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Cambridge top 5 based on food

seasontotaste Dec 7, 2008 06:25 AM

Any thoughts?

  1. g
    grant.cook Dec 7, 2008 08:53 AM

    Do you include Somerville in this mix? - is that an 'other side of the Charles?' question..

    1. l
      Lex56 Dec 7, 2008 11:15 AM

      This is somewhat Harvard-Square-centric, but here goes:

      1. Rialto
      2. Oleana
      3. Harvest
      4. Salts
      5. Sandrine's

      The rest of the list is open to debate, but Rialto at the top is a slam-dunk.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Lex56
        glenn mcdonald Dec 7, 2008 12:17 PM

        For me Oleana is the slam-dunk. My other four would probably be the Blue Room, Harvest, Rialto and Hungry Mother. Although if there were anything riding on this, I'd be happy to join a small invasion force to push the Cambridge border another few feet around Evoo.

        1. re: glenn mcdonald
          TPistrix Dec 7, 2008 12:35 PM

          I'm pretty shocked that Craigie on Main isn't on anyone's list so far.

          1. re: glenn mcdonald
            rememberme Apr 29, 2009 08:08 PM

            Hey -- back off! We're happy it's in Somerville!

            1. re: rememberme
              CocoDan May 21, 2009 05:45 AM

              What are you saying is in Somerville? Craigie On Main? Isn't it in the old Italian place just outside of Central Sq? I'm confused!

              1. re: CocoDan
                justbeingpolite May 21, 2009 05:47 AM

                I think that was a response to a comment about EVOO (which I thought of as Cambridge, too)

                1. re: justbeingpolite
                  CocoDan May 21, 2009 05:51 AM

                  That would explain my confusion. Thanks.

        2. l
          LeoLioness Dec 7, 2008 01:02 PM

          1. Oleana
          2. Rendezvous
          3. Casa Portugal
          4. Emmas
          5. Gran Gusto

          I've never been to Craige or Rialto, so while I'm familiar with the accolades for both, I didn't include them.

          1. g
            glenn mcdonald Dec 7, 2008 03:54 PM

            I haven't been to Craigie since it moved, and only twice before that, so my leaving it off wasn't a negative vote. I haven't been to Gran Gusto, either. But you can definitely take my omission of Rendezvous as a negative vote. And I like Atasca better than Casa Portugal.

            1. d
              dharmster Dec 8, 2008 08:24 AM

              The Blue Room
              Central Kitchen
              Green St Grille
              Hot Off the Press (hey, it's based on food, not atmosphere!)

              1. a
                avokate Dec 8, 2008 09:04 AM

                1. Craigie
                2. Salts
                3. Hungry Mother
                4. Oleana
                5. Gran Gusto

                ...with immense gratitude to this board, without whom I never would have found HM or GG!!

                1 Reply
                1. re: avokate
                  bgavin Dec 8, 2008 09:57 AM

                  Blue Room - too crowded and hectic to be "fine" dining.

                2. w
                  winedude Dec 8, 2008 09:42 AM

                  Rialto is a good start, though I haven't been in a while.

                  Bartley's Burger Cottage should make anyone's list, if we're basing it on food alone.

                  Oleana is excellent, and interesting.


                  And here's another vote for parking your car on the Cambridge line and walking over to Evoo as my fifth vote.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: winedude
                    Delhiwala Dec 8, 2008 01:17 PM

                    I second this list by winedude!

                  2. rlove Dec 8, 2008 02:52 PM

                    From a former Cantabrigian, now Bostonian, the first three are easy:

                    1. Craigie on Main
                    2. Oleana
                    3. Emma's
                    4. Gran Gusto
                    5. Bartley's

                    Honorable mentions: Chez Henri (although inconsistent), handful of Indian joints, Darwin's for sandwiches, probably a few others I am blanking on

                    I've yet to go to Salt's or Hungry Mother, but by the recommendations on this board, they'd likely be on my list.

                    Overrated, if not barely good: Harvest

                    1. Sal Monella Dec 9, 2008 05:08 AM

                      The Blue Room
                      West Side Lounge

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Sal Monella
                        Bob Dobalina Mar 2, 2009 03:40 AM

                        Daedalus? Really?

                      2. l
                        lizbomze Dec 9, 2008 08:40 AM

                        Craigie on Main is definitely #1 for me. These others are also great, but in no particular order.

                        Garden at the Cellar
                        Hungry Mother
                        Qingdao Garden

                        1. digga Dec 9, 2008 08:52 AM

                          I'll chime in with Mulan.

                          1. j
                            jajjguy Dec 9, 2008 09:01 AM

                            1. TW Food
                            2. Craigie (both past and present locations)
                            3. Dante (ranking is based on only two excellent visits and subject to adjustment)
                            4&5. tossup between Rendezvous, Blue Room, and Hungry Mother, all of which get points for value as well as food excellence

                            Honorable mention to Salts and Oleana. I've never been all that impressed with Rialto, Harvest, or Sandrine's.

                            1. JennyL Feb 21, 2009 04:34 AM

                              henrietta's table

                              1. MC Slim JB Feb 21, 2009 05:50 AM

                                Tough one! I think my answer must be weighted toward recent meals; they just stick out more in my mind: Craigie on Main, Hungry Mother, Oleana, Rendezvous, Salts.

                                The answer would be different if you added the modifier "cheap eats": Baraka Cafe, Punjabi Dhaba, Mary Chung, Miracle of Science, Muqueca.

