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Where to eat brunch in Boston

ContessaBarry Chin/Globe Staff

Would madame care for an espresso martini and tater tot poutine? Why yes, she would! Oh, and bring us some locally farmed oysters and a kale-and-beet salad for the table! These are among the tempting options at one of Boston’s best brunch spots, Bostonia Public House. Sure beats microwaved leftovers or a sad bowl of cereal at home. Brunch is the most indulgent of all meals, and it is meant to be savored with friends. Here’s a look at some fun places to have brunch in the city, and some tasty dishes to order (and share).

A hostess at Bostonia Public House led a family to their table in June 2020.Blake Nissen for the Boston Globe

Bostonia Public House

Set within the old (circa 1902) Board of Trade building in the Financial District, this upscale bar does a dandy brunch. It can get noisy, so don’t plan on a cozy tête-à-tête. Most likely, you’ll be sharing food, not confidences, anyway; portions are generous. This place is a good choice for persnickety types: They offer a full menu during brunch, including lobster rolls, tuna crudo, and raw bar items. Proceed directly to “brunch classics,” and you’ll discover delicious takes on the familiar frittata (their ham-and-cheese version boasts black forest ham, piquillo peppers, asiago cheese, and potatoes, $19) and a lobster frittata with spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, and gruyere ($28) — so good, we devoured every morsel. And how can you not appreciate two choices of poutine (one with tater tots and brown gravy, the other a fancy version with braised beef short rib; $13 and $22 respectively)? They’re famous for the Ultimate Bloody Mary garnish bar ($19), made with top shelf vodka or tequila and every garnish you can imagine: ribs, bacon, citrus, hot sauce, doughnuts, chocolates, peppers, pickled veggies, olives, cheeses, shrimp cocktail, and more. If that seems overwhelming, order the creamy, cinnamon-kissed-with-vanilla Cinnamon Toast Crunch cocktail. Your inner 10-year-old will thank you (but stick you with the check). Brunch Saturday, Sunday, and Monday holidays, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. www.bostoniapublichouse.com

The spicy lobster capellini at Contessa.Barry Chin/Globe Staff



Opened last June on the 17th floor rooftop of the Newbury Hotel (a.k.a. “the old Ritz”), Contessa arrived with plenty of fanfare, and a pedigree: The restaurant is operated by Major Food Group, cofounded by chef Mario Carbone of Michelin-starred Carbone in New York City. This one is an Italian concept, too, reminiscent of a grand trattoria in Northern Italy. Elegant and impeccable are apt descriptors; the bartenders wear white jackets with embroidered logos. (Patrons dress up, too; you won’t see the “I just rolled out of bed” flip-flops-and-sweatpants look here.) The food is lovely, especially the peppery carbonara scramble ($21), squash carpaccio ($22, an interesting choice on the antipasti menu), and a must-try, spicy lobster capellini ($34), packing big chunks of lobster and plenty of heat. But the real star here is the setting — the conservatory-like space with its glass roof and retractable panels feels like a posh, sun-splashed garden party, with views of Back Bay. It’s — dare we say it — festive. And we could all use some of that. Brunch Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. www.contessatrattoria.com


Nia Grace, owner/operator of Darryl's Corner Bar & Kitchen.Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff/file

Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen

What makes brunch go down as easy as a sweet tea mojito? We’d say a side of live music. That’s what you’ll find at DCBK’s Sunday Jazz and Soul Food Brunch. Helmed by Nia Grace, it’s an art-filled space with live music performances in the genres of jazz, R&B, soul, and Latin jazz. A lively, diverse crowd packs the place, a Boston Magazine “Best of Boston” award winner in 2021 for Southern and soul food. The all-you-can eat brunch buffet on Sundays (adults, $25.95 per person) features Southern staples like fried chicken and catfish, cheddar grits, BBQ spare ribs, dirty rice, and collard greens. This is a self-service buffet, so you can load up on items you like (if you skip the veg, we won’t tell mom); you definitely won’t leave hungry. As for that sweet tea mojito we mentioned? Yep, it’s one of the brunch cocktails offered, and a perfect foil for the meal. And if you’re still avoiding indoor dining in tight spaces, note that they open a few outdoor tables when the weather cooperates. Brunch Sundays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (live music from 11-3). www.dcbkboston.com


Diners at Lincoln Tavern shared brunch plates.Dina Rudick/Globe Staff/file

Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant

Is there a happier kid on the planet than one who’s presented with a stack of Fruity Pebbles pancakes? We think not. Layered with cereal milk anglaise, this Instagram-friendly breakfast food tempts sweet-toothed adults, too. With its long bar, brick walls, and industrial vibe, this South Boston hot spot has a grown-up vibe, but families fill the booths on weekends. Brunch is so popular here that they offer it seven days a week. If you find the usual brunch items too carb-y or egg-centric for your taste, you’ll be pleased with Lincoln Tavern’s menu; choices include fresh oysters, wood-fired pizza (including a breakfast version), burgers, and an array of unique salads. We tried the smoked brisket burrito ($16) featuring coffee-rubbed brisket, eggs over easy, crispy potatoes, pico de gallo, and avocado. It was hefty and meaty, big enough to split with a brunch buddy. If you consider “brunch” synonymous with “cheat day,” opt for the cinnamon brioche French toast ($16), gooey with vanilla pastry cream and a side of maple-pecan syrup, topped with fresh berries and served with a choice of bacon or sausage. Brunch daily, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. www.lincolnsouthboston.com


North Street Grille

Shoehorn your party into this little place near the Paul Revere House and dig into what owner Robin Sidell and her team shamelessly call the best brunch in Boston (get a load of their website, below) In this case, it’s not hyperbole; this really is a delicious brunch. There’s not a lot of elbow room here, but all is forgiven when you dig into plates of gooey deliciousness, like the crab omelet with Boursin and avocado ($17.95), fig jam and prosciutto eggs Benedict ($14.95), or Nutella and banana French toast ($12.95). You’ll be passing those plates around like the Celtics starting five passes the ball. Another thing that’s noteworthy here: vegans, vegetarians, and gluten-avoiders can find something to love. Plus, for an upcharge, you can substitute mixed greens, oatmeal, or fresh fruit for home fries. Or not. Even if we never order the cannoli pancakes, we’re happy they’re there; ditto the Bananas Foster “adult milkshake” with banana liqueur, vanilla rum, vanilla ice cream, and bananas, topped with whipped cream. Brunch daily, 8 a.m-4 p.m. www.bestbrunchboston.com


Diane Bair and Pamela Wright can be reached at bairwright@gmail.com