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Help! Save me from Dunkin' Donuts!

Attending a conference in Cambridge soon -- I need a place to get my morning espresso/cappuccino fix somewhere near the Charles Hotel/Harvard Law School . . . .


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  1. Having recently moved from Boston to an unnamed city bereft of DD, I'm very much in need of being "Saved" by a DD iced coffee. That said, try Cafe Paradiso at 1 Eliot Square. Have a biscotti for me!

    4 Replies
    1. re: GrillNextDoor

      Cafe Paradiso in Harvard Square just closed, though I think the one in the North End is still open.

      1. re: bachslunch

        Do you know what happened there? Always seemed to be people when I walked by.

        1. re: Joanie

          Apparently the rent was jacked up. It's too bad, because that alley was really getting more interesting and varied the last couple years.

          1. re: newhound

            It was more sudden than that, the staff was only given a weeks notice of the closing. Also, the rent has been sky-high for years and they have been dangling it for sale, due to it not making ends meet (and the owner investing heavily in the Lowell location). Its not been a priority for them, Peet's has taken a fair amount of business so weekday business was way down and the slow demise eventually caught up with them.

    2. Peet's is right in that area.

      1. If you've got time to walk a bit, it's worth the trek to Simon's, up closer to Porter Square: excellent, serious coffee. Algiers does good espresso and Turkish coffee closer to the hotel, though the staff moves like molasses there. I'd say check out Burdick's for a demitasse of the best hot chocolate in town (and good coffee, too), but it was still closed for what looked like a renovation as of a few days ago.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          I definitely second Simon's-- and while it isn't as slow as Algiers, leave yourself a little extra time as they take their time. It's about three blocks west of the Law School on Mass Ave.

        2. Peet's is good, and also Darwin's on Mt. Auburn Street - also handy if you like some baked goods with your brew.

          1. Hi-Rise on Brattle Street has decent coffee and outstanding morning food--breakfast sandwiches, banana bread, small buttery and flaky lemon orange scones. Z square on JFK brews George Howell's Terroir coffee, although their espresso measures are not generous (I ask them to put an extra shot in a latte).

            1. Jason - thanks for the wine advice -

              Next to HLS, try walking up Oxford to Oxford Spa - baked goods and decent coffee -

              Also second Simon's up Mass. Ave., but it is a little bit of a walk, closer to Porter than HLS.

              Near to Charles Hotel, you might head to L.A. Burdick's for great chocolates and decent coffee - Second Algiers and Peet's.

              Also, stroll over to Cafe Pamplona for a little atmosphere with your coffee.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                As of Friday afternoon, Burdick's was still closed for renovations.

                Also, I'm pretty sure Pamplona doesn't open early enough to get there for a pre-conference coffee.

              2. The upstairs part of the dining hall at the Law School has Peets and downstairs has Starbucks, they're both vendors rather than retail stores/stand-a-lones but they typically get the job done, though upstairs is just plain coffee, no frou-frou cappuccinos etc. . . . Simon's is pretty good too up Mass Ave past Lesley. If you're a Starbucks fan the one on Dunster in the Garage is much much faster than the one on Church St across from the Border Cafe.

                3 Replies
                1. re: sailormouth

                  Thanks, but Starbucks is the McDonald's of espresso . . . (blech!)

                  I know, I know, lots of people like it (just no one that I know!) ;^)

                  I live just up the hill from the original (1966) Peet's, and it's my "go to" place when driving and I don't know of anything better . . .

                  Sounds like I'm looking at Simon's for the morning cappucino . . .


                  1. re: zin1953

                    In case it wasn't clear from the answers above, there *is* a full-fledged Peets store right in the Square, just a block out of the way from the most direct walking route between your hotel and HLS. It's not quite the original, but then it's hard to compare any part of Cambridge with your 'hood, the Gourmet Ghetto (sigh)... no Cheese Shop and nothing like the frites at Cesar. Have a good visit!

                    1. re: Liz B

                      funny you should say that because i've always thought of cambridge as being exactly like berkeley, food-wise. (in other ways, too...) but maybe i'm ignorant--i didn't spend a lot of time in berkeley.