Food & Drink

The Best Brunches in Boston

Updated On 05/03/2017 at 05:23PM EST Updated On 05/03/2017 at 05:23PM EST
Deep Ellum
Deep Ellum | Jennifer Trebino
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.

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're not 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

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 5:30pm), so it's good for those nights when you were up until 5:30am.

Deep Ellum | Jennifer Trebino

Deep Ellum

Allston

This is one of Boston's few true seven-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

Cambridge

Have we mentioned how happy we are that this place is slinging bloody marys once more? Its reopening means oysters and BBQ brisket hash are back on the midday menu, along with some more unusual offerings like smoked tofu dan dan noodles and Jonah crab avocado toast. Or you could piece together a global smorgasbord from the selection of starters: tempura fish tacos, griddled corn arepas, and a Malaysian fruit salad (you know, to allay a little dietary guilt).

Kirkland Tap & Trotter

Somerville

Turkey hash, smoked Scottish salmon rillettes, brioche French toast, and a spiked sorbet float? All of those can be found here. And yes, there is an egg-topped, brunch-friendly burger as well as exquisite house-made donuts.

Puritan & Company

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.

Area Four

Cambridge

Brunch cocktails, high-quality coffee, and constantly rotating baskets of goodies made for the table? 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.

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.

Blue Room

Blue Room

Kendall Square

After a prolonged closure due to a fire, Blue Room rose from the literal ashes and brought back its renowned Sunday spread: spicy shrimp and grits, smoked beef rib and eggs, and a last meal-worthy charcuterie eggs Benedict. Vegetarians still get the royal treatment, too, with picks like the deep-fried local mushroom po-boy and a leafy green-filled omelette. As for cocktails, don’t pass up the Negroni made with prosecco instead of gin... and good luck trying to stop at just one.

Highland Kitchen

Somerville

Beignets, smoked pork hash, and Patrón 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.

Boston Chops

South End

Sometimes that Sunday hangover requires meat on top of meat, and here you’ll find a perfect curing combo in the form of a brisket, shank, and tongue hash poutine. The South End steakhouse embraces brunch as a paleo affair,  which means braised beef cheek huevos rancheros and a hefty serving of steak and eggs. For lighter -- or at least less beefy -- fare, try the fried chicken and a lobster Benedict, which pairs perfectly with the Prime Raw Bloody (that would be a Bloody Mary enhanced by a raw oyster and jumbo cocktail shrimp).

Bistro du Midi Boston

Bistro du Midi

Back Bay

Feeling French this dimanche? Don your most European daywear and lean into a classic Francophile menu of charcuterie, croque-monsieur, goat cheese quiche, and niçoise salad. You might want to spring for a Champagne cocktail, but on the other hand, the bouillabaisse Bloody Mary with seared prawn is pretty damn epique. And you have to love the class of a waiter who takes your order down in a leather Moleskine.

The Sinclair

Harvard Square

We love a brunch menu with multiple Benedicts: in this case, veggie, duck, and crab. In fact, The Sinclair loves its multiples: three omelets, three over-the-top waffles (fried chicken; bananas and caramel, and pecan; berries, bacon, and fluff), and many a bacon-centric dish, including a bacon bloody mary aperitif.

The Gallows

South End

Someone at the table has to order the Sunrise Poutine, which includes scrambled eggs, fries, cheese curds, chicken gravy, and Canadian bacon. If you’re feeling guilty, add in a vitamin-rich bruleed grapefruit and the wedge salad  (then snag a bite of someone else’s hangover burger). And have you heard about brinner? Yup, that would be the full brunch menu at dinnertime, now available on Monday evenings.

Galdones Photography

Waypoint

Harvard Square

If Waypoint’s smoked whitefish pizza doesn’t slay you, the house veal Reuben might. Or hell, you could just commit to playing Kardashian for a day and come for mimosas and the caviar service, which runs up to $195. In other words, there is no way to get it wrong at this seafood-centric spread, which also includes tremendous raw bar choices (the crab and avocado is the star here) and a sweet tooth-satisfying (and enormous) raisin and walnut cinnamon roll.

Townsman

Downtown Crossing

Were you aware that our city contains a cake table? For $15, you and your midday mate get unlimited access to a spread of seasonal baked goods (and the gentle encouragement that you spread the #caketable word on social media). This once-a-month Saturday event is epic in many other ways, as well, with dishes you won’t find anywhere else: chicken-fried steak, cinnamon bun grilled cheese, bologna pony, and sweet corn waffles. In other words: Reservations are a must.

SRV

Back Bay

The divine Venetian wine bar has broadened its horizons to your daylight hours. The story here is still small bites and pasta: healthful servings of kale and fingerling potatoes giving way to bigger plates of polenta with poached eggs and beef stracotto, and a spicy lamb sausage fazzoletti. But the real treat here is the brunch cocktail menu, which pulls no punches: negronis, amaretto sours, and the absinthe-based Death in the Afternoon.

