A suburb of greater Boston, Cambridge is located just across the Charles River from the capital city and encompasses Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
This vibrant academic area buzzes with cafes, street art, and thrift stores. A diverse population means you’ll find Japanese, Korean, and Mexican restaurants wedged between scratch bakeries, pizza joints, and vegan cafes. Consider this list of the top restaurants in Cambridge an appetizer, just a sampling to get you started.
My Top 3 Picks of The Best Restaurants in Cambridge
|Suckling Pig for 2
|Puritan & Company
The 8 Top Restaurants In Cambridge Massachusetts
1288 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138, United States // +16177144956
Tatte is a must-stop when I’m in Boston; stepping into one of their shops is like visiting a good friend – I know I’ll enjoy my time.
The comforting vibe is matched by the cozy drinks, like the House Latte, espresso, honey, cardamom, and halva that adds a nutty sweetness.
The Cortado is small and straightforward, the perfect strong coffee to go with a Raspberry Tea Cake or slice of Apple Pie. There are so many pastries it’s hard to choose, but you can’t go wrong with a slab of Pumpkin Pound Cake or a savory Sun Dried Tomato and Feta Scone.
If you’re hungry for more than a nosh, Tatte serves brunch, soups, salads, and sandwiches. Try the Lamb Hash or Halloumi Sunny-side Breakfast Sandwich for a little breakfast flair.
With four locations in Cambridge, Tatte is always closeby. Unlike large chains, each cafe has its own personality. The Harvard Square location’s open kitchen means you can watch the pastry team at work. With two floors, you’ll always find a spot to work or catch up with a friend.
190 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138 United States // +16172252525
With a handful of bakeries around town, Flour makes it easy to pop in for a Homemade Poptart, stop by for an afternoon latte and muffin, or linger over lunch. I didn’t try the Boston Cream Pie, but it’s on my list for my next visit.
They have some of the best scones this side of the Atlantic, especially the hearty currant spelt oat scone. If you prefer a treat-like scone, the Lemon Ginger scone is filled with flavor from bits of candied ginger. Add a creamy Labneh Fruit & Granola Parfait and call it a meal.
Sandwiches range from traditional Smoked Turkey to Chicken Tikka Masala served on Naan with paneer and chutney. You’ll also find salads and warm bowls, like the Miso Tofu Noodle Bowl. Don’t forget to take a treat to go; the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie is simple but divine.
With creative offerings for every craving and quality coffee to match, Flour is tied with Tatte for my regular go-to cafe when I’m in Boston.
20 Prospect St, Cambridge, MA 02139, United States // +16177145018
If you’re looking to start your day with an adult beverage, this quirky retro-themed cafe has a whole list of creative cocktails to fuel you up. Fancy some Brunch Bubbles? Order a flight of fancy mimosas, with showy dragon fruit or mango. There are plenty of cocktails too.
For the full power breakfast effect, dig into the Bonkers Breakfast, which includes all the traditional must-haves. It takes a few plates to handle all the bacon, sausage, pancakes, eggs, fries, and toast on this one.
If you’re more of a purist, go for the bottomless coffee and a Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich. Leaning toward lunch? There’s a full menu of sandwiches and salads, and plenty of offerings for our vegan and gluten-free friends.
Oh, and don’t forget the donuts! Order them plain, turned into a Donut Benny, Donut French Toast or even a Donut Cheeseburger. You can even get a Jelly Donut Shooter.
292 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, United States // +16177145203
Nothing screams comfort food like a golden, toasty grilled cheese sandwich. Roxy’s has a handful, including the Classic Three Cheese. Vermont Cheddar, Muenster, and Monterey Jack provide perfect layers of melted bliss. Add Roasted Tomato Soup and dip away, for about $10. No wonder it’s one of the top restaurants in Cambridge.
If you want to take things up a notch, order the Southern, with BBQ pork and pickles, or the Green Muenster with bacon and guacamole. Vegans don’t have to miss out on the buttery, cheesy fun – there are three non-dairy grilled cheese options.
If you’re craving a burger, Roxy’s has those too. Justin’s Burger features housemade pimento, caramelized onions, and chipotle mayo. There’s also a housemade lentil and mushroom Veggie Burger. No matter what you choose, don’t forget the Truffle Fries.
When evening rolls around, there’s even more to love. The space in the back opens for a speak-easy style bar and game arcade. Order a cocktail, and buy some tokens for the pinball machines and video games. Extra points if you can play with a grilled cheese in hand.
297 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, United States // +16179451548
Made-from-scratch tacos, tortas, and tasty margaritas make Naco Taco in Central Square popular with students and visitors. Long tables inside and festive outdoor seating cater to groups looking to nosh and socialize without breaking the bank.
