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Recommendations near Harvard Square and Kendall Stations

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Hi Chowhounds, I am looking for some recommendations around Harvard Sqaure Station (staying a few blocks west) or Kendall Station (working here). Any bakeries, coffee shops, or any ethnic cuisineof the following worth going to? Thanks in advance!

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  1. Kendall sq has some great eats within a short walk - Mulan (Taiwanese) tops the list (look for reccs on the board), very good Puerto Rican lunches at Izzy's, Helmand, a bit more of a walk, has very good Afghan - and it's by far the fanciest of the three - fine enough for special meals. Hungry Mother has wonderful, interesting takes on Southern cooking, and Oleana, for higher end but also very interesting food, is also a decent walk. There's a thread that has both Kendall and lunch in the title, or do a search for any of the above...In Harvard Sq, try Crema, a new coffee place, or the Hi Rise for well made, somewhat unusual sandwiches. Again, a search for Harvard will bring other ideas...Don't miss the cubano at Chez Henri!

    1. I agree with the Helmand rec, and even though it's nicely appointed in what seems an authentic decor, it's inexpensive. Emma's Pizza is also in Kendall, for gourmet style pie.

      In Harvard Square, there is also Veggie Planet and Darwin's. And since you're staying west of the square, you might not be far from Gran Gusto, which I haven't gotten to yet, but purportedly has neapolitan style pizza (as well as other good stuff) that'll knock your socks off.

      1 Reply
      1. re: pollystyrene

        Haven't been in a few years but Helmand is great. Emma's pizza is a bit bland for my taste. Gran Gusto is authentic Neapolitan pizza. It's very good but I personally prefer Flatbread and Fig's. Darwin's is a nice sandwich shop.

      2. There are lots of great Kendall Sq. lunch recommendations in the Kendall Square Lunch thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/504505

        1 Reply
        1. re: mangorita

          fredid, pollystryene, mangorita - thanks for your suggestions and help.

        2. Close to Hungry Mother is The Blue Room which serves very good New American fare (dinner only).

          1 Reply
          1. re: nasilemak

            nasilemak, thanks for the Blue Room recommendation. I did try to make a reservation for Hungry Mother, but they didn't have any availability between 5:30pm and 9:00pm. Next time.

            After a very long day, I was really looking forward to the Blue Room. We had the cauliflower puree soup. It was delicious, though much thinner than I expected - was expecting a heavier "puree". It had some lemon oil and a few little pieces of lobster.

            For our entrees, I had the Veal Scallopini, which was breaded and stuffed... though not 100% sure what it was stuffed with... didn't have a huge impact. It came with crispy polenta (though not that crispy), and red wine mushroom sauce. The combination of all the items on the plate was great.

            My husband had the roasted chicken with morrocan spices, swiss chard and mashed potatoes. The chicken was very juicy, and the swiss chard was more like sauteed spinach.

            Overall, an excellent meal and would go back again. Thanks

          2. Harv Square :
            the cubano sandwich at the bar at chez henri- is justly famous. they also do many lovely things for dinner (latin and french mostly; longtome owner/chef)and it is very comfy attractive place.( however, about a 15 min walk from the square) Casablanca is my fav spot in the square itself- comfortable congenial lively place with a lot of moroccan and mediterranean influenced foods; famous murals of scenes from the film.
            both are longtime neighborhood favorites where you will get a real feel for 'Cambridge types'!

            1. i forgot to mention Burdick's chocolates and bakery/tea/coffee shop. Burdicks is a nationally famous artisinal chocolatier and their little shop on brattle st. (casablanca is on brattle street too, next to The Brattle Cinema, boston's longest running independent/arthouse cinema)is lovely and fun. good place to shop for gifts to take home.

              Kendall sq: I agree w/ fredid that Mulan's food is quite wonderful and unusual, Taiwanese. Esp. the Smoked duck, smoked beef rolls, and smoked pork and leek w/ crispy lotus root. small place, almost all asian customers.7-10 min walk from center of kendall sq.

              3 Replies
              1. re: opinionatedchef

                OpinionatedChef... thanks for all the info and cinema, shopping tip. Will definitely check it out.

                1. re: travelames

                  trav, glad to be of help. do remember to tell us how things went!

                2. re: opinionatedchef

                  Thanks for the Burdicks recommendation. Their lemon chocolate cake was fabulous! When I first saw it, I thought... hmm, what a small piece. But it was dense and delicious... filling, but I still wanted a bigger piece. :-)

                3. In Harvard:
                  Tamarind Bay, unusual and tasty Indian
                  Small Plates for more upscale dining
                  Arrow St Crepes
                  Cafe Pamplona, more for the atmosphere than the food or drink
                  Cambridge 1, tasty grilled pizza
                  Casablanca, especially the bar/lounge area

                  You've already gotten some great recs for Kendall. I'll just add that Miracle of Science is a short walk from there and is a good spot for a burger and a beer.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jajjguy

                    Thanks jajjguy and everyone. I should be back in Boston in another week or so, looking forward to trying these out.

                    1. re: jajjguy

                      We were looking at Small Plates for a 6 person dinner. Can you recommend it?

                    2. Well, somehow my friend diverted me to a restaurant "not on the list". We ended up having dinner at Grafton Street on Mass Ave. It was just okay, but not really worth a repeat visit. It was a busy Thursday night, so the service was pretty bad. I had the fish and chips which were okay... two pieces of fish (very fresh) and a nice beer batter. It came with steak fries and cole slaw. The cole slaw had a bite to it, which was nice. My friend had the Steak Frites - hanger steak with shoe string fries. On the menu, it said with red wine jus... but it was drowning in it.

                      Hoping to make it to a "list" restaurant tonight. Will come back with a review.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: travelames

                        Oooh...mmmm...yeah, Grafton Street is pretty meh. For a curative, go over to the Garden at the Cellar.

                      2. Border Cafe has some of the best Mexican/ Cajun food in Boston in my opinion.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Jonny509

                          Border Cafe is where I go when I get homesick for mediocre Tex-Mex, which does occasionally happen. I wouldn't recommend it to someone who wasn't in the mood for that, though.

                        2. Asmara near Central Sq, easily walkable from Harvard Sq serves Eritrean/Ethiopian.