Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Nov 10, 2010 09:36 AM

Does this kind of place exist?

I am looking for a quiet place in Cambridge or Boston where I can work but also can have good food.

A mash up of Starbucks and a bistro-ish restaurant perhaps--a place where I can work on a laptop and sip coffee and eat food leisurely and also won't feel like I need to eat and vacate my table. I guess another way to put it is a place with library-like atmosphere that serves delicious food. Is there such a place or is it just my wishful thinking?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Andala Cafe in Central has that feel, but doesn't bring it with the food. You can stay there as long as like.

    Some people really like the food, but I've been totally unimpressed. It makes me angry, too, because I think it is one of the most perfect spaces and locations for a restaurant, and I think it's being wasted.

    1. Maybe the Trident Cafe during off-hours? When it's not busy, it can be a pretty relaxing place, and they definitely have wi-fi.

      1. The Hi-Rise Bakery location at the corner of Huron & Concord in Cambridge is like this, at least at off peak hours. During a meal time rush, however, watch out.

        6 Replies
        1. re: VintageMolly

          FYI, Hi Rise doesn't have public bathrooms. I'm not sure if they have wifi either. The other thing is when you leave, you smell like Hi Rise. I mean, it literally permeates into your clothing and it takes awhile for it to go away.

          1. re: VintageMolly

            The one in Harvard Square too. I know I've worked there on my laptop over lunch, but can't remember if they have wifi.

            1. re: VintageMolly

              Indeed, don't try this when its busy (e.g. weekends most of the day), because if I see you (not you-you VintageMolly, but the general "you") loafing there doing your unemployed laptop surfing "third place" boho bit when there are people waiting for a table, I'll personally kick yer arse, your stupid Campagnolo bike helmet, and your Sunday NYT to the bench outside. Drives me apeshet to see such selfishness.

              The Harvard Square location is better for that, since it has a lot more seating space, especially non-winter, when they have tables outside.

              1. re: Uncle Yabai

                Is there even such a thing as a Campagnolo bike helmet? They make bike parts, not helmets.

                1. re: ponyboy

                  Poetic license, perhaps, but the imagery was stronger that way.

                  1. re: ponyboy

                    He he, you're right, they don't make a helmet, but they make a lot of other bling, such as a helmet cover ("reduce air drag", and it looks like your helmet is a Campagnolo), gloves, and those moronic one-piece pants that make everybody except professional cyclists look utterly ridiculous.

              2. What about Darwin's in Cambridge? Not bistro fare but certainly excellent sandwiches and soups. Wifi is free and lots of people camp out there for hours doing work. (I used to be one of them:)

                1. The food is not bistro-level, but the Cafe at Mohr & McPherson in the South End otherwise fits this bill. Comfortable, free Wi-Fi, rarely packed, good sandwiches, salads, coffees and teas, baked goods, snacks. I reviewed it in The Phoenix a couple of months back.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    Another South End option would be the South End Buttery. Even on hectic mornings when there's a line for coffee and pastries, there is usually a seat or two available where you can plop down and laptop away. Afternoons are better if you are looking for it to be less crowded, but I'd avoid the weekends if you want to sit for a while without feeling the need to vacate your table after a while for the people standing around eyeing your spot. Only thing is I can't remember if they have Wi-Fi. CitySearch says it does, but the actual website doesn't say, and I can't remember. Food on the cafe side includes a really good breakfast sandwich, a bunch of lunchtime pressed and cold sandwiches, salads, a decent bowl of chili plus another soup of the day, pastries, cupcakes, two types of quiche, and a few other things. I haven't tried their burger. It doubles as a full kitchen restaurant later in the evening so it sort of fits the bill for the mashup you are looking for.