With two of the country’s best colleges within walking distance of each other, Cambridge needs some serious food to keep all that brain power up and running. On the weekends, however, waits can be an hour (or more) for the most popular brunch spots. Fortunately, there are a variety of lesser-known options in this highly walkable neighborhood to satisfy even the pickiest of scholars.
A great way to explore Boston’s global food scene is with the Mediterranean-inspired lineup at Bambara inside Kimpton Hotel Marlowe. A trip to East Cambridge isn’t complete without a stop for Choereg French Toast topped with a seasonal jam or Chef David Bazirgan’s Armenian twist on the traditional breakfast sandwich (on the same French Toast bread with air-cured beef and feta cheese).
The Hourly Oyster House
For something on the other side of Cambridge, The Hourly Oyster House is a great option just off the center of Harvard Square. It’s a quieter spot for those looking for a traditional New England-style brunch without the pomp and circumstance of other restaurants nearby. Their cornmeal and lobster pancake is a snapshot of the region on a plate topped with tarragon butter and maple syrup.
As you’d expect, seafood dominates their menu with cod, haddock and a classic lobster roll rounding out their offerings. You’ll be hard-pressed not to start your meal with a round of oysters as you soak in the history of Harvard around you.
Hi-Rise Bread Company
If you like well-crafted sandwiches and toast a la Bambara, check out either Hi-Rise Bread Company outpost to the north and west of Harvard. The Mass. Ave location serves brunch all day with no less than eight different bready plates with toppings ranging from the familiar (spinach) to the not so familiar (buttermilk dressing). Hi-Rise sources organic ingredients from small and independent mills and uses European-style Plugra butter in every decadent pastry. Their Concord Ave. location is heavier on the salads and offers a few additional sandwich options. Both are local favorites that have plenty of to-go options should you want to take your morning meal on the run.
You’ll likely want to take brunch out the door, as there’s so much to see and do in Cambridge—but not before a quick spritz with persimmon-infused Aperol and bubbles at Bambara. Make the Kimpton Hotel Marlowe your home base to check out any of these hidden gems and you’ll surely satiate your appetite for both a good meal and plenty of knowledge.