All of these restaurants are within walking distance of Harvard Law School and are accessible via the subway's Red Line. Descriptions have been taken from the Boston Phoenix newspaper's website: www.bostonphoenix.com.
32 Church St, Cambridge, (617) 864-6100.
Massive margaritas plus affordable, satisfying Tex-Mex
fare equals Harvard Square's busiest restaurant.
Price range for entrees: $7 - $12.
57 JFK St., Cambridge, (617) 661-8100.
The Bombay Club offers a familiar menu in unfamiliarly airy, contemporary surroundings.
The divine is in the little things, like the buttering of mint chutney in the cheese
pakoras, the distinctive spicing in the vegetarian curries, the texture and charcoal flavor
of the reshmi kebab. Good breads.
Price range for entrées: $9 - $15 (buffet lunch, $5.95).
Brother Jimmy's BBQ
96 Winthrop St., Cambridge, (617) 547-RIBS.
The ex-House of Blues space has lost its wonderful art and performers, but the idea of
white soul food in a shack lingers on. The new format emphasizes drinks with scary names,
sports on screens, and waitresses with strategically-torn T-shirts. But you can still
dine well on fried appetizers, a very passable chicken fried steak, various ribs (of
which the Northern style are the most reliable), and side dishes of coleslaw and
candied yams with walnuts. If you went in bib overalls, they'd probably have to hire you.
Price range for entrees: $7 - $16.
Café of India
52A Brattle St., Cambridge, (617) 661-0683.
A conventional Indian restaurant menu near Harvard Square, bearing some notable
vegetarian dishes: especially a stunning okra specialty, bhindi masala kadahi.
Fine fried appetizers and stuffed breads. Desserts for hard-core escapists only.
Price range for entrées: $10 - $18 (lunch buffet, $6.95).
1667 Mass Ave, Cambridge, (617) 547-1228.
A bar-restaurant right at the gates of Harvard Law School, but with diner-style
Mom food and no attitude. Microbrews on tap, the best sweet-potato
fries around, and all the meat loaf and garlic mashed potatoes you can handle.
Price range for entrées: $5 - $12.
27 Church St., Cambridge, (617) 576-1111.
Miracle of Science guys do it again with Greater Boston's kewlest pizza parlor.
Nice salads, crispy ultra-thin-crust pies, a cunning wine list, and one
dessert, Toscanini's tiramisu ice cream. The employees wear jeans and
black shirts, and you'll wish you did, too.
Price range for entrées: $7 - $15.
40 Brattle St., Cambridge, (617) 876-0999.
Chef Ruth-Ann Adams has taken the helm from Ana Sortun, who helped build
this Harvard Square institution into an impressive North African-inflected restaurant.
Price range for entrées: $14 - $21 (lunch, $7 - $9).
1 Shepard St., Cambridge, (617) 354-8980.
A classic French bistro with a Cuban flair: loud, casual, warm, and nourishing. Try
the steamed mussels in creamy saffron broth, blanquette de veau on egg noodles, steak
frite with sofrito and fries, trout a la meuniere, lemon hazelnut tartlette. Cuban bar
food is available until midnight, Fridays through Saturdays.
Price range for entrées: $17 - $22.
Craigie Street Bistrot
5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, (617) 497-5511.
High-quality country French food and wine make this clubby West Cambridge neighborhood
bistro a must-visit for food lovers. Chef Tony Maws does wonderful things with vegetables,
wild mushrooms, starches, fish, poultry, terrines - even a simple salade compose.
Make sure you get a dessert with ice cream or sorbet involved.
Informal and only moderately expensive, especially if you can time
it for the $29-after-9-p.m. three-course specials.
Price range for entrées: $19 - $41.
Fire & Ice
50 Church St., Cambridge, (617) 547-9007.
Fast, fun, and flexible. Fire & Ice crosses Benihana with a salad bar, so you mix and
match ingredients and sauces for a stir-fry on their eight-foot circular open griddle. As
long as you remember that too much variety cancels out
the flavors, you can eat well and as much as you want. Loud, youngish
tone does not disguise the "ice" – drinks and beers – side
of the equation.
Price range for entrées: $13.75.
44 Brattle St., Cambridge, (617) 868-2255.
Meet the new Harvest, quite different from the old. The new one still focuses on New
England foodstuffs, but the cheffery is professional and poised, the flavors intriguingly
sour, and the desserts make memories. Menu changes weekly.
