Top 10 Outdoor Dining Spots in Cambridge

After enduring the worst winter on record, Cantabrigians are flocking to patios all over the city, hoping to melt away the icy memories of 108.6 inches of snow. And lucky for them, there is an abundance of terrific outdoor dining options around Cambridge where happy gourmands can enjoy these precious, and fleeting, summer days and nights.

Looking for the very best spots to feast al fresco? Let us be your patio guide.

Top 10 Outdoor Dining Spots in Cambridge

Our extremely knowledgeable agents gave us the inside scoop on their top 10
favorite spots for eating outside in Cambridge. Here are their picks: 

Patio Guide: Top 10 Outdoor Dining Spots in Cambridge

1. Harvest

Harvest in Harvard Square

Harvest, Harvard Square

Tucked away in the heart of Harvard Square, this Cambridge institution serves contemporary New England cuisine in a serene, romantic setting that is pure perfection. Boston Magazine writes, “Harvest’s enclosed outdoor dining area is one Cambridge’s best date spots, particularly on chilly nights when they light up the stone fireplace.”

Location: 44 Brattle Street (on the walkway just across the intersection of Church Street and Brattle Street), Cambridge, MA – 617-868-2255

“A perennial favorite, Harvest‘s elegant outdoor patio is the perfect setting for a delicious, upscale evening in Harvard Square. Designed in the 1960s by the team who created Design Research and brought Marimekko designs to Boston, Harvest still delights.” – Bri Grady, Cambridge Realtor

2. Daedalus

Daedalus, Harvard Square

Daedalus, Harvard Square

This fantastic two-story pub in Harvard Square is a busy spot that’s always bustling with a diverse and lively crowd. The first floor has a with a separate bar and dining area. The second floor also has a bar and a dimly-lit lounge. But the rooftop deck is the real star of the show. Sit under one of the many umbrellas, tuck into a pint of beer and a delicious sandwich, and take in the fantastic view over the rooftops of Harvard Square.

Location:  45.5 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA, 617-349-0071

“Deadalus is around the corner from our Arrow Street office and offers the PERFECT roof-top dining for those warm sunny days. Their crab cake sandwich is quite delicious…almost like I’m dining waterside on Cape Cod yet I am in the middle of bustling Cambridge.” – Amy Borr, Marketing Coordinator

3. Gran Gusto

Gran Gusto, North Cambridge

Gran Gusto, North Cambridge

If sipping a glass of Barolo while enjoying a delicious wood-fired Neapolitan pizza sounds like an ideal way to spend a warm summer night, then Gran Gusto is your dream place. Located next to Danehy Park in North Cambridge, Boston Magazine writes, “this little gem of a trattoria turns out some of the city’s finest pizzas (it doesn’t hurt that the chef is a Neapolitan native). Non-pizza standouts include homemade scialatielli pasta with shrimp and radicchio, risotto with asparagus and gorgonzola, and branzino with potato and black olives.” Relax on their sweet little patio while enjoying the great ambience and authentic Italian cuisine.

Location: 90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA, 617-441-0400

“Gran Gusto has the best calamari! Grilled, not fried!” – Susan Wayne, Cambridge Realtor

4. Oleana

patio - oleana

Oleana, Inman Square

Travel + Leisure writes, “This Mediterranean kitchen is helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef Ana Sortun, who studied culinary arts in Paris before turning her attention to Middle Eastern cuisine. Turkish carpets hang on the walls of the dining room, which is outfitted with banquette seating, a working fireplace, and an open kitchen. The menu focuses on Middle Eastern dishes and locally sourced ingredients: Vermont lamb with Turkish spices, whipped feta with sweet and hot peppers, and wild salmon in grape leaves. Acclaimed pastry chef Maura Kilpatrick turns out elaborate sweets like Baked Alaska and milk chocolate tahini tarts.” The beautiful patio is a miniature oasis complete with an herb garden and a fig tree.

