clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Daytime exterior view of Boston’s South Street Diner with its iconic coffee cup-shaped sign and metal siding. A carousel horse sits by the door.
The South Street Diner is an exemplar of the genre
Nick DiNatale/Eater

Take a Trip to the Past at These Excellent Boston-Area Diners

Where to eat the best greasy-spoon breakfast in and around Boston

View as Map
The South Street Diner is an exemplar of the genre
| Nick DiNatale/Eater

Fancy, decadent breakfasts and brunches can be fun, but nothing beats the food at a good old greasy-spoon diner. Bonus points if that diner is housed in an O’Mahoney diner car.

Here are 15 of the best Boston-area diners for classic comfort food and old-timey vibes.

See also: Irresistible Pancakes Around Boston; Vital Brunch Spots to Know in and Around Boston; The Hottest New Brunches in Boston Right Now

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Kelly's Diner

Copy Link

This diner car spent its first four decades on the side of Route 13 in New Castle, Delaware, but it’s been slinging greasy-spoon breakfast foods in Somerville’s Ball Square since the mid-1990s. Get the ham and eggs for breakfast or the roast turkey sandwich for lunch. Cash only (ATM onsite).

Closeup of signage at an old-fashioned diner. It reads “Kelly’s Diner” and “booth service.”
Kelly’s Diner
Robert Fuhro/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Buddy's

Copy Link

Buddy’s is Somerville’s other great diner. It’s impossibly small — like, the size of a shed — so you’re probably going to have to wait in line if you head there on a weekend. Find it just outside of Union Square, on the edge of East Somerville. Cash only.

Front view of a small classic diner car during the day. A sign on top reads “BUDDY’S” in red lettering, and the diner has red accents.
Buddy’s
Pixel/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Deluxe Town Diner

Copy Link

Everything is excellent at this Watertown diner car — which has been in operation for more than half a century — but no visit is complete without ordering the chicken livers. It’s some of the tastiest offal in and around Boston (and a great hangover helper). Bonus: Blue Man Group filmed a music video there.

Closeup shot inside a diner showing a neon sign that says “diner” on a rocket ship flying past Saturn
Hit Deluxe Town Diner for some offal
Jacqueline Dole/Eater

Brookline Lunch

Copy Link

The menu is all over the map at this no-frills Central Square eatery, and that’s a good thing. One can snack on huevos rancheros or order something from the Mediterranean section. Not feeling either? That’s fine: Go with the veggie curry, the beef stroganoff, or the over-the-top baklava pancakes. Cash only.

Closeup of a partially eaten eggs Benedict breakfast. A plate of bacon is visible in the background.
Eggs Benedict at Brookline Lunch
Marshall Henderson Dackert/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Breakfast Club

Copy Link

This Lower Allston diner car has been sitting on the site since 1962, although it was abandoned and in a bit of disrepair for some time. It came back to life as the Breakfast Club around the turn of the millennium and has been a bustling neighborhood favorite since then. There will be a line out the door, but it will be worth waiting because the corned beef hash is perhaps the best in the city. For those who prefer a sweet brunch, the Nutella pancakes and the many flavors of milkshakes (such as Thin Mint or red velvet) are a hit.

A plate of eggs Benedict and home fries. The diner-style plate is white with a black-and-white-checkered rim.
Eggs Benedict from the Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club/Official Website

South Street Diner

Copy Link

This Leather District landmark is a rarity in Boston: It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When it opened in 1947 it functioned as a place for factory workers to get a bite after a long shift; today, it functions as a place for hipsters and late-night party animals to wind down after a night of boozing. Catching an early train from South Station? It’s a short walk away; making this the perfect 4 a.m. breakfast spot.

Daytime exterior view of Boston’s South Street Diner with its iconic coffee cup-shaped sign and metal siding. A carousel horse sits by the door.
The iconic South Street Diner
Nick DiNatale/Eater

Busy Bee Restaurant & Diner

Copy Link

Time capsules are rare in the age of redesign and redevelopment, but Brookline’s Busy Bee is very much a time capsule. Eat at the counter, and gawk at the antique refrigeration situation. Breakfast is available all day, of course. Cash only.

Thornton's

Copy Link

Thornton’s is an unpretentious breakfast, lunch, and brunch spot in an increasingly pretentious neighborhood. The menu is massive (and affordable) and can accommodate almost any diet. There are nearly countless egg dishes, as well as sandwiches and wraps, salads, pasta, and lots more.

Mul's Diner

Copy Link

Mul’s has all the classic diner food — burgers, omelets, Benedicts — but it’s less about the food and more about the experience at this Southie classic, which opens at 5 a.m. daily. Take a moment to admire the polished stainless steel exterior. Cash only.

Two pieces of creme brulee French toast sit on a white plate, garnished with dollops of whipped cream
Creme brulee French toast at Mul’s Diner
Sarah Nichols/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Galley Diner

Copy Link

The Galley Diner is another South Boston institution; customers especially love the hash. It’s currently only open on weekends from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., following the 2019 death of owner Paul Skudris, who had operated the restaurant since 1995.

