Welcome Back to Harvard! Here’s What’s Happening

By Bovey Rao ‘19

As the summer draws to a close, many may be wondering what on earth has happened to Harvard Square. Many beloved restaurants perished with the remodeling of the Smith Center. Student favorites like Al’s are now gone, so our stomachs may be running a little on empty. A few other promises of summer openings were left unfulfilled, but this guide is perhaps a glimmer of hope for what has and will come to Harvard Square.


Image from Tom’s Bao Bao


Tom’s Bao Bao – Chinese steamed buns, baozi, are the specialty of Tom’s Bao Bao. Various unique fillings are enveloped by airy white dough before being steamed to perfection. From the upscale lobster to the decadent chili beef, there are plenty of excellent options for a quick meal or snack. While slightly pricey, Tom’s Bao Bao is a great addition to Harvard Square for the adventurous student.

Image from Waypoint

Waypoint – Alden & Harlow is not only one of my favorite restaurants in Harvard Square but is one of my favorites in all of Boston. Michael Scelfo, the chef behind Alden & Harlow, recently opened a seafood restaurant, Waypoint, near Harvard Square. Following a similar small plate concept, Waypoint will hopefully become another Boston staple as it opened with excitement.


B. Good Google Maps
Image from Google Maps

B.Good – One of the favorite destinations for students seeking a healthier alternative to fast-food, B.Good was missed when it closed due to the Smith Center renovations. However, it is scheduled to return in a short while at the former O Sushi space. The fresh burgers, salads, and fries are things to look forward to in the near future.

en Boca
Image from En Boca Cambridge

En Boca – Mediterranean flavors are coming to Harvard Square from En Boca, a restaurant by the team from The Asgard and The Kinsale. Deviating from their other Irish pubs, Classic Restaurants Concepts is creating En Boca with Devin Broo from Bar Boulud. Originally slated to open in August 2016, the restaurant appears to be close to opening.

Image from DavidsTea

DavidsTea – DavidsTea is a tea store that was started in Canada and has begun expanding into the United States. With other locations in Massachusetts, DavidsTea specializes in various tea related products from teas themselves to mugs and other accessories. The store is slated to finish in September 2016.

Image from The Hourly Oyster House

The Hourly Oyster House – In the former Kennedy’s on the Square space, the Grafton Group is creating an oyster bar known as the Hourly. With well-established restaurants like Russell House Tavern, Park Restaurant, and Grafton Street, the Grafton Group continues to expand their empire with a seafood specialty restaurant in Harvard Square. It promises to provide extensive take-out options, perfect for students in a hurry. The Hourly is looking to open in early fall 2016.

Image from Tatte Bakery and Cafe

Tatte Bakery & Café – It is obvious that I am a fan of Tatte Bakery and Café and perhaps was one of few students who was happy when Panera closed. Tatte will bring their fresh pastries and other delicacies to Harvard Square with a weekend brunch menu and cooking lessons. The space is currently under construction and hopefully will be opening in September.

Image from sweetgreen

Sweetgreen – A large salad chain started by a group of Georgetown graduates is coming to Harvard Square. With the success of Sweetgreen in Back Bay, the chain planned to expand extensively in the Boston area. Highlighting local purveyors like Iggy’s Bread and Ward’s Berry Farm, Sweetgreen is bringing accessible farm to table to the square. Look for it to open in the fall.

Image of Rialto from Forbes Travel Guide

Benedetto – With the closure of Rialto, Harvard Square lost one of its long-term residents. After providing upscale Italian cuisine to the community for over twenty years, the restaurant did not wish to continue after the departure of chef Jody Adams. Giulia chef and owner, Michael Pagliarini, plans to open Benedetto in the Rialto space, which I believe to be an exciting transition. Giulia has garnered stellar reviews, and hopefully Benedetto maintains the legacy of Rialto. The current opening date is ambiguously set in fall 2016.

Image from Flour Bakery + Cafe

Flour Bakery + Café – Harvard graduate and star baker (James Beard Awardee), Joanne Chang, is bringing her Flour Bakery + Café to Harvard Square. From the famous sticky buns to excellent sandwiches, Flour has become a Boston staple, and it was great news to hear that one is coming to Harvard Square. The Harvard Square branch is projected to open in October 2016.

Island Creek Oyster Bar Taste Savant
Image of Island Creek Oyster Bar from Taste Savant

Restaurant from Island Creek Oyster Bar/Row 34 – While the opening date remains the most distant, I simply wish to show my excitement for another restaurant by this group. Island Creek Oyster Bar is my favorite seafood restaurant in Boston after numerous memorable experiences. I look forward to what concept will be devised.


