Restaurant News

Ask the Editor: What’s a Good Spot for Group Brunch in Boston?

These friends like to celebrate special occasions with breakfast-y lunch.


Welcome to Ask the Editor, Boston magazine’s new dining advice column. Need a restaurant recommendation? Ask a pro.


Tortilla espanola from the brunch menu at Pagu

A selection of tortillas Española at Pagu / Photo provided by Pagu

Question:

What’s a good spot for a group brunch? Our friend group loves to celebrate important dates with brunch but there are quite a few of us.

—J.D.

Answer:

Impressive is the group of friends that makes time for one another before noon on a weekend. Your morning motivation is impressive, and this sounds like a fun tradition.

First, a couple of general good practices. I hope you’re making reservations, or at least calling ahead to alert your destination that your group is coming in. Not every restaurant takes reservations during brunch or lunch service, but most would appreciate a heads’ up, especially for parties of six or more.

If you plan to split the bill, please try to keep it to no more than three plastic payments. It doesn’t hurt to alert your server about plans to split the check as soon as the table begins ordering, either.

Now, some suggestions. The small plates dining revolution isn’t just limited to dinnertime. Pagu, chef Tracy Chang’s debut in Central Square, takes cues from Spanish and Japanese dining traditions. On weekend mornings, share bites from the anytime menu, like pork belly bao, and crispy chicken katsu with aged soy aioli; as well as a rainbow of tortillas Espanola, from jet-black squid ink with avocado; to a house favorite with goat cheese and tomato jam. Chang, who studied patisserie, also has weekly pastry offerings during brunch, and the full bar offers Gracenote Coffee and espresso, seasonal teas, and juices.

The dining room is spacious and versatile for groups of many sizes, and there’s also a seasonal patio. Brunch is on every Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (310 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-945-9290, gopagu.com.)

Cinquecento is a Boston brunch staple for several reasons. The trattoria at SoWa somehow offers free parking, so it’s a convenient place to meet with friends who are on their way out of town. It also has a large, open dining room which can accommodate all your friends, and an extremely pleasant outdoor bar and patio.

Every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., brunch gets Roman-ticized. Steak and eggs come with pecorino biscuits to sop up the sausage gravy; Italian egg bread becomes fluffy French toast with warm ricotta; and there are even pasta dishes for those who prefer the lunch side of brunch. (500 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-338-9500, cinquecentoboston.com.)

While it’s nearly impossible to avoid weekend crowds at South Boston destination Lincoln Tavern, it does offer brunch every day of the week.

As one might expect from a place that does breakfasty-lunch every day, the kitchen team takes this meal very seriously. Sweets seekers will find a stack of Fruity Pebbles pancakes with cereal milk anglaise, an exemplary experimental dish that started off as a special during Friday’s Brunch Test Kitchen. There are omelets, breakfast burritos, and fun shareables like everything bagel chips and whipped habañero cream cheese, and peanut butter and jelly doughnut holes. The wood-fired oven gets good use, too, with pizzas every day, including an egg, bacon, and hash brown-topped breakfast variety.

Brunch runs from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. (425 W. Broadway,
Boston, 617-765-8636, lincolnsouthboston.com.)

Here’s hoping you have something to celebrate soon!