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Dinner near Kendall Square?

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I am going to be at a conference at MIT this weekend and was wondering about suggestions for dinner that are in walking distance -- anything Kendall or Central Squarish. There will be 6 of us, and we are looking for something (ethnic or not) in the sort of moderate price range -- that is, not $30 entrees. We are willing to eat on the early side, but don't want to wait hours to get in someplace.

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  1. Lots of places fit that bill - usually you will not have to wait hours for any place in Kendall over the weekend - couple of suggestions -

    Toward Kendall, Think Tank is a new place that looks like fun - have not been yet; Emma's Pizza for even more casual, Blue Room and Evoo for quieter, closer to your price limit, but I *think* still under $30 entrees.

    Toward Central, Miracle of Science is a fun bar with a good burger; Central Kitchen a causal place with decent French-bistro-y food (Steak frites, mussels and fries, that sort of thing).

    That's a few suggestions anyway.

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    Central Kitchen
    567 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

    Emma's Pizza
    40 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02139

    Blue Room
    1 Kendall Sq Ste B2001, Cambridge, MA 02139

    Think Tank
    1 Kendall Square, lower level, Cambridge, MA 02139

    5 Replies
    1. re: Bob Dobalina

      I like think tank a lot, but i know many people that don't.

      1. re: jgg13

        Why and why not, respectively? I was thinking of trying it soon...

        1. re: Bob Dobalina

          For me I liked all the food that I've had there (although I do think the seoul burger is mislabeled, it wasn't nearly as "korean" as I was led to believe, still tasty though), enjoyed the vibe and thought the drink making was decent enough. I could see it being a place I very much would not enjoy if I went there at the wrong time (after work crowd, late night dance crowd - I don't know if they actually attract either of these, but if they did ...).

          Some of the negative views I've been told: they didn't care for the food (but that case sounded like a massive screwup by the kitchen), didn't care for the vibe, and didn't care about the drinks that much.

          I should say that even for myself, I pretty much put it on the same level as Hobo & Trina's in that while they're all going for something slightly different, they also have some innate similarities. None of them are perfect by any means, but I enjoy going to all three of them.

          1. re: jgg13

            Cool, thanks!

            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              Given that you previously thought the atmosphere/vibe seemed fun & cool, that's a good sign. I think their website/press/PR/etc does a good job of conveying the scene there.

              Outside of that one person (not including yelp reviews, just counting personal contacts), everyone seemed to think the food was good so most of the naysayers were about the atmosphere.

    2. My favorites around there are The Similans (Thai) and Helmand (Afghan), both near Cambridgeside Galleria, Emma's (pizza) on Hampshire Street, Dosa Factory (Indian) on Mass. Ave., and a ton of places up the street in Inman Square, including Tupelo, Casa Portugal, The Druid, and Punjabi Dhaba.

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      The Similans
      145 1st St, Cambridge, MA 02142

      Punjabi Dhaba
      225 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02139

      Casa Portugal
      1200 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

      1 Reply
      1. re: hiddenboston

        I would give a hearty second to the Helmand and Casa Portugal.

        Around this time of the year Helmand is particularly nice with the bread baking in the brick oven and all!

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        Casa Portugal
        1200 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

      2. Check out Mulan for excellent Chinese food. They can easily accommodate a party of six and have delicious options at reasonable prices.

        1. I think we are going to try Think Tank -- I'll let you know how it is . . . I've eaten at Central Kitchen before and liked it, but this sounds like a fun place with an easy menu for everyone to find something. For Chinese, I would have gone to Mary Chung's in Central Square. I haven't been in years, but I remember it as being sooo good. Is it still? If so, I might zip over there on Friday night.

          -----
          Mary Chung Restaurant
          460 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

          Central Kitchen
          567 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

          Think Tank
          1 Kendall Square, lower level, Cambridge, MA 02139

          1 Reply
          1. re: ThomShap

            In the ~10 years or so I've been eating at Mary Chung, I haven't noticed much, if any, change in food taste, and definitely no change in food quality. The place has its supporters and detractors (I'm a supporter) but given that you were a fan I'd wager you still would be.

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            Mary Chung Restaurant
            460 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

          2. For great portugese cuisine, try Atasca(http://www.atasca.com/); wash down dinner with the house port. Alternatively, I also strongly recommend Craigie on Main (http://www.craigieonmain.com/). For a real treat - get a seat at the bar and watch the kitchen work. Their attention to detail is impressive. Great way to close out the weekend with Sunday brunch.

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            Craigie on Main
            853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139