Kendall Square is the tech-y neighbor of Central Square and East Cambridge, also hugging the Charles River on the south and east. From long-fermented wood-oven pizza to spicy Taiwanese bites, the neighborhood has something for every eater. Here are 12 of the best places to eat and drink in and near Cambridge’s Kendall Square.Read More
Where to Eat and Drink in Kendall Square
Wood-fired pizzas, mapo tofu, brisket, and more
Mu Lan Taiwanese Restaurant
This Taiwanese restaurant is tucked into a quiet part of Kendall, and is the kind of place to order plenty of dishes to enjoy family style around the table. The mapo tofu is excellent, and the menu is packed with options, so count on multiple visits to make a dent in all Mu Lan has to offer.
The Smoke Shop
This BBQ joint serves up all the favorites: brisket, burnt ends, pulled pork, and more, along with an admirable whiskey selection. Stop by the Smoke Shop’s original location (it has since expanded to four other locations, including the Seaport and Assembly) before heading to the Kendall Square Cinema to see the latest buzz-worthy indie flick. For pickle lovers, they serve both bread and butter pickles and sour spears.
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State Park is one of the best bars in the neighborhood, and the food is excellent as well. The Nashville hot fried chicken is served as advertised — hot! Wash it down with a Miller High Life (or something better from the small but always well-curated draft list), and play something hip on the jukebox.
Sumiao Hunan Kitchen
This spot was a welcome addition to a Chinese food scene that was lacking in cuisine from the Hunan province. Hunan food is best known for being spicy, but Sumiao’s menu contains plenty of options regardless of one’s spice tolerance. It can get busy, so if there’s a wait for a table, consider a stroll at Timothy J. Toomey, Jr. Park around the corner, one of Kendall Square’s charming parks.
Fuji at Kendall
Fuji at Kendall is part of the JP Fuji group, which opened the first Japanese restaurant in Quincy, Massachusetts. At the Kendall location, you can find huge sushi boats, handrolls, hot entrees like miso salmon, and more. For a work lunch in the Kendall area, Fuji offers several lunch specials.
Established in 2001, this cozy neighborhood Italian spot has long been the perfect place to settle in at the bar or the charming dining room and enjoy a glass of wine and a big bowl of spaghetti alla chitarra and meatballs. In the warmer months, the patio is lovely as well.
Between the stunning dining room and the expertly executed French classics, Batifol has become a fast favorite in Kendall Square. Try the soupe à l’oignon gratinée (french onion soup) and the coq au vin. For the mushroom lovers, add a side of the roasted wild mushrooms.
Commonwealth showcases comfort classics like steak frites, oven-roasted salmon, and chicken piccata. The vibe ranges from a post-work drink to a relaxing dinner to being transformed for weddings and special events.
Inspired by travel to Copenhagen, Vester is a woman-owned cafe serving up excellent coffee and breakfast and lunch classics, including some more European-inspired dishes like Swedish burritos and lingonberry turkey sandwiches. This cafe is the perfect stop for a bite if you’re working in or visiting the Kendall area.
The dough at Area Four is made with a sourdough starter and ferments for 30 or more hours. The result: one of the best pizzas in Boston. The wood-fired pizzas have a beautifully blistered crust. Keep things simple and get the “not pepperoni” (it’s soppressata).
The patio at Shy Bird is quite the vibe — the restaurant stretches out the outdoor season with heaters, and serves up homey meals with an emphasis on rotisserie chicken. To get a good sampling of that signature dish, try the dinner for two, which includes a whole rotisserie chicken, sauce, fries, and house salad. In addition to dinner, Shy Bird is a cafe and a bar, so you’re covered for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner.
Just steps from the Kendall T stop, the newer Kendall location of Row 34 opened up in April 2023 and got right to work serving up its fun spins on quintessential seafood dishes. Think squid ink rigatoni, soft shell crab sliders with yuzu aioli, and a bacon cheddar burger with an optional fried oyster add-on.