Change is in the air in Harvard Square. Between the construction on the Smith Center, the closure of several seemingly immortal establishments, and campus-wide political disruption, the whole town seems in flux.
Regardless of the sharply divided opinions on all of the above changes, we can all agree on one thing: this fall has seen an unprecedented uptick in new Square restaurants. We've rounded them up for you.
Joanne Chang graduated from Harvard in 1991, so this addition to her bakery empire feels like a homecoming. We couldn't be more excited to have her back.We recommend: the ooey-gooey sticky bun, of course. Alongside their daily quiche with side greens. So it's healthy and stuff.
Chef Michael Scelfo of Alden + Harlow (one of the best restaurants in Boston and, more recently, the world) opened a second restaurant on Mass Ave. His menu offers something the Square had never seen before: inventive dishes focused almost entirely on seafood.
We recommend: sharing several of the small plates and pizzas. Try the raw & roasted apple salad with the wood roasted char belly.
#SpoonTip: There's a new brunch in town. Waypoint does the weekend right with bottle service mimosas, including your choice of four juices.
We recommend: to dip in your toes without committing to any of the pricey large dishes, sample the charcuterie and cheese. Just not the $30 jamón ibérico.
The Hourly was a surprise. Because the last two restaurants on Dunster St. did not last, the space appeared cursed. Not so. This oyster bar is a fresh sea breeze; airy windows and a bustling raw bar make another lovely addition to the nascent Cambridge seafood scene.
We recommend: the charred octopus. Unlike the standard grilled octopus, the Hourly poaches theirs until tender before charring under the broiler. No chewy tentacles here.
#SpoonTip: Another new brunch - quench your hangover with a lobster roll or crab cake benedict at their new brunch.
If you can't tell by the bouncer outside their door, everyone and their mother goes to Tatte. The smell of fresh-baked pastries that they seem to pump onto the sidewalk is enough to make passers-by weak at the knees.
We recommend: venturing upstairs if you're only ordering coffee; it's minutely less packed, and the white granite makes for chic #studyvibes.
Why should you be excited about the opening of a restaurant that was already open before construction began on the Smith Center? Easy: their menu is completely revamped, with a new section of "plates" and new sides, like charred cauliflower.We recommend: the chipotle avocado plate. We know you always get a kale and quinoa bowl, but try something new.
Like En Boca, Tom's receives mixed reviews. If you like thick, fluffy dumplings that are 90% dough, you will love Tom's. If you avoid gluten like the plague, you should probably get lunch at Tatte instead.
We recommend: not coming here if you're a vegetarian. The meat-free options leave something to be desired.
When you walk in their front door, you're confronted with a seemingly infinite array of tea flavors, from standard chai to birthday cake (pictured above). If easily paralyzed by decision, you might stand in front of the display for hours.
We recommend: stopping in even if you don't want to order a drink. They are more than happy to let customers smell several different teas. That sh*t's intoxicating.
Bonus: coming soon to a restaurant near you..
A salad oasis in the midst of a sandwich-heavy urban desert. Lines will be epic. You might break up with the dining hall salad bar for good. But probably not.
Expected opening: unclear. But everyone - everyone - is asking.
We recommend: the rad thai (pictured above) or one of their seasonal specialties, such as the chicken + brussels.
Chef Michael Pagliarini's Giulia quickly established itself as one of the best Italian restaurants in Boston. The homemade pastas are legendary, and we might have eaten two plates' worth of charcuterie during our visit. In any case, Pagliarini is opening a new spot in the Charles Hotel, and we couldn't be more excited.
Expected opening: initial reports said this fall, so our fingers are crossed here, too.
We recommend: going online right now to make a reservation at Giulia next month. It takes that long, but it's worth it. Get excited, people.