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Around Harvard Square with a Toddler

Any recommendations? We're staying at the Charles Hotel this weekend with no babysitter and will probably eat at Henrietta's kitchen one night, but need ideas for Fast, but wonderful places open at 5pm for dinner and interesting lunch spots.

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  1. Grafton Street serves up some pretty good food.

    1. Harvard Square has so many options, and it depends a lot on what price range you are looking for. I'm assuming with a toddler you're not looking for very high end, quiet places with white tablecloths.

      Cambridge.1 gets good reviews for its wonderfully crafted thin-crust pizzas - good for lunch or dinner. If you want to do the "Boston thing" there is a Legal Seafoods next to the Charles Hotel. Despite what folks say it's not a bad place for seafood, and certainly toddler-friendly. Henrietta's Table is a good choice for the same reason.

      There are a bunch of interesting (if not stellar) ethnic options, including Indian, Thai, Korean, sushi, etc. around the Square and it's hard to miss them. If you want some fairly interesting Indian food I strongly recommend Tamarind Bay -- they do have a lunch buffet but ordering from the menu offers a bunch of unique options.

      1. In the immediate area I really like Casablanca, great food and location (I think they're open for lunch but I haven't been there then), upstairs is Cafe Algiers which would be better for lunch, Mr & Mrs Bartley's is the classic burger spot, Daedalus has some good sandwiches, Cambridge One is ok for pizza, Burdick's is the chocolate spot (well regarded by chocolate lovers), Pho Pasteur is popular Vietnamese, I just recently read that Penang is good but I haven't been there, and there are also lots of dive bars and expensive places which I'm guessing you're not interested in.

        1. Wait... "lots" of dive bars in Harvard Square? I can think of three - the Kong, Charlie's and Whitney's. There used to be more, but they've all gone upscale. Heck, even the Kong redecorated to appear upscale, even if the bathrooms are still terrifying.

          I miss the Bow. I do NOT miss the Grille.

          3 Replies
          1. re: zebedee

            I was also thinking Shay's, I like it and the others (there are a lot by the Charles hotel for some reason), but a visiting couple with a kid might shy away.

            1. re: steinpilz

              Alright, I'll give you Shay's. I love it, and it's a clear step above the other three, but yeah... it's not exactly classy.

              1. re: zebedee

                Shay's, a "step up"? Ha ha, that's pretty good. (For anyone who doesn't get it, you have to step down from the street to go there.)

          2. If you like burgers, you can't go wrong at Mr & Mrs Bartley's for lunch. Perfectly kid-friendly, totally casual, and one of the best burger experiences in Boston. Ask anyone in Harvard Sq where it is. Not open for dinner though. Posters other suggestions are all good too.

            2 Replies
            1. re: twentyoystahs

              Bartley's is open til 8 or 9 I think.

              1. re: twentyoystahs

                Check the crowds and have a backup or go at an off-peak time as they can be slammed for lunch and that could be slow for a toddler. A slice at Pinocchio's if you need a quick snack.

              2. For a family restaurant in Cambridge try Full Moon, www.fullmoonrestaurant.com. It bills itself as a family restaurant. The food is good and there's a play space for kids. It's a little bit of a hike from the Charles Hotel though. By cab it would take 5 minutes. Walking it may take 20 or so and in this weather it may feel like 20 hours! I've only had brunch there which was good, not exceptional but solidly good.

                1. Also, Hi-Rise Bread Co. down the street (corner of Concord and Huron Ave) offers an interesting lunch place.

                  1. If you want to walk a little, consider Petsi's Pies.

                    1. Redbones in Davis Square is very kid friendly. Our daughter loves it there... good finger food, place is noisy enough that kid noises blend it and the staff is very accommodating. If you go on the early side you'll avoid the crowds. Just take the Redline to Davis.. very easy from Harvard.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: mangotango

                        Dinner menu starts at 4. I like it better than lunch.

                        It's a great place for a toddler. Lots of families there on the earlier side.

                        1. re: three of us

                          On weekends full menu is available all day, and on Sun they have an additional brunch menu and sometimes a bluegrass trio playing. Should be lots of kids in the restaurant this weekend with multiple Dan Zanes shows at the Somerville Theater!

                      2. It's a little way from Harvard Square, but a fantastic restaurant for kids is Full Moon at Huron near Fayerweather. Very cheerful decor, and other kids, specifically touted to be a family restaurant, the kind of place I'd expect Cantabridgians to take their kids. Well worth the cab ride. (Plus, the cute Marimekko store is next door.)


                        [edit] Oops, I just saw someone else said this. In that case, I second it.

                        1. I like Cambridge One. If you're looking for takeout - I also think Oggi Pizza is very good.