HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >

Discussion

Craigie or Oleana?

Please help me decide! I'm taking out my fiancee and her parents. I've been to both, so I know both are wonderful, but I just can't decide between the two. Please submit your vote! (This will be for late September, so dining on the patio at Oleana is an option if the weather is nice.)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Oleana.

    -----
    Oleana
    134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

    1. I would go to Oleana. Keep in mind that you can't make a reservation for the patio at Oleana. Those seats are first come, first served. This is generally not an issue if you are dining on the early side though.

      -----
      Oleana
      134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

      1. what would your future in-laws enjoy more? adventurous, casual eaters: Oleana. traditional, francophile meat lovers: Craigie

        1 Reply
        1. re: yumshen

          Agree with this assessment. You can't go wrong either way, though. Also, I've had a few great seafood-only meals at Craigie so it doesn't have to be just about the meat. If I had to vote, I'd pick whichever one you haven't been to most recently.

        2. My taste, Oleana...I like lots of small dishes with different tastes, I love the Sultan's delight beef mezze, but otherwise gravitate towards the interesting vegetables, seafood, and seasonings. Late Sept. is ultimate harvest time and the chef will have great stuff from her husband's farm. Also at least one beef option for a main.

          I've never been to Craigie, I'm not in to all the meat though I would like to try the burger.

          As others have said, if this is a special dinner for the future in laws, go with their tastes. Oleana can be a magical experience for those who like those seasonings and combinations. A totally red meat guy.....probably wouldn't work at all.

          If you get to Oleana early, you will get seated on the patio if you wish.

          -----
          Oleana
          134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

          1. I seem to be in the minority thinking Craigie...I've not had the vegetarian tasting at Oleanna which everyone favours (will try next time), but otherwise I thought the food interesting, tasty, but not all out superb. I think Craigie is all out superb.
            The attraction of the patio is important, however, I don't particularly like the ambience of Craigie...the food is the attraction there.

            tb

            1. I'm with Trublu, I enjoyed my two trips to Oleana, but frankly the food has never blown me away. I am always blown away by the food at Craigie, and the six course tasting will give you loats of smaller plates with different tastes, and is generally 3 fish courses, one or two meat, and dessert. If the patio is the main thing, get to Oleana early, and you'll be able to sit out there (by early I mean when they open - it's as popular as Craigie's bar).

              -----
              Oleana
              134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

              1. Others are right that it really depends on what your in-laws like. I've never been to Craigie, but I think Oleana is a great place for friendly conversation and warm atmosphere. The food is excellent, varied, and unique. I think part of the fun comes from ordering multiple plates, sharing them, and then discussing them with your dining companions. If they are the type who would enjoy that kind of food discussion and the Oleana flavors, I'd vote for Oleana.

                -----
                Oleana
                134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

                6 Replies
                1. re: Cachetes

                  I'm planning on going to Oleana this saturday night. My GF can't make it there till 7 or so. The patio is definitely what we would prefer. What should we expect for a wait? Has anyone ever been told there was a long wait and went down the street to Lord Hobo/B-side to wait it out as Oleana's bar is pretty small?

                  -----
                  Oleana
                  134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

                  1. re: Kinopio

                    I went a couple of months ago at 5:30 on a Tuesday night. the patio was full within 20 minutes.

                    1. re: Madrid

                      The nice thing is that although the patio fills up early, the people who arrive at 5:30 or 6 do not stay til closing; the tables do turn over. There's no way to guarantee a table on the patio, but I went a couple of weeks ago with an 8:00 reservation and was able to get patio seating.

                      1. re: Blumie

                        How long did you wait for the patio seating? Im thinking about making a late reservation and showing up 90 minutes before it in the hopes of a patio table becoming available.

                        1. re: Kinopio

                          I don't remember waiting long -- perhaps 20 minutes -- but there is a lovely area with a bench to wait outdoors and have a drink while waiting for a table.

                          1. re: Blumie

                            that bench is awfully nice, I sat there while waiting for my friend. I had no idea you could get a drink out there....

                2. Both are delicious, but I think the food at Craigie has more finesse, like the chef is aiming higher. The dining room at Craigie is quieter, more formal, and the service is more refined. My parents are in their early 60's, and my dad is a bit hard of hearing. I always forget how easy it is to overwhelm conversation with background noise in restaurants. If that's a consideration for you, I'd definitely do Craigie.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: qaj

                    I think that almost everyone agrees: criaigie for the food; oleana for the atmosphere. You may have difficulty getting a table on the patio,

                    I was not blown away by oleana but consider the food very good. I like the cuisine but have had better. Perhaps, I should try it one more time as I live in Cambridge.

                  2. I think of Oleana as being lighter fare (lighter on the stomach, not necessarily lighter as in less food) and Craigie as being heavy on the fat and salt. You probably already know this, having been to both, but it might factor in depending on your future in-laws' tastes and your after-dinner activities. I also think of Craigie as a noisy and dark place, while Oleana is more conversation-friendly -- again, depends on whether you actually want to talk to her parents!

                    -----
                    Oleana
                    134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Pia

                      Dinner at Craigie and the baked alaska at Oleana for dessert? :)

                      Can't go wrong with either place.

                      -----
                      Oleana
                      134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139