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Sunday brunch/lunch between Brookline and Arlington

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Looking for a spot to have a good brunch or lunch this Sunday. Wants:

-Convenient to one of us coming from Chestnut Hill and the other coming for the northwestern edge of Arlington, favoring the former.

-Baby-friendly (6 months), with either a booth or bench seating.

-Pleasant atmosphere for conversation.

-Takes reservations or not too long a wait.

-Yummy. Open to different cuisines and budgets other than ultra-expensive.

Right now, Zaftigs is the fall-back, but the one time I was there for brunch, I wasn't a fan, it's far from Arlington, and I don't know about reservations/wait times.

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  1. Maybe Cooks in Newton? I don't think Roxie's Diner there takes reservations but it might. Both are family friendly.

    1 Reply
    1. re: teezeetoo

      Both of those crossed my mind. Rox Diner on Walnut St. in Newtonville says they don't take reservations, but Rox Cafe in on Lincoln St. in Newton Highlands says they do but they don't say for what size party. Either Cook or the Roxes are child-friendly.

      In a pinch, Social Bar and Restaurant at the Crowne Plaza on Washington St. in Newton Corner would work. It is a pretty space but feels a little bit like a hotel restaurant. The one dinner I had there a while back was actually pretty good and service was excellent. It wasn't very full, so that might be a plus.

      You might get a recommendation for Deluxe Station Diner in Newton Center, but every time I've seen it on a weekend, it's been really busy.

    2. we've had such great food the last 2 sundays at Ribelle in Brookline on Beacon St. near Washington. Street pkg is easy; reservations; patio out front; wall of bench seating inside; friendly and welcoming. Both trad and v. inventive. Love the banana pancakes w/ maple crumble and cocoa nib butter; ginormous 789kjfrench toast w/ fresh sweetened ricotta and candied rhubarb; creamy soft scrambled eggs; astounding cinnamon roll....

      1. tz, i went looking for this thread, linked below, because i remembered someone saying that Cook was just too loud for conversation. And then i notice that the OP was you! Has it gotten better?, cuz fleenshop said she/he wants easy conversation.
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9751...

        2 Replies
        1. re: opinionatedchef

          I still find it too loud. But then I find Ribelle too loud also though it has improved greatly since last year. I do agree that Ribelle is kid friendly, though not what you'd call cozy and I love the food.

          1. re: teezeetoo

            I've only been to Cook for Saturday brunch, which doesn't tend to be really busy, and it wasn't loud. Sunday brunch tends to be busier, so maybe it's not the best choice but I don't have any personal experience.

        2. Ribelle in Brookline would be a good option.

          Another option that would be very convenient for the Chestnut Hill part of the group would be Acquitaine Bis. They do a yummy reliable brunch including a great prix fixe deal if you don't want to spend a lot, take reservations, don't rush you, and I have seen many babies brunching there. It's not as mind blowing as Ribelle, but comfy nonetheless. They also have a few booths and a wall with a bench I would call ahead to make sure they put you at a booth. Don't let them sit you in the middle of the room at non-booth portion, it's a little tight.

          1. Thanks for the good suggestions. I was forgetting that I've been wanting to try Ribelle, so I'm hoping that sounds good to my friend. If not, I'll propose Cook. Ribelle is usually small plates that you order 2-3 of per person, right? Is that true at brunch, too? Happy to hear about any more favorite brunch dishes there, or disappointing ones.

            2 Replies
            1. re: fleenshop

              I think the burnt cinnamon roll is the best thing on the menu, but then again I love cinnamon and cinnamon rolls in general. In all honesty I would go just for that.

              I was underwhelmed by the banana bread pancakes, but I know many others raved about it. They felt quite heavy, like I could only have a few bites. Maybe it was the dry maple/olive oil powder.

              I also wasn't crazy about the polenta which was kind of like a sweet pudding.

              I greatly enjoyed the potato raviolo with braised meat, and my husband who loves peppers orders the truffle egg toast every time we go.

              I love every cocktail I've had there, and so at brunch I usually get something with aperol and sparkling wine.

              1. re: Bugsey34

                I wish you had sat near me when you had those drinks. I 'm so inexperienced bar-wise, I just can't get myself to experiment much w/ aperol or the zillion things I've never tasted (very expensive ventures, those). I agree w/ you on the polenta; never have liked that. But the pancakes? oooh, certainly rich but I find them like clouds because of the technique he uses, folding a meringue into the batter! Anyway, I know we both feel lucky about brunching there! It only took me ~5 visits, but I think I finally figured out (duhhh) that the dishes only seem expensive until you realize that each one easily feeds two hungry people. If the 2 of us split pancakes or French toast, eggs on the side, kale--that's all we can fit!

            2. We did go to Ribelle, and it was great. My friend had the banana pancakes, which currently have rhubarb in them. Yum. I had the Bolognese on a biscuit with an egg and kale. Very salty, but also yum. We also ordered a cinnamon bun to share, but it was forgotten, and would have been too much food anyway. They were super nice to us, including being very accommodating of my friend's tiny baby. It wasn't busy or loud -- the tables on either side of us stayed empty, as did many of the others. Outside seating looked nice for a day without a baby. Thanks very much for the recommendations!

              1 Reply
              1. re: fleenshop

                that's great! so glad you liked it.