Price range for entrées: $20 - $29.
1 Bennett St., Cambridge, (617) 661-5005.
Freshness is the theme here, with a farm stand built right into the decor. Chefs visible
in an open kitchen prepare down-home, cozy country fare, as well as simple but
inspired Continental cuisine and fresh-baked desserts. Impressive,
if pricey ($42 per person), Sunday brunch.
Price range for entrées: $12 - $20.
John Harvard's Brew House
33 Dunster St., Cambridge, (617) 868-3585.
Try all the ales (brewed right here) on the Bard's Sampler, then split a romantic pint
of the winner, likely the toasty Irish Export Stout. Food is actually very good –
homemade chowders, their signature chicken pot pie, grilled meatloaf, and stout mudslide pie.
Price range for entrées: $6 - $17.
57 JFK St., Cambridge, (617) 234-3988.
Unlike the Chinatown Penang, with its South Pacific decor, the Harvard Square branch
is done up in '80s "high-tech" with exposed steel and Lucite slabs for tables.
No decorative scheme can stop the Malaysian food, especially the fried appetizers on the
Penang Lobak, the curried roti telur appetizer, the "yam pots" made of fried
taro, and the dreamy coconut pudding in a perfect shelled egg of coconut meat.
Price range for entrées: $7 - $22.
The Red House
95 Winthrop St., Cambridge, (617) 576-0605.
The Red House makes a series of romantic settings out of an 1802 home in the heart of
Harvard Square, and the food is reliably good, if not brilliant, in a New
American/Mediterranean mode. Our highlights were roasted parsnip soup, cardamom-scented
pork loin, and litchi sorbet. There's also a small and so far undiscovered bar.
Price range for entrées: $13 - $19.
59 JFK St., Cambridge, (617) 491-9851.
It used to be a sports bar, and is supposed to be a bistro, but I think this menu is
going to fly as a pub with a number of beers on draft and food at its best when
hearty, as in the crab cakes, "grilled New Yorker," and bread
pudding or lemon squares for dessert.
Price range for entrées: $13 - $20.
1 Bennett St., Cambridge, (617) 661-5050.
Despite the Mediterranean name and format, it is the traditional French food that
impresses. Hotel guests give the room an upscale and older crowd, but a less formal tone
than you might expect lets everyone enjoy.
Price range for entrées: $20 - $36.
8 Holyoke St., Cambridge, (617) 497-5300.
Pretty serious and beautifully composed food, especially for something called a bistro,
but the dedication to the food of Alsace ensures that soups and entrees will have hearty,
bistro-like flavors. And then there's the signature pizza-like flammekueche,
loaded with onions and smoked bacon. Fabulously composed desserts.
Price range for entrées: $15 - $29.
1688 Mass Ave, Cambridge, (617) 547-5055.
Outrageously popular yupscale bar. Amid oak, leather, and vintage posters,
Harvard Law kids and their profs mingle with
hip young Cantabrigians and middle-aged bookish
types who still populate the neighborhood. The menu has improved significantly
with a new chef, and who has turned its focus more to quality rather
than quantity. There are inventive dishes to be had, and standouts in
the pasta arena.
Price range for entrées: $13 - $20.
UpStairs on the Square
91 Winthrop St., Cambridge, (617) 864-1933.
Seasonal gourmet cuisine and a quirky atmosphere create
a unique dining experience.
Price range for entrees: $24 - $42.
The downstairs bar of UpStairs is still upstairs from the street, and easier to
get into than the upstairs at the UpStairs Soiree
Room. Downstairs has its own menu, with real treats like Tuscan pizzas,
rabbit flamed in vin santo, a fine grilled swordfish, and butterscotch pudding,
as well as superb teas and wines. Dress wild, because the decor is as though
Monet and Matisse repainted the Stork Club under the direction of Klimt.
Price range for entrées: $12 - $26.
West Side Lounge
1680 Mass Ave, Cambridge, (617) 441-5566.
The poshification of the Harvard-Porter neighborhood continues with this little bistro.
Quite competent Mediterranean food, light on the meat, and a cozy
bar that nicely walks the line between stylish and friendly.
Price range for entrées: $14 - $22.