best cocktails. And possibly a couple of lobster rolls. The service is on point, and the interior might actually make you take your eyes off that Jonah Crab omelette and the giant homemade biscuits.

The Salty Pig

The Salty Pig

Back Bay
The Salty Pig knows full well there's no wrong time of day to scarf down irresponsibly large amounts of charcuterie and local cheeses. Just make sure you leave real estate for their pork belly hash with bacon braised greens and a couple of runny over-easy eggs. Also, the beer list here makes it perfectly acceptable to start your day with a brew.

Toro

Toro

South End
Toro’s award-winning tapas menu is just as good at brunch as it is at dinner, but you'd be remiss not to take advantage of AM-specific offerings like their Chilaquiles de Pollo covered in avocado, crema, Cotija cheese and an optional egg that you're obviously getting because you aren't an animal. Also: griddled banana bread with foie gras toffee. And what's better than a refreshing Bloody Maria? How about consuming them by the pitcher? Why yes, that is better.

The Beehive

The Beehive

South End
Boasting one of Boston's only jazz brunches, The Beehive starts buzzing (!) early -- an advance reservation is an advisable move. Their menu skews more towards the savory side of the brunch spectrum, including the spectacular Eggs Shakshuka (also worth ordering just as an excuse to say "Shakshuka"), consisting of poached eggs, North African sausage and Moroccan-style tomato sauce over polenta. 

Myers + Chang

Myers + Chang

South End
This is the spot to over-indulge on both drinks and dim sum. Fried egg banh mis with sweet soy bacon, stuffed baos, and tea smoked ribs are all worth loading up on. Bonus: no need to worry about sleeping in, Myers + Chang has one of the latest brunches in the city (runs until 530pm), so it's good for those nights when you were up until 530am.

Jacqueline Dole

Deep Ellum

Allston
This is one of Boston's few true 7-days-a-week brunch menus. The BBQ Breakfast brings together the most satisfying elements of... BBQ and breakfast, with braised pork shoulder, cornbread, and mustard aioli all combined with a runny egg. Try it with a Cafe Sancho (Karma Roasters coffee with reposado, agave, mole bitters, and Mexican chocolate whipped cream).

East Coast Grill

East Coast Grill

Cambridge
Their Make Your Own Bloody Mary bar is legendary, but once you've finally sorted out all the accoutrements you're adding to your creation, you can grab South of the border breakfast creations like Ancho-Molasses Grilled Hangar Steak with chimichurri, potato-poblano hash, cheesy scrambled eggs, and griddled cornbread with guava butter. Maybe spring for a Kitchen Appreciation Special: a six pack of PBR tallboys that goes to the hardworking team of cooks, because that was a lot of food they just made you.

Jennifer Che

Kirkland Tap & Trotter

Somerville
Crispy-fried chicken sausage, house-smoked sockeye salmon hash, and a breakfast Daiquiri? And yes, there is an egg-topped, brunch-friendly burger as well as crazy good house-made doughnuts.

Puritan and Company

Cambridge
Puritan and Company has everything you’d expect from a traditional New England brunch and much more -- red flannel hash, sourdough griddle cakes, and one of the best croissants in the city. Most tempting of all, the Provisions Table is filled with a rotating selection of fresh pastries that will make you want to try each and every one.

Jacqueline Dole

Area Four

Cambridge
Brunch cocktails, high quality coffee, and constantly rotating baskets of goodies made for the table by resident pastry wizard Katie Kimball? That's a pretty strong start, and that's before you even begin implementing plates like the appropriately named Hot Mess, a skillet packed with home fries, bacon, breakfast sausage, cheddar, scallion, and caramelized onions topped off with a couple of farm eggs and banana pepper relish. Bonus, those farm eggs can also be used to breakfast-ify the pizza of your choosing. 

Jacqueline Dole

Trina's Starlite Lounge

Somerville
There's a White Russian made with chocolate Nesquik. There's "Golden Grahams" toast with malted milk whipped cream. The towering piece of sweet corn bread piled high with a heaping scoop of melting butter is what dreams (and diabetes) are made of, and that's before you even attacked the fried chicken and waffles with hot pepper syrup. There's now ample reason to get yourself to Somerville on a Monday for their service-industry focused brunch.

Jacqueline Dole

Highland Kitchen

Somerville
Beignets, smoked pork hash, and Patron XO and coffees keep this spot perpetually packed with faithful regulars. Don’t let the line scare you away -- once you’ve made it inside, you’ll see what all the fuss is about: live bluegrass music makes the must-get shrimp and grits taste that much better in this laid back, Southern-ish Somerville spot.

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1. Area Four 500 Technology Sq, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Kendall Square)

Area Four keeps its seats filled with its famously crispy, wood-fired crust. Beginning with a starter that’s more than 10 years old, the dough is fermented for 30 hours or more, then topped with hand-pulled mozzarella. That is, if you want mozzarella: Area Four’s signature mozzarella tops most of its pies, but there are a couple other options -- including its ridiculously tasty clams & bacon pizza -- that opt out of mozzarella for a finish of nutty pecorino. Though it's known for dinner, Area Four serves traditional morning fare like breakfast sandwiches and pastries, plus a stellar breakfast pizza with cheddar cheese, potato, eggs, and bacon.

