Area Four: Shear Decadence!
Went here for a birthday brunch recently. We started with the Kastries Basket of Goodies which varies from day to day. On the day we went it featured a slice of Gingerbread, a piece of S'mores bread pudding, and a pumpkin muffin. Something for everyone. My friends had The Hot Mess which is a pan filled with Sunny Side Up Local Farm Eggs, Home Fries, Bacon, Breakfast Sausage, Caramelized Onions, Cheddar, Scallions & Pickled Banana Pepper Relish. Looked great. I had a basic eggs, sausage patty, and English Muffin dish. Lovely.
Favorite Dish: The true decadence came with the special birthday dessert we were served. It consisted of a gigantic sticky bun, with part of the top scooped out, filled with salted caramel ice-cream, and covered with caramel and fudge sauce. It was out of this world and too much! 3 women could not finish this dessert but we'll also never forget it.....!!
- Food and Dining
Grafton Street: Harvard Square Staple
Grafton Street is my "go to" place when looking for a good place to eat in Harvard Square. The menu is varied and large and I've always enjoyed what I've had there. The decor is lovely with dark wood, great lighting, and a beautiful bar. It's also pretty large, so getting a table there shouldn't pose a problem.
Favorite Dish: I've had a wonderful salad, a lovely scallop and sausage dish, but I was just there for brunch and had some really tasty Huevos Rancheros. The place was hopping with holiday get-togethers, the food was tasty, and the company was great!
- Beer Tasting
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
Dali Restaurant: Tapas and Sangria
Dali is an amazing little tapas restaurant with a friendly ambiance that swallows you up right as you step in the door. The décor and lighting are rich and dark and it’s just a lovely and fun place all around. The staff and crowd are both very welcoming and it's perfect whether you're a group looking for a lively night or a couple on an intimate date.
There is a great selection of hot and cold tapas which are very reasonably priced for the quality. They also have a late menu for the bar and a few heartier dishes if that’s your thing. Believe me though, the tapas are more than enough. They don’t serve hard liquor here (just beer, wine, and after dinner drinks) but you’ll be drinking the sangria anyway because it’s excellent. I recommend getting a porron, a communal drinking bottle of white wine or cava. It can get pretty lively and it's a lot of fun when people start cheering you on as you drink.
Favorite Dish: It's hard to choose favorites when everything is so good but I particularly like the Faisán a la Alcántara (pheasant), Lomito al Cabrales (pork tenderloin), and Ravioles de Mariscos (lobster/crab ravioles).
Cuchi Cuchi: World Wide Tapas
A sister restaurant to the oh so fabulous Dali, Cuchi Cuchi draws you in with it's atmosphere. It embodies a sort of old Hollywood luxury with it's warmth, eclectic decor, and a carefree attitude. The owners obviously took great care in designing every corner. The bar is especially inviting and seems to call for lovely girls sipping martinis.
Dress is casual elegance so, as usual, dressing up jeans is acceptable. There will usually be a wait for this restaurant especially on weekends so get there as soon as you can and cozy up to the bar for a while.
They also host Diva nights for the ladies monday - thursday. Check it out on their website.
Favorite Dish: The menu is tapas style with dishes chosen from all over the world. You'll find variations of popular Italian, Russian, French, and Spanish dishes and much more. The cocktails are also delightful and you might find yourself trying out a few too many.
As far as dishes go everything was delicious, but I particularly recommend the Grilled Eggplant Napoleon, Brie en Croute, and Bliny and for dessert the French Banana Bread Extravaganza. I think the only thing I didn't care for was the Seared Tuna. There is a $20 per person minimum for food.
Central Kitchen: Mussels and Cheese plates
The menu at Central Kitchen changes regularly (although you can ALWAYS order the steak) but the quality is always the same. I have never had a meal I didn't love here. At first glance the menu seems limited (there are only 5 or 6 appetizers and 5 or 6 entrees plus the specials) but you can order anything and expect a great meal.
The restaurant is upscale casual, cozy and elegant, but space is limited. This restaurant is on the more expensive side but the quality matches the price. Entrees usually range from $15 to $26. I usually spend about $60 p/p (wine, appetizer, dinner, tip).
