Brunch can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s all about classic breakfast dishes like French toast and eggs Benedict, while for others, it’s about bloody marys and live music. Fortunately, Boston has no shortage of tasty brunch options, places where diners can indulge in all the chocolate they can handle, enjoy a Southwestern-style menu or combine New England seafood with breakfast favorites. Narrowing down a list to just five doesn’t seem fair, but these spots were universally loved by the local experts U.S. News consulted.
Stephanie’s on Newbury
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Nicholas MacDonald, head concierge at the Hotel Commonwealth, agrees that the Back Bay spot is more than just popular. He says, “Stephanie’s on Newbury has become a staple for brunch."
A longtime favorite on the brunch menu is the frittered French toast, which is made with creamy mascarpone cheese and raspberry jam stuffed between battered French bread and then pan-fried. Another delicious option is the lobster Benedict, with fresh Maine lobster and two poached eggs on a toasted English muffin and topped with whole grain mustard hollandaise sauce. If it’s nice out, the patio is the place to see and be seen. Weekend brunch is served from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The restaurant also serves breakfast on weekdays from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Located in the South End, The Beehive is well-known for its lineup of lively music, as well as for its food. Sara Flight, director of public relations at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, says, “My favorite place is The Beehive in the South End. They always have a jazz brunch with live entertainment.”
Flight says the restaurant typically has a seasonal coffee cake with a honey butter that she loves, while her husband (and other fans) rave about the poutine topped with short ribs and poached eggs. The roasted turkey hash with scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese is another popular entree.
Julianne Boyle, concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, Boston, says, “What better way to brunch than with live music to set the tone?”
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Weekend brunch takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., but make sure you're there between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. if you want to enjoy the live music.
The all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch is impressive: There's a multitude of buffet stations, including hand-rolled sushi, pasta, crepes, omelets and Belgium waffles made to order. You'll also find a carvery, a selection of antipasto and a raw bar. There’s also a bloody mary and mimosa bar, and an extensive dessert selection.
If you have a sweet tooth, Café Fleuri offers its Saturday Chocolate Bar. It's an all-out chocolate-lover’s fantasy with more than 100 creations on the all-you-can-eat buffet, featuring a wide array of cakes, puddings, cookies and brownies. Plus, there's a chocolate fountain where you can dip fresh fruit, pretzels and marshmallows.
Both the Saturday Chocolate Bar and the Sunday City Brunch are offered September through June from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the last seating at 1:30 p.m. During the summer, the restaurant offers an expanded breakfast buffet on the weekends.
Bostonia Public House
If you can't enjoy brunch without a bloody mary, then this Financial District restaurant should be on your list. “I love the Bostonia Public House with its custom bloody mary bar," Loveless says, adding that it’s a “great local spot with live music.”
For its custom bloody mary, Bostonia lets you choose your favorite vodka or tequila, which the establishment mixes with its house-made mix. Then, you can finish your drink off with a visit to the enormous garnish table. If you don’t want to make your own, order Bostonia's take on the beverage, made with Ketel One vodka, the house bloody mary mix, lemon, lime and celery. Another popular brunch cocktail is the house Bellini, made with sparkling wine and white peach puree.
Certainly, you’ll want to dine with your drinks, so dishes like the short rib biscuit and gravy with two poached eggs, and the Baileys cinnamon French toast are ideal choices. Brunch is served weekends from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Masa Restaurant is my favorite brunch spot anywhere in the world,” Boyle says. “If you like Southwest-style food and great deals, you cannot go wrong at Masa." Masa offers a two-course prix fixe menu for less than $10 per person, for parties of six or less. "The plantain empanada is phenomenal, and the margaritas are unique and delicious," Boyle says.
Other outstanding dishes include the stuffed Mexican omelet with chili-roasted spring vegetables and Monterey Jack cheese, and the huevos rancheros with crisp tortillas, black beans, salsa ranchero and sunny side up eggs. One of the creative drinks is the habanero-watermelon margarita, made with habanero-infused reposado tequila, watermelon puree, lime juice and triple sec. Weekend brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The prix fixe menu is available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 to 11 a.m. on Sunday, excluding holiday weekends.
To experience more of what Boston has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.
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