Bring a friend and a healthy appetite to the heart of Inman Square in Cambridge for a mouthwatering meal at City Girl Cafe. Don't be fooled by the quaint green awning that shades the unassuming storefront of City Girl Cafe—the food inside is anything but quaint. With today's Groupon, you get $35 worth of expertly executed pizza, panini, pasta, and more for just $15.
At The Ginger Pad, a casual atmosphere blends with the rich aromas of garlic, thai basil, and chili sauce hanging in the air to help guests forget the world outside. Like a suspension bridge made out of udon noodles, the menu connects distant lands through food, laying out delicious examples of Malaysian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine. Spring rolls or edamame preempt dives into salty-sweet pad thai or korean beef barbecue. Chopsticks can also lift spicy sichuan shrimp to mouths or gently cradle sushi rolls that combine colorful mango and avocado with fresh tobiko, tuna, salmon, and scallops.
The pungent scent of spice-laden Indian cuisine and naan plucked straight from the tandoor fills the air of Haveli Restaurant's white-and-gold dining room. Dining pairs and quartets can opt for the Sea Food Lovers dinner's steaming plates of fish pakora, fish masal, shrimp jalfrazi, and dal makhni, and the Tandoori Lovers dinner's spicy meats cooked in clay ovens heated by hugs from the titular tandoori lovers. The Meat Lovers dinner culls tender selections such as chicken tikka masala, while the Veggie Lovers dinner represents India's meatless mastery through a trio of vegetarian curries and vegetable biryani. Patrons cool border disputes between spicy and sour taste bud factions with beverages including soft drinks, fruit juices, and mango or rose lassis.
The cozy restaurant from head chef Rembs Layman serves up a menu drizzled with a side of Southern drawl. Appetizers include savories such as huge fried oysters with remoulade sauce and pickle ($8), and a classic shrimp cocktail that will take you back to the post-little-league-game euphoria of celebrating with a refreshing shrimp cocktail and Capri Sun. Entrees range from indulgent (champagne crêpes stuffed with ricotta cheese and basil and dressed with herbed tomato vinaigrette) to Southern classics such as the Cajun gumbo, which the Boston Phoenix recommends ($9). Fish fans will appreciate the pan-fried catfish, served with cheddar grits, spicy remoulade, and house-cured tomatillos. Cap off the feast with a sweet bite, including key lime pie ($7) or banana pudding pie ($7).
Helmed by executive chef and vice president of the Istanbul Professional Cooks Association Yahya Erdogan, Bosphorus Mediterranean Restaurant serves a time-honored menu of Turkish and Mediterranean delights within its softly lit space. Embark on an international taste-bud tour with poached beef manti dumplings paired with garlic yogurt sauce and mint ($12) and fresh hummus ($7). Lamb plays center stage in myriad dishes, such as the Bosphorus bake, a lamb shank cooked in tomato sauce then baked in phyllo dough ($22). The levrek bogaziki rolls baked striped bass into a valley of shrimp, mushrooms, and potatoes ($22), and vegetarians can throw their mouths surprise parties by ordering the yogurtlu ispanak, a mélange of sauteed spinach, rice, onions and tomatoes, served with garlicky yogurt sauce ($17).
Koreana offers classic Korean barbecue, outfitting each table with its own grill to create a custom dining experience with built-in entertainment. Warm up maxillo-muscles with an avocado salad ($7) or the shrimp tempura, outfitted with a suit of crispy, golden armor ($10). Then, employ the classic good-cop/bad-cop technique to grill alternating edibles; two grill orders are required to use the grill. The pork bulgogi is a savory option, with slices of chili-paste-marinated pork bathing in a sweet and spicy soy sauce ($19), and the chadol baegi logs in as another meat nominee, casting sweet soy sauce and salted sesame oil in a beef brisket production that guarantees odd couple hilarity ($20). Vassals to the vegetable have plenty of options at Koreana, including barbecued tofu ($16) and rice entrees such as the bokembop, a Korean fried rice full of buried vegetable, egg, and kimchee treasure ($10). Flame-fearing foodies also have plenty of uncooked options, including salmon or yellowtail sushi rolls ($4.50 each). Kids get to pick on something their own size, such as the chicken teriyaki with a fried dumpling ($8).