Favorite Dish: There is always a good cheese plate and the oysters are great too. The mussels are fantastic.
Sofra Bakery and Cafe: Middle Eastern dining at it's best
Everything I have had at Sofra is outstanding. Go at non lunch/dinner hours to ensure a parking spot and a seat in the small cafe. They have a few tables outside as well. The menu can be confusing if you do not know what the different foods are, but the staff is wonderful at explaining the ingredients that make up the menu items.
Favorite Dish: Mezze bar items, spinach faltbread and the sweet potato pancakes.
Herrell's Ice Cream: Boston's Best Ice Cream
Ironically, Boston's best ice cream (not just self-proclaimed) is actually in Cambridge. Herrell's is an interesting shop, if only because it is located in disused bank branch; the vault is now open for patrons who want to enjoy their ice cream in a more eclectic ambience. The store is pretty much just an ice cream shop that offers everything that you would expect: scoops in cones or cups, ice cream sundaes, floats, a myriad of toppings. The flavours run the baskin robbins gamut, without the gross "tiger tail" and "playdough" type flavours, but the taste is rich and authentic. There are many, many takes on chocolate and the related flavours (brownie, fudge, etc.). They're all good. Plus, you get a $1 off coupon on your next purchase everytime you buy a scoop at Herrell's.
Favorite Dish: I don't remember all the flavours I had. I think I had dulce de leche, chocolate fudge, and one other (not all at once, at various points through the weekend). They're all superb, and definitely worth multiple trips!
- Food and Dining
The Blue Room: Good Food - RUDE Manager
Went here for a birthday dinner recently. The two birthday celebrants go to their bar a lot, apparently, and have really enjoyed that. Because of this, they thought a nice Saturday night dinner to celebrate their days would be a treat. Wrong.
After being told by the waitress that ordering drinks, appetizers and our dinners all at once would work better with her "flow" (whatever the Hell that means, I didn't really want to know!), we basically complied and gave her our dinner orders about 5 minutes after we ordered appetizers. After this, she seemed to do a disappearing act and getting a glass of wine and another round of drinks was a mission.
After finally scoring some vino, we played the "Please leave my salad" game as one of the guests decided she'd like to eat her salad with her dinner and had to tell the three or four waiters to please leave it. (Seems like all other waitstaff appeared now!) After we were left with no drink refills again and no new food appeared, we played the waiting game. Finally, after a few comments were made - some peppered with some colorful language - we finally got food! However, only three of the six dinners appeared! At this point, another "colorful" comment was made and with this came the highlight of the evening: The manager.
The Blue Room is a nice restaurant with an interesting menu and not by any means, cheap. Why they hired a manager who'd obviously been fired from Denny's for Anger Management issues is beyond all of us.
Favorite Dish: We were approached and asked if we had a problem. Why yes, we told her, we've been here a long time and we have no food. "It's HERE" was her response. To which, we pointed out that only half our party had been served. "Well, it's on it's way!" were her next words of enlightenment. At this point, the food actually did arrive. However, so did what can only be described as a scolding whereby we were told that the restaurant was busy and that she couldn't help but overhear our "abrasive" comments and that she was doing all she could to remedy this. She basically shouted this at us and a shouting match ensued between her and the two birthday guests! At no point did she try to offer to comp any meals, send over a bottle of wine or even to get us all another drink order which would've been nice because we all had empty glasses!
The food itself was actually good, but that beeeyatch manager kinda ruined our experience. And the food is the only reason I'm giving this place a "somewhat unsatisfied" and not a "totally unsatisfied" rating.
I'll be back when she gets fired or arrested for assaulting a customer.
Fire and Ice: A funky grill
I love Fire and Ice. Here is the deal: they have large circular grills. You pick your meats, veggies and sauces and the chef grills them before your eyes. Well worth the wait and the funky interior will garauntee a good time is had by all.
Favorite Dish: chicken, veggies and a ginger sauce.
Oleana: Eclectic Cuisine for the Discerning Diner
2005 James Beard Winner for Best Chef in the Northeast, Chef Ana Sortun’s Oleana in East Cambridge is renowned for its delicious blending of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. In the wintertime, a small fireplace bring s a cozy ambience to the rustically elegant space, while dining in the delightful garden under the fairly lights is a summer must. NOTE* while reservations for inside are strongly recommended (particularly on the weekends), it is first come, first serve for outdoor tables.
