Where to Eat in Brookline

By Emily Millian
Ganko Ittetsu Ramen / Credit: Brian Samuels

Brookline has many claims to fame: Hosting the 2022 U.S. Open at the town’s country club, being the hometown of Conan O’Brien, Barbara Walters, Robert Kraft, and half of the Kennedys. While a culinary adventure may not be the first thing that comes to mind about Brookline, it would be foolish for food lovers to overlook this neighborhood. From line-drawing indie bakeries and sandwich shops to a seafood emporium and a Thai tapas bar, Brookline is bursting with flavor.

Bread from Clear Flour Bread
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

If bread is hugely important to you, first of all, we see you. Second of all, make Clear Flour Bread part of your weekly grocery routine. In the midst of a residential section of Brookline, the bakery makes a roster of 26 breads according to traditional European methods, from soft and crackly Batards and fragrant Rosemary Focaccia, to daily specials like Porter Pumpernickel and Soft German Pretzels. Aside from bread, sweets like Baked Currant Donuts and Morning Buns make waiting in the usual line spilling onto the sidewalk worth it. Hey, it’s a whole lot quicker than flying abroad.

Food from Bess's Cafe

Bess’s Cafe brings the bold flavors of China’s Jiangnan region to a takeout spot in a quiet corner of Brookline. Chicken Dumplings with Sichuan Sauce borders on a soup, as the delicate, comfort-food pillows of gingery chicken are doused in plenty of the oily, spicy liquid. The tender Pork Belly Buns, Crispy Chicken buns with fiery mustard, and fried Crispy Scallion Pancake Wraps are each worth a visit on their own, and we love Bess’s actual noodle soups, too. Bess’s Cafe remains takeout-only, and note that it’s closed on Mondays.

Cutty's | Best Restaurants in Brookline
Cutty's: Roast Beef 1000

The handhelds at indie sandwich shop Cutty’s are hefty: High-quality breads spread with thick layers of condiments and thinly sliced meats or greens. The Beef 1000, with Thousand Island dressing, sharp cheddar, and savory crispy shallots, is one of our favorite roast beef sandwiches anywhere. This attention to detail shouldn’t surprise: The husband and wife behind the operation are Culinary Institute of America graduates who picked the location after working for America’s Test Kitchen, which was formerly based in Brookline Village. Once a month, Super Cluckin’ Sunday brings out Cutty’s genius interpretation of the humble fried chicken sandwich.

Blossom Bar

Cocktail from Blossom Bar | Best Restaurants in Brookline

In 2018, longtime neighborhood favorite Sichuan Garden was reinvented as Blossom Bar by Ran Duan, cocktail whiz kid of Woburn’s The Baldwin Bar and son of the Chinese restaurants’ founders. The Brookline Village spot got a modern makeover, complete with a bar and a cocktail program replete with South American spirits and tiki drink influences. And the Sichuan flavors didn’t go anywhere: Today you can enjoy family-style dishes like double-cooked House Special Eggplant, Dan Dan Noodles, and Steamed Pork Dumplings with chili vinaigrette along with innovative drinks like the creamy, acidic Bocadillo Sour.

Ganko Ittetsu - Best Restaurants in Brookline

Don’t let this ramen shop’s random location within the Arcade Building of Coolidge Corner throw you off: Ganko Ittetsu is the real deal. The menu features nine styles of ramen, all prepared in woks to build caramelized flavor, and filled with custom-made noodles that hit the right balance between silky lightness and chewy heft. We can’t resist the Tan Tan, a bowl with ground pork and a rich, creamy broth flavored with sesame and cut by spicy garlic oil. Be warned: The spot only has 20 seats and serves at a leisurely pace, so wait times are virtually guaranteed. You can sign up for the waitlist online before heading over.

THE PUBLICK HOUSE | Best Beer Bars in Boston
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Boston’s first gastropub remains an absolute classic 20 years after opening in Brookline’s Washington Square. Inspired by Belgian beer traditions, The Publick House has over 30 draft lines updated daily and an extensive beer cellar. This is the place to find elusive imports from Germany and Belgium, including entire portfolios of Schlenkerla and Trappistes Rochefort; as well as offerings from local heroes like Trillium, Allagash, and The Veil Brewing Co. The PHouse kitchen does pub classics like a luscious Mac and Cheese, Monk’s Frites with an array of house-made sauces, and daily specials. Takeout is available nightly and outdoor dining is available on the street as well as in a back alleyway-turned-beer garden.

Stoked Pizza Company

Stoked Pizza Company vegan
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Stoked Pizza Co. is bringing back the pizza party with just the right notes of nostalgia, from the uniquely crushable New York-Neapolitan style pizza to the restaurant’s retro, rock n’ roll vibes.  Originally a food truck and still a takeout fav, Stoked opened its first brick-and-mortar in Washington Square before following it up with a mic century-chic cocktail bar in Harvard Square. The Brookline joint also crafts a cool cocktail, and pours ice-cold pints of craft beer. But what really separates Stoked from other pizzerias is its fully vegan menu, offering meat-free alternatives to nearly everything, including the cult-favorite Cheeseburger Pizza. 

Ivory Pearl

Ivory Pearl | The 10 Best Seafood Restaurants In Boston
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

After transforming his parents’ Sichuan Garden restaurants into the most coveted cocktail bars around (see: Blossom Bar, above), Ran Duan brings us a seafood emporium. Ivory Pearl is an unmatched dining experience in Brookline. The crew is passionate about sourcing the best ingredients from New England and around the globe, and of course, the menu is filled with food-friendly cocktails to match with the freshest crudo and under-the-sea delicacies. For us, it’s all about the Tentacle Hot Dog—a single, braised octopus tentacle adorned with sauerkraut, roe, sliced apple, and mustard. This is a sweet spot for brunch in Brookline and it boasts a cute Beacon Street patio.


Mahaniyom in Brookline
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

This Thai tapas bar in Brookline Village, isn’t like other Boston Thai food spots: Mahaniyom deals in homestyle, less-seen regional dishes like Kang Pu (crab curry) and Yum Ngoh (a rambutan salad with fried shrimp, toasted coconut, cashew, fried shallot and garlic, chili jam, and dried shrimp) that hit all the textures and tastes as designed; there’s no mixing-and-matching proteins here. We don’t think you’ll mind giving up your standard Drunken Noodles. There’s something truly welcoming about the dining experience at this intimate, 30-seat restaurant. (The top-shelf, handcrafted cocktails certainly don’t hurt.) Mahaniyom has quickly become a neighborhood favorite that’s open for indoor seating as well as takeout and delivery, and cocktails to-go.

Taberna de Haro

Taberna de Haro | Best Restaurants in Brookline
Credit: Shannon Vanderhooft

For more than 20 years, Taberna de Haro has posted up in Brookline to serve the neighborhood authentic Spanish tapas paired with one of the most unique bar programs in Greater Boston. Chef-sommelier-owner Deborah Hansen (aka a restaurant Superwoman) has curated an award-winning wine list of more than 300 Spanish bottles, the second largest all-Spanish wine list in the country. Each offering has a clever and cheeky description to make the list less daunting. We love the layered and bright Boal de Arousa Albariño with the Patatas Alioli, a potato-salad riff on classic patatas bravas; and usually whatever’s on seasonal special. And it’s not just the vino that draws us to this spot: Boston’s only gin and sherry bar, Straight Law, is situated within the restaurant. 

Eric Twardzik contributed reporting.

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