Brunch is hands down the best meal. But, I’m biased because it combines four of my favorite things in life: sleeping in, breakfast food, cute fits, and cocktails. Brunch spots for me, whether they be restaurants that serve breakfast food all-day or bars that know hoards of people need some hair of the dog, become god-tier if they have an aesthetic interior, funky non-basic menu items, and cocktail options. Here is a list of five of my favorite brunch spots in Boston (in no particular order) that all meet that criteria—you’re welcome.
1. Cafe Luna – 612 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02139
Cafe Luna’s menu ticks the boxes for both sweet and savory meal options. With 12 different varieties of eggs benedict, 9 types of breakfast tacos, and a range of unique swoon-worthy toppings for french toast, waffles, and pancakes, all of which come with honey-butter spread on top. All of their food descriptions make me salivate so much that every time I go, I almost forget to check the cocktail section… almost!
If you’re curious, my go-to order is the caramelized banana and pecan french toast! It gives me banana foster vibes and is sweet and comforting, everything a person needs to set good intentions for the day. But, if you do order it, don’t forget a savory side to give your tastebuds a break from all that delicious sweetness! They have such a variety of options, and each one stands out, so it’s too hard to pick out highlights. Truly though, Cafe Luna is one of my favorite brunch spots because of all the fun twists their menu has, the array of cocktails, the kind staff, and the modern urbanesque interior.
2. @Union – 174 Harvard Ave, Boston, MA 02134
@Union is a fantastic brunch spot and the first one I found outside of my college’s Fenway neighborhood, so it holds an extra special place in my heart! Cafe Luna’s interior cool neutral vibes contrast with @Union’s warm browns. With a wall of large windows and a beautiful smell of coffee permeating the restaurant, @Union’s aesthetic is slightly hipster in the best way, especially if you can get one of the tables next to the windows, which is perfect for people watching!
The menu has brunch food and more lunch-leaning food such as salads, burgers, and various non-egg-focused sandwiches, but the brunch food is what you should go for. Their ten different types of omelets include traditional brunch staples like ham and cheese or Mediterranean and more unique ones like a lobster omelet. @Union’s griddle items also have fun options like the lemon blueberry pancakes (blueberry stuffed pancakes with homemade lemon curd and whipped cream) and the wine rosemary french toast (brioche toast stuffed with brie, raspberries, and red wine rosemary syrup)! While I always tell myself I’m going to try one of those mouth-watering options more often than not, I order one of their many plates of hash. My favorite is the Napoleon hash, although another good savory option is the bulgogi burrito!
A big part of @Union is their coffee! While they do have different types of mimosa’s — even a popping boba mimosa — and an Irish coffee, it’s actually their specialty lattes I often find myself craving. @Union’s Rose white mocha latte and lavender honey latte are the best floral coffees I’ve had. They straddle the line of tasting like rose or lavender but not tasting like soap perfectly. I would definitely recommend them even if floral drinks aren’t something you often have; I don’t think you’d regret getting either one of these!
3. Hops n Scotch – 1306 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446
While Hops n Scotch is a newer find of mine, it has quickly become a staple. For dinner, drinks, tapas, and brunch! But because this is a brunch article, I’ll stick to that menu.
Hops n Scotch is a nice walk if you’re in Fenway, but if you live in a different neighborhood in Boston, all you have to do is take the green line to Coolidge Corner. While Hops n Scotch’s menu is just as good in the colder months, I can’t wait to go back again when it’s warm because the whole front of the bar is made up of large windows that completely open up! Which is ideal for people watching and soaking in the summer air!
Hops n Scotch probably has one of the most extensive libations sections on this list! They have classic brunch drinks like mimosas, bellinis, and bloody marys. As well as funky beverages ranging from a bloody mary with bacon to custom creations like The Spice is Right (flaming hot Cheeto tequila, house-made mud mix, tomato, tabasco, and rotating spices) or Not Your Average Starbucks (van Gogh double espresso, bailey’s milk, Kahlua mocha, cold brew, and whipped cream)! Their drinks list also changes with the season, so it’s hard to get bored!
Their variety of griddle options also does not disappoint. Suppose sweet is the flavor route you go for brunch. In that case, I’m sure it’ll be hard to decide between the pancake trio, which is chocolate hazelnut cheesecake pancakes with blueberry butter, the tres leches french toast, and the caramel cheesecake french toast. While Hops n Scotch doesn’t have too many options for egg lovers, the fact that they have two different types of chicken and waffles, to me, makes up for it! Next on my list to try from them is definitely the sweet chili chicken waffles! Their tapas or “small plates” as it’s called on their menu are also to die for, especially the empanadas. All of the tapas are offered on their lunch and dinner menus as well!
4. Friendly Toast – 35 Stanhope St, Boston, MA 02116
If you’re craving brunch food at 6:30 pm on a Friday, the Friendly Toast is where you should head to! On the weekends, the Friendly Toast is open beautifully late! This is especially handy because their one downfall is that they don’t take reservations and are almost always busy, especially during typical brunch hours. But waiting isn’t so bad in the warmer months because there’s a cute little playground to pass the time in across the street. The Friendly Toast’s interior is a whimsical mix of a 50s diner and camp!