I had my first Naco Taco from their food truck parked in front of the Patagonia store on Boston’s Newbury Street. The Chicken Tinga tacos with smoked tomatoes and charred corn hooked me and drew me to the Cambridge location on a second visit.
It’s not just the tender meat that sold me; the tortillas are made from corn ground and pressed in house (gluten-free and vegan). You can taste the difference, whether they’re loaded with steak, fish, or pulled pork.
Don’t overlook the pressed sandwiches, especially the Cochinita Torta, with pulled pork and cranberry chili jam. Add a side of seasoned Street Corn, Plantains, or Chips & Gauc and wash it down with a Fresa or Mango Habanero Margarita.
1166 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02139, United States // +16176156195
Serving Modern American fare with an occasional ethnic twist, Puritan & Company is casual and friendly. The food and service are both top notch, which makes this one of the top restaurants in Cambridge and a worthy location for both brunch with the family and special occasion dinners.
Heavy on New England fare, the menu features fresh seafood like East Coast Oysters and Clam Chowder. The Crab Toast with avocado, celery root, and lemon aioli makes a fine starter when paired with a glass of bubbly, but you’ll also have to try the Parker House Rolls, a crowd favorite.
The menu keeps to one page, with just enough choices to satisfy everyone. The Seared Scallops, cooked just right, are paired with black lentils and curried squash. Topped with mustard sauce and tasso ham, the Slow Roasted Pork Chop wins praise for being moist and juicy.
Puritan & Company offers a nightly 5-course Chef’s Tasting Menu for $75, an outstanding value. There’s no printed menu, and each dish comes out as a surprise. We can’t wait to try it next time when we can call ahead and advise them of some food allergies in advance.
310 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, United States // +16179459290
Whether you’re looking for a place to celebrate a special occasion or just meeting friends for drinks and appetizers, this James Beard Foundation nominated restaurant fits the bill. You’ll find Spanish and Japanese tapas that offer both savory snacks and filling dishes. No wonder it’s one of the top restaurants in Cambridge.
The Suckling Pig takes center stage on the menu, with portions for 2, 4, or 6. Tender roast pork is served with fluffy bao, sauces, and pickles for a DIY feast. The Roasted Bone Marrow and Mushrooms and the Koji Marinated Wagyu Striploin are equally good choices.
Among the rice and noodle choices, the Spicy Knife Cut Noodles with pork and chili crisp is a solid option. You’ll also find Veggie Paella and Guchi’s Midnight Ramen. There are lots of gluten-free and vegan options, with a staff that’s happy to accommodate dietary preferences.
If you’ve just come for a snack, order the Tempura String Beans with Thai chili hot sauce or the Shisito Peppers, garnished with sunflower seed romesco. The drinks menu is a short but carefully curated selection of wine, inventive cocktails/mocktails, sake, beer, and cider.
Finish your meal with the Matcha Cookie for a sweet bite, or go all out on dessert with the Olive Oil Polenta Cake served with maple soft-serve ice cream and berry vermouth sauce or the Basque Burnt Cheesecake with Maine blueberry sauce.
581 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, United States // +16178765555
If you’ve never had Japanese curry, you’re missing out. This popular comforting gravy-pork-rice dish can be found all over Japan, and now this Japanese outlet brings their specialty to Cambridge. You’ll find it in a small food court inside H Mart Asian grocery store.
Like any good Japanese restaurants in Cambridge, there are plastic replicas on display at the counter so you’ll know what you’re getting into before you order. Katsu Curry is their mainstay, and you can choose whether you want pork, chicken, or tofu with your rice and curry sauce.
You can choose different size options to match your appetite and add toppings like shredded cheese or picked radishes to customize your curry. Gyozas, tempura, and edamame round out the curry-focused menu.
After you’ve stuffed yourself with curry, it’s fun to stroll through H Mart and buy some tropical fruit or gawk at the exotic flavors of potato chips. Grab a dessert from Paris Baguette on the way out for a solid, satisfying meal.
Restaurants in Cambridge: Wrap Up
We love Cambridge for its happening vibe, walkable streets, murals, and plethora of great eats. Whether you’re on a student budget or come to splurge, you’ll find something that meets your taste. The hardest part is deciding where to begin amongst the plethora of restaurants in Cambridge.
Kirsten Harrington is an Orlando, Florida freelance food and travel writer. Her work has
appeared in WhereTraveler, The Seattle Times, Edible Orlando, The Beijinger, GoNOMAD,
World Footprints, and numerous other publications. When she’s not writing, you can find her
scoping out new adventures, hiking or enjoying a meal with her family. Visit
www.kirstenharrington.com for more.