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Restaurant Review | ‘Neighborhood’ prepares food for great value

Borges family still serving up breakfasts decades later

Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 01:02


Claire Felter / The Tufts Daily

The Neighborhood Restaurant and Bakery serves a great and well-priced breakfast in Somerville’s Union Square.

In the mood for a breakfast or brunch that will cost under $10 but will keep you full for the rest of the day? The Neighborhood Restaurant and Bakery in Somerville’s Union Square has been serving up heaping plates of Portuguese lunches as breakfast foods since the early 1980’s. Although the original manager, Mario Borges, died in 2001, the rest of the Borges clan, under his sister Sheila’s management, has kept the restaurant going.

Possibly because of the Borges’ encouragement of family business, the restaurant itself seems a touchstone for Somervillians. This is not to dishearten the non−regulars, however, as the Borges family welcomes everyone — as is written on their outdoor awning — into their simple dining room. Walk in and grab any open table. One of Neighborhood’s two friendly waitresses will be with you shortly.

With any breakfast entree comes unlimited coffee and a cup of orange juice that is slightly larger than a shot glass. While the menu maintains that either a bowl of cream of wheat or fresh fruit will precede your entree, you may be lucky enough to score one of Neighborhood’s mouthwatering baked apples. This warm treat is enough for breakfast in and of itself, but there is no need fighting the additional calorie load yet to come.

Breakfast choices include any variation of eggs, home fries and a meat (bacon, sausage, ham or linguiça Portuguese smoked pork sausage seasoned with garlic and paprika), omelets with meat or vegetables, and pancakes/French toast with almost any of the aforementioned options. If deciding on one particular entree leaves you unfulfilled, don’t fret. You can add on a side of any of these yummy breakfast treats for an additional $4 or $5.

All breakfast meals are under $10 unless you’re craving steak before 11 a.m., and specials run $11. If you’re thinking of sharing one of these giant−sized portions, though, do remember the $3 sharing charge that comes with pairing up. This might not be a bad way to go, though, if you plan on eating sometime later in the day. When plates are served, an additional plate of Neighborhood’s homemade buttered toast and cornbread hits the table and the sheer deliciousness of these extras would make it a shame to let them go to waste.

The lunch entrees offer a more Portuguese feast. Meals can still be found in the $10 range, but the larger seafood plates go for $15 or $20. Meat is the main star on every plate, from the breakfast menu favorite, linguiça to roasted chicken, to Portuguese style pork to seafood items like clams, shrimp and lobster. Pick your favorite protein and let the Borges family pair it with one of their many homemade sauces highlighting flavors like garlic, parsley and red wine. To keep up with the generous breakfast menu, all lunches are served with one of Neighborhood’s renowned homemade soups or a green salad, as well as homemade bread.

In the spring and summer, the Borges open up the dining area to an adjacent courtyard, where eaters are sheltered by a lush green lattice and every table has its own colorful umbrella. Inside, the restaurant’s sorbet green and pink−colored walls are just the right amount of funky, and the numerous framed photo collages on the walls remind regulars of past memories. Whether you’re heading to Neighborhood first thing in the morning or for a late lunch, the bottom line is that you will get a super satisfying amount of grub for a small amount of cash, and you will most likely have a smile on your face for the rest of the day.

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