Featured Image from Wikimedia

Harvest Heaven

by Allison Yan ’19

Sometimes, after a grueling day of classes and office hours, all you need is a good dinner to make everything better. Annenberg definitely came through Thursday night with the New England Harvest dinner, presented as a precursor to National Food Day on October 24th. The menu, consisting of Maine lobster bisque, mussels in white wine and local marinara, and gnocchi with sage brown butter and diced butternut squash, to name a few, seemed like items off the menu of a cozy restaurant that I could bring my parents to for Parents’ Weekend. In short, my taste buds have never been so satisfied with an Annenberg dinner.


I decided the best way to go about the fare was to sample a bit of everything. I greedily loaded one plate with herb roasted all-natural chicken hailing from New York, scalloped potatoes from Maine, and mussels. Before I sat down, I told myself I would be rational about this and not force myself to stomach everything if I was full, but I cleared my plate quickly. The chicken was juicy and richly flavored, with just the right amount of saltiness. The potatoes were surprisingly soft and easy to bite into,. Eating the chicken and potatoes in little bites back and forth was such an amazing combination. I finished that plate by nibbling on the mussels I had scooped up, and was pleasantly surprised to find that the general positive opinions on New England seafood were true. The mussels were tangy and chewy, and balanced the hearty taste of the potatoes and chicken well.


My second plate consisted of Maine-based tomatoes, which I paired with the dining hall’s rice (a surprisingly good compliment to the tomatoes!) The tomatoes were fresh and well-cooked, bringing together the natural sweetness of the fruit with the salty flavorings.


I finished off my cafeteria quest with a bowl of lobster bisque soup and a breadstick. In all honesty, I nearly wept when I found that the breadstick was soft and warm – it was the best side to the bisque soup, which was one worthy of New England restaurants anywhere. It was creamy without being too thick, and definitely not too watery. I complemented the soup and breadstick, and everything prior, with a generous serving of warm apple cider.


The food doesn’t end there: in the Annenberg seating area were more options that I couldn’t resist. After cleaning my two plates and soup, I went for the wonderful spread of crackers and cheddar, pepper jack, and goat cheeses. The cheese was filling and a classy, appreciated additions to such a hearty meal. The freshly made gnocchi I went for after was equally great, and a total treat for my taste buds. I told the kind chef who was scooping the gnocchi that I was so full, but would love to try the gnocchi for the Crimson Crave, so he scooped a tiny bit (re: two little pasta pieces) for me. After I took my first bite, it was all over: I asked for a full serving. The gnocchi was a treat, far superior to the daily Annenberg pastas, with the perfect amount of butter and squash to balance the pastas.


Finishing off my extensive yet great meal was a sundae bar with Richardson’s Dairy Ice Cream. The sundae bar was just as extensive, boasting creamy and textured ice cream and a variety of toppings to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.  I had one scoop of butter and one scoop of vanilla ice cream, lightly topped with caramel syrup. The ice cream had a firm yet creamy consistency that definitely surpassed typical soft serve. It all goes to show that Massachusetts knows how to do their ice cream.

12My Annenberg dinner was a blessing and a truly great day to relax from a long day. While I’m probably just as uninformed about National Food Day and what it means, I’m now very informed about the godsend that is HUDS’ New England Harvest dinner. I’m looking forward to it in the years to come.

Atlantic Fish Company: Experience Some of Boston’s Best Traditional Seafood at AFC

by Bovey Rao ’19

In Boston, each neighborhood has a distinct personality More importantly (to me at least), the neighborhoods have developed into culinary dining destinations for their own reasons. The North End’s Italian food is nationally recognized, the South End serves some of the Boston’s most inventive dishes, and the various colleges provide cheap accessible food for ravenous college students. While these sections may be the most well-known, others still provide that awesome culinary punch. Enter the Back Bay.

Immediately across the Charles River by MIT, the Back Bay spans a wide area of Boston’s downtown. The best way to describe the Back Bay is upbeat. With Newbury and Boylston Street, the Back Bay epitomizes the concept of “hip.” With the Prudential Center, there is also the embodiment of tradition. The restaurant culture reflects that with many cheaper dining establishments as well as some of Boston’s most expensive and renowned restaurants filling the Back Bay. On Boylston Street, the Atlantic Fish Company is an upscale seafood centric restaurant that focuses on traditional preparations.


