Best breakfast joints
Best breakfast joints
DELUXE TOWN DINER AND DELUXE STATION DINER: Like many other diners, Deluxe Town in Watertown and Deluxe Station in Newton Centre serve breakfast all day. Here the difference is you get Fair Trade coffee, cage-free eggs, and artisan-baked bread. On weekends, lines snake out the doors, with patrons waiting for pastrami and eggs, lox-style smoked salmon, and the Acadian buckwheat pancakes called “ployes.” Co-owner Daryl Levy makes outstanding pies and cupcakes for both locations. > Deluxe Town Diner, 627 Mount Auburn Street, Watertown, 617-926-8400 > Deluxe Station Diner, 70 Union Street, Newton, 617-244-2550, deluxetowndiner.com
THE BRISTOL LOUNGE: Breakfast at the Bristol Lounge at the Four Seasons is always a special occasion. Exquisitely comfortable chairs, tables overlooking the Public Garden, nice linens, coffee poured often, tea with actual leaves, and unparalleled hospitality guarantee it. The staff never flinches, whether you’re making up your order (they pride themselves on being able to fulfill it; if they don’t have the flavoring for your favorite yogurt, they make it) or a house specialty (corned beef hash with poached eggs and Boston baked beans). The bill is always high. So is the quality. Shown here, lemon ricotta hotcakes. > The Bristol Lounge at the Four Seasons HoteL, 200 Boylston Street, Boston, 617-338-4400, fourseasons.com/boston
THE FRIENDLY TOAST: Weekend waits can be up to an hour, but this Kendall Square pioneer opens early and stays open late, so try an off hour and you might get lucky. Walking in is like entering a 1950s arcade — it is filled top to bottom with retro funky stuff, much of it fascinating. The fun tone carries over to the menu, too. The “Hansel & Gretel Waffle” is made with gingerbread and topped with pomegranate molasses and whipped cream, and then there are “Green Eggs and Ham” — the “green” is a light herb sauce. As for the namesake toast, you can choose from six kinds of homemade bread. > The Friendly Toast, 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-621-1200, thefriendlytoast.net
The “Hansel And Gretel Waffle” at Friendly Toast is made with gingerbread.
ISTANBUL’LU: At this darling Teele Square place with great Turkish food, the breakfast and brunch offerings are a treat. One menu favorite is the Menemen, eggs with feta cheese, diced tomatoes, peppers, onions, and mushrooms. But the place is now serving chef-owner Huseyin Akgun’s mother’s Laz pancakes, a traditional Black Sea recipe for light, crispy pancakes topped with honey, apricot preserves, and feta. With strong Turkish tea in a little glass cup, you will be both fortified and transported. > Istanbul’lu, 237 Holland Street, Somerville, 617-440-7387, istanbul-lu.com
The Laz pancakes at Istanbul’lu come from a traditional Black Sea recipe.
