The restaurant and cafe scene in Cambridge is vibrant, diverse and constantly evolving. Patrons are always on the hunt for the best new restaurants, and keen chefs and business owners are out to impress. 2017 may be far from over, but there are already plenty of newcomers making their mark on the food-lovers scene.
Here are 10 of the most interesting places to eat at in Cambridge right now:
2017 began with the grand opening of Tracy Chang’s Pagu restaurant on Massachusetts Avenue. This odd fusion of Japanese and Spanish cuisine was an instant hit with visitors that love the flavor combinations and the alternative dishes. It’s a great place to try something a little different for the business lunch, and any client is sure to be won over by the braised pork belly bao or kampachi sashimi. Check out Chang’s story and the tantalizing pictures that accompany it.
2. Les Sablons
Les Sablons opened in April 2017 in Harvard Square, with a modern European theme that claims to be “somewhere between London and Paris.” It is a little bit tucked away, but worth the effort for anyone that loves their seafood. There is lots of love from patrons for the quality of oysters – both the produce and the cooking – and the use of wild caught salmon. The cocktail menu seals the deal for those looking for an interesting new haunt for a light meal on a weekend.
Sulmona is an Italian restaurant in Kendall Square. Just a few months old, it already has some great reviews. The pasta dishes seem to garner better comments than the pizza, with the Wild Boar Ragu head and shoulders above the rest. Some are a little disappointed in the portion sizes, but this does allow room for something from the dessert menu. Check out their Facebook page for regular updates to the menu and pictures of their fish of the day.
4. Legal Fish Bowl
Another newcomer on Kendall Square is Legal Fish Bowl. This is a place with lots of potential once the owners work through a few issues with the recipes. The produce is fresh and appealing and there is a great range of Asian inspired dishes to choose from. The staff are certainly eager to please and generous with the helpings.
5. East Coast Grill
East Coast Grill may be familiar to people. This is less of a new restaurant and more of a case of an old one that rose from the ashes. Located at Inman Square, the tempting BBQ with Tiki-inspired menu and casual atmosphere are perfect for those looking for a social meal event. The fried chicken and ribs are meat-lovers dreams, and you can drool over them on East Coast Grill’s Instagram feed until you make it there in person.
If you want an even more casual affair from the best new restaurants in Cambridge, Massachusetts, head to Central Square. Here Roxy’s Grilled Cheese and A4cade team up for games, a simple lunch and a couple of cocktails for the adults. The menu is pretty simple with plenty of burgers, fries and melts. It’s precisely the type of fun students and young people of every age want; proof that you’re never too old for soft-serve ice cream and foosball. Their Instagram feed gives a pretty good idea of what to expect from both the food and games.
7. Haute Coffee
A casual cafe is a must for any Cambridge resident or visitor looking for a bite to eat. Haute Coffee is one of the more recent additions to the cafe scene. This is a sister shop to the popular Concord establishment and it simply expands their menu of sweet and savory snacks to this new audience. The new store is located at Canal Park and its delicious food includes pesto on egg sandwiches and rugelach pastries.
8. The Bar by the Elevator
Open for just a couple of weeks, there’s a lot of buzz surrounding this seaside-themed space in the urban landscape of Kendall Square Cambridge. The Bar by the Elevator is a simple Tiki bar with a minimal menu of hot dogs, potato salad, chips, cole slaw, and fried chicken skins. And there are plans to expand the selection in the summer, with pop-up locations in winter. It’s creative, fun and brings something new to the area.
9. Self Portrait
The cozy new French restaurant on Walden Street is Self Portrait, a sequel to Chef Tim’s and Bronwyn Wiechmann’s fine-dining classic, T.W.Food. Diners choose from thematic dinners, enjoying the blend of traditional and modern, such as lychee sauce with duck, alongside escargots. They are impressed with the service and efficiency for an establishment that only opened in the end of April. Little touches that create the welcoming ambiance, including plentiful bread, ensure Self Portrait will be a local favorite for a long time.
Waypoint in Harvard Square made Food & Wine magazine’s list of best new restaurants in America list for 2017. Specializing in fresh seafood, with a central raw bar leading the way, the appeal here is as much in the atmosphere as the food. Waypoint offers a unique blend of decor and a truly eclectic menu, from steak tartare and bucatini carbonara to King Crab, fried smelts and grilled monkfish cheek with inked eggplant and kohlrabi salsa verde. Great shots of the dishes are available on their Instagram feed.
Caylin White is a foodie and a freelance writer who blogs about personal finance at Stock Hax.