Upon entering the restaurant, you can immediately recognize the pedigree of excellence. The attentive host and hostess promptly greeted my party, and we were seated deep into the restaurant. Our seating was slightly suboptimal with poor lighting but simultaneously piqued my interest as I could glance inside the kitchen. After laboriously examining the brunch offerings (an eclectic mix of breakfast and lunch options), we placed our orders and casually talked in the subdued but still buzzing restaurant.


For the customary starter, blueberry muffins, a sweet raisin nut bread, and a crusty sourdough with a light cream butter were served. Given our appetite, we quickly tore through these loaves. The “sourdough” as described did not resemble the true soar loaves that originated in San Francisco, but the savory bread delivered a flavorful crust and crumb. The nutty raisin bread was filled with many dried fruit and a few nuts (watch out for allergens), and the blueberry muffin was passable. Appetite excited, I prepared myself for AFC’S well-regarded clam chowder and its acclaimed crab and artichoke dip.

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While I had qualms about B&G’s clam chowder last week for being too thin, AFC delivered a thick and luscious version. The soup was served in a one of their excellent bread bowls, which made for an incredible dish. I found myself somewhat saddened by the end as the fantastic bread was left hollowed out. The crab and artichoke dip had similar presentation, with the dip snugly fit in a bread bowl. The accompanying chips and crudités went spectacularly well with the steaming cheesy mess of a dip. The crab may not have been noticeably visually, but it left a faint and well appreciated reminder on the palette. However, once again, I experienced incredible remorse for the empty shell of bread.

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After quickly snapping pictures, we commenced with our meal. My seafood fra diavolo was an impeccable al dente with a plethora of fresh seafood. The rich arrabiata sauce was incredible as the essential tomato flavors filled my mouth. With the simple linguine and the tender seafood, the perfect umami was achieved. While the course gave off the vibe of extravagance, the dish truly delivered with simplicity.

My companions ate with gusto as I took a quick sampling of their courses. The blackened haddock was among the numerous daily catch options at AFC. Each day AFC receives large orders of fresh fish and customizes a dish specific for each variety. Additionally, they also can prepare the fish through a variety of other methods like grilling, broiling, or blackening. The haddock was noticeably fresh and paired well with the blackening spice, and the two sides of buttery mashed potatoes and crisp beans. The filet and lobster benedict (only on the brunch menu) was appetizing as well with a consistent but acidic hollandaise served in a traditional manner on toasted English muffin. Finally, the lobster roll was a true behemoth as it much larger than others I experienced. The crisp toasted bun served as an excellent textural balance with the tender and generous portion of lobster.


Finally, the table finished with a warm Michigan cherry cobbler. In general, the desserts are very traditional, so I was not particularly drawn to any. The meal concluded well with the tart sweetness of the cherries with the decadent ice cream. However, the cobbler aspect was difficult to define as the “biscuit” on the cobbler was difficult to break apart.

Given the traditional and phenomenally executed menu, it was clear to see why the restaurant maintained such an excellent reputation. Add on the stellar service and the superb setting, and AFC obviously cemented itself as a Boston staple. However, with that comes the caveat of being predictable, and thus nothing truly surprised me. The excellence of a restaurant is measured by their longevity, but the impact of a restaurant comes with its creativity and innovation. AFC serves exceptional seafood at a pristine location and delivered a meal that well satisfied my lofty expectations.


Bergamot: Somerville Stand-By Delivers Exemplary Dishes in Sophisticated Space

by Bovey Rao ’19

In nearby Somerville, the buzz and activity of Cambridge and Boston seemingly do not exist. Quaint is the only way to describe the rustic buildings and quiet space. A mere ten minute walk, and you are able to escape the infamous “Harvard Bubble.” If you need a reason to allow yourself to leave Harvard to Somerville, go to Bergamot.

Bergamot is inconspicuous, sharing a building with a cable store and a kebab shop. It may not catch your attention immediately, but a glance inside the space reveals a sophistication that is unexpected.


My dining companion and I had a reservation for two at 5:00 pm (opening time), and we were promptly seated. Our waitress greeted us and informed us of our options. The two most popular offerings are the $44 dinner prix fixe, composed of an appetizer, entrée, and dessert of your choice, and the $75 tasting menu, a creative sampling of the chef’s choice. Given our time restriction, we opted for the $44 prix fixe (menu items can also be selected à la carte). After some careful deliberation, we ordered our appetizers and entrees and waited patiently.

