HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >


Need quiet, slightly upscale place for weekend lunch/brunch in Cambridge

This is not a break up! We just need a quiet spot outside of the house during weekend daylight hours to discuss a family issue. Has to be quiet, and I haven't been anywhere quiet lately. Don't know most of the new places in Kendall so advice on the noise level there would be welcome.

I want something slightly upscale for this...our usual haunts are the Independent, Tupelo (but we won't go back there), ECG (but we won't go back there either), Magouns, Atwood's, the Druid. Last time we went to Za we were really disappointed so don't want to go back there either (though it's a fallback).

I'm thinking of Harvest...not for the brunch, which is a lot more than we usually pay per person as well as a lot more than I can eat, but the lunch menu has lots of reasonably priced appetizers that in the range of the other places for the same kind of item. But they are closed through July 11.

The Puritan brunch is out of our price range. I love Istanbu'lu but the seating there is kind of cramped for this occasion. I know Moroccan Hospitality is quiet, but we need alcohol for this occasion! (By the way, we went there recently and it was difficult to see from the street. I hope the best for them.)

Back in the day, around 3 or so, we would be able to go sit at a corner table at Casablanca and have quiet apps, enjoy the quiet. That's long gone, of course!

Thanks for any leads.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Catalyst? I haven't been for brunch, but really enjoyed the two dinners i've had there. Lots of space between the tables, not noisy and an outside patio for good weather.

    1. Maybe Catalyst? Relatively quiet at lunch, booze, upscale. Affordable? Maybe not so much.

      The Similans might work if you like Thai. It's about a 10/ 15 minute walk from Kendall.

      1. Had a very pleasant brunch at Abigail's recently. On 3rd St in Kendall. A nice outside patio also. Brunch sevred ony in Sundays, not Saturdays.

        1 Reply
        1. re: BBHound

          I agree. Nice patio and good brunch

        2. What about the abbey?

          1. Thanks for the recs so far, we'll check out catalyst and abigail.

            the abbey menu looks great but I should have said that we live in Somerville and because of child care issues we need to stay fairly close by. Brookline is too far, unfortunately.

            An afternoon or early evening bar with some apps would also work.....but it needs to be quiet...no loud music or world cup viewings........

            5 Replies
            1. re: Madrid

              Not that Abbey. The one on Mass Ave outside of Porter Sq.


              1. re: jgg13

                thanks so much! just might be the right place. certified quiet? we could go around noon so that might help avoid the noise. In any case, when we don't need quiet especially, looks like a great place to sub for some of the places we won't be back to.

                Catalyst looks interesting and I love that buttermilk biscuit is available, but much more breakfast than lunch, no vegetable sides, only one salad.

                1. re: Madrid

                  We went today and it was super quiet. Of course, being a holiday weekend could affect that perhaps

                  1. re: jgg13

                    I'm glad to hear this. When my elderly parents come to town they always ask to go to a quiet place, and it is often hard to find one. It's been stressful, as they seem to really react to the noise. So next time they come, we'll try it.

                    Madrid, if you go, let us know how many decibels you encounter. And of course, any comments about the food are welcome.

                  2. re: Madrid

                    My lunch at Abby was NOT quiet. One loud guy at the bar filled the room. Too many hard surfaces!

              2. Wow. This is harder than it first appears! Daytime, alcohol, and quiet turns out to be a hard combination. Hotel bars actually do a pretty good job of fulfilling these requirements, and the bonus is, almost everyone else is from out of town so you don't run into your next door neighbors.

                The dante bar in the Sonesta has some overpriced, but not bad appetizers, and the required alcohol. Not cheap, but certainly quiet and restrained. The chairs are comfortable too, which is an added bonus.

                Henrietta's Table might be another option if you like heading to Harvard Square. I have only eaten there once during a restaurant week, so I don't really know the food at all.

                3 Replies
                1. re: smtucker

                  yep, you are correct! difficult combination.

                  As it turned out we went to the ArtBar at the Royal Sonesta, arriving about an hour before your suggestion was posted! I really wanted a water view and the only other close by is Pier 6....we've been before and found it very noisy, over priced drinks, not so good food.

                  The view of the Charles at Art Bar is not nearly as good as the Pier 6 harbor view, but it was good enough. It was a new place for us, which we needed, and the outside seating was comfortable with a good breeze. Very quiet! None of the music that was blaring inside of the bar. DH enjoyed his smoked salmon bagel plate and I was surprised that the gazpacho was so good. Surprising that they only had two draft beers, but DH had 2 of one of them, so it worked out fine.

                  Lots of vacationing families were emptying out from their breakfasts/brunches as we arrived around 11:30. Seems they are open earlier than they state on the website, maybe just for hotel guests. Anyway, I'm glad we missed all that. DH found parking at the Galleria for $3.

                  We got through part 1 of what we needed to discuss, so great. We have an adopted special needs child...so lots to discuss sometimes out of the house.

                  thanks to everyone for the suggestions. We will try Abigail and the Abbey in Cambridge on other occasions. Catalyst seems a bit out of our price range, but we might try.

                    1. re: Madrid

                      Patio at Commonwealth is another option, although maybe not as quiet as ArtBar.

                      I just had the gazpacho shooters with (lots of) crab on the regular menu at ArtBar while watching the World Cup and really enjoyed them.

                  1. Wondering how your Abbey experience was for brunch? We were there last night for dinner, and the food and service were excellent. But it was LOUD. Shout-y, can't hear your partners across the table, loud. I would love to go back, since we live nearby, but am not sure I want to do that again!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Splendid Spatula

                      see below...we ended up going to ArtBar at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge. It was very quiet on the patio.

                      1. re: Splendid Spatula

                        As I mentioned above, when we went for brunch (so granted, an n of 1, not exactly statistically significant) it was super duper quiet. But it was around 1pm (so later on), summer (no students) and holiday weekend.