Brunch isn’t necessarily the most important meal of the week, but it carries a big burden. Mainly, being a key opportunity to enjoy your free time before you have to go back to being a person who “probably shouldn’t stay up too late.”
Here are 15 places that that will help you squeeze just a little more fun out of the weekend. Monday’s coming whether you like it or not, so eat some pancakes, order some breakfast booze, and prepare to ride out the workweek until Weekend You returns once more.
Sometimes you want to do brunch in jeans and a hoodie, and other times you want to feel like mid-level European nobility filling up on fine food and champagne before your afternoon quail hunt. Bistro du Midi is for those latter times. It’s a fancy space overlooking the Public Garden, with a menu inspired by the South of France. Go with the salmon if you’re looking for something lighter, but you should probably just get the burger and add some smoked blue cheese.
At some point, every single person in America has said to themselves, “I should get into jazz.” Only one person has actually followed through with it: his name is Don, he lives in Blountstown, Florida, and he has A LOT to say about the spiritual value of art. But just because the rest of us can only call each other “cats” ironically doesn’t mean we still can’t enjoy some good jazz and southern cooking. Darryl’s in Roxbury is the perfect place to do it. For brunch, stick to the classics like the shrimp and grits or the fried chicken and waffles, and bring some friends because, in an era when just about everything is a small plate, the food at Darryl’s is usually too big to finish by yourself.
Brassica Kitchen & Cafe
Brassica is normally a casual cafe during the day and an elevated French bistro at night. On the weekend, though, this place takes regular brunch and puts rims on it - the eggs benedict has torched duck, the chicken and waffles has maple umeboshi, and the mimosas have cava and Aperol instead of champagne.
There are plenty of great places in Chinatown to get your dim sum fix, but Myers & Chang in the South End is where you go for a less-traditional experience that always feels like a party. If you like spice for breakfast, they offer the same dan dan noodles and chicken wings you can get on the regular lunch and dinner menus, but you should also try brunch specials like the smoked mushroom omelette. And if you want something other than a mimosa, the yuzu-pineapple shandy is a good place to start.
Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square feels like a throwback to a time when all special occasions took place in big, plush restaurants over shellfish and cocktails. Despite the marble bar and soaring ceiling, though, it isn’t actually that old and you won’t feel out of place if you’re not wearing a pinstripe suit. This place has a pretty standard brasserie brunch menu with heavy egg and meat dishes, but sometimes that’s exactly what you’re looking for.
If you’ve lived in Boston long enough, you know Deep Ellum as that place in Allston that finally gave us somewhere to drink craft beers that aren’t advertised on TV. Thankfully, we have a lot more options now, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook this small bar with a killer patio. And if you’ve only ever been there for the beer, you should know that you’ve been missing out on some really good brunch. Go for the smoked kielbasa sandwich, and always get the poutine (this advice applies to life in general, not just brunch at Deep Ellum).
This South End restaurant is a big bright space with a menu that’s so Southern it might as well be fanning itself on a porch. Get the wafflewich, and don’t miss out on the great hushpuppies.
With its nice shaded patio, Lulu’s may be the most pleasant restaurant in a part of Allston where red Solo cups usually litter the sidewalks. If you haven’t been here since graduation, know that they now have a bocce court in addition to a menu of comfort foods that could cure any hangover. Order the White Trash Hash, toss a few bocce balls outside, and reminisce about all the nearby bars that once confiscated your fake ID.
Places like the Rainforest Cafe and Planet Hollywood did everything they could to ruin themed restaurants for an entire generation. But Little Dipper, a space-themed diner in Jamaica Plain, is fighting back. Model rockets hang from the ceiling and entrees have names like “Ground Control” and “Saturn Stack.” But unlike the Hard Rock Cafe, this place put some effort into the food instead of blowing the entire budget on a jumpsuit Elvis once threw up on. If you’re sick of the same old eggs benedict at brunch, get the Betty Paige, which swaps out the english muffin for a baked potato.
This South End restaurant gets its name from the fact that it stands on the site where Boston used to hang people in the 18th century. Pretty unpleasant. What’s less unpleasant, though, is the place itself: a gastropub with filling food and enough booze to make you start talking to the ghosts who probably hang out in the bathroom. Get the blackbird breakfast sandwich or, if you’re in more of a lunch mood, the falafel burger.
Let’s talk about exactly what you might be looking for in a brunch place. Spicy Bloody Marys? Large plates covered in hollandaise and breakfast meats? Maybe a jazz trio playing in the corner? Well, Mike and Patty’s has none of those things. In fact, it only has a single table. But their breakfast sandwiches might be the best in the entire city. So the next time you don’t want a full brunch situation, pick up a Breakfast Grilled Crack (a grilled cheese that’s been upgraded with bacon and egg and adds up to way more than the sum of its parts) and head to the Public Garden with a blanket.
Loyal Nine is an East Cambridge restaurant that focuses on regional ingredients. The various farm-to-table-ish small plates and coffee-shop-like atmosphere make this the perfect spot for the 20-somethings of Camberville to analyze their relationship troubles over plates of sourdough pancakes. But you should be getting the lobster popover.
If you don’t live in the South End, you probably wish you did. If you do live in the South End, all that’s left to wish for is Paris. Metropolis Cafe is a good place to pretend you live in either place. Go for the omelette, because even though making an omelette at home is easy in theory, you screw up the flip every single time.
You already know Island Creek Oysters from literally every decent seafood restaurant on the Eastern Seaboard. So you’ll probably won’t be too surprised to find out that, when the people behind the oyster farm opened up their own restaurant, it turned out to be pretty good. For brunch, trust your instinct and get the lobster eggs benedict, and get the oysters, too, because even though you’ve already had them elsewhere, we’re convinced they’re better here.