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Good eats near Harvard Square area? Please recommend some of your yummy faves

Hi Chowhounders,
Hoping to get your expert feedback on this.

Looking for some good dining options, and staying near Harvard Square. Hoping for some places that aren't too pricey (hopefully with some main entrees no more than $20-28 range).

It's been a while since I lived in Boston (as a student). Needless to say, only went to the cheapest places then, when I wasn't cooking Ronzoni at home. :) So not as familiar with the 'grown up' dining options., especially in Cambridge :)

Hoping you can recommend some yummy options. Italian (mmm, homemade pasta), English, American, Southern, Eclectic, Cajun, Greek, French, Seafood, Mexican, etc. Looking more for dinner, but am sure will need some lunch type options as well. I've been looking over the boards but haven't found one yet that was very specifically only for this area yet.

Really appreciate your help with figuring this out. Thank you for taking the time to share.

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  1. We like Veggie Planet at Club Passim in Harvard Sq. and Asmara Ethiopian/Eritrean in Central Square.

    1. Sandrine's (esp. the flatbreads), the bar at Chez Henri (esp. the cubano and Periodistas), the Monday Club at Upstairs on the Square, Garden at the Cellar. For lunch, Hi-Rise or Veggie Planet.

      1. Garden at the Cellar, Oggi Pizza in Holyoke Center @ Harvard.

        1. one stop past harvard square, a few minutes from porter, is annapurna, which serves tibetan and afghani food. reasonable prices and delicious.

          one stop before, in central square, is central kitchen which serves a mediterranean type menu and wine mark-ups are absurdly low.

          you can also do pretty well at casablanca for "middle eastern".

          both upstairs on the square and rialto are a bit higher than your price range but have numerous prix-fixe and small plates options.

          don't know when you're visiting, but this week and next are restaurant week, and many places are offering that deal for the month.

          1. there is a hidden gem on JFK street (toward the river)called Shays Pub. IT is wine and beer only but the selections are really sophisticated. THe food while appearing to be pub grub from first glance is also better than average. It is a nice, cool atmosphere with a small outside patio. We love the hummus plate, the burgers are delish and their prosecco is one of the best bottles for the price. You will not break the bank here and will feel real comfortable.

            1. It looks like pollystyrene and I have very similar opinions. My personal favorites for slightly upscale are Monday Club at Upstairs on the Square and Garden at the Cellar. Cambridge 1 is also pretty good for grilled flatbread pizzas. For more casual fare, Hi Rise and Crema Cafe both make excellent sandwiches and have outdoor seating.


              1. Casablanca - make a meal of a few of the small plates - I had the crispy eggplant Napoleon and the mezze plate the other night and was quite happy. Noir in the Charles Hotel is fun and inexpensive. Scott Robinson has taken over at Grafton Street and has lifted the quality - I especially liked the thin-crust pizzas. Downstairs at Upstairs on the Square is affordable and consistently good.

                1. Don't forget Le's in the Garage. Some darn fine vietnamese food at low prices in a casual setting. The Pho is tasty!

                  1. Mr. Bartley's. Great burgers. (They recently filmed a segment of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives there.)

                    1. I really like Ten Tables, which is within walking distance to Harvard Square. They have great tasting and prix fixe menus and I've never had a bad meal there.

                      Another favorite is Henrietta's Table. While their brunch is pricey (although IMO worth every penny), they also have their "Yard Sale" menu for two or three courses.

                      Both of these places really focus on farm fresh local ingredients, which keeps them changing the menu and keeps me coming back for more!

                      1. It may not be dinner, but make sure you don't miss L.A. Burdick chocolates on Mt. Auburn. It may be too warm for their famous hot chocolate, but you should definitely pick up some desserts.


                        1. If you don't mind a ~15 minute walk from Harvard Square, EVOO (intersection of Kirkland & Beacon) is a great option. Eclectic / new American, frequently changing menu featuring fresh local ingredients, and a $35 3-course prix fixe.

                          I'll also second the recommendation for Crema Cafe for sandwiches, and add Darwin's.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: tsackton

                            I'd second EVOO. I love their Chinese take-out box meal!

                          2. EVOO is just a ten minute walk from Harvard Square and has a great prix-fixe menu option at $35. Three courses and the food, which focuses on local, seasonal ingredients, is fantastic. It is dinner only. If you have a few extra $ consider the wine parings with your dinner for an extra $15, which works out to $5/drink which is pretty darn good IMO.

                            EVOO Restaurant
                            350 Third Street, Cambridge, MA 02143