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Apr 15, 2009 01:15 PM

Lunch in East Cambridge?

I'm looking for a place in East Cambridge for lunch this Saturday. Cost and cuisine aren't really a concern - I just rarely am in this area during lunchtime so would love to try something great in the neighborhood. I've come up with Desfina or Courthouse as options - is there anything else in the area?

I'll be near Third and Binney, which looks to be approx 1/2 mile from Cambridge Street. It's supposed to be 60 and sunny, so I don't mind walking a little (but no buses or T or driving).

I searched for "East Cambridge" but the search function wouldn't let me navigate past the 1st page, so that was less than helpful....

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  1. If you want a lovely lunch, Dante in the Royal Sonesta is walkable and very good.

    Courthouse is good, much more casual. Second Street Cafe is not open on weekends. I know someone will chime in about more Cambridge Street options, but these are the ones that immediately come to my mind.

    1. As far as searching, you can try a Google search for " East Cambridge" which yields pretty decent results, although not sorted by date. Things like O'Cantinho and Wisteria are no longer options.

      Third and Binney is a bit of a hike to Cambridge Street, but its not awful, but keep in mind that something like Atasca or Emma's is about as close as many places. Mulan is a bit further. For most options I personally would walk out Binney to 5th and up that. Desfina is certainly your closest option.

      Skampa is a good option for roast beef and decent for pastrami (griddled not steamed). Pugs keeps their doors open in nice weather, so is less confined than some places, but I think only officially serves lunch weekdays (some sundays they do something). I prefer that to the East Side Grill (???), but that is one option. Portugalia is a bit further down, but is very pleasant at lunch and their bacalhau options are a real bargain for the price (they also have half bottles of vinho verde and red wines) and are offered on Saturdays. If you really want Carne a Alentejana I might go to the Snack Bar (or Atasca), which also has alcatra, sometimes rabbit, or dobradinha. There are a few options further along, but you are now the same distance as Atasca and maybe even Mulan. La Hacienda is an ok lunch offering (I think dinner prices on Saturday), but its so dark that I wouldn't want to go there on a nice day.

      1. I work at Third and Binney, and we regularly walk to Cambridge Street, which is about a 20-minute walk. If you walk down 6th Street and take a right on Cambridge Street and walk another 4-5 blocks you will come upon Atwood's Tavern, which is a delightful place to have lunch. Check out the menu in the link below:

        3 Replies
        1. re: Small Plates

          Atwoods is pretty good and if it's nice out they might have their big front window open.

          East Side Grill has some good food too. I've only had their Greek steak tip salad though, but I see people picking up their pizza the two times I've been there. The salad is pretty big with fresh veggies and lots of feta. Their tips are tender with a tangy marinade. They're kinda pricey though.

          1. re: Small Plates

            I am just re-reading this and realize I sent you in the wrong direction - you must take a LEFT onto Cambridge Street. So sorry!!!

            1. re: Small Plates

              Atwoods is a good idea if you are craving a pint with your lunch. I finally got to check it out a while ago and thought it was slightly better than average pub food.

              Mulan is by far the *best* food in the area, but it's a madhouse at lunchtime, so buyer beware. You might want to go a little later if you choose this option.

            2. There are several places that are good for lunch (Similans for Thai, Desfina, Bambara) but if you want to try something "great" in the area, I don't know. I think your best bets are Dante -- which I personally am not a huge fan of, but most people seem to like -- for an upscale lunch, or if you want to do the 10-minute walk to Kendall Square, I like Black Sheep Cafe for (slightly pricey) soups and salads in a cozy atmosphere. Both Dante and Black Sheep Cafe have outdoor seating if it's nice enough out.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Pia

                If you go as far as Black Sheep, though, you might want to go to Mulan and have great food!