Lincoln Tavern and Restaurant

Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant

South Boston

Yes, Lincoln serves brunch on both Saturday and Sunday, but what makes this place special is the prelude: the Friday Brunch Test Kitchen (10am-3pm), during which the chefs experiment with a new brunch menu every week and then offer up a few favorites over the next two days. Past winners have included Nutella s’mores pancakes, wake and bake tater tots, breakfast fried rice, and the insane Cinnamon Toast Crunch boozy milkshake (Fireball whiskey, RumChata, vanilla ice cream, and cereal). In other words, nothing is off the table.

L’Espalier

Back Bay

The best restaurant in town didn’t need to up its game, but it did anyway. The three-course prix-fixe brunch, available on the weekends, is a study in chichi excess: caviar omelette, lobster bisque, charred lamb tenderloin, and a grilled beef sirloin croque-madame, plus a warm honey caramel sticky bun with salted butter ice cream for dessert. If money is no object, go ahead and splurge on caviar service, cheese flights, and a Champagne cocktail or two.

Oak & Rowan

Fort Point

One of the newest brunch entries in town is rightly making a splash. When the morning starts with a flute of elderflower-spiked brut and a cashew snickerdoodle donut, expectations run high, but the duck confit hash, butter poached lobster, and carrot gratin all exceed the hype. Then there’s the ribeye for two, accompanied by crispy poached eggs, caviar hollandaise, and hash brown potatoes, arguably the most decadent brunch dish in town.

Kristin Teig

Alden & Harlow

Harvard Square

Yup, a dinnertime table is still hard to snag, so start with the slightly more accessible Sunday brunch featuring dishes like kale toast, beef neck scrapple, croissant toad in the hole, and hickory smoked pig tails with grits and a poached egg. The Szechuan bloody mary is a hangover curative like no other, although the Harlow Cafe is pretty invigorating (rum, smoked jalapeño, coffee syrup, walnut falernum, lime). Oh, and psst: The secret burger is available on the brunch menu too, although it proves just as elusive as its nighttime counterpart.

Veggie Galaxy

Central Square

Need to feed a visiting vegan without going mad? This diner-esque joint offers coffee-shop food without a single carnivorous ingredient. Swap out your normal Canadian bacon Benedict for corned-beef seitan hash, vegetarian-gravy poutine, and vegan shepherd's pie. Even the pastries are egg- and milk-free, which makes that second slice of Boston cream pie feel almost virtuous.

Taj Boston

Back Bay

Brunching to impress? It’s hard to go wrong with a seasonal rooftop meal atop a historic hotel. Once you pull away from the bucolic views of the Public Garden, you’ll be staring agog at the buffet spread of sushi, shrimp, oysters, Indian entrees, and carving roasts. It’s $76 normally, so you might as well spring for the extra 10 bucks and get a glass of champagne while you’re at it.

Committee

Committee

Fort Point

Gyros and Champagne tray service? Committee is a singular treat during the daylight hours, too. You can (and should) start with smaller Greek plates for the table: zucchini crisps, artichoke moussaka, dolmades. But then it’s time to spread your wings (just not Icarus-style), with platters of baklava oatmeal, Greek yogurt pancakes, and that aforementioned breakfast gyro: scrambled eggs, grilled halloumi, loukaniko and florina pepper coulis wrapped in a pita. At the opposite end of the Champagne spectrum is the Pigs & Booze: bacon washed bourbon, maple syrup, orange, and chocolate bitters.

Row 34

Fort Point

What was once a casual counter brunch has grown into something far more satisfying: a proper sitdown with simple seafood pleasures like steamed mussels, smoked salmon avocado toast, and lobster and grits. And yup, both the warm and cold lobster rolls make an appearance, though this time you’ll be chasing them with a blood orange mimosa.

Lion’s Tail

South End

What you really need to know about Lion’s Tail weekend brunch is that it encourages you to wear pajamas -- in other words, you should don your most forgiving bottoms and dive into bourbon butter French toast, pork belly Benedict, corn cake arepa, and a fried chicken waffle sandwich. And because it’s Lion’s Tail, cocktails are pretty much mandated (any Hemingway fan knows that daytime daiquiris are quite overdue for a comeback).

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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)

The exterior of Trina's Starlite Lounge looks like your typical dive (could it be the Miller High Life sign?), but once inside, you'll discover a hip, retro-style diner and bar that's serving up killer takes on American classics like hot dogs, burgers, and chili, plus craft beer and seasonal cocktails. Come at night for the local brews, chili-cheese fries, and double-patty cheeseburger, and on weekend mornings for Bloody Marys and the Good Ol' Breakfast Sandy: a buttermilk biscuit with cheese, two eggs over easy, and your choice of bacon, sausage, or chipotle-tomato jam.

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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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