Favorite Dish: Grilled Sirloin Kebob with Skordalia, Fried Green Tomatoes, Oregano & Caramelized Butter
Temple Bar: An Evening Spot
Temple Bar is named for the nightlife/shopping district in Dublin, but apart from a large mural, there's not a whole lot that evokes Ireland here (not, thankfully, that we were looking for something Irish that evening!).
It's a pretty fashionable spot close to Harvard, with plenty of well-dressed guests sipping cocktails; indeed, it was so popular that we were lucky to get a seat without a lengthy wait.
It can get a little loud in here, with a large, open-plan dining room and plenty of people at the bar, and the service is less than attentive, but it's still a decent place to come of an evening, with the meals generally quite moderately-priced. The drinks, too, are good - for a trendy spot, they haven't inflated the wine prices too much, which is a nice surprise.
Favorite Dish: We'd go back, but on our first trip the exciting-sounding pizzas (artichoke, teardrop tomatoes and feta or roasted peppers, smoked ham, and gouda) turned out to be a little bland. Both had far too much cheese, and it was middle-of-the-road cheese. Still, we did finish our meals, and enjoyed the wine and the people-watching, and we want to come back to try some of the pastas next time!
MARRAKESH: EATING WITH YOUR HANDS
I've only been here once and I thought the food was good. Moroccan items are displayed around the restaurant & in the back room carpets line the floor so that you can relax in a traditional Moroccan setting while you eat.
Favorite Dish: The mint tea is refreshing & warms your heart. Try the Chicken Bastilla and the Lamb Couscous.
Friendly Toast: Kitschy Decor / Abundant and Yummy Food
Went here with my film class after seeing the latest Almodovar film. The bright colors and funky kitschy decor worked perfectly to keep the atmosphere of his movies alive. In fact, you feel compelled to just look around the place and check out all the knick-knacks and photos instead of eating. The menu is fun too. Images from the original Betty Crocker cookbook are used throughout it.
Favorite Dish: But the food's good so you'll want to concentrate on that as well. As most of the patrons probably do, I had some of the breakfast that's served all day. The menu's huge and with that variety I was able to choose the Greek Scramble. This is eggs scrambled with feta cheese, Kalamata olives, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. Served with home-fries and slabs of toast, it was just wonderful.
Everyone else's food looked wonderful too and I must mention that the pancake dish looked like it could feed a small nation....
- Budget Travel
- Study Abroad
Cuchi Cuchi: What a WONDERFUL spot!
What a wonderful restaurant. Not only is the decor amazing but the food's even better!
It's decorated in a cross between the roaring twenties and an old world bordello style. How can anyone resist that? The hostesses and waitresses are decked out in vintage outfits, rhinestones, feathers and sequins. There's some gorgeous stained-glass behind the bar which was acquired from a church in Chicago that had burned, a low table with an LCD panel that projects disco-type lights from motion and a great eclectic mix of other unique furnishings. Why, even the champagne bucket on the table next to ours kept changing colors!
Favorite Dish: They do small-plates which are not tapas because they come from all over the world and not just Spain. We had half and avocado stuffed with ceviche and accompanied by a roll of white fish meat and half a lobster tail. That dish is from Guatemala. From Italy we had a braccioleta which was absolutely amazing and from Russia we had blinys stuffed with a mushroom cheese mix. We also had a salad but I forget where that was from which was wonderful too.
And of course, we had froo-froo drinkies to wash all this goodness down!
- Women's Travel
- Food and Dining
Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage: A heart attack never felt so good!
There is nothing healthy or fancy about Mr. Bartley's but it is an institution in Cambridge. Fantastic, giant burgers in every style you can imagine, great fries, onion rings and even sweet potato fries.
This is a small place and there is usually a line, but the wait is always worth it. The burgers are named after famous actors, sports stars and politicians. I'm told the desserts are wonderful as well, but I have never had room. The burgers are large enough to share, but I usually eat the entire thing until my belly sticks out a mile.
Note, there is no bathroom here.
Favorite Dish: errr, the burgers/