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breakfast near somerville

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I'm looking for a place in or around the somerville neighborhood. Kelly's has always been our morning place, but I'm looking for something a different. any ideas?

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  1. Not sure where you mean by "the somerville neighborhood" as there are several neighborhoods in Somerville the town....Coincidentally, my suggestion is The Neighborhood restaurant in Union Square. Giant portions of cheap, decent, somewhat Portuguese-influenced breakfast food.

    Also as a preemptive strike I'm going to cast my vote AGAINST SoundBites in Ball Square, which I'm sure will come up. Rudest service I've ever experienced. If you have to be in that area, I'd stick to the breakfast snacks at the great cafe True Grounds across the street.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mbtabus69

      i'm a huge true grounds fan. they do such a good job with everything. for breakfast, their bagel sandwiches are a great effort. i think the bagels come from nashoba brook bakery, and though they aren't authentic bagels by any means, they make a nice breakfast. the scones i find spectacular. their coffee is among the best in boston.

      don't like soundbites but they obviously don't need my business.

    2. I am a fan of Soundbites, and you will find people on this list are pretty equally divided between those who like it and those who really don't. I love their multi-grain waffle with fruit. They also do a great take on eggs benedict with spinach rather than canadian bacon. They can be a little heavy with the hollandaise, but will accommodate your request to go lightly.

      Another great option right there (ball square) is True Grounds which has delicious grilled breakfast sandwiches and wraps. Not as varied a menu as Soundbites, but great atmosphere where you are encouraged to linger over your coffee/tea.

      15 Replies
      1. re: heathermb

        I'm also a big Soundbites fan. I gravitate towards their omelets. Their omelets are fluffy and chock full of good stuff. I also really enjoy their fried mashed potato cakes.

        But, the key to enjoying Soundbites and to avoid the rude service is to go on a NON-weekend day. When I go, it's usually during the week or on an off hour on the weekend. I have never encountered bad service from there because of my timing, although I have read numerous postings who have.

        1. re: beetlebug

          I've also never had bad service at any of my visits to Soundbites and find Yasser (the owner) to be a nice guy. If you do go between 10AM and 1:30PM on a weekend day, be prepared to stand in line outside and then to having a rather quick breakfast so that the folks who took your place in line aren't out in the cold too long. A better tack is to go early or on a non-weekend day.

        2. re: heathermb

          Just chiming in agreement on Soundbites. Had breakfast there on Monday and had the usual -- ham egg and cheese on an english muffin. $2.99. Yasser is much mellower on the weekdays and I like the serve yourself coffee (he insisted I take a cup to go with me).

          Neighborhood, S&S and Rosebud are all awful, in my opinion.

          Two places I've not yet tried but am curious about are the Broken Yolk on College Ave and the weekend brunch at Tu y Yo. Both located in the Powderhouse rotary area.

          1. re: yumyum

            I tried the Broken Yolk on College Ave in Somerville for breakfast. I got scrambled eggs, homefries, sausage and wheat toast. For some strange reason the scrambled eggs didn't taste good. I love scrambled eggs and it's hard to screw up scrambled eggs. The homefries were okay but nothing special. The sausage and toast were the best part of the breakfast. I haven't returned.

            1. re: yumyum

              Broken Yolk is passable, but really basic. The space is cramped, the coffee is watery(think D&D) and the meals are just ok. Very cheap though, if that's your thing. I had a BLT (yes, for breakfast) and my dining companion had some sort of breakfast sandwhich that was sloppy at best. I remember the bread of said sandwich being untoasted and that totally irking my fellow eater. I haven't returned since.

              1. re: gini

                Well yeah, you know I'm cheap. But I can skip the Broken Yolk based on both your experiences. Thanks for taking something OFF the list for a change!

                1. re: yumyum

                  Yumyum, if you haven't tried Victor's Diner in Watertown you are missing out on a really delicious breakfast. They serve breakfast and lunch only. It's my favorite breakfast place. They give you plenty of good food for a good price. Their coffee is also good. Victor's Diner is located at 214 North Beacon Street in Watertown. I highly recommend it.

              2. re: yumyum

                Neighborhood Restaurant awful? That's fine - it's too crowded as it is. More room for me.

                Seriously, to put the Rosebud in the same book as the Neighborhood is off the mark, in my opinion. The Neighborhood slings an excellent Portuguese breakfast - make sure you have the manna-like cream of wheat.

                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  We will have to agree to disagree.

                  1. re: yumyum

                    Perhaps, yumyum, you can elaborate on its awfulness? Awful sounds like quality issues, which I have never noticed. It's not the Ritz - it is what it is, in Francona-speak - but what they do, I feel they do quite well. Sorry, but this is one of my favorite breakfast places, so I'm interested to know your experiences and whether they were objectively awful or it's just a preference issue. I despise No. 9 Park, but I can't say it's awful. :)

                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                      I haven't been in a few years, but it was the go-to spot when I had a good friend in the neighborhood. After several tries over maybe 6 months I just refused to go back. I feel it's a quanitity over quality place -- the pastries were never that good, the coffee stunk, and egg dishes were just mediocre. Disclaimer -- I don't order waffles or pancakes, so if they are among your favorites there I can't comment. I'm sorry -- I do feel I gave the place a good shot before forming this strong impression.

                      1. re: yumyum

                        Yumyum, I definitely would recommend that you give the place another shot.

                        I've lived in Somerville for only the last couple of years, but since I've found the place, I've had only good meals. I usually get the Portuguese Fisherman's Breakfast, which involves along with eggs, sides of rice and beans, toast, home fries and cod cakes, or these strange shrimp cakes (not a huge fan of those). But the cod cakes are delish. The coffee to me is like standard diner coffee, i.e., not bad. And have you had the cream of wheat? It is wonderful. I don't believe I've ever had or seen pastries.

