RESTAURANTS / BRUNCH

30 Best Brunch Places in Boston

Indulge in everything from inventive cocktails and huevos rancheros to pancake stacks dripping with maple syrup. Your taste buds will thank you.

JUN 8, 2019

Bostonians have got to be some of the luckiest people on the planet with an almost endless list of fantastic dining spots — most of which fly right under tourists’ radars. And, boy, do we know how to do brunch.

It was difficult narrowing down our choices for best late-morning and early-afternoon meal in Boston. Sure, we ran out of superlatives, but at least you won’t run out of great places to try.

Check out our selection of the best brunch spots in and around Boston—there’s something to suit every budget and palate. We’ve included stylish spots and kooky nooks all over the city.

ISAAC BROWN

  • Best Brunch by Location
  • Best Brunch by Category
Best Brunch by Location
Best Brunch by Category

Best Overall

Zaftigs Delicatessen

Brookline, $$

Zaftigs is synonymous with brunch in Boston. This cozy, family-friendly Jewish-style diner serves tasty deli foods and an all-day breakfast to rival the best of ’em.

Cue the insanely long lines to get into the place on weekends. Wait times average around 30 minutes.


If you happen to be a bacon lover, don’t sweat. Zaftigs is not kosher so you can get your melt-in-the-mouth latkes or potato pancakes with a side of bacon.


The banana-stuffed french toast will delight you if you have a sweet tooth, and the complimentary cream cheese bagel chips are also a winner.

TIPS & HINTS

Come hungry; the portion sizes are large. If you feel like eating a sandwich, get the Reuben.

Best Atmosphere

Highland Kitchen

Somerville, $$

Highland Kitchen is a fun brunch spot and one of Somerville’s many hidden gems. It caters to your stomach and your sense of nostalgia with an awesome jukebox adding to the laid-back ambiance.

Expect the place to be loud and bustling on the weekends, especially when there’s live music.


Highland’s fritters are legendary, and the Dirty Bird checks a lot of boxes for carnivores: fried chicken, eggs, a gravy biscuit, and bacon.


The menu has gluten-free and vegan options as well. HK is popular and doesn’t do reservations, so plan ahead for the queue.

TIPS & HINTS

Try the beignets, fried Brussels sprouts, collard greens. Visit on Sundays for live bluegrass.

Best Comfort Food

Renee’s Cafe

Somerville, $

The art of the comfort food menu – so universally loved, but so few get it right. Fortunately for us, Renee’s Cafe has mastered the breakfast, lunch (and brunch) menu, and there’s no better setting in Somerville for a casual, refreshing way to start the day.

Fans rave about the eggs Benedict, blueberry pancakes, and decadent hollandaise – and even the corned beef hash gets 5-star reviews.


Renee’s Cafe sticks with the time-tested favorites we can all rally around, and there’s really no better destination for American dishes like these.

A handful of juices and house coffee hit the spot, and this Holland Street gem will hopefully continue to serve for many years to come.

TIPS & HINTS

The Ole! omelet is a must-try—with salsa, chili, cheese, and sour cream, it’s a true fiesta.

Best Mexican Brunch

Angela’s Cafe

East Boston, $$

Angela Lopez was born in Puebla, Mexico, and she infuses all her dishes with a Mexican flair. With her mother’s recipes as a guide, she has been cooking up a storm for half a century. This is regional cuisine that’s been tweaked and perfected over time.

With the award-winning guac and the Guy Fieri-approved chilaquiles, be sure to visit Angela’s on an empty stomach. Besides the savory options, Angela’s makes delicious dulce de leche pancakes that hit the spot.

TIPS & HINTS

Angela’s serves free hot coffee.

Best Waffles

The Neighborhood Restaurant & Bakery

Somerville, $

The Borges family serves brunch with a Portuguese twist at The Neighborhood Restaurant & Bakery.

This colorful and low-key restaurant has indoor and outdoor sections, so if you feel like catching some rays, you know where to go.


Have a bowl of complimentary cream of wheat or a cup of free coffee to warm you up from the inside. The Neighborhood Restaurant also serves free OJ and baked apples—talk about value for money!


The Neighborhood Restaurant & Bakery is a cash-only place where early birds are welcome—it opens at 7 a.m.

