Where to Eat in Cambridge: The Best Restaurants and Bars

April 14, 2018 Roger Rusk

Home to two of America's most prestigious universities, Cambridge exudes a certain intellectual quirkiness. A mix of historical haunts, student hang-outs, alternative art and culture venues, vintage clothing shops, bookstores and ethnic restaurants, the city is, well, really cool. Although it is located just across the Charles River from Boston, Cambridge has a distinct vibe that is noticeable immediately. Start at Harvard Square, a hub of activity and mishmash of trendy stores, outdoor cafes and colorful local characters. Pick up a walking tour map at the visitors information booth in the center of the Square. The route will take you past many important landmarks including the Mount Auburn Cemetery, Tory Row and the Longfellow National Historic Site. Harvard University offers student-led tours through the illustrious buildings and monuments of its sprawling campus. Art and architecture buffs should meander around the M.I.T campus, which includes outdoor sculptures by masters such as Picasso and 20th-century buildings designed by modern greats like Eero Saarinen and I. M. Pei. Along the way, browse through bookstores, stop to watch street performers and grab a coffee at an outdoor café to take in all this captivating city has to offer.
Things to do in Cambridge

1. Life Alive

765 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139-3303 Free Wifi, Takeout, Seating, Street Parking, Digital Payments, Delivery, Reservations International, American, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Breakfast SGD 9 - SGD 26 +1 617-354-5433
Excellent
67%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 234 reviews

Life Alive

Life Alive is an organic cafe serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a vibrant casual cafe that is inspiring and honors local artisans, the community, and our global ecology. Our Mission is to Feed the Vitality of the World... one meal at a time. We are here to renew your energy and connection to life by soulfully serving you the most fantastic, organic, therapeutic, whole food you could ever imagine. Our extraordinary food, space, and service are grown, supplied, prepared and designed with the health and vitality of our bodies, communities, and earth foremost in our mind. By providing you with ease and great enjoyment in one of the most important aspects of your wellbeing, we give you the profound experience of contributing to personal and planetary wellness as you blissfully nourish yourself. Namaste!

Reviewed By bkramer947 - NY

I was so happy to visit Life Alive as a whole food plant based eater. It can be hard in restaurants to find unadulterated plant foods that are overly processed, goopy with sauce and more. This is a place where yes, you can have sugary, salty sauces and toppings, but you can also eat very cleanly, which was my goal. You can build your own salads or whole-grain bowls, complete with quinoa, brown rice, beans, veggies and seeds. Delicious. They also have a huge selection of fun smoothies, ranging from the virtuous to the indulgent. I am pretty sure this is a vegetarian restaurant, as there is some cheese but no meat that I could see. A vegan can easily eat here, though, and feel good about it. You order at the counter and then have to fight your way down to the crowded lower level for a table. It's extremely casual but the decor is fun, colorful and cozy. There is serve-yourself water and condiments, and you bus your own tables. Casual place. Long lines but it moves fast. Highly recommend if you want to fuel your body with happy, good for you foods!

2. Sarma Restaurant

249 Pearl St, Somerville, MA 02145-3942 Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Buffet Mediterranean, Turkish, Middle Eastern, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Dinner, Late Night +1 617-764-4464
Excellent
75%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 315 reviews

Sarma Restaurant

Reviewed By Taryn L

I have Celiac disease. The waiter provided me with a gluten free menu! I could still get most everything on the menu with some modifications. The Potato Falafel was amazing. I also had the steak tartare. My friends are vegetarian and there were great options for them as well! Great to go here with friends, family, or on a date!

3. Ball Square Cafe

708 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02144-2239 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible American, Cafe, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch +1 617-623-2233
Excellent
71%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 143 reviews

Ball Square Cafe

Reviewed By barbershopchick - Chicago

Stopped in here for lunch on a cold, blustery day with my brother and nephew. We had to wait about 10 minutes for a table. The place was busy, but turnover is quick. My brother and I had sandwiches-a Reuben and a BLT. My nephew...MoreI'm happy you enjoyed your lunch with your brother and nephew! It's wonderful to hear you were seated promptly and that you enjoyed your meal. Looking forward to having you all back again soon to try out some more items on our menu! -Mike, Owner

4. Giulia

1682 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138-1803 Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar Italian, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Dinner, Late Night SGD 41 - SGD 66 +1 617-441-2800
Excellent
70%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 220 reviews

Giulia

Reviewed By Mike S - Boston, Massachusetts

Guilia is quite a find - as hard as it is to secure a reservation. The food is very fresh and local, the service outstanding and smart, the interior intimate and the atmosphere relaxed and modest even as the restaurant is packed as usual. Highly recommended - if you can get in.

