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New find in Harvard Square

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I was in Harvard Square on a recent weekend night and was looking for the old Grafton. A local pointed me to a place on Mt Auburn called Daedalus (?) a restaurant and pretty cool bar. The place is very reasonably priced. The bartender even sent us out one of the best calamari dishes I've had when my friend and I couldn't make up out minds on apps. Around ten the palce got a little loud, but definitley had a great pulse. Anyone know any little secret places like this? Although I've let my secret out of the bag...

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  1. How are the prices at Daedalus? IMO, the real challenge in the Square is finding something decent that won't cost you an arm and a leg. Since most Harvard students get full-service dorm food for every meal, there's a lack of the usual "student eateries"; it's mostly high-priced places where they can go on dates. Of the pricey spots, the only really good one I've found so far is probably the Bombay Club (on top of Staples), although I have high hopes for Penang (just beside it).

    For me, the big finds in Harvard Square would have to be:
    1. Pinocchio's (cross JFK Street from Staples and go a few feet along the side street) - sumptuous Sicilian pizza at bargain prices.
    2. Charlie's Kitchen (near the Charles Hotel and Friday's) - a great cheeseburger with fries for $3.50 and one of the sweetest waitresses I've ever met.

    Pho Pasteur in the Garage isn't really a "find," since I think almost everyone knows about it, but the food is good and the prices are decent for what you get.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Amod Lele

      The prices at Daedalus' (or however you spell it) are around $15-22. My friend had ostrich and I had sea bass when we went in the summer which were quite good. But they were served with very wintery sides (mashed carrots and mashed sweet potatos I think). It's decent and pretty interesting.

      What went into the space where Grafton St. was? And I still don't understand why they closed, it was always packed whenever I went by (which granted isn't that much).

      1. re: Joanie
        m
        Motts McGregor

        Hearty second to Pinocchio's. Winthrop Street just east of JFK. Especially well known among undergrads who live in the River Houses like Kirkland, Eliot, Winthrop and Lowell.

        Any more info. on Daedalus? I'm curious to learn what it replaced on Mt. Auburn.

        Also as far as Grafton goes, at those prices being crowded and loud was only going to last so long. Plus the food was pretty dreadful. Amazingly there are those who still mourn the closing of One Potato, Two Potato, which preceded Grafton at that location. 1P2P was a popular and well-priced professor hangout, befitting its location just outside the gates from Widener.

        Fortunately there are (or were at least) other places to get a good beer in the Square. The Cellar, on Mass. Ave., for example.

        Regards,
        Motts

        1. re: Motts McGregor

          Finds in the Square that fit a student's budget:

          [in no particular order]
          1) Sabra Grill on Eliot Street. Middle Eastern cafeteria/better-for-take-out place. Cheaper, lighter, more flavorful than Skewers, though who'd want to see skewers pushed out. Shwarma = excellent. Salads = quite good. Baba Gonoush = pretty good. Surprisingly friendly server guy.

          2) Darwins Ltd. Best sandwiches ever-ever. I posted on this down below. Going tomorrow to get me a Hubbard Park.

          3) Spice. Kind of hard to miss now, and always kind of a wait, but the food is excellent and it smells so freaking great outside.

          4) Seoul Food, a little down Mass Ave toward Porter Square, has excellent Korean for less, with nice friendly husband and wife team running things along.

          And I'll probably think of more...

          1. re: Emma F

            where is spice? Never heard of it. I would love to know so I could go sometime. Speaking of which, I went to Daedalus last night. I have to say that this place rocks and although I am wary of making it busier, the place has obviously been found. A cool hip crowd and good music. I had the calamari (again) and my friend had the tapas special which changes every night. We shared the ginger soy flank steak---it was truly delicious and cooked perfectly. And although I may be sacrificing my masculinity, the bartender made my girlfriend the best Cosmopolitan I have ever had. A+

            1. re: Emma F

              Thanks for the tips on Sabra Grill and Darwin's; I should try those. Although Darwin's is a bit far from the Square to travel for lunch, as is Seoul Food. (I should have tried Seoul Food when I lived near it, I guess; some people warned me away from it.)

              As for Spice, I suppose it's cheap by Harvard Square sit-down restaurant standards, but that's not saying much. It's probably also the best Thai restaurant on this side of the river, but that's *really* not saying much when the competition is Thai Hut and Tamarind House. I guess I've gotten pickier when it comes to Thai food. The only place I've found which does a good job of it in the Boston area is Dok Bua (Harvard Ave in Brookline).

              1. re: Amod Lele

                Here, here, another vote for Dok Bua!!!

                1. re: Amod Lele

                  actually, I totally disagree - I think that the green curry at the brown sugar cafe is some of the best that i have ever had - and it is in the fenway, and only $5 at lunch!

              2. re: Motts McGregor

                I think Daedalus is in the old location of the Siam Cafe, a relatively mediocre and over-priced Thai place. I don't know when the restaurant went out of business (probably ~2 years ago)...

                1. re: Justin
                  h
                  Heathen & Spells

                  Actually the former occupant of that spot was called Siam Garden, not Siam cafe. We thought it was a very good thai place, the best in cambridge when it opened 86-87. The upstairs greenhouse space was lovely and very comfortable with a nice fish tank. Nice staff/owners, we have many fond memories of it, Allison misses it in particular. It was a special place to bring family & friends.

                2. re: Motts McGregor

                  Pinnochios is the best sandwich shop I've ever been to (oh, the steak and cheese!) and the Sicilian pizza is awesome. It's too bad that so many people miss out on the experience. As a side note, does anyone know where Hots can be ordered on-line? I moved back to CA several years ago and can't find any. Thanks.