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Can we have a discussion of the best breakfast places in town? I'm particularly interested in Boston, Cambridge and the western burbs. I'm not talking about a great muffin. I'm thinking eggs, pancakes, waffles, etc. I eat at Josephs Two on Main Street in Waltham a lot, which certainly is serviceable, but there must be better. I've been disappointed the last couple times I went to Henrietta's Table. Is Sorella's still great?

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  1. I like the honestly old-timey vibe of the food at Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe in the South End. The turkey hash has many fans on the board and I'm one of them.

    Now to digress a little...I never get up early enough to try them, but there's plenty of other explorable options that I'm hoping others would post about. A fair number of the South and Central American places all over the area offer breakfast too; e.g. Camino Real (Colombian), El Challab (Peruvian), and the offerings are distinct from the lunch and dinner options.

    I've never had pho at Nam Vang or Nam A (usually distracted by the rice plates), but if the other stuff I've had at these places are any indication, the pho, a traditional Vietnamese breakfast food, is likely to be more than servicable. (Wonder what time they open?)

    Used have roti prata (aka roti canai) for breakfast often back home, but I don't think Penang is open early enough.

    The last time I had a good soy milk with crullers was at the late Peking Cuisine (currently Noodle Alcove, which I'm still waiting for to come up with breakfast/dim sum items). Taiwan Cafe's version is good too. I could be wrong, but I think it's weekends only, along with all the other Taiwan breakfast items. Chung Shing Yuan in Newton also excels at Taiwanese breakfast fare.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Limster

      oops -- typos -- it's El CHALLAN, not El Challab.

    2. Sorella's still has every combination of pancake/french toast/omelette you could imagine. It's usually crazy busy and I hate all those paper plate specials on the walls, but it's good. I think Doyle's in JP has good blueberry pancakes. B&G Deli on Beacon St. has good breakfasts. I get decent omelettes at Cookin Cafe or whatever that place on Comm Ave. across from the big Star Mkt. is called. The Busy Bee on Beacon just outside Kenmore Sq. is okay for your basic Greek diner type place. I wasn't as thrilled with the sweet potato pancakes at the Town Diner in Watertown as others here but it's fine and their home fries looked good. And Miracle of Science outside Central Sq. has started serving breakfast which I bet is good, and Audobon has brunch on weekends. There was an article in Friday's Sauce about that. And Johnny D's in Camb. and Newton Ctr. has good stuff but gets pricey.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Joanie

        I second B&G Deli. I also like Zaftigs in Coolidge Corner. There's 2 so/so places that are really cheap: Pig'n' whistle on N. Beacon and the Breakfast Club in Allston.

        When I was in college I used to go to Mal's Deli and the Pour House they were so cheap, but now their gone.

        1. re: Jane

          The Pour House is gone? The one on Boylston?

          1. re: Dax

            i thought it was Trader joe's now?

            1. re: Jane

              Pour House is defintiely still there...the Trader Joe's was a noodle place.

              1. re: Evey

                Thanks- As I remembeer huge breakfast about $5

        2. re: Joanie

          Just to clarify: Johnny D's is in Davis Square. Johnny's Luncheonette is in Harvard Square and Newton Center.

          1. re: Susanne

            I thought Johnnys in Harvard Square had closed? Now its a Zoe's or something? I think that there IS a Johnnys at one of the Jordans Furniture places though...

            1. re: Susanne

              Ooops- just looked at the dates on this board...it WAS open in 2003- its closed in Harvard Square now- sorry about that!

            2. re: Joanie

              Joanie- I'm new here. What's Sauce? A weekly?

            3. For a great, big omelette I love Mike's City Diner on Washington Street in the South End. But the wait can be long on the weekends if you don't get there early.

              1. There's an amazing diner in Framingham, if you're willing to make the trek (and you seem to be, since you eat in Waltham)...it's in a little strip mall, and I think it's called teh J&M Diner or J&S or something like that...wonderful omlettes, amazing pancakes, delicious french toast, and the best coffee. It's cheap, family owned, extremely friendly service, and I read somewhere that it's a non-profit operation. My SO and I make the trip from Somerville about once a month, we love it so much!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Evey

                  Are you talking about Joan and Ed's in the Sherwood Plaza on Route 9?

                2. Somerville has some fine options:
                  My new fav is Soliel Cafe in Teele Sq. Not sure if they serve breakfast everyday or just Saturday - but they are closed on Sunday. I had a delicious chorizo omelette there, roasted red potatoes ont he side.

                  Down the road a bit is Renee's Cafe. This place gets seriously busy. I like their french toast, especially with fruit. Fluffy and fresh. They have a number of Eggs benne options that rotate as specials. Sometimes these are successful, sometimes the veggies seem slimy. Stick to the original though and it's a good pick.

