Are you looking for the best restaurants in Central Square, Cambridge? There are so many restaurants near MIT and near Harvard. Central Square is smack dab in the middle of these restaurants. We lived in this area for over a decade, and the restaurant scene has exploded in recent years. Here’s our favorite restaurants in Central Square, Cambridge. Check out central square restaurants cambridge:
Best Restaurants in Central Square, Cambridge MA
What can we say about Viale? It’s like a dream come true restaurant, started by a local couple with deep roots in the restaurant industry, and they created an amazing menu and have a lot of heart. They showcase Italian cuisine and source as much as possible locally. Some of our favorites include their beet salad, oysters, meatballs and delicious cannoli. Check out all they have to offer on our Central Square Food Tour.
Donut Villa Diner
We also adore this diner, which came about when a local couple met in Central Square and wanted to bring the diner here. They took over the Field location and brought a lot of light and love to that corner. Also the owner started experimenting with vegan options, and they have a really deep vegan menu including vegan donuts and even vegan chick’n and waffles. You’ll have to come here to experience it, and you can do so with a donut taste test on our Central Square Food and Mural Arts Tour!
Life Alive is a really popular local veggie-forward chain, but if you visit them throughout the Boston area they’ll all look similar and slightly sterile except their original locations in Lowell and Central Square. This used to be a video rental place, and it is very homey and crunchy and spirited. Some of our favorite items include the Swami, the Adventurer, the Love Child, the raspberry lime seltzer, and the blue ocean lattes. Check them out on our Central Square Food Tour this Sunday!
The Daily Table
While it’s not technically a restaurant, the Daily Table is a non-profit grocery store in the neighborhood that offers delicious prepared foods you can just grab and go. Maybe you’ll cross the street and eat a picnic lunch on the lawn of Cambridge’s historic City Hall? Or sit outside the post office on the stone wall and grab a sight of the area’s best murals which we talk about further on our food tour!
Talk about busy! One of our favorite spots in the area is Brookline Lunch, which always has a line out the door and is only open until early afternoon. In fact, Casey Affleck used to work here when he was younger, and he often visits the owner. Check out their baklava pancakes for an indulgent breakfast treat. We couldn’t host them on our tour as they’re too busy, but we do endorse their yummy food!
Cicada Coffee Bar
A newer addition to Central Square is Cicada, which is an artisanal Vietnamese coffee bar. They also have a veggie and fish menu available and are inspired by the teachings of a Vietnamese monk – Thich Nhat Hanh. The area is definitely full of folks who appreciate intentional eats, and so we really enjoy the vibe and food of this intriguing spot.
We visit Central Square on our Central Square Food and Mural Arts Tour. Check our tour calendar for more information on booking a tour.
The Mad Monkfish
One of our favorites in the area used to be called Thelonius Monkfish but they changed their name. They often host jazz while folks dine, and they have a bit of an imaginative menu with some of the best sushi in Boston and Cambridge. Our favorite sushi they offer is actually vegetarian, the Frankie and Johnny roll with sweet potato tempura, avocado and cream cheese. But other favorites include their yummy cranberry teriyaki fried rice. Totally a menu to eat your way through!
Roxy’s and A4Cade
One of the coolest spots in the area is A4Cade which is a hidden cafe that’s in the back of a grilled cheese restaurant. And there’s nothing better on a cold day than to dip a warm greasy grilled cheese into a roasted tomato soup. So grab your quarters, and some comfort food, and check out this amazing spot (21+ for the arcade.)
Global tapas is the name of the game, and Little Donkey is one of the first restaurants to upgrade the restaurant scene in the mid 2000’s. One of their most popular desserts is cookie dough served on a baking whisk – they also have a yummy brunch.
Another tapas restaurant we love is PAGU, which has Spanish and Japanese style tapas and natural wines. They are open for dinner only and also are good for a date night in Central Square. It’s definitely on the more adventurous side, and more expensive but a fun experience.
Sort of like Viale, although New American cuisine, Pammy’s is a neighborhood restaurant that’s created by a husband and wife team. They also draw from their Italian culture and consider it an extension of their living room. We agree and really love the yummy pasta dishes.
La Fabrica Central
Focused on entertainment, this is sort of a bar meets food restaurant with a Spanish Caribbean vibe. They offer dishes from Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic — and there’s always some lively sounds coming out of the attached nightclub. Looking for central square bars?
This spot is also a little bit of a “see and be seen” spot, and they offer an ecletic somewhat chaotic menu that suits various tastes. Their bar is mid-century modern, and you can even see an interesting mural on their patio. Check their menu online before you visit!
Mae Asian Eatery
On Main Street, this hole in the wall is a welcome addition to the scene, and its name means “mother” – which is homage to the chef’s mother who passed on these yummy Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese dishes to her which she shares with guests. They do have funky hours so make sure you check online before you visit. They’re also closed on Sunday and Monday.
Miracle of Science Bar and Grill
Miracle of Science Bar is a quick spot to meet a friend after work or before some study plans – they are pretty famous in the MIT/Bio-tech community so it’s a cool place to stop in, but it can be a bit of a wait for a seat. Standards include burgers, quesadillas, and skewers.
Okay it’s not open yet in 2023, but we are super excited about Shojo to arrive as we love their restaurant in Chinatown.
Albeit expensive, if you want a nice cozy date spot with yummy pizza check out Si Cara. They also have a selection of natural wines.
One of our favorite cuisines is Ethiopian, and this cozy spot is fun for folks looking for a different kind of experience. They also offer two different kinds of injera – check them out for a warm and delicious night.
Brick and Mortar
We’ve been enjoying this cocktail bar for decades, and it always slips my mind because there’s no sign out front. A great date spot, they also host a lot of events here and cocktail classes. Afterwards take a stroll through Graffiti Alley, which we visit (and spray paint!) on our Central Square Food and Mural Arts Tour!
Happy Lamb Hot Pot
Located on Mass Ave, this hot pot spot is a stand-by with its yummy shabu shabu, and their lunch combos are an area staple.
Lizzie and Sam