Mass Ave Restaurant
906 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA
Step back in time at this no frills, cash-only diner. You can sit at the long counter for a front-row view of the sizzling griddle while listening to the familiar strains of country and rock music from the 60s, 70s and 80s. The menu at this tiny establishment is simple but satisfactory with basic subs, clubs, sandwiches and an extensive all-day breakfast menu. Servings are generous to a fault, and most orders come with a choice of various classic breakfast sides. Be sure to try the ham, cheese and mushroom omelet (5.50) and the soft home-fried potatoes [TK! Price? CONSISTENCY!].
1334 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA
“Eat and eat”—the translation of the Yiddish expression “es and es”—commands this well-known 83-year institution, and that’s a punned order you’re only too happy to follow. Make a point of trying their extensive weekend brunch offerings, which include the popular Roasted Salmon Hash (9.95), Oscar eggs served with scrumptious potato pancakes (9.95) and Belgian waffles (7.95). The restaurant is large but so is the brunch crowd, so be prepared to wait for a table. For the impatient, there’s always the option of getting takeout from the Deli and brunching casually.
Picante Mexican Grill
735 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA
Fresh, hearty Mexican food is the order of the day at this lively canteen-style eatery. Choose from a wide range of breakfast burritos, quesadillas and traditional Mexican eggs on their Mexican Brunch menu. Order and pick up your food at the counter, then sit down in one of the fiesta-colored nooks for a festive brunch. All orders come with a free-flow of corn chips and an extensive salsa bar stocking everything from the fiery signature Picante Hot! Salsa to the milder chipotle. Especially popular are the grilled chicken burrito (5.50) and the steak quesadillas (5.50).
The Phoenix Landing
512 Massachusetts Avenue
A traditional Irish bar and restaurant complete with dark wood paneling and dim lighting, this popular nightspot is also a good place for an intimate brunch. The signature brunch special is the Irish Breakfast (8.35), complete with white pudding—a meat and onions concoction—and black pudding, a version of the former with the addition of pig’s blood. For the less adventursome, the wild mushroom ravioli (5.75) and pan fried crab cakes (6.75) are quite delicious. Flirt with the perky Irish waitress.