5. Dali Restaurant & Tapas Bar

415 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143-4346 Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar Mediterranean, European, Spanish, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Dinner, Late Night SGD 41 - SGD 105 +1 617-661-3254
Excellent
54%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 341 reviews

Dali Restaurant & Tapas Bar

Reviewed By MeqonTraveler - Mequon, WI

I have been to Dali twice this fall. Both times were similar. Excellent food, good wine list. The service is good once it gets going (both times there was a significant delay before someone stopped by the table). Pretty reasonably priced. The decor is great. It's a bit noisy, but not too bad.

6. Oleana

134 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02139-1421 Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar Mediterranean, Turkish, Middle Eastern, International, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Dinner, Late Night SGD 54 - SGD 105 +1 617-661-0505
Excellent
74%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 701 reviews

Oleana

Reviewed By LRFoodFan - Little Rock, Arkansas

We really enjoyed the innovative riffs on traditional Turkish dishes. All the ingredients that you would expect were there: tahini, chickpeas, pine nuts, yogurt, lamb, feta. But they were put together in unexpected ways that made every bite interesting. We ordered 4 dishes for the two of us and shared everything. Others might order more, but that was enough for us. Kitchen paced everything nicely so that we had a leisurely meal. We ended up going the their sister bakery Sofra for breakfast the next morning, just to have another chance to try new tastes.

7. Highland Kitchen

150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143-1619 Seating, Waitstaff, Street Parking, Free Off-Street Parking, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Takeout, Television, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible American, Bar, International, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options, Vegan Options Dinner, Brunch, Late Night, Drinks SGD 13 - SGD 26 +1 617-625-1131
Excellent
57%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 235 reviews

Highland Kitchen

Highland Kitchen is a family-owned neighborhood restaurant and bar located "up the hill" in the heart of Somerville. HK has been delivering American comfort food, well-crafted cocktails, friendly service and a killer jukebox since 2007.

Reviewed By pdxballard - Boston, Massachusetts

This was a Sunday breakfast visit. Small wait about 1:00 but the bartender gave us waters and menus. Seated right next to the trio playing music. The service was good but the food was just Ok. I had the huevos rancheros and the beans were under cooked. The spicy beef chili on the other hand does not have any beans in it. Nice place but I'd probably pass on another breakfast. Maybe a dinner just to hear the music!

8. Sofra Bakery & Cafe

1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138-4404 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating Cafe, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch SGD 13 - SGD 20 +1 617-661-3161
Excellent
64%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 164 reviews

Sofra Bakery & Cafe

Reviewed By pvcnco - Barrington, Rhode Island

Stopped in at Sofra for lunch based TA reviews and a craving for Mediterranean food.

Small and packed with people, but their system works. By the time your food is out, you will find a place to eat.

Everything from zatar bread to meze’s, shawarma sandwich, soup, etc. even the Turkish coffee was superb.

Will definitely be back!

9. Bergamot

118 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143-4304 Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar American, Gluten Free Options, Vegetarian Friendly Dinner, Late Night SGD 39 - SGD 39 +1 617-576-7700
Excellent
65%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
4%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 267 reviews

Bergamot

New restaurant

Reviewed By Shantap - Watertown, Massachusetts

Don't be too optimistic based on the strong reviews across the Internet. The food concepts here are good, but the execution is seriously lacking.

I think the goal of profits has overtaken the goal of quality and service.

We called ahead to explain we would be 10 minutes late for our reservation, and even when we arrived we waited another 10 minutes to get a seat.

We were asked if we wanted sparkling water which we accepted, and it came in an in-house bottle and was refilled once or twice. No where was it explained we would be charged a significant fee for in-house sparkling water.

There was a long wait before we could order, and another long wait for any food arrived. Our small bites came with our appetizer so by then our drinks were already done.

Because they were so busy it was impossible to flag down a waiter or get any assistance from our seat.

Finally, the lamb plate was cool, and the meat had already cooled off significantly.

I'm not sure what it is about this place that makes it so popular.

Very straightforward appetizer and main dish took two hours.

I would try others first:

1. Asta
2. Cafe du Pays
3. Self Portrait

10. East Side Bar & Grill

561 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141-1106 Takeout, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Television, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar Italian, American, Bar, Gluten Free Options Dinner, Lunch +1 617-661-3278
Excellent
72%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 187 reviews

East Side Bar & Grill

Reviewed By CIM1970 - Conway, South Carolina

We were interested in a "local's type place" after a long day of travel to get to Cambridge. The hotel staff recommneded East Side, as it was walking distance from the hotel. It did not disappoint! The service was friendly, and the food was good. Definitely had the atmosphere of a place where the neighborhood locals would frequent. We would highly recommend trying East Side when you are in the Cambridge area.

ThingsTodoPost © 2018 All rights reserved.