Boston is a city of contrasts: proud born-and-bred locals live alongside college students visiting from around the world. There are historic buildings – including the nation’s oldest restaurant, tavern and library – as well as hot new clubs, bars and dining spots. The city’s brunch scene is no different, with options ranging from the traditional and refined to the offbeat and progressive. Whether you want nutritious or deep-fried, extravagant or shoestring, you can get your fix here. At these standout brunches, one element remains the same: wicked-good food.
Located in a secluded pocket of Somerville across the Charles River from downtown, this cozy restaurant is easy to miss, but well worth finding. With its inviting ambience, friendly staff and tasty Southern fare, it’s like the comfort food of restaurants. During brunch, the kitchen dresses up fried chicken, a dinnertime specialty, with applewood smoked bacon, a fried egg, sausage gravy and a buttermilk biscuit. Cheekily called the "dirty bird," it’s tasty enough to break a diet for.
Downbeat Magazine has named this South End eatery "one of the top 100 jazz clubs in the world." The swingy sounds liven up brunch, too, often courtesy of local Berklee College of Music students. But the joint stays jumping with more than music. Dishes such as eggs shakshuka – described as a "real bohemian breakfast," with poached eggs, North African-style tomato sauce, polenta and Moroccan sausage – are as satisfying as the songs.
This restaurant and bar is named after one of Dallas’ hippest neighborhoods, and lives up to the name with dim lighting, black-and-white television sets playing old movies and an extensive selection of cocktails, whiskeys, wines and brews. Hipsters love its brunch menu that shifts between the hangover-curing (buttermilk biscuits and gravy, poutine, country-fried steak) and the diet-appeasing (vegan bahn mi, grilled tuna salad). Forgo coffee for the bourbon milk punch with aged rum, cinnamon, syrups, milk and bitters.
This Tex-Mex spot in the student-heavy Tremont neighborhood is well-known for its $0.50 tapas on Thursday nights – and also offers one of the best brunch bargains around. On Saturdays, a prix-fixe menu includes coffee or tea and two full courses for a flat fee of just $7.95. Choices range from a caramelized plantain empanada to Santa Fe-style eggs benedict and Jalisco chocolate-chip pancakes. Even if you go Sunday or choose to skip the fixed-price option, the brunch here remains very reasonably priced, with satisfying meals rarely exceeding $10.
This low-key Cambridge favorite brings a taste of barbecue to brunch, with dishes including cornbread-crusted French toast and banana rellena –a pork-stuffed banana smothered in hot sauce. It also does Boston proud with a fresh raw bar and menu items such as the "wicked hot scotch bonnet sausage." The make-your-own Bloody Mary option is a must-do, just grab a tall glass with a spiced-salt rim, ice and vodka, then add fresh tomato sauce, pickles, hot peppers, fruit purees or even banana guava ketchup as you see fit.