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Boston is an early to bed, early to rise Puritanical kind of place — so you can count on this city to know how to do brunch. Here are five great spots to try it for yourself:
1. Aquitaine. This South End spot feels like a Parisian café, complete with chic clientele, the hum of close-knit conversation, cozy banquettes and, of course, a menu of comfortable French classics. Lines can be long for Sunday brunch, but if you don’t mind waiting, try the classic omelette Basquaise, which oozes with ham and Gruyère goodness.
2. Union Bar and Grille. Like its swanky dinner offerings, brunch here is a bit of a scene. Bellinis and Pimosas (champagne with pomegranate purée) sit on just about every table alongside huge stacks of fluffy pancakes.
3. The Red Fez. The space here is surprisingly intimate with Persian rugs, exposed brick walls and arched windows. If you’re a jazz fan, you’ll be in heaven for its Sunday brunch, where a sip of the strong Turkish coffee will have you amped all afternoon.
4. Post 390. This casual, welcoming restaurant delivers a dressed up tavern experience in a contemporary setting. The brunch menu is inventive, with eggs benedict served with Irish bacon or smoked salmon and doused in house-made hollandaise, or cinnamon French toast served with banana crème brûlée.
5. Henrietta’s Table. For a homey offering, cross the river to Cambridge and brunch it up at this family-friendly spot. The hearty menu includes oysters and jumbo shrimp, bagels and salmon, unlimited bacon and made-to-order omelets.
Boston is a great city for brunch. There's nothing better on a wintry Boston day than heading to one of the cozy, local restaurants in the city's charming neighborhoods and tucking into a hearty plate of eggs or pancakes. A few of my longtime favorites include the South End's Metropolis Cafe, a jewel box-sized place with just a few tables and counterspace, where you can get amazing huevos rancheros and fluffy pancakes with Vermont maple syrup, and Harvard Square's The Harvest, which is a dressed-up kind of place (the outdoor patio feels like a secluded garden in warm weather) with more sophisticated brunch offerings like the Harvest vegetable frittata. Another great spot is Beacon Hill's The Paramount. It's been around forever and has a huge menu of egg dishes, pancakes, waffles and more. Order at the counter then take a table and wait for your meal—it's a casual kind of place. Afterward, walk off brunch by browsing Charles Street's many antique shops and boutiques. The South End's Aquitaine is another wonderful brunch spot, with its French-influenced menu and bistro feel, and down the street you'll find Tremont 647, where the pajama brunch (yep, you can come as you are, straight out of bed) is still legendary.
1. The Bristol Lounge. The Sunday breakfast buffet in The Bristol Lounge features an elaborate display of hot and cold breakfast items ranging from huevos rancheros to brioche French toast. There’s an omelet station and waffles made to order, plus a Bloody Mary Bar featuring spicy sauces and garnishes.
2. Aquitaine. Located in the heart of the South End, people cram into the doorway to wait for a table at this warm, friendly restaurant. Signature dishes include an array of egg dishes, house-made cinnamon buns and an oversized bowl of their famous four cheese mac ‘n’ cheese.
3. The Paramount, This cafeteria-style, no-frills Beacon Hill gem is a favorite for locals: crowded, cozy, inexpensive and utterly delicious. Signature dishes include the Caprese-inspired tomato, basil and mozzarella omelet and the malted belgian waffle piled high with fresh fruit.
4. Harvest. This prix fixe, three-course Sunday brunch features New England-inspired dishes such as eggs Benedict with Maine crab as well as steak and eggs and corned beef hash. The welcoming dining room features comfortable banquette tables and an open kitchen.
5. Toro. For those seeking not-so-typical brunch, look no further. This South End hotspot serves up Spanish specialties including huevos rancheros with grilled tortillas in a cast-iron skillet, plus maiz asado — grilled corn on the cob topped with cheese, aioli and lime.
My favorite is going to Chinatown for dim sum. Usually I’ll go to Chau Chow City or Gourmet Dumpling House, which doesn’t necessarily have dim sum but the dumplings are amazing. The scallion pancakes are second to none and the spicy Szechuan fish soup is the best in the city (both at Gourmet Dumpling House).
East Coast Grill is phenomenal. I love, love, love that place for brunch.