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in search of the best pancakes in the Boston area

I've been looking for the best pancakes in the Boston area, and have this to report so far:

Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown: Rated highly, but I didn't like their sour cream and buttermilk pancakes. Fun setup, though.

Paramount on Charles Street: Great atmosphere (I never go on weekends, just weekdays), fantastic view. But the pancakes are deadly, practically made of lead.

Beacon Hill Inn & Bistro: A little dry, and they provided maybe 1/4 cup of maple syrup, which isn't enough to warm up these cakes.

Further afield, the Wenham Tea House has fantastic pancakes (and they heat their maple syrup), but they're rather far for a weekday jaunt.

Any other suggestions? I haven't even tried the Friendly Toast, I have heard from several reliable sources that their offerings are (1) huge (2) substandard.

I'm blogging my experience (see my profile for details) and will report back here, too.

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  1. I absolutely adore pancakes, which is why I rarely order them out. For some reason, this seems to be a very difficult dish for restaurants to make well. It's always sort of perplexed me. I long ago stopped trying to find really great ones in the area, because the probability of success is so low, and a sub-par pancake is psychologically depressing, nutritionally barren, and generally a hugely offensive waste of time. I think that a bad plate of cheap pancakes is actually the single most insulting dish a restaurant can serve you.

    The Friendly Toast is not worth it.

    I think that Deluxe Town Diner is generally my answer here, because they have interesting varieties that are all done right. Don't go next door to Uncommon Grounds.

    Sofra does, or did, a light, yeasted pancake that is really delicious, if that's your thing. I think that's maybe only in the summer though. Sound Bites in Ball Square, I think, does pretty good pancakes as well. Clover in Harvard Square used to do very good pancakes on the weekends, but then stopped, just when they'd figured out how to make them right.

    For what it's worth, I like pancakes that are thick, but not cakey; dense, but not hard. You might not make a bad pancake by undercooking it, but you will definitely make a bad pancake by overcooking it.

    The best place in Boston to get pancakes is from scratch in your kitchen. It's sad, but true.

    3 Replies
    1. re: FinnFPM

      I feel the same way. I'll order pancakes out but I'm always disappointed. But for the OP I'll suggest Highland Kitchen in Somerville. The one time I went there it seemed like every table ordered a side of pancakes to share and I overheard the table next to us raving about them. Friendly Toast is okay if you like a lot of toppings on your pancakes.

      1. re: FinnFPM

        Have to disagree on Uncommon Grounds. At least my one experience with lemon ricotta pancakes there was excellent.

      2. ( Slightly O.T. but for pancake people: When you can try Polly's Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill, NH try the bacon it's good too)

        5 Replies
        1. re: ipsofatso

          I love Polly's. The best thing is that the pancakes are small, and they bring out only three at a time if you order six so that they all stay warm.

          I recently tried them at Deluxe Town Diner and didn't love them, but their New York Potato Pancakes (essentially their version of latkes) were delicious.

          1. re: Mike5966

            just fyi, those are frozen; so you might be able to ask who their vendor is and get them for home.

          2. re: ipsofatso

            I am a pancake fanatic, and had saved an article about Pollys Pancake Parlor for about 10 years, and we finally had the occasion to vacation in New Hampshire, about 3 years ago. My wife and I had big expectations for the place. Waited 2 hours to get in, and then the pancakes were nothing special. Kind of a waste of anticipation in my opinion.

            1. re: Florida Hound

              I'll second this. Maybe if Polly's was down the street I wouldn't judge them so highly, but after hearing and reading about them for years, my friends and I drove about an hour from Lincoln NH and waited for almost two hours to get in -- and then got very run-of-the-mill pancakes that were about the same as Bisquik. Lovely maple syrup, though!

              1. re: Boston_Otter

                same here - had to get up early and drive up there with the in-laws, wait around for hours, and I really didn't see what the big deal was.

          3. I like the blueberry pancakes at Trident Booksellers Cafe on Newbury. Be sure to ask for real maple syrup. They have it for a small upcharge that they often forget to add.

            Penny
            http://www.bostonzest.com/

            2 Replies
            1. re: BostonZest

              The Spot in Watertown makes the best pancakes I've had here. Lovely little place with excellent breakfast in general.

              1. re: teezeetoo

                +1 for Spot! Fluffy and a little buttery. Yum! They also do a kid's pancake with a bunny face made of whipped cream and chocolate eyes every time my kid orders pancake.

            2. If you're willing to go farther afield, Cappa's Trackside Kitchen in Melrose makes excellent pancakes of various varieties. Their caramel apple pancakes are a treat when I am feeling really indulgent. This reminds me it's about the time of year they put gingerbread pancakes on the specials menu and I LOVE those.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Chris VR

                2nd Cappa's. I never order pancakes out because I just don't like restaurant pancakes, but theirs are really, really good. Also had good specialty pancakes at Blue Moon Grill in Wakefield, haven't tried their regular pancakes tho.

                1. re: gimlis1mum

                  Blue Moon Grill in Wakefield makes great pancakes!! Maple syrup is an up charge.

                2. re: Chris VR

                  Everything at Cappa's is delicious!!! Third Cappa's!

                3. Mistral has the best pancakes I've had in the Boston area, especially their lemon ricotta. Add me to the list of those who don't care for the much hyped Deluxe Town Diner pancakes.