TIPS & HINTS

In addition to the great waffles, you’ll enjoy their French toast, steak and eggs, corned beef hash, and omelets, too.

Best Eggs Benedict

The Friendly Toast

Cambridge, $$

The Friendly Toast makes a stellar all-day breakfast at its original Cambridge location. It’s so good, it’s been called one of the best breakfast spots in America.

With funky vintage decor, The Friendly Toast is ready to put a smile on your face. Seriously, the menu is all kinds of cool, with funny names for dishes and creative food that promises to make you happy.

Try a nourishing breakfast burrito, the Babe Bennie, or the famous cayenne-cheddar bread. Portions are generous, wait staff is friendly, and the food has broad appeal. What more do you need?

There are five branches of The Friendly Toast in Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire for your dining pleasure.

TIPS & HINTS

Their breakfast burritos are top-notch when you’re in the mood for savory.

Best Retro Diner

The Breakfast Club

Allston, $

As much of a cult classic as the movie for which it’s named—and filled with ’80s decorative touches and music—this diner has a loyal following. The food is reliably delish with high-quality ingredients, something that can’t be said for many restaurants.

The owner, George Athanasopolous, can frequently be seen manning the ship, talking to patrons, and making sure everyone feels welcome; not an easy feat with long wait times discouraging visitors from lingering too long over their waffles and pancakes.

The paninis and English muffins are tasty, and the milkshakes are decadent. The Library Specials with their “Breakfast Club” references are also popular.

TIPS & HINTS

This restaurant is open every single day except for Christmas.

Best in the North End

North Street Grille

North End, $$

North Street Grille is known for two things – big portions and a can’t-be-beat brunch menu. It’s American fare with more than a hint of upscale accents, and the atmosphere here is cozy and comfortable – just how we like it.

Signature cocktails pair well with the menu and this spot serves it up right, seven days a week.


Where to start? Try the cannoli pancakes, chicken and waffles, eggs benedict, and banana bread (trust us – don’t miss the banana bread!).

Casual diners are served from 8 in the morning until late afternoon with some of the best grub there is on North Street. It’s easily the best brunch spot in the North End, and just might take the trophy for best brunch in all of Boston.

TIPS & HINTS

Try the lobster benny, the French toast sticks, and the salads.

Best French Toast

Sound Bites

Somerville, $$

Perhaps most famous for both delicious Mediterranean brunch and a decades-long feud between owner Yasser Mirza and his former landlord and neighboring restaurateur Mike Moccia, Sound Bites is a breakfast staple in Somerville.

Brunch here is a culinary experience, and not just because you might witness a showdown.


The Middle Eastern influences in the menu aren’t that surprising considering Mirza’s Syrian heritage. Despite the vast number of options on the menu, the vast majority are excellent, so don’t worry too much about finding the right dish.

Signature dishes include the garlicky home fries, the scones, and the fluffy hash browns. My personal go-to is the challah French toast stuffed with cream cheese with strawberries and sliced banana on top.

TIPS & HINTS

Also consider neighboring brunch options like Ball Square Cafe and Kelly’s Diner further down the street.

Best Farm-to-Table

Puritan & Company

Cambridge, $$$

Puritan & Company gets a thumbs up from us with its mouth-watering Sunday brunch. Chef Will Gilson’s experience working with farm fresh ingredients shows with seasonal New England food that’s big on flavor.

You’ll find all the satisfying classics like eggs, hashes, and top-notch croissants, as well as options like sourdough griddle cakes with honey butter and yummy cinnamon rolls.

The alcohol flows and so do the people—this is a popular hangout for students and anyone keen on an excellent meal.

TIPS & HINTS

The cafe is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Best Omelets

Brookline Lunch

Cambridge, $

Brookline Lunch serves affordable, unpretentious food in a plain, unassuming space only minutes away from the heart of Central Square.


With a Jordanian chef in charge, there’s an understanding that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, even if the eatery has retained its decades-old name.

Indeed, all the filling breakfast staples are on the menu to fuel students from nearby MIT. With one chef almost single-handedly cooking every dish, you can expect to wait a little longer during peak hours for your food to arrive.


The omelets are satisfying, and the food is served with a side of vegetables instead of fries. Note: cash-only.

TIPS & HINTS

Try the homemade sauces and jams that accompany the dishes.

