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Romantic Restaurant in Cambridge? (Engagement Plans!)

Hi! A friend is about to propose and would like to take her to a romantic place in Cambridge before hand. Ambiance is key. Something on the smaller side with romantic corners would be ideal. :) Walking distance from Harvard Square if possible for their special after dinner plans. Suggestions? Thank you!

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  1. Salts
    Craigie Street Bistrot

    4 Replies
    1. re: gini

      Good picks by gini. I'll throw in Upstairs in the Square as well.

      1. re: gini

        The chow is good-to-great at all of these, but the ambiance can be a little weird at EVOO, and even moreso at Craigie. I think Salts is about perfect, if you don't mind the 15-20 minute walk to Harvard Square from Central.

        I agree with Sal: Upstairs on the Square has gone back into my high rotation, as the food there seems to have really upped its game again recently. The food at their more formal Soiree Room upstairs never dazzles me quite as much as the Monday Club Bar downstairs (although I haven't been recently), but the room is quiet and intimate, and it doesn't get any closer to Harvard than that.

        1. re: finlero

          Perhaps neither EVOO nor Craigie is the most romantic restaurant, but I certainly like the space at both. I'm sure Salts is more romantic in that regard.

        2. re: gini

          I think Evoo is a nice space and has the most elbow room. Does it have to be Cambridge (which Evoo is not technically)?

        3. Chez Henri? Or Craigie Street Bistrot? I wouldn't want to actually be proposed to there because the people at the next table might be almost in your lap, but for a pre-proposal romantic dinner it would be nice.

          1 Reply
          1. re: BostonCookieMonster

            The only place among these that is proposal-worthy, IMO, is Upstairs on the Square, either the bar (if it's not too noisy) or the soiree room (which is more romantic but food not as great).

          2. Thank you for the fast and fabulous suggestions! Just to clarify for additional comments, he will not be proposing at the restaurant...just planning a nice dinner before he proposes later that evening. :) So a place that sets the mood and will be a memorable start to the evening. Thanks again!

            2 Replies
            1. re: bostonscubagirl

              Given that it doesn't seem like the proposal iself is unexpected, wouldn't it be fun to let the proposer do the planning to add an element of surprise to the evening?

              1. re: jonship

                Ignore that - I obviously mis-read the original post. Sorry.

            2. If I were trying to soften up a prospective fiancée , I would definitely stop at the bar at Green Street for a cocktail or two.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MC Slim JB

                i would go for upstairs at the pudding, rialto, sandrines, lots of good choices

              2. What about Rialto, esp. for ambience?

                1. The patio at Oleana, because it's gorgeous and they will give you blankets to cozy up in at night. The downstairs at Upstairs on the Square, you can look down on Harvard Square lit up at night, and they are REALLY attuned to special occasions there and will make you feel like the center of the universe.

                  Central Kitchen is cozy and romantic, too, and they will also make a special occasion more special there, and the music is usually good.

                  What about TW Foods? I haven't been there, but it sounds like that kind of place.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dulce de leche

                    It's not. It's bright and very public.

                    I second Upstairs and Rialto for the short walking distance afterward, and I second the patio at Oleana if some more exercise is okay.

                  2. Okay, maybe not walking distance from Harvard Square, unless you're up for a long walk, but Mamma Maria in the North End has a private booth/room that can be reserved for parties of two, IIRC. May be a good option if privacy is important.

                    My (small) wedding reception was there, and I'm going to book it for our anniversary dinner. :-)

                    1. Salts. I was there for a birthday this past Friday and the service and food couldn't have been more lovely. They really made it special. I like that it is a small, intimate place, not a lot of hustle and bustle. It only has about 12 tables and no bar scene. I think Upstairs and Rialto are too much and not very romantic at all.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: purslane

                        Actually the bar area at Rialto has booths which are (I'm trying to recall here...) partitioned off withs some sort of curtains... Intimate and quiet. Worked on me (at least for step A). BB

                      2. The seasonal tasing menu at TW Foods is very unique and special. I particularly enjoyed the wine pairings. The dining room is elegantly decorated and accented with lovely fresh flowers. This location would be my pick for its originality and attention to detail. This is a good pick as I think it will stand out in your memories for years to come.

                        1. Definitely Upstairs on the Square Soiree room. It's so beautifully decorated and romantic that people have their wedding receptions there. I would love to have my wedding party there, so if you want to give her that kind of idea - that's your place. Good luck!

                          1. The patio at Harvest would be romantic, I think. I've only had dinner indoors and brunch on the patio, but I bet it would be charming at night.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: pollystyrene

                              I agree that Harvest would be good: it's secluded and quiet, a bit elite, a Cambridge icon, w/good food and wine, the sort of place they could expect to happily return to over many years.