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2. Island Creek Oyster Bar 500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215 (Fenway Kenmore)

Everything about Island Creek’s modern, simple decor and comfortable atmosphere makes you think of an upscale coastal shanty, not to mention the shellfish is impeccable. The raw bar is the main draw here as some of the oysters are sourced directly from its farm of the same name in Duxbury Bay, but you can also get other local New England staples like, Chatham, Wellfleet, and Pearly White. You’ll find daily changing fresh fish options like, Maine Grilled Salmon with mustard spaetzle and apple purée, Falmouth Bluefish with delicata squash and chorizo, and Fried Ipswich Clams, plus brunch fare like, Salt Cod Cakes with house-made baked beans, a fried egg, and bacon.

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3. The Salty Pig 130 Dartmouth St, Boston, MA 02116 (Back Bay)

As the name implies, this South End spot is big into pork-centric cured meats. With local charcuterie, artisanal cheese selections, and stone-grilled pizza pies, the Salty Pig is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. An Old World wine list and quirkily named cocktail menu put the finishing touches on the bold flavors that abound here, and the doodle-decorated chalkboard walls make for a decidedly fun ambience.

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4. Toro 1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118 (South End)

Get yourself to the South End and try some of Toro's Barcelona-style tapas for lunch, dinner, or Sunday brunch. Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette put a modern twist on Spanish small plates by using regional ingredients to craft favorites like salt cod fritters, garlic shrimp, braised beef tongue, and grilled corn with aioli. Be sure to save room for the paella, made the traditional Valencia way with shrimp, mussels, clams, chorizo, and chicken. A Spanish wine list complements it all.

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5. Beehive 541 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116 (South End)

Located at the Boston Center for the Arts, Beehive's a "Bohemian eatery" with food, cocktails, and live music. Not only is their craft cocktail list is the perfect remedy for Bean Town's dreary weather, the small plates will warm you up with complex and hearty flavors. Stop in for an elegant dinner (there'll probably be some live music going on as well), or a fancy brunch complete with mimosas or bloodies.

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6. Myers + Chang 1145 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118 (South End)

From the creator of Boston-favorite Flour Bakery, Asian-inspired Myers + Chang cooks up American twists on Taiwanese, Thai, and Vietnamese classics in its quirky South End location. The “punchy and craveable” menu options range from “Dim Sum-y Things” like a rich Crab Rangoon Dip to “Buns, Baos, Rolls + a Taco” like a tangy Korean BBQ Sloppy Joe to “Mama Chang’s Favorites” with options like, Wok Roasted Mussels with grilled garlic toast and Twice-Cooked Lamb Belly Stirfry with hot mustard and noodles. At lunch try variations on Vietnamese Banh Mi like Braised Shortrib and Asian Pear with traditional carrot-daikon slaw, pickled jalapenos, and sriracha aioli dressings. Stop in with a date on Monday or Tuesdays for themed menus and great deals on shareable meals.

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7. Deep Ellum 477 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134 (Allston Brighton)

Whiskey cocktails and Southern-inspired brunch fare are the name of the game at this Allston cocktail hangout. Deep Ellum's menu features seven types of Manhattans and more than 25 beers on tap, all worth exploring while you attempt to talk over blaring music (tip: get here early for a spot on the quieter, plant-filled back patio). While there is a solid dinner menu (go for the reuben sandwich and truffle gorgonzola fries), the brunch dishes are Boston bucket list-worthy and served seven days a week (!), and include a killer kielbasa & egg sandwich and a BBQ breakfast with braised pork shoulder, cornbread, and a fried egg.

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8. East Coast Grill 1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Inman Square)

East Coast Grill showcases chef Jason Heard's love for Southern food and BBQ, as well as cuisines from around the world. Enjoy a hearty selection of ribs and BBQ alongside bites like Asian-style Island Creek oysters, seared tuna tacos, and Creole-style BBQ shrimp.

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9. Craigie on Main 853 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Central Square)

Chef and owner Tony Maws' Craigie on Main serves French-accented bistro food in Central Square. The à la carte and tasting menus are constantly changing with exciting new dishes, but one signature remains: The Burger. The half-pound patty blends brisket, short rib, bone marrow, and suet into one unforgettable burger that reached peak food fame when it graced the cover of Bon Appétit.

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10. Puritan & Company 1166 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Inman Square)

Puritan & Co. plates modern American grub with emphasis on a classic New England style, in an attractive, well-lit location that used to be home to the historic Puritan Cake Company.

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11. Trina's Starlite Lounge 3 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143 (Somerville)

This 1940s/50s-style diner is acclaimed for their brunch, burgers, and dogs, but don't be shy about picking through their craft cocktail and beer list or ordering one of their pressed sammiches.

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12. Highland Kitchen 150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143 (Somerville)

This Somerville spot is a casual comfort food haven with a solid list of beers, live bluegrass music, and a delicious menu that has everything from Buffalo Fried Brussels Sprouts to Banana Bread Pudding. Stop by for brunch and get yourself some Shrimp and Grits and a Patron XO and coffee.

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