Best in Brighton

Brighton Cafe

Brighton, $

Another place that shouldn’t be judged by its cover, Brighton Cafe is loved for its casual atmosphere and the promise of getting a lot of bang for your buck. The coffees are huge—your cup will runneth over.

Customer service here is commendable, and the brunch food more than satisfying.

TIPS & HINTS

Indulge on mozzarella sticks aplenty and banana bread that’s simply scrumptious.

Best in Mission Hill

Milkweed

Mission Hill, $$

Milkweed is a relatively new eatery on the scene, and it has been a welcome one. Breakfast is served until 4 p.m. every day.

Egg lovers can look forward to brilliant shakshuka and a Spanish omelet with chorizo, among other eggcentric dishes. And there is plenty for vegetarians to choose from: gyros, Thai red curry tofu scrambles, fruit bowls, and more.

Milkweed declares that it has “A menu fit for a monarch” on its homepage, and we’d have to agree. The food is fit for a king’s stomach on a pleb’s wallet.

TIPS & HINTS

One delightful highlight of the menu is the Lucky Charm pancakes.

Best in Allston

@Union

Allston, $

Open for 10 years now, @Union has cultivated a name for itself for its dependable and hearty breakfasts.

Beverages run the gamut from smoothies to coffee roasted on site to mimosas. There are also seasonal favorites like the iced pumpkin pie lattes. The food makes use of tasty flavor combinations, too.

There’s an impressive shrimp frittata among the egg options, as well as a wide array of other savory items.

TIPS & HINTS

The rosemary French toast is divine.

Best Steak and Eggs

McKenna’s Cafe

Dorchester, $

This neat little family-run place is first come, first serve, but it’s worth any potential wait you might have to endure.

With offerings including avocado toast, baked beans, soups, and pastries, everyone in the family will be happy. The Mayor’s Special is a popular option with regulars—it’s got meat, eggs, home fries, loads of veggies, and cheese for good measure.

TIPS & HINTS

Try the granola French toast, pancakes, and waffles with Maine blueberries.

Best Sausage and Biscuits

City Girl Cafe

Cambridge, $$

City Girl Cafe recently ended its dinner service to focus on brunch and catering, and considering its brunch was already pretty great, we can only assume that fabulous things are on the horizon.

This small, European-style cafe has limited seating and is kind of a hole-in-the-wall joint, but they’ve been around long enough to know how to make amazing food, especially brunch.


The menu varies significantly depending on the season, giving us more reasons to make a return visit in the near future.

Give the Asiago biscuits and sausage gravy a taste and sip on some rosemary lemonade.

TIPS & HINTS

Whatever you order here, you’ll enjoy it.

Best in the South End

South End Buttery

South End, $$

With its exposed brick walls and finesse, South End Buttery is something of a rarity—it’s sophisticated in addition to being pet-friendly and family-friendly.

Known for its cupcakes, this award-winning cafe and market also fixes a great brekkie and dinner, too. The Buttery Bakery Basket includes a variety of scones. There’s also a great selection of fruit to snack on while you wait.

For a savory option, sample the colorful Veggie Delight sandwich. It marries amazing flavors and packs a fair amount of nutrition.

TIPS & HINTS

The Hummingbird cupcake is actual heaven on a plate—take our word for it.

Best in Downtown Boston

Cafe Fleuri

Financial District, $$

This is no mom and pop diner. Cafe Fleuri, located at the Langham Hotel, is the height of elegant fine dining with a price tag to match.


The fancy location is not the only thing special about this restaurant. Every Saturday for the last thirty years, Cafe Fleuri has hosted a dessert-only brunch that is every chocoholic’s dream come true.


Imagine a chocolate buffet Willy Wonka would be proud of, with a fountain for fondue and a gorgeous assortment of sweets.

There are mousses, crepes, truffles, crème brûlées, and sundaes to mention just a few of the approximately 100 spectacular creations.

TIPS & HINTS

The cafe is closed for a year while the building undergoes renovations.

Best Pub Food

Devlin’s

Brighton, $$

Sunday jazz brunch is just one of the things we love about Devlin’s – the social hub has other events like DJs to accentuate some of Boston’s best pub food, and it keeps us coming back for more.

