Neighborhood Guide: Kendall Square Restaurants

Cambridge's Kendall Square, home to some of the finest geek scenes we know in the city (MIT, Google and Microsoft, to name just a few), has a dining scene as smart as its tech-savvy denizens. Rosemary fries! Almond joy pancakes! Gin cocktails to believe in! Seek these local restaurants for a quick, astonishingly tasty bite on the go or a leisurely late-night graze. We're engineering a future--a tasty, tasty future.

(Photo: Emma's Pizza by Christine Liu)

Updated: November 19, 2009

Favorite Restaurants in Kendall Square

Hungry Mother

233 Cardinal Medeiros Ave, Cambridge, MA 02141

We'd go to hither and yon for Hungry Mother's addictive French-technique-on-Southern-cuisine delights, but the diminutive restaurant and even more teensy bar is only but a sweet little stroll from the square. Between luscious bowls of grits, pickled beef tongue canapes and a formidable drink list that spans both gorgeous Bourbon cocktails and a 40-ouncer of Miller High Life (served in a brown bag, no less), this comfort den is easily one of the most lovable restaurants in Boston.

Blue Room

1 Kendall Sq, Cambridge, MA 02139

The subterranean Blue Room has been quietly executing its intensely market-driven menu (featuring local ingredients and housemade everything) before all these old-school trends jumped the mainstream bandwagon. Its mutable vibe is relaxed yet upscale, rustic yet sophisticated, to the tune of wild boar and barley vegetable soup and a Moroccan-spiced roasted Giannone Farm chicken. Head in for dinner or Sunday's lavish brunch with a cult following.

The Friendly Toast

1 Kendall Sq, Cambridge, MA 02139

Breakfast all day? We're sold already. But this place doesn't just "do" breakfast, it careens into it full-blast with belly-busting action. The Friendly Toast, a kitsch-filled restaurant that's a gewgaw explosion, serves up heaving platters, from an Omelet Built to Kill with three types of meats and red-chile pecans to Le Petit Monstre chicken burrito with Tabasco cream cheese. Go hungry, we beg you.

Emma's Pizza

40 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02139

No matter when you go, Emma's will be packed. It's a given and rightfully deserved, so be patient (wine or beer helps bide the time) while daydreaming about the blistered thin-crust pizzas and delectable Italian sandwiches to come. Alternatively, one can always sidle to the by-the-slice counter, which services the hungry in a hurry. Emma's gorgeous cracker crust, an addictive rosemary pizza sauce and the homey atmosphere make it a win for any eating opportunity.

Clover Food Lab

20 Carleton St, Cambridge, MA 02142

Yes, it's a truck. Yes, it doles sandwiches and soups. And yes, it is one of the most status-quo-crushing kitchens we've witnessed in a long time. The savvy business with playful branding, engineered by an MIT alum, not only uses technology effectively (with menu updates on Twitter and a streamlined iPhone-based ordering system), but also stresses local ingredients, vegetarian-friendly options for a quick, conscionable meal on a student's budget.