5-Hour Itinerary is a series—based on the New York Times’ “36 Hours”—in which we serve as your guide to the ultimate Boston day-trip, stringing together thoughtfully chosen locations into a one-of-a-kind itinerary.
With sunnier skies and warmer weather due in fair time, The Gavel has compiled a collection of under-the-radar brunch recommendations to jumpstart your spring brunching season.
- Masa // 439 Tremont Street, Boston // Mexican // $
With charmingly checkered floors and vintage chandeliers greeting you upon arrival, Masa’s city-southwestern vibe is easy on the eyes. Located in the South End, Masa’s hidden bargain is its “brunch fiesta,” a special offered only on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. This 2-course fiesta costs a mere $9.95, not including tip. Note the strict hours for the fiesta, though, as it cannot be ordered outside of listed hours. For the first course, brunch-goers can expect the waiter to give them the choice between a fresh fruit bowl, granola with milk or yogurt, or a caramelized plantain empanada with cinnamon cream cheese. For those with a sweet tooth, go for the empanada—it arrives hot out of the oven with a generous spoonful of the unique cream cheese on the side. For the main course, there is a small menu with sufficient choices to satisfy most tastes. The Gavel's personal favorite? Go with the huevos rancheros with queso cotija and salsa ranchero. It is a dish that will leave you hankering for more and desperately scraping the plate.
Be sure to stop by Masa soon. In a trendy and charming location in the South End, it may be a little far from BC, but on a nice day, you can take the Green Line to Boylston and stroll on over to this must-see brunch destination.
- Island Creek Oyster Bar // 500 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston // American Seafood // $$$
Though it is admittedly a neighbor of Boston University, Island Creek Oyster Bar (ICOB) fills its open-concept seating to the brim on weekends. Located right next to Hotel Commonwealth, ICOB’s high ceilings and large windows let the sunlight stream in on warm days. A great option for a pre-Sox game meal, the bar’s brunch will be sure to fill you up for all nine innings. Known for its tasty oysters, the restaurant’s menu possesses a mix of traditional seafood and home-cooked brunch items. Although ICOB is slightly overpriced, it stills remains within reason as a more unorthodox brunch option. The restaurant’s brunch specialty, a lobster omelet, takes its Massachusetts roots and adds innovative tastes like chopped scallions and Italian cheeses. We recommend going to ICOB for the occasional brunch treat—its blend of classic New England tastes and refined ingredients is sure to impress even the most discerning eater.
- South End Buttery // 314 Shawmut Avenue, Boston // Traditional // $$
Located in a quaint, sunny spot in the South End, the South End Buttery is known for both its quiet charm and dog-friendly patio. Whatever one typically thinks of as constituting a traditional Boston brunch spot, the Buttery is sure to have: exposed bricks, soft yellow-painted walls, glass cases of precious pastries, etc. Though it may be a small location, it sure is one of the most delightful spots on this list. Though the South End Buttery does have a sit-down restaurant portion with a brunch menu, The Gavel recommends that you try the café menu. A better value than the brunch menu, with arguably better offerings, the café menu requires first-come first-serve seating, a minor but manageable inconvenience.
A must-try on the café menu is the avocado toast with lime, pumpkin seeds, and sea salt. A simple yet tasteful flavor palate, the lime mixes with the avocado and pumpkin seeds to produce a distinctive taste, one that is not overpowering yet still memorable. Also, a recommended plate is the quiche with roasted veggies and cheese, another simple dish that is perfect for a light, late morning breakfast.
The South End Buttery makes for a delicious early brunch before a busy afternoon in the city. Not terribly far from the Prudential Center or the shops of the South End, check out the Buttery soon for a tasty and satisfying meal.
- Morning Salute Food Truck // Varies, Check Facebook // American // $
A roaming restaurant, the Morning Salute Food Truck is a relatively new addition to the streets of Boston. Owner Rob Whitten, an Army veteran, started his unique business plan in early 2016 and hasn’t looked back since. Morning Salute combines delicious breakfast sandwiches with support of the New England Center and Home for Veterans. The truck partners with the non-profit to employ out-of-work veterans and to donate a share of their monthly profits.
While the menu is small, the offerings are varied and unique. Sandwiches incorporate different meats, including the hearty “The General,” which includes smoked bacon, Munster cheese, and two fried eggs on a Portuguese roll. Another meat-filled showstopper, “The Captain,” packages together pork sausage, cheese, and two fried eggs. Morning Salute also offers burgers, hot dogs, and fries for an afternoon meal, yet the breakfast offerings steal the show.
A particularly impressive item on the breakfast food truck’s menu, “The Luey” proves to be a light but satisfying meal. It includes egg whites, spinach, red peppers, and onions–a healthy and fresh start to a sunny day in Boston. Hunt down the Morning Salute Food Truck for a quick and delicious meal the next time you find yourself in Boston in the morning.
- The Paramount // 44 Charles Street, Boston // Traditional // $$
A Beacon Hill mainstay for decades, The Paramount is located in the heart of the historic neighborhood, steps away from the Boston Public Garden. Breakfast seating etiquette is slightly unorthodox, with cafeteria-style ordering and hostess tabling. The food, though, is absolutely scrumptious and will leave you hungry for more.
The menu is large and diverse, ranging from grilled chorizo omelets to fresh caramel and banana French toast. Every choice is a safe bet, as the chefs of The Paramount are known for using quality ingredients and carefully constructing the meals on diner plates. Pancakes are a cornerstone of The Paramount’s menu, so do yourself a favor and order a side to satisfy your sweet tooth. The restaurant includes unique iterations of the classic breakfast food, including apple pancakes and lemon ricotta pancakes, as well as the traditional pancake with maple syrup.
One of The Gavel favorites on the menu is the guacamole & pepper jack omelet, a savory, cheese-filled meal that will leave you comfortably full. The omelet, which is of a decent portion, is also served with Cajun home fries and toast, all for $10—not too shabby for breakfast in Beacon Hill. The Paramount is a great option for breakfast, and it is a great stop en route to the quaint shops of Beacon Hill or afternoon strolls through the beautiful Boston Public Garden.