This time I am going to take a turn at providing selections. I recently moved to Cambridge, MA, a great place to be interested in new technologies and blogging in particular with the resources of MIT, Harvard, and the other schools. Many people come to school in the Boston area and never leave. I have generally followed this pattern. While I had brief stays in Toronto, New York, and London, I have generally been in the Boston area since I first arrived almost forty years ago to start college. Now I am back in the same neighborhood I lived in as a grad student at Harvard. I later came back nearby when I did my psot-doc here.
There are many great places to eat in Cambridge. I had an initial list of over twenty and narrowed it down to eight places that I have actually tried in the past few years. I will do an update in a few months after I have a chance to visit the many others that have been recommended. There is a nice mix of ethnic influences that all have updated takes on their ethnic origins.
Chez Henri - a French – Cuban bistro run by Paul O'Connell who studied at Johnson and Wales, formerly of Olives and East Coast Grill. Chez Henri is located near the Berkman blog meetings and I have had the Cuban sandwich at the bar before meetings on several occasions when I was not going to stay for our post meeting dinner. Other starters include barbecue beef anticucho skewers, Cuban fish ceviche, and a spring onion and mushroom tart. They also serve great Cuban drinks. It is located at 1 Shepard St, just off Massachusetts Avenue Phone: (617) 354-8980
Dali is a Spanish restaurant with great tapas and complete meals. They have new tapas every week along with their regular. There is a long tapas bar and full seating in severlal small rooms. The site started as a drug store and then was The Pleasant Stock restaurant for years. Across the street is the Wine Cask, one of the best wine and cheese stores in the area. In the early 70s I had friends who worked there who had great parites upstairs after the place closed for the night. It is on the Cambridge border at 415 Washington St Somerville, MA 02143-4346 Phone: (617) 661-3254
The Helmand is an Afghan restaurant, As City Search says, “Afghan cuisine has distinct Indian, Persian and Arabic influences. Dishes are highly seasoned with spices like turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon and cilantro" which makes sense given the country's geographic location. The owner is the sister of the current head of the Afgan governement. It is located at 143 First St., Cambridge, MA, 02142 (617) 492-4646
Oleana features Arabic influenced foods of the Mediterranean with a strong lean towards Turkish cuisine. It is run by Ana Sortun. It is located at 134 Hampshire St. Cambridge. (617)-661-0505.
Rialto provides great food with sources in French, Spanish and Eastern Mediterranean cuisine. Jody Adams is the chef. It is a very special place for a big night. One of the owners is Karen Haskell, my former boss at Spectrum Training in the 1980s. She told me that she and her family go to Europe to explore new food trends. It is located in The Charles Hotel, One Bennett Street Cambridge, MA (617) 661-5050.
Casablanca provides a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influenced menu. It is great Harvard Square place that has been around since the 1950s going through many incarnations. I enjoyed a few of the early versions in the 60s and recently went there and liked how they have updated it. It is located at 40 Brattle St. Cambridge, MA (617) 876-0999
Salts offers a French influenced modern American cuisine. Gabriel, executive chef, has been served as the lead line cook for Portland, Maine's wonderful Fore Street Restaurant. It was one of four Boston places recently named by Gourmet. It is located at 798 Main St. Cambridge, MA (617) 876-8444
Harvest has been around for almost 30 years. I went a few times went it first opened. New ownership took over in 1998 under Kenneth A. Himmel (Grill 23 & Bar & Excelsior) and revamped the offerings to positive reviews. The chef is Keith Pooler of Gloucester, MA and the food is contemporary New England. It is located at 44 Brattle Street down a walk way past the Crate and Barrel store. Phone; (617) 868-2255
I am adding one new one as I had friends form Amherst in for the weekend and we went to the Argana Restaurant, a great Morrocan in Inman Sq., a few blocks from my place. There is bank of cushion seats. Morrocan music in the background, and traditional Morrocan food. I liked the music and the waiter said the current CD was Salon Oriental and the Buddha Bar series is also good. We had Chicken Bastilla, a filo filed with sweet chicken, Seared Scallops with plantain fritters and smoked chili and red pepper emulsion. and couscous. One of my friends had Harira, the traditonal Morrocan tomatoe and chick pea soup she served when she worked in a Morrocan restaurant years ago. A sign said there is belly dancing on Friday nights. It is located at 1287 Cambridge St. Cambridge, MA (617) 868 1247.