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60th Birthday Dinner in Cambridge

I used to live in Cambridge until 1997. My two daughters and I will be there on an up-coming Friday night for my birthday dinner, and I would like a reccomendation for the best that Cambridge has to offer in today's foodie world - which I hear gets better and better. It can be fancy or just really good, but the quality of the food is my main focus. What are your suggestions? Wissy

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  1. I love the outdoor patio @ Oleana.

    2 Replies
    1. re: BostonBarGuy

      That's a great recommendation (just sent a group of 5 there last night to great success). I'd also heartily recommend Rendez-Vous in central square. Just had dinner there and - wow - everything was great.

      EVOO at the foodie Washington St/Beacon St intersection (Somerville), and Gargoyle's in Davis Square could also be options. Although with Gargoyle's, I am not as impressed with the entrees as I am the appetizers and bar menu.

      I haven't been to Rialto in Harvard Square, but that might also be interesting to you.

      1. re: gini

        I think Gini nailed the top three:

        In the past six months I've been to EVOO twice and had one good meal and one mediocre meal.

        I'd also suggest checking out TW Food (which I haven't been to yet but reviews are very good so far). Craigie St. would also be a good choice (you won't find much feedback here though).

    2. The best in Cambridge for me is Rialto in the Charles Hotel complex. Jody Adams does great stuff.


      1. Rialto used to be really wonderful, and it may be agaain considering they just renovated -- I'd see what the reviews are on Rialto.
        But I find the Harvest very good and reliable. They have a lovely outdoor terrace -- that would be perfect if you could get a spot there.
        We also are very fond of Oleana. Of the three, it's the most exotic, both in food and atmosphere. They do not have a full liquor license, however (at least as of the last time I was there) -- but they make the most of their wine license. They have very interesting wine "cocktails". They won't let you reserve for a table outside, but you can ask what time you'd need to get there in order to grab one (may be before 6 or even 5:30, after that you'd have to chance it). They have a really beautiful outside garden patio.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Lucymax

          I second Harvest- wonderful place and the patio is perfect on a nice evening.

          5 STARS!!!


          1. Lots of really good recs here, although I'm a bit surprised no one's mentioned Salts as of yet . That being said, I, like BostonBarGuy, am gonna be happiest on the patio at Oleana.

            1. I'd go to Salts any time for any occasion. If you love duck, order one when you make your reservation. Preparation changes with the season but always wonderful. I also love Rendezvous and Upstairs on the Square. I'd also vote for Chez Henri or EVOO.

              I find the food at Craigie St overpriced and the wait staff either strange or rude.

              Has anyone tried the new place where Asapasia used to be? Got a good review in the Globe... can't recall the name.

              2 Replies
              1. re: LauraBear

                I will put in one more vote for the patio at Oleana. It's such a wonderful spot, and the food is always interesting and excellent. Rendezvous, Rialto, and Harvest are all fine choices, too. But I find myself choosing Oleana over and over again.

                1. re: LauraBear

                  That's T W Foods. It was a bit rough when I ate there a couple of months ago, but it had just opened, although some of the dishes, particularly the more rustic ones like the boudin blanc were excellent. For the price, I'd probably pick Salts over T W Foods -- more refined technique and more thoughtful dishes.

                2. Oleana Oleana Oleana.

                  The patio *is* amazing, but if the idea of chancing a table on a special occasion makes you nervous (see Lucymax's post upthread), then make a reservation for the inside. It is a lovely dining room with great service. But call soon, it's getting harder and harder to get a table these days. They're also on opentable.com I believe.

                  Over and out.

                  1. Blue Room in Kendall Sq. has never disappointed us. Give that a consideration also.

                    1. You must be there at 5:30 opening to get a table outside at Oleana. I'm adding Upstairs at the Square, known as Upstairs at the Pudding in its former location.