                  The wait for a table is never as long as it looks at Johnny D's, but often the wait for the food is painful. It's a bit more expensive than diner options, but if you have some time to kill, and especially if you're ordering one of the french toast specials - like bananna bread french toast (yum) than this can be a nice treat on the weekends with live music.

                  Then there's Sound Bites. I happen to love this place the most because nowhere else can you feel good about having- basically - mashed potatoes for breakfast. Their homefries consist of a block of reconstiuted garlic mashed potates, sizzled up on the griddle. The other thing that is great about this place is that you can basically order one of everything which is what I usually want - 1 egg, a blueberry pancake, a side of homefries, the possibilities are endless. Just don't take too long to decide! I've seen the owner verbally assault those who ponder too long. The waffles are flooded with fresh fruit and the pancakes are too.

                  1. If you are a Walthamite, check out Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown.

                    Excellent and varied pancakes. Superb thick cut bacon. Everything you would want in a breafast joint.

                    Their lunches and dinners are also good, but they really shine at breakfast!

                    Deluxe Town Diner
                    627 Mount Auburn St
                    Watertown, MA 02472
                    (617) 926-8400

                    1. Charlie's on Columbus Ave. is easily my favorite. Fabulous food and great atmosphere. Always populated with interesting characters. Best turkey hash you'll ever find.

                      1. To add to the breakfast discussion...

                        I second the Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown (get the sweet potato pancakes!).

                        And second Renee's in Somerville (they're not so busy on the weekdays and they open at 7:30).

                        I'd also like to add in On the Park in the South End (it's a great neighborhood spot, rumored to be closing so get there fast).

                        And then, if you're REALLY up for a drive (and I mean a DRIVE), I vote for Polly's Pancake Parlor in Franconia, NH. I love breakfast so much, I've literally driven up there just to eat at Polly's. They're open daily from 7-3, but just seasonally... I think they close at the end of October. Yummmmmm... just thinking about Polly's makes me want to head for the car.

                        Link: http://www.pollyspancakeparlor.com/

                        1. To add to the breakfast discussion...

                          I second the Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown (get the sweet potato pancakes!).

                          And second Renee's in Somerville (they're not so busy on the weekdays and they open at 7:30).

                          I'd also like to add in On the Park in the South End (it's a great neighborhood spot, rumored to be closing so get there fast).

                          And then, if you're REALLY up for a drive (and I mean a DRIVE), I vote for Polly's Pancake Parlor in Franconia, NH. I love breakfast so much, I've literally driven up there just to eat at Polly's. They're open daily from 7-3, but just seasonally... I think they close at the end of October. Yummmmmm... just thinking about Polly's makes me want to head for the car.

                          Link: http://www.pollyspancakeparlor.com/

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Reamster

                            ...Hate to be the bearer of bad news...but it is no longer a rumor, it is true...ON THE PARK has closed.
                            No more delicious breakfasts there, I'm sorry to report...it was good though...

                          2. m
                            mmm something

                            Soundbites Soundbites Soundbites. Ball Square Somerville. Right next to Victor's Deli. GREAT eggs, omelettes, benedict, florentine, waffles, pancakes, homefries, and turkey sausage. I've been to a lot of breakfast places, and like the simplicity of Wilson's Diner in Waltham, really enjoy Metropolis in the South End, go to Zaftigs once in a while now that I'm in Brookline, and even went to Renee's in Teele Square a few times when I lived in that neighborhood and before discovering Soundbites. But I always, always walk away saying, "Not as good as Soundbites."

                            However, you should know this before you go: some people really dislike the GM/Owner, Yassar, a.k.a. the Breakfast Nazi. Personally, I love him. But, he's pretty rough around the edges and is not afraid of offending a customer. Soundbites is a tiny place with a line down the block, so I don't blame him for rushing you to order once you sit down or to pay the bill once you're done eating. I also tend to get annoyed at the same things that he seems to snap at (for example, when a group of college-aged girls was standing in the doorway, propping it open, letting in the bitter winter cold, he asked, "Do you speak English?" They said, "Yes." Then he said, "Read the sign, close the door!") I've also seen him take flack as well as he can dish it out. Just don't expect to linger over your third cup of coffee and the Sunday Globe.


                            1. Since it sounds like you live in Waltham, the West-of-the-Charles orientation of the board is probably up your alley. But I'm a big fan of Terrie's Place on E. Broadway in Southie. Just a good, basic, friendly breakfast place, with great omelettes and hash--sort of like Mike's City Diner without the annoying line. Plus, when a friend of mine asked for a specific flavor of yogurt, and it turned out they had run out, the waitress ran across the street to the Stop n'Shop to get some.