Exterior of a diner, featuring a white brick wall. Old-fashioned signage reads “Galley Diner” and “Rumpy’s,” with an image of a woman holding a tray of food.
Galley Diner
Nick Normal/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Mike's City Diner

Copy Link

Mike’s has all the diner hits, but everyone goes to this South End spot for the pilgrim sandwich, which is, of course, made with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Every day is Thanksgiving at Mike’s.

Juicy-looking pieces of fried chicken sit on a white plate with Belgian waffle slices.
Chicken and waffles at Mike’s City Diner
Mike’s City Diner/Official Site

Silver Slipper Restaurant

Copy Link

This Roxbury joint, around since 1972, is reliably great for a greasy-spoon breakfast, but lunch is solid too: Get the oxtail or the curried chicken. Cash only.

The sign at the Silver Slipper has faded over the years
Silver Slipper
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Liberty Diner

Copy Link

Head to this Roxbury diner — right near the Newmarket T station — for gigantic pancakes, fried fish, or a drink from the bar; it’s got a full liquor license. Liberty Diner dates back all the way to 1962.

Old-fashioned signage for a diner with liquor, catering, breakfast, and more
Liberty Diner
Pixel/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Victoria's Diner

Copy Link

The Vic has been open since 1949 (ownership has changed hands since then, though) and is one of the most — if not the most — iconic diners in Boston. It’s also open late (until 5 a.m., to be exact) on Fridays and Saturdays.

Eggs Benedict on a white plate, isolated on a white background
Eggs Benedict at Victoria’s Diner
Damian Marciante

The Wheelhouse Diner

Copy Link

Head to this Quincy classic for a giant selection of omelets, Benedicts, burgers, and more, hearty portions all around. (Note: no relation to Boston’s Wheelhouse burger shop, which recently closed in preparation for a move to a new space.)

Exterior of a diner with bold blue and red signage reading “Wheelhouse”
Wheelhouse Diner in Quincy
Andy Ihnatko/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Kelly's Diner

Closeup of signage at an old-fashioned diner. It reads “Kelly’s Diner” and “booth service.”
Kelly’s Diner
Robert Fuhro/Flickr (Creative Commons)

This diner car spent its first four decades on the side of Route 13 in New Castle, Delaware, but it’s been slinging greasy-spoon breakfast foods in Somerville’s Ball Square since the mid-1990s. Get the ham and eggs for breakfast or the roast turkey sandwich for lunch. Cash only (ATM onsite).

Closeup of signage at an old-fashioned diner. It reads “Kelly’s Diner” and “booth service.”
Kelly’s Diner
Robert Fuhro/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Buddy's

Front view of a small classic diner car during the day. A sign on top reads “BUDDY’S” in red lettering, and the diner has red accents.
Buddy’s
Pixel/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Buddy’s is Somerville’s other great diner. It’s impossibly small — like, the size of a shed — so you’re probably going to have to wait in line if you head there on a weekend. Find it just outside of Union Square, on the edge of East Somerville. Cash only.

Front view of a small classic diner car during the day. A sign on top reads “BUDDY’S” in red lettering, and the diner has red accents.
Buddy’s
Pixel/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Deluxe Town Diner

Closeup shot inside a diner showing a neon sign that says “diner” on a rocket ship flying past Saturn
Hit Deluxe Town Diner for some offal
Jacqueline Dole/Eater

Everything is excellent at this Watertown diner car — which has been in operation for more than half a century — but no visit is complete without ordering the chicken livers. It’s some of the tastiest offal in and around Boston (and a great hangover helper). Bonus: Blue Man Group filmed a music video there.

Closeup shot inside a diner showing a neon sign that says “diner” on a rocket ship flying past Saturn
Hit Deluxe Town Diner for some offal
Jacqueline Dole/Eater

Brookline Lunch

Closeup of a partially eaten eggs Benedict breakfast. A plate of bacon is visible in the background.
Eggs Benedict at Brookline Lunch
Marshall Henderson Dackert/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The menu is all over the map at this no-frills Central Square eatery, and that’s a good thing. One can snack on huevos rancheros or order something from the Mediterranean section. Not feeling either? That’s fine: Go with the veggie curry, the beef stroganoff, or the over-the-top baklava pancakes. Cash only.

Closeup of a partially eaten eggs Benedict breakfast. A plate of bacon is visible in the background.
Eggs Benedict at Brookline Lunch
Marshall Henderson Dackert/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Breakfast Club

A plate of eggs Benedict and home fries. The diner-style plate is white with a black-and-white-checkered rim.
Eggs Benedict from the Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club/Official Website

This Lower Allston diner car has been sitting on the site since 1962, although it was abandoned and in a bit of disrepair for some time. It came back to life as the Breakfast Club around the turn of the millennium and has been a bustling neighborhood favorite since then. There will be a line out the door, but it will be worth waiting because the corned beef hash is perhaps the best in the city. For those who prefer a sweet brunch, the Nutella pancakes and the many flavors of milkshakes (such as Thin Mint or red velvet) are a hit.