                        Wait until the summer, when they move everyone out into the courtyard under the arbor. I'm not saying it's real gourmet, but definitely not awful and maybe it's gotten better since your last experience a few years ago. Believe me, I would not steer you wrong.

                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                          I trust you. I'll do it. But not till summer.

                          Sigh, another one to ADD to the list. :-(

                          1. re: yumyum

                            Yay. :)

                  2. re: Bob Dobalina

                    huhhhmmmm, cream of wheat. Their (Neighborhood Restaurant) version would make even those with gluten allergies dive into a kiddie pool and slurp it up until they explode. Yes, it's that good.

              3. the i-cafe in teele square has just started serving breakfast fridays, saturdays and sundays. the cheese omlet was pretty good, want to go back for the french toast.

                1. I will come out against Soundbites - the food was mediocre at best, the service was...well, I just like to call the guy who waited on me "the omlette nazi." I'd go to Rosebud (be prepared to wait and they don't really like you to linger to long) or if you're at Somerville/Cambridge border, S&S is good (again, be prepared to wait). Sorry, but I'm not going to share my favorite place because it's already getting to crowded and yuppified.

                  1. Also a huge SoundBites fan. I don't care if the service isn't top-notch, 'cause I'm there for the food, not the ambiance or a smiling waiter. The food is great and that's all that matters to me. The challah French toast is lovely, and I used to order it ("used to" only 'cause I no longer live in Boston!) with fruit, but with the fruit on the side. It made for a perfect serving. Love those NoPlaceLikeHome Fries, too, even though they're just chunky grilled mashed potatoes. I haven't found any places like SoundBites in any of the other places I've lived. I miss it dearly...

                    1. Soundbites before 10am or after 1:30pm for brunch. As said, between 10 and 1, you might as well forget it. I like their fruit plate & noplacelikehomefries.

                      Kelly's for diner food.

                      Soleil Cafe (not open Sundays) - slightly pricey, but worth it. Service is slower than molasses though. Be warned.

                      Johnny’s D’s oatmeal. Haven’t had anything else on their menu, but I really like their oatmeal.

                      True Grounds for coffee. Haven’t had any of their breakfast sandwiches.

                      S&S is not offensive, but I don’t know why anyone would actually choose to eat there.

                      1. I am also a big fan of soundbites for breakfast the food is great if you want a full breakfast. Great thing is that they deliver too. True Grounds across the street has the best breakfast sandwiches that I have ever had and they have a breakfast burrito that is really good too.

                        1. I'd add the following recs for bakeries and cafes, all with (limited) seating:

                          Petsi Pies - homey and delicious muffins, scones, coffee cake, etc, in a tiny space. Pretty good Allegro coffee too.

                          Cafe Rustica - reminds me of a simple European neighborhood cafe. They pull some surprisingly good basic espresso drinks. Most of the unremarkable baked goods are delivered from elsewhere (they do bake their own muffins), but the real draw is just being able to sit, relax, and converse with the incredibly friendly proprietors. Even better in the summertime, when you can sit on the shaded back porch.

                          Danish Pastry House - on Boston Ave in Medford, the DPH purveys beautiful-looking pastries and breads in a warm, inviting space. Some of the more precious-looking items in the pastry case aren't quite as tasty as they ought to be, but the muffins and breads are consistently good.

                          ---

                          Skirting the recurring and unresolved Soundbites debate, I'll throw four other table service breakfast/brunch places on the pile:

                          Renee's Cafe - love it, hate it, whatever. Personally, I lop Renee's in the same group as Soundbites, Kelly's, and Rosebud, all of which fail my simple breakfast test, namely "Could I have easily cooked a better breakfast at home?" But at least Renee's is nominally less crowded, and the food is perfectly serviceable.

                          Christopher's - does a Sunday brunch which includes egg 'n' griddle fare plus some of their usual upscale pub-fare options.

                          Sabur - does a Sunday brunch which includes egg 'n' griddle fare plus some of their more interesting southeastern European fare options. Patchy service.

                          Tu y Yo - does a really interesting breakfast and brunch Saturday and Sunday. Be warned you are relegated almost entirely to savory choices, save for one sweet item on the kids' menu, but they have an interesting, tasty, egg-heavy assortment of southern Mexican fare.

                          1. I also went to Kelly's Diner on Broadway for breakfast. I haven't been to Kelly's in years. The last time I went there the silverware was dirty and the food was fair. I got scrambled eggs, homefries, sausage and Italian toast. The scrambled eggs, sausage and toast were good. I didn't care for the homefries. They were okay but not great. I should have went to Victor's Diner in Watertown instead but wanted to give Kelly's another try. Victor's gives you plenty of delicious food for about the same price as Kelly's. Victor's homefries are very good.

                            1. Yikes, didn't realize I was in such the minority re: SoundBites. Hey, if more people heading there means less people at other places in Somerville that I frequent, fine by me! :-) You can have your long, cold wait outside for average food you have to choke down as fast as possible or else. I'll take the Neighborhood's equally/just above average food, served with minimal attitude (though not devoid of it), and with a long wait *inside* (or if outside, with coffee and cake to enjoy while I wait).

                              To the OP, I would second Petsi Pies (their Cambridge location has/had a good brunch) and Johnny D's

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mbtabus69

                                I agree with you on SoundBites. Everyone says to go on a weekday - I've been on a weekday morning, and the service was just as rude. The food is fine, but nothing I'd wait for (especially in this cold weather).

                              2. If you are looking for a small and cozy place, the Druid Pub in Inman Sq (Cambridge) serves up a great breakfast on the weekends.