But it’s not just a spot for evening entertainment! Any time of the day is a good time to stop in for great food in a cozy but spacious setting.


House-made guacamole with tortilla chips is delightfully on the spot, and other specialties include oysters, Italian sausage pizza and chicken pot pie.

Devlin’s has plenty to drink, too. Signature cocktails, domestic and imported craft beers and an eye-opening wine selection prove to satisfy anyone making their way to the bar.

TIPS & HINTS

Try the Brussels sprout appetizer, nachos, and the chicken and waffles.

Best Pancakes

Thornton’s Restaurant

Back Bay, $

Thornton’s is a no-frills diner with indoor and outdoor seating, if you’re willing to wait. Every item on the menu (and there are a great many) is available at any time of the day.

Despite having a menu filled with generously-portioned American classics, Thornton succeeds in elevating common breakfast food to another tier.


The buttermilk pancakes melt in your mouth with just the right amount of fluffiness and edges that are lightly crisped. Try the sausages, eggs Benedict, or the challah French toast.

TIPS & HINTS

Due to limited seating, Thornton’s is best for small groups of 4 or less if you want to get seated quickly.

Best in Watertown

Uncommon Grounds

Watertown, $$

Breakfast, brunch and lunch fanatics on Boston have one place on their minds – Uncommon Grounds, which sticks to the 7am – 2pm hours of operation every day of the week in Watertown.

Casual and quirky are the modus operandi here, and leave plenty of room for comfort food like Scrambler Platters, Paninis, Omelettes and “Big Breakfast Burritos.”


House sandwiches list tried-and-true classics like Baja Chicken Sandwich, Grilled Reuben, BLT and a Crispy Buffalo Chicken Wrap. No alcohol is served, but plenty of standard beverages and unique drinks like Raspberry Lime Rickey, Red Chili Latte and the Cinnamon Bun abound.

TIPS & HINTS

Try the Meat Lovers Scrambler and the specialty coffee.

Best Beer Selection

Lulu’s Allston

Allston, $$

Stylish, contemporary decor sets the scene where Allston residents and guests dine on specialties cooked up by Executive Chef Sarah Wade, like Stuffed Portobello Cap Sandwich, Vermont Maple Creme Brulee, Wild Game Chili and Pan Seared Shrimp.

A great selection of alcoholic drinks includes ciders and “malternatives” as well as several sours to choose from.


Few restaurants in Boston have a more impressive craft beer selection. Pretzel Rolls, Loaded Hummus and Salsa Tots are comfort food faves, and the full menu is served every night until 1am.

TIPS & HINTS

Bring your vegetarian/vegan friends. While it can get crowded, noise levels are reasonable.

Best Bagels

Bagelsaurus

Cambridge, $$

Handmade bagels are the order of the day at Bagelsaurus, and they’re served up with a handful of spreads or as signature sandwiches like the T-Rex (housemade almond butter, banana, honey and bacon) or the BLT (North Country Smokehouse bacon, leaf lettuce, oven roasted tomatoes and mayo).

The concept began as a pop-up sandwich shop back in 2013 and quickly gained a following before opening its own doors in Cambridge, each bagel patiently created and fermented over a 24-hour period.

It’s a great, quick meal if you’re on the go, and a warm way to start the day in a relaxed setting if you’ve got the time.

TIPS & HINTS

Get there early to make sure they don’t run out of bagels. This place is packed on weekend mornings.

Best Boozy Brunch

Trina’s Starlite Lounge

Somerville, $$

With two locations (Somerville and Amesbury), Trina’s Starlite Lounge is the throwback spot since 2009 for brews and great, simple dishes. In their own words: “There’s nothing more that we love better than high fives, cold beer and fried chicken.”


In fact, chicken and hot dogs take center stage here (next to a cold beer) and Trina’s gotten national exposure on the popular “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

It’s also been hailed as one of the best bars in America. Brunch, lunch and dinner hours serve up specialties and favorites like “Starlite style” hot dogs, burgers, wings and chili.


Unique cocktails turn heads at the bar, but no one here’s going to give you grief for going with a dependable Miller High Life.

TIPS & HINTS

Bloody Mary’s are great. Try the chicken and waffles (not on the menu) or the tofu scramble.

Best Corned Beef Hash

Galley Diner

South Boston, $

Boston’s Galley Diner is a no-frills greasy spoon with throwback, retro appeal and casual diner classics down pat.

