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Ribs from the Smoke Shop
Ribs from the Smoke Shop
The Smoke Shop/Facebook

Where to Eat and Drink in Kendall Square

Ribs, fried chicken, poutine, and beautiful cocktails

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Ribs from the Smoke Shop
| The Smoke Shop/Facebook

Kendall Square isn’t just the East Coast’s answer to Silicon Valley; Kendall’s also home to quite a bit of good food. From long-fermented wood-oven pizza to spicy Hunan bites to traditional Afghan cuisine, this East Cambridge neighborhood has something for every eater. Here are 12 of the best places to eat and drink in and near Cambridge’s Kendall Square.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Café du Pays

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233 Cardinal Medeiros Ave
Cambridge, MA 02141
(617) 314-7297
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Café du Pays took home the award for Eater Boston’s 2017 Restaurant of the Year. The French-Canadian joint — yes, there’s poutine — is known for hearty dishes such as tourtière (pork and venison meat pie) and duck. Diners feel like they’re seated at mémère’s dining room table.

Duck at Café du Pays
Duck at Café du Pays
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

2. The Automatic

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50 Hampshire St
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 714-5226
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The Automatic has one of the prettiest bars in Greater Boston, and the flat patty burger isn’t half bad either. Be sure to check out the late-night scene there.

Flat patty big mac at the Automatic
The flat patty big mac at the Automatic
The Automatic/Instagram

3. The Helmand

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143 First St
Cambridge, MA 02142
(617) 492-4646
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The Helmand, named for the longest river in Afghanistan, has been serving stunningly good Afghan food for years just outside of Kendall Square. The half rack of lamb is not to be missed, nor is the mantwo, which consists of a pastry shell filled with onions and beef and topped with carrots, yellow split peas, and a beefy sauce.

helmand
Lamb from Helmand
Alicia K./Yelp

4. Shabu & Mein

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148 First St
Cambridge, MA 02141
(617) 577-7888
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Shabu & Mein is one of the best hot pot spots in the area. The restaurant has lots of hot pot options — more than 30 — but it’s all about the lobster tail, folks.

shabu and mein
Wagyu beef hot pot from Shabu and Mein
Shabu & Mein/Facebook

5. Mu Lan Taiwanese Restaurant

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228 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 441-8812
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Kendall Square missed Mu Lan for two and a half years after a fire shuttered it, but fortunately it returned in mid-2017 to resume filling the neighborhood with Taiwanese classics, from dumplings to hot pot.

A spread of food at Mu Lan Cambridge
A spread of food at Mu Lan Cambridge
Joseph L./Yelp

6. The Smoke Shop

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25 Hampshire St
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 577-7427
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Pork belly and peaches. Fried green tomatoes. An admirable draft list. Stop by the Smoke Shop’s original location (it has since expanded to Somerville and Boston) some Sunday for apps and brews before heading to the Kendall Square Cinema to see the latest buzz-worthy indie flick.

Two hands, wearing black gloves, hold a piece of barbecue meat above a wooden counter
Andy Husbands prepping meat at Smoke Shop’s original Cambridge location
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

7. State Park

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One Kendall Square Building 300 Lower Level
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 848-4355
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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 at State Park.

State Park
The chicken katsu sandwich at State Park
State Park/Facebook

8. Sumiao Hunan Kitchen

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270 Third St
Cambridge, MA 02142
(617) 945-0907
Visit Website

This Hunan 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 for the eater who’s less inclined to sweat at the table.

Hunan chicken breast with chili teriyaki sauce at Sumiao Hunan Kitchen
Hunan chicken breast with chili teriyaki sauce at Sumiao Hunan Kitchen
Sumiao Hunan Kitchen [Official Photo]

9. Artscience Culture Lab & Café

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650 E Kendall St
Cambridge, MA 02142
(857) 999-2193
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The late Tenzin Samdo, who was bar director and partner, left a beautiful cocktail menu in place at Artscience Culture Lab & Café that pays tribute to endangered animals. Like the drinks, the food is a work of art — be sure to save room for the lovely desserts.

The Pink Hummingbird at Artscience includes absinthe, chartreuse, matcha, cardamom, and more
The Pink Hummingbird at ArtScience
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

10. Commonwealth

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11 Broad Canal Way
Cambridge, MA 02142
(617) 945-7030
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Commonwealth showcases straightforward food made with local ingredients. The chicken pot pie is a must, as are the duck fat fries. End with a classic warm brownie sundae, and then come back on a Sunday for fried chicken.

Chicken pot pie at Commonwealth
Chicken pot pie at Commonwealth
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

11. Area Four

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500 Technology Square
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 758-4444
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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.)

area four
“Not pepperoni” pizza (it’s soppressata) at Area Four
Area Four/Facebook

12. Sulmona

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608 Main St
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 714-4995
Visit Website

The Vespa hanging from the ceiling is a bit on the nose, but in a good way. The Sulmona space is gorgeous, and the Italian-inspired comfort food is indulgent. Try the pizzette, the panini, and the arancini.