                              1. I've had great experiences with yummy, delicious, satisfying breakfasts... and AFFORDABLE in the city. The most bang for your buck and yummy tasting is the deal you get in the mornings at The Pour House, on Boylston St, Boston. Ryles Jazz Cafe in Cambridge is also great for their brunch, and entertaining... great pancakes or french toast. Also, Zaftigs in Brookline is famous for their banana-stuffed French Toast. Big meals! Not bad prices. The Pour House is consistent though and yummy. Its a great hangout. You can see my experience there at my website page...

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: divinebella

                                  Hey Divine- Welcome back from the other side of the time tunnel. Charlie's Sandwich Shop and Mike's Diner are good options in the South End for greasy spoons.

                                  1. re: Falcon 64

                                    Still haven't made it to Charlie's, but thanks to hounds, I recommended to visiting friends, who loved it! Blueberry griddle cakes that were "more blueberry than cake."

                                    Those same folks also LOVED their breakfast at Brookline Brunch in Central Square. Again, I cannot personally vouch, but was told to "just order eggs and toast...for $3, you get a (hand held yea high) huge amount of food."

                                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                      I think you are referring to Brookline Lunch on Brookline Street in Central Square. If so, yes the portions are absolutely huge, to the point where it is a bit silly. I am not looking to fill up on one meal the entire day, and spend under $5. However back in college this would have been the place to do it.

                                      The homestyle breakfast is no frills, but very good. I just go in knowing that I could split a plate and come away stuffed.

                                    2. re: Falcon 64

                                      mmm.. I've heard of Mike's; in fact, wasn't it featured on a Diner episode from the Food Network? I'll have to go there. What do you suggest?

                                    3. re: divinebella

                                      I can't remember the last time I saw the words "Pour House" and "yummy" in the same sentence.

                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                        deluxe town diner, victors in watertown on north beacon, mikes and charlies in the south end, family in brookline, zaftigs in brookline (overpriced but at least they aren't serving sushi yet which appears to have invaded brookline like a yeast infection!)

                                        1. re: teezeetoo

                                          Now THERE's an appetizing breakfast image.

                                          1. re: raddoc

                                            sorry! i'm just waiting for sushi to show up at starbucks in brookline! how many more fish gotta die for mediocre sashimi?

                                    4. I like the Breakfast Club in Brighton. Nice and greasy

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: saltyair

                                        The J&M Diner in Framingham is excellent. I know someone mentioned it way back but wasn't sure of the name. It's at 969 Concord Street (Route 126)in Framingham. It's inexpensive and everything is great....pancakes, french toast, omelettes. Geoff Gardner of Sel de la Terre was on Chronicle awhile ago and mentioned it as his favorite breakfast spot.

                                        1. re: edgewater

                                          Relatively inexpensive and delicious: the breakfast crepes at Z Square in Kenmore and again in Cambridge. Absolutely nobody makes crepes anymore and these are made to order --you can sit there and watch yours being made. I like the banana, but they also come stuffed with eggs and sausage or drowning in cinnamon syrup.
                                          In fact, the breakfast menu is extensive. Go here to review: http://www.z-square.com/Kenmore/News/

                                          1. re: edgewater

                                            I agree. I have been to J&M dozens of times and can vouch for it. Great breakfasts and lunches. Expect to wait on weekend mornings. Ask for Libby, one of the waitresses - she's very nice.

                                            1. re: Uncle Ian

                                              I met a friend for breakfast at Johnny's luncheonette in Newton this morning. I had seen posts recommending it but now that I look again none of them are recent. I can't remember when I have had a worse meal. Someone in a long ago post said the hash looks like dog food but is delicious. I agree that it looks like dog food but for the sake of all the poor dogs out there, I hope their food tastes much better. The poached eggs were cold and hard. Has anyone been there recently?

                                              1. re: edgewater

                                                had a wonderful breakfast at Spot's Cafe on Main Street in Watertown, with excellent bread (they actually have homemade toasted baguette with real jam as a menu item!) Lovely little place and everything from the bacon to the coffee was good.

                                        2. I'm a huge fan of the breakfast at Mike & Patty's in Bay Village. They have great breakfast and lunch options although seating is VERY limited.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: CreativeFoodie42

                                            I'd also like add the brunch buffet at Blue Room and breakfast at Friendly Toast in Kendall Square!

                                            1. re: CreativeFoodie42

                                              There is a great little breakfast place on Route 135 in Natick just over the Wellesley line (next to Town Line Liquors), The Central Street Cafe. The owner is a young woman, Pablah, who makes everyone welcome the minute they walk in the door. They have an endless variety of delcious omelettes, egg dishes and pancakes....blueberry walnut are especially good. If you are in the area, I would highly recommend it.