The tiny space feels like a second home to locals, and it’s a great spot for grub on the go, too. Breakfast is served seven days a week with lunch available on weekdays.


Bottomless coffee is on tap to accompany omelettes, egg sandwiches, pancakes and French toast.

Lunch-goers swear by the Galley Diner’s club sandwiches and hot dogs – and signature items like Rumpy’s Roast Beef and Cheeseburger in Paradise offer a unique twist.

TIPS & HINTS

It’s a neighborhood hole-in-the-wall and looks the part. Try a side of ham (it’s the real stuff, not deli meat).

Best Live Music

Beehive Restaurant

Southie, $$

The Beehive has collected acclaim from Travel & Leisure, Zagat and the New York TImes for its Bohemian style fare.

Conveniently located inside The Boston Center for the Arts, The Beehive complements its artistic, modern setting with unparalleled food and drink.


The American dishes reflect Eastern European and Middle Eastern influences, and full bar service ensure that The Beehive has a drink with your name on it.

Then, there’s the music – Downbeat Magazine has named it one of the Top 100 Jazz Clubs in the World, although nightly entertainment also varies to include R&B, Country and even Burlesque.


Hope you brought your appetite – Plenty of gluten-free and vegan options guarantee there’s something for everyone, and a number of signature cocktails take your visit to the next level.

TIPS & HINTS

Highly-praised dishes include the duck breast, Atlantic salmon and Piri Piri pork shoulder.

Best in Jamaica Plain

Forest Hills Diner

Jamaica Plain, $

Since 1974, Forest Hills Diner has been specializing in breakfast and lunch dishes that keep it simple, and simply can’t be beat.


Roast beef, chop suey and roasted chicken reflect the diversity of a lunch menu rivaling what’s served up for the morning crowd – and pride is important to this family-run diner.

John Ioakimidis opened its doors just a few years after immigrating from Greece; his son and grandson keep the dream alive to this very day.


All the while, their homemade meatball recipe has collected awards and acclaim, and Forest Hills Diner’s fresh home fries are one of their most popular side dishes.

TIPS & HINTS

Closed on Sundays. Try the iced green tea, the home fries, or just a regular eggs with sausage and toast. You can’t go wrong here.

Best Greasy Spoon

Deluxe Town Diner

Watertown, $$

Watertown’s Deluxe Town Diner is a cozy spot with vintage, classic diner appeal. American breakfast and comfort foods are menued here, with satisfied diners praising “the best hash and eggs in the world.”


Reflecting the menu’s ability to touch on traditional favorites, meatloaf and milkshakes are equally a big hit.

Casual coffee drinkers and caffeine freaks alike rejoice in a variety of espresso drinks to go with a satisfying brunch or dinner meal.

TIPS & HINTS

Check out the freshly-baked pies! Pecan is a personal favorite.

Best Coffee and Donuts

Twin Donuts

Allston, $

Many in the area swear by Twin Donuts, and it’s easy to see why – they’re open before the crack of dawn, getting ready to help hundreds of daily visitors get their sweet stuff and morning bites along with coffee – all so that Allston can get to work.


The small, retro throwback feel of Twin Donuts makes it a hit in our book, with a classic ‘50s diner atmosphere that seems to take us all back to a simpler time.

You’ll see the logo lit up if you get there before the sun comes up! Diner breakfasts and the donuts (of course) win the accolades here.

TIPS & HINTS

They don’t just make great donuts! Try the breakfast sandwiches or the French toast bagel.

Best in Back Bay

Trident Booksellers & Cafe

Back Bay, $$

Get your books with an all-day breakfast menu at Trident, serving students and more since 1984. Specialties include Homemade Corned Beef Hash & Eggs, Smoked Salmon Scramble and Potato Chuckwagon (shredded potatoes cooked with cheddar cheese and veggies or meat, with eggs a side of sourdough).


Breakfast burritos, breakfast sandwiches and an “Eggs Benny” menu are also available – but you’ll want to make sure you try burgers, sandwiches, and sides like Sweet Potato Fries and Fried Pickles.

And don’t forget to pick up a book while you’re here, too!

TIPS & HINTS

One of the few places in Back Bay that has bottomless coffee until midnight.