COPPA: Imagine this — two farm-fresh eggs, over easy, sprinkled with fresh chives and dried Espelette pepper and served with Parmesan polenta and thick, house-cured bacon. Yes, even brunch is better in Italy. Scrambled eggs with mushrooms get a fancy name like “uova con funghi,” and a taste to match. Drinks include refined Bloody Marys, Aperol with orange juice, and prosecco spritzers, including one served stealthily in a mug. Inexplicably, you can often walk right in while other South End bruncheries have pointless lines. Hurry, that won’t last. (Open Sundays only for brunch.) > Coppa, 253 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, 617-391-0902, coppaboston.com
IN A PICKLE RESTAURANT: Grab a seat at the counter and watch the flapjack slingers turn out synchronized stacks in this cheerful deli on Main Street in Waltham. College students and the under-12 crowd love the Reese’s pancakes (chunks of peanut butter and chocolate); cookie dough pancakes, inspired by Ben & Jerry’s, are a close second. There’s a lot to choose from on the mega menu. The real pickle is deciding between steak and eggs or a breakfast sandwich, whether you want egg whites on a bagel or a loaded burrito. The nice prices and upbeat feel mean lines swell on weekends. Expect a half-hour wait. > In a Pickle Restaurant, 655 Main Street, Waltham, 781-891-1212, in-a-pickle.com
THE KNOTTY PINE LUNCH: In this restaurant time forgot, you can practically carbon-date the lunch counter (50-plus years) by the plate-sized wear marks precisely spaced in front of each stool. Regulars pack the 38 seats at this Auburndale spot, bantering with the crew. On Saturdays, the cook goes through 500 local eggs, quickly frying up favorites like the “Knotty Pine Omelete” studded with bacon and tomatoes and the “Potato and Cheese Omelete,” which incorporates the restaurant’s crispy signature home fries. The egg dishes come with coffee, and a family of four can eat for under $30 any day of the week. > 295 Auburn Street, Newton, 617-527-9864, knottypinelunch.com
SOFRA BAKERY AND CAFE: Restaurateur Ana Sortun does everything well. And she does Sofra Bakery and Cafe almost too well. The tiny place is often mobbed, but do wait, because you’ll be rewarded with Persian spiced doughnuts or “shakshuka,” eggs poached in curried tomatoes with pita crumbs. The cuisine is authentic Middle Eastern and Eastern Mediterranean. Devotees make time to go midmorning on weekdays, when you can find a seat. > Sofra Bakery and Cafe, 1 Belmont Street, Cambridge, 617-661-3161, sofrabakery.com
The “Shakshuka,” eggs poached in curried tomatoes with pita crumbs, at Sofra.
MOONSTONES: Sunday brunch is an event at this Chelmsford hot spot that gives suburbanites a reason to reapply their lipstick and strap on a pair of heels. Coffee is complimentary, as is the glass of freshly squeezed orange juice topped with champagne. As you contemplate the wide-ranging menu of uncommon offerings — brown sugar-roasted pineapple, caramelized maple bacon — a warren of sticky buns arrives in a skillet. But save room for the red velvet pancakes. Chef Robert Jean brings big-city flair to every dish, but the vermilion stack (made with beet juice) topped with sweet mascarpone and micro greens is a stylish knockout. > Moonstones, 185 Chelmsford Street (route 110), Chelmsford, 978-256-7777, moonstones110.com
ULA CAFE: Just the amazingly light popovers — get yours with tart raspberry jam — would be enough for JP’s Ula to make this list. But there’s more. Homemade oatmeal. Apricot crumb bars. Currant scones. Lemon poppy seed muffins. There’s a wide selection of lattes plus loose teas from MEM Tea Imports in Somerville. In nice weather, snag an outside table. This is what a neighborhood cafe ought to be. > Ula Cafe, 284 Amory Street, Jamaica Plain, 617-524-7890, ulacafe.com
VEGGIE GALAXY: The vegetarian and vegan menu at Veggie Galaxy in Central Square seems to have hit a chord. So don’t go there for breakfast on weekend mornings — there’s at least an hour wait, and the breakfast menu is available all the time. The wheat bread from Big Sky Bakery is especially good, and if there’s a grilled cheese special running, go for it. > Veggie Galaxy, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, 617-497-1513, veggiegalaxy.com
If you’d prefer to sleep in then have brunch ... B STREET RESTAURANT & BAR A dynamite crust, half whole-wheat and half white flour, is the base for the satisfying flatbread, the darling dish of the stylish Saturday brunch crowds in Newton Centre. On top, there’s a trio of sunny side up eggs and a layer of herb-roasted potatoes, mozzarella, and thick bacon nuggets. Roasted garlic brings zest to each bite. “It’s got it all going on,” says owner Elli Kaplansky. The challah French toast, topped with caramelized apples and Vermont maple syrup, is ethereal. Even the slow-cooked oatmeal with steamed milk feels uptown. > B Street Restaurant & Bar, 796 Beacon Street, Newton, 617-332-8743, bstreetnewton.com
The flatbread breakfast at B Street Restaurant comes with sunny side up eggs, a hint of roasted garlic, and a layer of herb-roasted potatoes, mozzarella, and thick bacon nuggets.