Location: 134 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA, 617-661-0505

“Oleana is in a class by itself – sumptuous food from famed Chef Ana Sortun in an enchanting, intimate hidden garden. Not to be missed…a romantic spot for a dinner with your sweetheart!” – Bri Grady, Cambridge Realtor

5. Atwood’s Tavern

patio - atwood's tavern

Atwood’s Tavern, East Cambridge

A wonderful place with a phenomenal beer list and a fantastic, ever-changing roster of live music. It is a favorite place of one of the most respected chefs in the city, Tony Maws, of Craigie on Main and Kirkland Tap & Trotter. He told Boston Magazine, “I live around the corner and I pop in once in a while for a after work beer or a neighborhood family dinner. It’s a no-frills, non-hipster bar that also has a good beer list. So many bars try way too hard these days, so it’s refreshing to be able to just hang in East Cambridge and catch some live music with fish tacos and a cold glass of suds.” They also offer a large patio in the back, perfect for enjoying a beer on a warm summer night.

Location: 877 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA, 617-864-2792

“Atwood’s beer garden, tucked behind the bustling pub, is a delightful -and peaceful- surprise.” – Tara Spitzen, Cambridge Realtor

“Atwood’s extends its relaxed pub vibe to the cozy back terrace. On a hot day, cool down with a pint of Bantam Cider, brewed right next-door in Somerville.” – Bri Grady, Cambridge Realtor

6. West Bridge

West Bridge, Kendall Square

West Bridge, Kendall Square

Located in the building that once housed the Boston Woven Hose and Rubber Company, which manufactured fire hoses in the 1880s, West Bridge blends sleek industrial design with their warm hospitality and show-stopping food. Matthew Gaudet, the chef and co-owner of this is Kendall Square eatery, was named Best New Chef by Food & Wine in 2013 for “his compelling twists on regional New England cooking: Think mussels with uni butter, and clam chowder with sunchokes and pork shoulder.” The patio is located right in the heart of Kendall Square, making it a fantastic spot for sipping a world-class cocktail while people-watching.

Location: 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA, 617-945-0221

“Smack in the middle of 1 Kendall Square, you’ll find West Bridge’s outdoor bar. Each summer, I look forward to chatting with Mo as he creates cocktail magic. My seasonal standby is the Conant’s Island.” – Tara Spitzen, Cambridge Realtor

7. The Red House

The Red House, Harvard Square

The Red House, Harvard Square

This elegant Harvard Square farm-to-table restaurant is located in a charming red clapboard house , built in 1802, which was used as a residence for almost 200 years. A sweet white picket fence surrounds their lovely outdoor dining area. Soak up the summer sun while feasting on oysters and sipping chilled white wine.

Location: 98 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA, 617-576-0605

“Maybe I shouldn’t mention the 50 cent oysters before 6PM at Red House. If you do go, please save some for me.” – Tara Spitzen, Cambridge Realtor

8. Abigail’s

Abigail's , Kendall Square

Abigail’s , Kendall Square

Known for their killer cocktails and great happy hour scene, this Kendall Square restaurant is also a great place for a romantic date night. They are popular for brunch, too. Their patio is dotted with bright orange umbrellas, and offers diners a great spot for enjoying a delicious plate of shrimp & sweet pea tagliatelli as they watch the world buzz by.

Location: 291 Third Street, Cambridge, MA, 617-945-9086

“I LOVE the small bistro ambience and the PASTA is fantastic!” – Louise Olson, Cambridge Realtor

9. Atasca

Atasca, Kendall Square

Atasca, Kendall Square

Named the Best Portuguese Restaurant several times by Boston Magazine, this Kendall Square establishment turns out mouth-watering regional staples like shrimp in a spicy piri-piri sauce and their most-adored dish of sautéed pork loin with clams, paprika, garlic, and a touch of cilantro. Spend an evening unwinding on the intimate patio, surrounded by lovely greenery, and you’ll think you’re in Europe.