The customary bread and butter were delivered and were pleasantly surprising. The unique apple mustard butter paired excellently with an almost burnt crust and custardy crumb. My appetite was stimulated. I excitedly watched as plates of food began exiting the kitchen. As my plate was placed in front of me, I could barely hold myself back out of courtesy for my companion. The instant both plates touched down, we ravenously began to eat.

Squid Ink Tagliatelle
Sea Bass Crudo

The jet black squid ink tagliatelle left an immediate visual impact: a contrast of colors with a white plate and brightly colored heirloom tomatoes. The pasta itself was cooked a nice al dente, which gave it an almost meaty characteristic that complemented the sweet juiciness of the tomatoes. The light saltiness of the pecorino cheese plays on the palette like a light ocean breeze. My appetite slightly sated, I tasted the sea bass crudo and was confused by the complex saltiness from the avocado dressing, the floral notes from the petals, and the sweetness from the two types of melon. While these flavors bounced around my mouth, I was slightly off-put by the amalgamation of flavors. I could see the inventiveness in the exploration of taste, site and smell, but this particular dish was not appealing. We finished our courses and waited for the entrees.

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Scallops Provencal
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Korean Grilled Short Ribs

As our waitress deposited the plates in front of us, I sat in awe of the meticulous plating of each course. I started with my course, the scallops provencal. My knife sunk through the scallop like a warm butter. The scallop simply melted in my mouth but simultaneously retained the meatiness of a protein. In a state of sheer bliss, I was amazed by the sweet scallop with minor notes from the tomato sauce and dill. The green beans served as the necessary textural component to give the dish a crisp element. Enjoying my course, I sampled my friend’s dish, and experienced an entirely different sensation. In contrast to my dainty scallops, I was almost overwhelmed by the rich meaty short ribs. The slightly sweet Korean glaze was apparent, and it balanced the plate with the crisp salty wild rice pancake. Nothing could describe this course besides a masterful expression of umami (savory flavor). Fairytale eggplant and shiitake mushrooms only contributed more to the savory nature of the course.

As our meal wound down, we prepared for our dessert courses. To say the least, I was underwhelmed. My peach ice cream was a nice reminder of the end of summer, but the ice cream was slightly icy and detracted from the overall dish. The tres leches was also unimpressive, so we finished our meal on a slightly more subdued note.

Despite this, Bergamot provided an incredible meal and experience. While the wait times between courses may have been longer than expected, they allow time for a truly enjoyable dining experience. Prepare yourself by bringing friends and companions outside of Harvard Square and enjoy a phenomenal meal. While Bergamot may appear to be a formal white tablecloth restaurant, it exudes a familiar and homely vibe. Keith Pooler, Executive Chef and Owner, has created a comfortable dining environment for those seeking a good meal and a nice conversation.


Location: 118 Beacon Street, Somerville, MA 02143

Reservation: OpenTable or by Phone (617)-576-7700

Stand out dishes: squid ink tagliatelle, Korean grilled short rib

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Food: 4.5/5

Service: 4.5/5*

Ambience: 5/5

* Note: the $75 7-course tasting takes 2 hours, so be prepared.

Our Favorite Foods from the 2015 Boston Local Food Festival

Cheese steak dumplings with pastrami, bacon, kimchi and swiss cheese from Koy, 16 North Street, Boston MA
Chicken and Biscuits from the Granary Tavern, 170 Milk St, Boston MA
Chicken and Biscuits from the Granary Tavern, 170 Milk St, Boston MA
Strawberry smoothies in cantaloupes from Singh’s Roti
Banana cake pop from Tia's Cakes and Pastries, Boston MA
Banana cake pop from Tia’s Cakes and Pastries, Boston MA
Apple pie cake in a jar from Tia's Cakes and Pastries, Boston MA
Apple pie cake in a jar from Tia’s Cakes and Pastries, Boston MA
Chocolate caramel cake jars from Tia's Cakes and Pastries, Boston MA
Chocolate caramel cake jars from Tia’s Cakes and Pastries, Boston MA
Steem caffeinated peanut butter…one tablespoon has the equivalent of one 7oz. cup of coffee! Available online at steempb.com
A spread of seafood from Big Rock Oysters, 501 Depot St, Harwich, MA
A spread of seafood from Big Rock Oysters, 501 Depot St, Harwich, MA
Blueberry shortcake vegan ice cream from FoMu, 128 Arlington Street, Arlington, MA
Blueberry shortcake vegan ice cream from FoMu, 128 Arlington Street, Arlington, MA