Restaurants in Cambridge


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Hungry Mother

At the end of March in 2013, chef Barry Maiden won his third-straight Madness title. This wasn’t March Madness, though; it was Munch Madness, a Boston.com competition that pitted 64 local restaurants against each other to find the city’s favorite. It seems that Bostonians have an unwavering dedication to Maiden’s restaurant, Hungry Mother, which serves up hearty, southern-style dinner fare. One glance at the menu and it's easy to see why. Smoked-cheddar pimiento cheese dip and sea-salt sprinkled boiled Virginia peanuts ready palates for hearty plates of crawfish and grits, cast-iron chicken, and catfish and shrimp served with scallion hushpuppies. The after-dinner menu is just as thoughtfully curated––bartenders mix a quartet of after-dinner drinks meant to end things on a sweet note, similar to Beethoven’s intentions when he replaced all of his piano keys with Fun Dip sticks. Of course, there’s traditional dessert, too, including a decidedly southern buttermilk chess pie topped with blueberry-mint preserves and whipped crème fraiche.

233 Cardinal Medeiros Ave
Cambridge,
MA
US

Hailed as 1 of 11 coffee shops that “put Boston on the map,” according to the Boston Globe, Simon's Coffee Shop decided the only way to top itself was to literally put itself on the map again. Despite just opening, Simon’s Too looks a little more grown-up than its predecessor. Instead of playful orange walls, the coffee shop has exposed brick; instead of scrawling the menu items in multicolored chalk, the baristas print them carefully with white block letters. But Simon’s Too still has the same energy as the flagship location. And it still uses only local coffee, which is brewed from beans roasted in Arlington and Acton. Like a cartoon pie cooling on a windowsill, the coffee bean grinder entices guests with its deep aromas, luring patrons to the wooden counter to order one of the day’s available soups or a signature drink concocted by a La Marzocco espresso machine.

1736 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge,
MA
US

To say The Elephant Walk's co-founder Kenthao de Monteiro had an extremely exciting life before opening up the eatery is putting it a bit mildly. The French-educated politician was once an important diplomat in Cambodia, working as the minister of education and vice president of the Cambodian National Assembly and then serving as the Cambodian ambassador to Taiwan.

According to the New York Times, he was working as the ambassador when the Khmer Rouge took over Phnom Penh in 1975. He and his wife, Longteine de Monteiro, lost everything and spent the ensuing years in Taiwan and France, where they opened a restaurant that displayed Longteine's cooking skills. They eventually made their way over to America in the early '90s and opened another restaurant, The Elephant Walk.

The Elephant Walk now serves up traditional Cambodian entrees, such as the cubed beef tenderloin in black-pepper sauce and lemongrass chicken breast, as well as classic French dishes, such as steak in red-wine beef jus. The menu also caters to vegans, vegetarians, and those with gluten allergies. For those who want to learn how to re-create the dishes at home to impress family, friends, and judgmental cats, The Elephant Walk offers cooking classes led by Longteine, her daughter, Nadsa, and French chef G?rard Lopez.

2067 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge,
MA
US

Cuisine Type: Indian fast food

Established: 2009

Reservations: Not offered

Handicap Accessible: Yes

Number of Tables: 11?25

Parking: Metered street parking

Most popular offering: Nanini

Kid-friendly: Yes

Alcohol: None

Delivery / Take-out Available: Yes

Outdoor Seating: No

Q&A with Sanjay Kansagra, Owner

What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?

We have taken the authentic taste of flavorful Indian food and transformed it into an quick-serve, portable format of delivery. It is self-serve and made-to-order so you don't pay for the table service or tips, which in turn results in reasonably priced, flavorful food. We have been featured in a New York Times article series about the changing tastes of American fast food, and have also been featured in the Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, and Boston Phoenix.

What?s the best reaction you?ve ever gotten from a customer?

"Could be the Chipotle of Indian food."

In your own words, how would you describe your menu?

Its a four-step process at Chutneys. First step: choose from a paratha wrap, rice bowl, or nanini. Second step: choose a vegetarian, chicken, or lamb filling, with few choices in each category. Third step: choose from fresh vegetables to top it. Fourth and final step: choose from a selection of 10 chutneys to customize your flavor.

36 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge,
MA
US

Before diners even glance at OM’s menu, their eyes feast upon a banquet of Asian art. Colorful Thangka paintings and Buddhist statues handcrafted by more than 50 Nepalese, Tibetan, and Thai artists color the space, and intricate Newar carvings frame the walls and doorways. Upon sitting at one of the bare, rectangular tables, patrons exchange pleasantries with their chairs and read through a menu reflective of the art that surrounds them. For instance, small plates of spicy edamame and veggie spring rolls join full entrees of shrimp pad thai or salmon wrapped in tempura nori. An intricate drink list includes the mandarin kaze (orange vodka spiked with sichuan peppercorn) and the Bangkok julep (a blend of bourbon, elderflower, and mint).

Beneath the dining room, a downstairs lounge hosts a diverse lineup of events. Salsa lessons make use of the dance floor, and vinyl parties enable attendees to trade, sell, or just play their records. DJs take over the turntables on Saturday nights, and a cover band re-creates classic R & B tunes every Tuesday.

92 Winthrop Street
Cambridge,
MA
US

The Maharaja's chefs rely on recipes from an era when art and cooking received the royal patronage of great Mughal emperors. Compiled over three generations of research, the menu of traditional Indian cuisine has been modernized to pair with a lavish dining space, that, according to the The Boston Foodie, "is an elegant room floating above Harvard Square with all of the amenities of a perfect dining experience." Ornately detailed wooden chairs surround The Maharaja's sturdy tables, and a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooks the weekly hopscotch tournaments in Harvard Square. Furthermore, a collection of statues—which took three attempts to import from India—watch over the restaurant's guests.

Garlic naan emanates nostril-piquing aromas of fresh garlic and coriander as chefs roast cubes of lamb and bone-in chicken in a tandoor oven that burns hotter than a feverish dragon. Sidestepping meats entirely, the house-made paneer, eggplant, and chickpeas bump elbows with green peas, raisins, and sautéed cashews. Servings of kulfi faluda can sate sweet teeth with scoops of pistachio-flavored ice cream and sweet noodles.

57 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge,
MA
US

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