The Best Outdoor Dining in 9 Cambridge Neighborhoods

By Scott Kearnan | June 30, 2014 By Scott Kearnan  |  June 30, 2014

We recently took a neighborhood-by-neighborhood look at the Best Outdoor Dining Spots in Boston. But we couldn't leave out Cambridge! So this time we turned to the other side of the Charles, hopping between 'hoods and squares to select our favorite alfresco options. Take a look — then tell us your favorite in the comments.  

  • Area 4: Area Four

    To be honest, it's only because of the restaurant that we even know this zone nestled between Kendall and Central squares is technically a city-designated neighborhood. Technology Square crowds descend after work for a hipster-friendly assortment of chef Michael Leviton's casual American fare, particularly wood-fired pizzas and craft beers. The patio is small but popular, with an adjacent grassy quad where the restaurant often lays out lawn darts, cornhole and other games. 

    500 Technology Sq., Cambridge; 617-758-4444

  • Cambridgeport: Zephyr on the Charles

    Aside from take-out joints, there's not much of a dining scene in the Cambridgeport neighborhood. (Though it does boast one food-related claim to fame: it's here that the Fig Newton cookie was first produced.) This elevated spot for seasonal American in the Hyatt Regency Cambridge flies under the radar, except perhaps to hotel guests. But its Charles River-side patio has excellent views of the water and Boston skyline. 

    575 Memorial Dr., Cambridge; 617-492-1234

  • Central Square: Moksa

    Open-air dining is something of a rarity in Central Square, but you'll find it at this contemporary pan-Asian. Guests wash down dumplings, noodles and inventive sushi rolls with cocktails from popular beverage director Noon Inthasuwan-Summers, including a dozen drinks inspired by the signs of the Chinese zodiac. 

    450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge; 617-661-4900

  • East Cambridge: Dante

    Charles River-side views are a big draw at this East Cambridge Italian, a stone's throw from Lechmere Square. But the backdrop wouldn't mean a thing if it wasn't for the top-notch menu from eponymous chef Dante de Magistris, who is also behind il Casale in Belmont and the just-opened il Casale Cucina Campana + Bar in Lexington. The fabulous pasta plates and elegant chef's tasting menu taste even better in the fresh air. 

    40 Edwin H Land Blvd., Cambridge; 617-497-4200

  • Harvard Square: Daedalus

    It was especially hard to choose a single outdoor dining spot in Harvard Square; the alfresco hideaways at Russell House Tavern and Harvest both merit a mention. But ultimately the top pick (literally) is the roof patio at Daedalus, which we recently recognized as one of the 10 Hottest Rooftop Scenes. A lively spot for cocktails and creative American dishes, Daedalus flies high. 

    45 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge; 617-349-0071

  • Inman Square: Oleana

    Chef Ana Sortun's Turkish and Middle Eastern-leaning stalwart by Inman Square is a consistent people pleaser. A menu dominated by marvelous meze landed Oleana among the Top Three in our most recent Boston's Best Restaurants Survey; head here to check out a video visit to each of them. The verdant, cloistered patio is its own star attraction, a green garden oasis in the middle of the city. 

    134 Hampshire St., Cambridge; 617-661-0505

  • Kendall Square: BELLY Wine Bar

    There is still lots of open space and several large plazas around Kendall Square, which means many restaurants, from pub Cambridge Brewing Company to upscale American Catalyst, have plenty of room to spread out and set up outdoor dining areas. But we're partial to BELLY, because not only is its patio a perfect place to enjoy whole-animal feasts and a sophisticated, expertly curated wine selection — the restaurant also has DIY gourmet s'mores on the menu. Gooey goodness. 

    1 Kendall Sq., Cambridge; 617-494-0968

  • Porter Square: Temple Bar

    The small patio at this American bistro feels slightly more like seating overflow from the dining room, where retractable floor-to-ceiling windows let even indoor diners enjoy a nice breeze. It's a popular Porter Square brunch spot, and one major dinner highlight is a vegetarian prix fixe: a $29, three-course extravaganza of particularly sophisticated plant-focused plates. 

    1688 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge; 617-547-5055

  • West Cambridge: Sofra

    Ana Sortun scores two spots on this list. Her Eastern Mediterranean bakery and cafe has savory fare (like meze platters and shawarma) and plenty of pastries: cookies, sticky buns, tarts and more. There are only a few outdoor seats, but in an area of town where patios are at a premium, that's very a sweet treat. 

    1 Belmont St., Cambridge; 617-661-3161

Places Mentioned

BELLY wine bar

Cocktail BarCambridge
Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostM


Food20 Decor23 Service20 Cost$25


Food20 Decor22 Service18 Cost$25


Food28 Decor24 Service26 Cost$55

Temple Bar American Bistro

Food21 Decor20 Service20 Cost$33
Food25 Decor18 Service18 Cost$16

Dante Restaurant

Food24 Decor22 Service23 Cost$52

Area Four

Coffee ShopCambridge
Food24 Decor22 Service22 Cost$25

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