Location: 50 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA, 617-621-6991

“I feel like I’m visiting Portugal and love the service!” – Louise Olson, Cambridge Realtor

10. Mr. Bartley’s Gourmet Burgers

Mr. Bartley's Gourmet Burgers, Harvard Square

Mr. Bartley’s Gourmet Burgers, Harvard Square

All the burger-lovers out there will agree that sometimes the very best dining experience can be gorging on a top notch burger. And there are few places that serve a better burger than this Harvard Square institution that’s been around since 1960. Time Out Magazine writes about this critic’s pick, “There’s barely room to move amid the memorabilia that clutters this Harvard Square institution, never mind the crush of diners scoffing thick, juicy burgers and even thicker frappes (New England–speak for milkshakes). But don’t let that stop you; the tight squeeze is all part of the fun at a joint that features 30 different burgers named after local and national celebs (Stephen Colbert, Kevin Love), all accompanied by kitschy comments (The Kim Kardashian/please make her go away).” Their outdoor eating area consists of just a few tables outside the Mass Ave eatery, but who needs elegance when you’ve got a great burger to enjoy.

Location: 1246 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA, 617-354-6559

“Mr Bartley’s has even won a National competition for their burgers. Truly the best around, and I’m a New Yorker, so I would know. :-)” – Susan Wayne, Cambridge Realtor

Honorable Mentions

Looking to impress your hip friends from out-of-town with a cool spot to enjoy a warm night? Take them to any one of our four Honorable Mentions.

Cafe ArtScienceBoston Magazine writes this innovative and elegant Kendall Square restaurant is “a high-style French eatery serving meticulous, cosmopolitan dishes.” Be sure to imbibe their incredible cocktails.

Location: 650 Kendall St, Cambridge, MA, 857-999-2193

“Cafe ArtScience has everything you never knew you wanted: alcohol you can inhale, ice cream with its own skin, cocktails using flavor-infused ice-cubes. And now, it also has outdoor seating! I know where I’ll be this summer!” – Tara Spitzen, Cambridge Realtor

Jose’sIn the mood for sipping margaritas on a patio while chowing down on some great Mexican food? Jose’s is your place. This Porter Square institution will let you feel like you’re on vacation without needing to leave town.

Location: 131 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA, 617.354.0335

“Jose’s off-the-beaten-path locale will help you truly get away from it all. This is the perfect outside spot for catching up with friends over margaritas.” – Tara Spitzen, Cambridge Realtor

Naco Taco, Central Square

Naco Taco, Central Square

Naco TacoThis wonderful new edition to the Cambridge dining scene is from the culinary scenesters behind the Harvard Square hotspot Alden & Harlow. Though it looks a lot like an average West Coast taqueria, the food is anything but average. There’s beef tongue and lamb belly tacos, and terrific smoked carne asada torta. Grab a Negro Modelo and some killer tacos, find a spot on the 90-seat patio, and join the party.

Location: 297 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA, 617-945-1548

“Central’s newest sensation, Naco Taco, cranks up its urban feel with a kitchen parked in the corner patio’s food truck. Sip sangrias and sample salsas on this oft-overlooked stretch of Mass. Ave.” – Tara Spitzen, Cambridge Realtor

Tory RowThis sleek spot right in the heart of Harvard Square is a great place for meeting a friend for an after dinner drink and a bite to eat. Its location means that it offers unparalleled people watching. During the warm summer months, there are a few tables lining the sidewalk in front the restaurant.

Location: The Atrium Shopping Center, 3 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA, 617-876-8769

“Al Fresco dining in the center of it all at Tory Row! Share a carafe of sangria and a tasty flatbread while people-watching at the busiest corner in Harvard Square.” Tara Spitzen, Cambridge Realtor

No matter where you live in Cambridge, there wonderful restaurants, shops, green spaces, and cultural offerings right around every corner, which is why Cambridge is one of the most livable and desirable cities in the country. Why not make this wonderful place your home?

Start out by exploring some of Cambridge’s fine homes for sale. Then connect with one of our Cambridge agents by visiting one of our Cambridge offices at 1693 Massachusetts Avenue and 19 Arrow Street, Harvard Square or calling 617-876-1414.