The Friendly Toast wins number one in sporting the most exhaustive variety of brunch cocktails on this list with a mouth-watering 17! With their drink menu split between fruity mimosas, bloody marys, caffeinated creations, and a handful of cocktails that don’t even pretend to be just for brunch. Like the Dirty Blonde (house-infused jalapeno tequila, elderflower liqueur, house strawberry habanero jam, and house sour mix). Or the Dreamsicle (vanilla vodka, orange liqueur, creme de coconut, and orange juice). The Friendly Toast will have you shrugging and pronouncing, “it’s five o’clock somewhere!” Then ordering multiple. The Friendly Toast also sports margarita and mimosa flights that I can happily tell you are large and in charge!
But let’s not get too excited yet; we still have their insanely creative food menu! The Friendly Toast has no shortage of savory, mouth-watering options. From Huevos Rancheros, to one of my personal favorites: Meg’s American Burrito (a flour tortilla with scrambled eggs, bacon, American cheese, cheesy tater tots and served with homefries), this burrito is what to order if you want cheese and potatoes! Another fun menu item I love ordering, especially when I can’t decide between ordering a sweet or savory meal, is the sandwich, Doughnut Stop Believing. Doughnut Stop Believing is a breakfast sandwich that swaps more traditional gluten options like toast or a bagel to a doughnut and then adds scrambled eggs, sausage, and cheddar cheese. Then it tops all of that with powdered sugar and sides of chipotle maple sour cream, strawberry habanero jam, and home fries! I personally love creations like Doughnut Stop Believing, and while it might sound a little crazy, my go-to when eating at restaurants is trying any option that does seem insane! Chefs are professionals and artists. It can be fun and surprising to trust their tastes! But, if you want something a bit safer, the Friendly Toast also has a variety of eggs benedicts, omelets, pancakes, waffles, and of course, french toast! If you want more lunch-leaning options, they also cater to that crowd with burgers and a sandwich for everybody.
5. Cafe Landwer (there are three different locations in the city)
To all the vegans, vegetarians, and honestly, to anyone who’s craving Middle Eastern food, Cafe Landwer is about to become your best friend. This place was introduced to me a couple of years ago by a friend, and I shed a tear every time I think about the fact that I didn’t try it out sooner! While they have brunch food that is pretty typical for a cafe or diner, like pancakes and different styles of eggs benedicts, the dishes that I think really shine are their falafel and shakshuka! My go-to order is the Halloumi Shakshuka because I have to have cheese! I order it with turkey bacon as a side and the regular pita bread. If you choose one of their six varieties of shakshuka, I’d definitely recommend choosing their pita bread as one of your included sides. It’s incredibly fluffy and perfect for dipping and scooping up the warm shakshuka. If a sandwich is what you’re craving, the chicken shawarma is delicious! Cafe Landwer also has salads that feature Middle Eastern flavors, different varieties of schnitzel, burgers, and hummus bowls. While their menu definitely caters more toward savory flavors. If you have a hankering for something sweet, I’d highly recommend a slice of Cafe Landwer’s chocolate babka warmed up. It’s so rich that one slice won’t be enough, and all that delectable chocolate will make you want to order another portion for the road!
Cafe Landwer also has a drink for every taste with coffee flavors like Italian french vanilla and Nutella to their ginger lemon and Moroccan mint tea blends! Not to mention milkshakes, hot chocolate, smoothies, health juices, and of course, cocktails! I’m a fan of mules, and if you are too or feel ready to try your first, I’d recommend their Mediterranean mule (fig vodka, lime, and ginger beer)! But beware, it is definitely sour!
Honorable Mention: Phinista – 96 Peterborough St, Boston, MA 02215
While I would hesitate to describe Phinista as a brunch place (hence its position as a special mention and not an item on the list), it is definitely delicious and a must-try! Phinista is a cafe inspired by different Asian cuisines. If you manage to get your butt out of bed early enough on the weekend, they sometimes have freshly made Vietnamese coffee, ube, or other classic Asian flavored buns. I’ve been dreaming about these infamous pastries but have yet been able to get up early enough to catch them in stock…
What I do order there, and why I think it’s better than Neighborhoods—the cafe that used to occupy that space—is because their crepes are jam-packed with filling. My favorite is the Tri-Berry Parfait Crepe (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, Greek yogurt, custard cream, granola, and honey). The pairing of honey and granola with the rest of the ingredients makes this crepe divine! Their Cinnamon Roll Crepes are also delicious, albeit less filling than the Tri-Berry Parfait Crepe. Sweets aren’t all Phinista carries. They also offer Banh Mis, soups, salads, and rice bowls.
Phinista’s drink menu consists of various coffees and lattes inspired by Asain flavors like my two favorites, the Phin Sua (Vietnamese coffee and sweetened condensed milk) and Phin Ube (a coffee sweetened and flavored by ube-taro). I grew up eating ube desserts at my grandmother’s house, and the best way I can think of describing it to someone who’s never had it is a nutty vanilla adjacent flavor. Another fun drink I’ve tried and enjoyed while there is the Phin 50/50, a perfect option for someone like me who loves tea and coffee. The Phin 50/50 is just as you might’ve guessed, half coffee, half tea (specifically half phin sua and half oolong milk tea). Their milk teas run the gambit of something typically found in a boba tea shop like Thai Tea n’milk and a unique creation like Strawberry Matcha n’Cream (strawberry puree, Japanese matcha, and milk). Their regular tea menu has changed with the seasons, but one tea that will hopefully stay as a staple is the Jasmine v Peony tea. Jasmine v Peony is sweet and floral yet still very easy to drink. And on a hot summer day, definitely a flavor blend I’m addicted to!
I hope after reading this, you’re just as hungry as I am, and you’ve learned about a few new gems of Boston! If you are, you should try one of the places and maybe, I’ll see you there! <3