Dining Out In Brigham Circle; Flames, Laughing Monk and More
It’s always surprising to see just how underrepresented Mission Hill is in the local culinary landscape. Despite its historical and architectural significance—to speak nothing of attractions such as the MFA and MassArt—as well as its drastic renewal in recent years, the neighborhood still seems to suffer the stigma that burdened it some thirty years ago.
But while the fact is that renewal has changed Mission Hill—in many ways so much that it’s unrecognizable—it’s also brought a sense of revitalization to the neighborhood; and that sense of revitalization is perhaps most recognizable in its cuisine. Yes, you’ll still find the omnipresent Chinese takeout and pizza joints dotting Huntington St like shrubbery (this is now a college neighborhood, after all) but you’ll also find plenty of more diverse options than spare ribs or Wednesday specials. Below are some undiscovered gems…
Flames Restaurant II
Don’t expect white tablecloth service at this sister takeout of the long running Flames Restaurant on Blue Hill Ave. It’s your average no frills workday countertop. What you will find is traditional Caribbean food done simply, plentifully and most of all, expertly. With entrees such as their incomparable stewed oxtails or stuffed crab starting at the $5-8.00 range, this is as close to the Caribbean as you’ll likely get outside of Dorchester.
Flames II is located at 746 Huntington Ave in Boston, and is open daily from 11:00am - 11:00pm. For more information, call (617) 734-1911
Laughing Monk Cafe
Simplicity is key at this Thai/sushi bistro—simplicity and elegance. Do not expect fusion anything at Laughing Monk; outside of their house specialty sushi rolls (made with brown rice), the order of the day can and should be traditional Thai favorites such as tamarind duck and massaman curry served without pretension but plenty of flavor.
Laughing Monk is located at 737 Huntington Ave in Boston and is open Tuesday-Thursday from 11:00 am - 9:30 pm, Fridays from 11:00 am - 10:00 pm, Saturdays from 12:00 pm - 10:00 pm and Sundays from 12:00 pm - 10:00 pm. For more information, visit www.laughingmonkcafe.com/
The Squealing Pig
You might have to wander off a side street or two to find this out-of-the-way gastropub. And you might be stymied by what to choose from their rotating draft list. But it’s worth it. A versatile menu, where a Nepali style fish curry sits comfortably next to a Guinness beef stew, is just as much a highlight of the Squealing Pig as actually trying to find it on your own.
The Squealing Pig is located at 134 Smith St in Boston and is open Monday - Saturday from 11:00 am - 11:00 pm and Sundays from 11:00 am - 9 pm, with the bar open daily until 1:00 am. For more information, visit squealingpigboston.com/
There are plenty of faux-Irish bars in Boston; and in all honesty, Flann O’Brien’s isn’t any different. Sometimes, the bare basics are all you need; and for those moments, Flann’s is there. But we don’t go there for the basics. We go there for the brunch. Do yourself a favor and don’t bother with the “Guinness Breakfast Challenge” (lest we remind you that food pantries all over the city are understocked.) But do go for the smoked salmon on Irish brown bread and the too-hearty-to-resist Belgian Waffles.
Flann O’Brien’s is located at 1619 Tremont St, and is open Monday - Friday from 10:00 am - 10:00 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 am - 10:00 pm, with weekend brunch from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. The bar is open daily until 1:00 am. For more information, visit www.flanns.com/
Though it’s only been open for a handful of months, this new cafe (operated by the same team responsible for the landmark Blarney Stone in Dorchester) has already made a name for themselves with their rotating breakfast menu. But while they offer one of the most warm and home-like atmospheres in the neighborhood, their regular menu is anything but. If it’s a choice between the blackened mahi mahi, the sirloin mac & blue cheese or the squash-mascarpone ravioli… better to make yourself a regular to decide for yourself.
Milkweed is located at 1508 Tremont St in Boston and is open Monday - Friday from 7:00 am - 10:00 pm and Saturday - Sunday from 8:00 am - 10:00 pm. For more information, visit www.eatatmilkweed.com/