Fried artichokes
Fried artichokes
Sulmona/Facebook

1. Café du Pays

233 Cardinal Medeiros Ave, Cambridge, MA 02141
Duck at Café du Pays
Duck at Café du Pays
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Café du Pays took home the award for Eater Boston’s 2017 Restaurant of the Year. The French-Canadian joint — yes, there’s poutine — is known for hearty dishes such as tourtière (pork and venison meat pie) and duck. Diners feel like they’re seated at mémère’s dining room table.

233 Cardinal Medeiros Ave
Cambridge, MA 02141

2. The Automatic

50 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02139
Flat patty big mac at the Automatic
The flat patty big mac at the Automatic
The Automatic/Instagram

The Automatic has one of the prettiest bars in Greater Boston, and the flat patty burger isn’t half bad either. Be sure to check out the late-night scene there.

50 Hampshire St
Cambridge, MA 02139

3. The Helmand

143 First St, Cambridge, MA 02142
helmand
Lamb from Helmand
Alicia K./Yelp

The Helmand, named for the longest river in Afghanistan, has been serving stunningly good Afghan food for years just outside of Kendall Square. The half rack of lamb is not to be missed, nor is the mantwo, which consists of a pastry shell filled with onions and beef and topped with carrots, yellow split peas, and a beefy sauce.

143 First St
Cambridge, MA 02142

4. Shabu & Mein

148 First St, Cambridge, MA 02141
shabu and mein
Wagyu beef hot pot from Shabu and Mein
Shabu & Mein/Facebook

Shabu & Mein is one of the best hot pot spots in the area. The restaurant has lots of hot pot options — more than 30 — but it’s all about the lobster tail, folks.

148 First St
Cambridge, MA 02141

5. Mu Lan Taiwanese Restaurant

228 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139
A spread of food at Mu Lan Cambridge
A spread of food at Mu Lan Cambridge
Joseph L./Yelp

Kendall Square missed Mu Lan for two and a half years after a fire shuttered it, but fortunately it returned in mid-2017 to resume filling the neighborhood with Taiwanese classics, from dumplings to hot pot.

228 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139

6. The Smoke Shop

25 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02139
Two hands, wearing black gloves, hold a piece of barbecue meat above a wooden counter
Andy Husbands prepping meat at Smoke Shop’s original Cambridge location
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Pork belly and peaches. Fried green tomatoes. An admirable draft list. Stop by the Smoke Shop’s original location (it has since expanded to Somerville and Boston) some Sunday for apps and brews before heading to the Kendall Square Cinema to see the latest buzz-worthy indie flick.

25 Hampshire St
Cambridge, MA 02139

7. State Park

One Kendall Square Building 300 Lower Level, Cambridge, MA 02139
State Park
The chicken katsu sandwich at State Park
State Park/Facebook

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 at State Park.

One Kendall Square Building 300 Lower Level
Cambridge, MA 02139

8. Sumiao Hunan Kitchen

270 Third St, Cambridge, MA 02142
Hunan chicken breast with chili teriyaki sauce at Sumiao Hunan Kitchen
Hunan chicken breast with chili teriyaki sauce at Sumiao Hunan Kitchen
Sumiao Hunan Kitchen [Official Photo]

This Hunan 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 for the eater who’s less inclined to sweat at the table.

270 Third St
Cambridge, MA 02142

9. Artscience Culture Lab & Café

650 E Kendall St, Cambridge, MA 02142
The Pink Hummingbird at Artscience includes absinthe, chartreuse, matcha, cardamom, and more
The Pink Hummingbird at ArtScience
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

The late Tenzin Samdo, who was bar director and partner, left a beautiful cocktail menu in place at Artscience Culture Lab & Café that pays tribute to endangered animals. Like the drinks, the food is a work of art — be sure to save room for the lovely desserts.

650 E Kendall St
Cambridge, MA 02142

10. Commonwealth

11 Broad Canal Way, Cambridge, MA 02142
Chicken pot pie at Commonwealth
Chicken pot pie at Commonwealth
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Commonwealth showcases straightforward food made with local ingredients. The chicken pot pie is a must, as are the duck fat fries. End with a classic warm brownie sundae, and then come back on a Sunday for fried chicken.

11 Broad Canal Way
Cambridge, MA 02142

11. Area Four

500 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139
area four
“Not pepperoni” pizza (it’s soppressata) at Area Four
Area Four/Facebook

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.)

500 Technology Square
Cambridge, MA 02139

12. Sulmona

608 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02139
Fried artichokes
Fried artichokes
Sulmona/Facebook

The Vespa hanging from the ceiling is a bit on the nose, but in a good way. The Sulmona space is gorgeous, and the Italian-inspired comfort food is indulgent. Try the pizzette, the panini, and the arancini.

608 Main St
Cambridge, MA 02139

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