                                1. WineAG Mar 1, 2009 07:36 PM

                                  What's up with Benatti? Gotta get there... but the place seems a bit hard to figure... like the time a couple of months ago when people wondered if it closed or was for sale (still don't know what that was about)... then there are the continual, if sporadic raves.

                                  I'd have figured someone would have mentioned Benatti their list of top 5 in Cambridge... but no? Seems like it should belong if the recent reports are any indication.

                                  I'm gonna go soon, but what's up with this place???? Makes me wonder why it doesn't get more support. Sounds like a fantastic place.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: WineAG
                                    MC Slim JB Mar 2, 2009 06:35 AM

                                    As I said, choosing only five is tough. Benatti might make my top five on a different day. I'm glad it's still hanging in there and getting some attention here. Its location is very tough.

                                    1. re: MC Slim JB
                                      barleywino May 20, 2009 06:12 PM

                                      had an interesting dessert at Benatti-- Negroni terrine w/ orange nougatine (gin, campari and sweet vermouth panna cotta w/ orange marmalade coulis and parmesan tuile). Texture didn't quite do it for me (too much gelatin) and there wasn't much sweet vermouth evident but viewed as a twist on a cocktail it was great. They were out of the osso buco so had the lamb rack, it was overcooked, salty and not particularly large but the port balsamic reduction and crispy polenta were very nicely done. The housemade fettucine were more like hand-shaved noodles and lacked the delicacy I was hoping for. I would probably go back to try the osso buco.

                                  2. jgg13 Mar 2, 2009 05:05 AM

                                    FWIW (and that's not much) I saw Hungry Mother reviewed on the Phantom Gourmet this weekend, where they said it was "one of the highest ratings ever" (92 IIRC). I think the lowest score was an 8, and that was for location. They didn't even use the phrase "ooey, gooey" once.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: jgg13
                                      yumyum Mar 2, 2009 06:21 AM

                                      Great. Just what we need -- the Andelman's to go stink the joint up.

                                      Tonight would be a fine night for shrimp and grits. They are ooey, gooey.

                                      1. re: yumyum
                                        jgg13 Mar 2, 2009 07:20 AM

                                        I saw them talk about a variety of the newer spots on some of the eps this weekend. HM, Drink/Sportello, and a couple of others.

                                    2. p
                                      pocketviking Apr 28, 2009 09:14 AM

                                      Oleana gets my #1 vote, hands down. The best of the rest is hard to choose based on food alone--Rialto, Blue Room, Harvest, etc. are all excellent. As a transplanted New Yorker used to finding good-to-great Chinese/Taiwanese food easily, though, I am grateful to Mulan for serving up excellent Taiwanese food: their beef with cilantro (with lots of ginger shreds) is a current obsession.

                                      1. w
                                        woody1118 May 13, 2009 09:15 AM

                                        In no order:
                                        Central Kitchen
                                        Chez Henri

                                        Going to Craigie this weekend so things may change.

                                        1. j
                                          jessabella617 May 18, 2009 12:54 PM

                                          These are my favorites...lots of repeats here;)
                                          1. Craigie...Chefs Whim menu Sun-wed is an AMAZING deal, esp if you enjoy offal
                                          2. Oleana
                                          3. Armandos for cheese pizza
                                          4. Hungry Mother
                                          5. Koreana for soup and banchan only...I know I know its not as good as so many Korean spots in Union sq but I grew up going there and Im loyal for life

                                          1. f
                                            foodymom May 18, 2009 05:02 PM

                                            I will add to all those in support of:

                                            Oleana, Craigie, Salts (consistently great meals at all 3 restaurants), Burdicks for the hot chocolate and Dante for the fritelle.


                                            1. RoseWethersfield May 18, 2009 06:01 PM

                                              In this order:
                                              1. Craigie (food is great, cocktails are fantastic!)
                                              2. Oleana (I've never had a bad anything at Oleana)
                                              3. Hungry Mother (if only the bar had more seats)
                                              4. Rendevous (predictably good. one of the best values around)
                                              5. Upstairs (I know they are all from formaggio but the cheese plate is always wonderfully presented. And, service is the way it should be...)

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: RoseWethersfield
                                                teezeetoo May 20, 2009 04:19 PM

                                                Craigie, Upstairs, Hungry Mother, Rialto, Salts and Rendezvous (ok, that's six)( - I'm not a fan of Oleanas and find it downright uncomfortable physically when its crowded
                                                one rung down but great to me - blue room, green street, atasca, east coast grill, chez henri

                                                1. re: teezeetoo
                                                  g for food May 21, 2009 05:35 AM

                                                  Without a doubt, Craigie is the best restaurant in Cambridge where I've had the pleasure of eating. (I have never gone to Salts or Rialto) Chef's Whim all the way! I recently enjoyed their Passover menu as well.

                                                  Other Cambridge favorites include:
                                                  Hungry Mother
                                                  Baraka Cafe

                                                  I appreciate the shout out above for Armando's. It is the only place I can have an acceptable NY slice of pizza.

                                                  1. re: g for food
                                                    justbeingpolite May 21, 2009 05:45 AM

                                                    No one's voting for East Coast Grill? How sad.
                                                    How about Ten Tables now that it's in Cambridge?
                                                    That said, a lot of good lists already.
                                                    East Coast Grill
                                                    Hungry Mother
                                                    no clear fifth for now (haven't been to TT or Rendezvous)

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