A plate of eggs Benedict and home fries. The diner-style plate is white with a black-and-white-checkered rim.
Eggs Benedict from the Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club/Official Website

South Street Diner

Daytime exterior view of Boston’s South Street Diner with its iconic coffee cup-shaped sign and metal siding. A carousel horse sits by the door.
The iconic South Street Diner
Nick DiNatale/Eater

This Leather District landmark is a rarity in Boston: It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When it opened in 1947 it functioned as a place for factory workers to get a bite after a long shift; today, it functions as a place for hipsters and late-night party animals to wind down after a night of boozing. Catching an early train from South Station? It’s a short walk away; making this the perfect 4 a.m. breakfast spot.

Daytime exterior view of Boston’s South Street Diner with its iconic coffee cup-shaped sign and metal siding. A carousel horse sits by the door.
The iconic South Street Diner
Nick DiNatale/Eater

Busy Bee Restaurant & Diner

Time capsules are rare in the age of redesign and redevelopment, but Brookline’s Busy Bee is very much a time capsule. Eat at the counter, and gawk at the antique refrigeration situation. Breakfast is available all day, of course. Cash only.

Thornton's

Thornton’s is an unpretentious breakfast, lunch, and brunch spot in an increasingly pretentious neighborhood. The menu is massive (and affordable) and can accommodate almost any diet. There are nearly countless egg dishes, as well as sandwiches and wraps, salads, pasta, and lots more.

Mul's Diner

Two pieces of creme brulee French toast sit on a white plate, garnished with dollops of whipped cream
Creme brulee French toast at Mul’s Diner
Sarah Nichols/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Mul’s has all the classic diner food — burgers, omelets, Benedicts — but it’s less about the food and more about the experience at this Southie classic, which opens at 5 a.m. daily. Take a moment to admire the polished stainless steel exterior. Cash only.

Two pieces of creme brulee French toast sit on a white plate, garnished with dollops of whipped cream
Creme brulee French toast at Mul’s Diner
Sarah Nichols/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Galley Diner

Exterior of a diner, featuring a white brick wall. Old-fashioned signage reads “Galley Diner” and “Rumpy’s,” with an image of a woman holding a tray of food.
Galley Diner
Nick Normal/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Galley Diner is another South Boston institution; customers especially love the hash. It’s currently only open on weekends from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., following the 2019 death of owner Paul Skudris, who had operated the restaurant since 1995.

Exterior of a diner, featuring a white brick wall. Old-fashioned signage reads “Galley Diner” and “Rumpy’s,” with an image of a woman holding a tray of food.
Galley Diner
Nick Normal/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Mike's City Diner

Juicy-looking pieces of fried chicken sit on a white plate with Belgian waffle slices.
Chicken and waffles at Mike’s City Diner
Mike’s City Diner/Official Site

Mike’s has all the diner hits, but everyone goes to this South End spot for the pilgrim sandwich, which is, of course, made with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Every day is Thanksgiving at Mike’s.

Juicy-looking pieces of fried chicken sit on a white plate with Belgian waffle slices.
Chicken and waffles at Mike’s City Diner
Mike’s City Diner/Official Site

Silver Slipper Restaurant

The sign at the Silver Slipper has faded over the years
Silver Slipper
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

This Roxbury joint, around since 1972, is reliably great for a greasy-spoon breakfast, but lunch is solid too: Get the oxtail or the curried chicken. Cash only.

The sign at the Silver Slipper has faded over the years
Silver Slipper
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Liberty Diner

Old-fashioned signage for a diner with liquor, catering, breakfast, and more
Liberty Diner
Pixel/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Head to this Roxbury diner — right near the Newmarket T station — for gigantic pancakes, fried fish, or a drink from the bar; it’s got a full liquor license. Liberty Diner dates back all the way to 1962.

Old-fashioned signage for a diner with liquor, catering, breakfast, and more
Liberty Diner
Pixel/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Victoria's Diner

Eggs Benedict on a white plate, isolated on a white background
Eggs Benedict at Victoria’s Diner
Damian Marciante

The Vic has been open since 1949 (ownership has changed hands since then, though) and is one of the most — if not the most — iconic diners in Boston. It’s also open late (until 5 a.m., to be exact) on Fridays and Saturdays.

Eggs Benedict on a white plate, isolated on a white background
Eggs Benedict at Victoria’s Diner
Damian Marciante

The Wheelhouse Diner

Exterior of a diner with bold blue and red signage reading “Wheelhouse”
Wheelhouse Diner in Quincy
Andy Ihnatko/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Head to this Quincy classic for a giant selection of omelets, Benedicts, burgers, and more, hearty portions all around. (Note: no relation to Boston’s Wheelhouse burger shop, which recently closed in preparation for a move to a new space.)

Exterior of a diner with bold blue and red signage reading “Wheelhouse”
Wheelhouse Diner in Quincy
Andy Ihnatko/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Related Maps