For all of Harvard Square’s charm and convenience, sometimes there’s nothing better than getting a few short hours away. And what better excuse for exploration than the promise of a delectable afternoon snack or a charming meal with a small group of friends? For those of you with a hankering for new eateries this side of the Charles, these are worth a visit:
Flatbread Company @ Sacco’s Bowl Haven
This part-restaurant, part-candlepin bowling venue is a Somerville staple and perfect for a weekend excursion out of Harvard Square. At Flatbread, you can enjoy pizzas made with organic and locally-sourced ingredients while trying your hand at a New England’s homegrown variety of the 10 pin sport. The venue does not look like much from the outside—a brick facade with mismatched signage—but the interior opens up into a multi-lane alley and expansive dining area. So whether you’re nostalgic for the middle school days of bowling alley birthday parties, or simply longing for a night of good pizza and beer, an outing to Flatbread Company is a must.
45 Day Street, Somerville.
Restaurant: Monday - Saturday 11:30 a.m. - 11:30 p.m., Sunday 11:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Bowling: Monday - Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m., Sunday 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Sofra Bakery & Cafe
If you’re looking for a relaxed, tasty, and perhaps scenic weekend morning, this Middle Eastern bakery is just the place. Rather than your common panini and scone café fare, Sofra’s menu includes beet tzatziki, shakshuka, and Persian spiced donuts. Due to the venue’s small size, finding a seat might be difficult, but Mt. Auburn Cemetery is located directly across the street and is the ideal place for a quiet, reflective walk before or after your visit. For the cooking enthusiasts out there, Sofra also has an extensive selection of colorful spices and condiments such as Rose Petal Jam. No matter what you order, definitely add the tahini shortbread to your tab—you won’t regret it.
1 Belmont Street, Cambridge.
Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., Saturday - Sunday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Craving a hearty non-dining hall meal? Tupelo is your haven. The restaurant, which has a solid collection of beers on tap, does southern soul food with a creative twist. Go classic with Cajun gumbo or assemble an assortment of starters and sides such as the confit pork belly “corndog” and jalapeño mac and cheese. You can also look forward to a bread basket full of fresh-out-of-the-oven cornbread.
1193 Cambridge St., Cambridge.
Dinner: Tuesday - Wednesday 5 p.m. - 10 p.m., Thursday - Saturday 5 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Brunch: Sunday 11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Atomic Bean Cafe
Apart from its fantastic name, three things set Atomic Bean apart from the dozens of other coffee places scattered about Cambridge: board games, a book exchange, and massive, delicious muffins. Here, you can enjoy a cup of coffee while playing Stratego with friends, or else hunt down new reading material if the book in your bag just isn’t cutting it. The cran orange nut muffin is a must-try and the chocolate croissant is especially generous on the chocolate. The café also has free WiFi and ample seating for those looking for an off-campus study spot.
904 Mass. Ave., Cambridge.
Monday - Friday 7 a.m. - 7 p.m., Saturday - Sunday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Bike up Mass. Ave. to Davis Square and check out this funky lunch spot. Diesel sports a diverse collection of artwork and metal road signs on its walls, and you can even play a game of pool after you eat. Lest you think the café’s name is arbitrary, many of the menu’s items are automobile themed. There’s the Accelerator (almond and vanilla latte), the Somerville Smog (Earl Grey tea with vanilla and steamed milk), and the Monkey Wrench (sandwich with turkey, avocado, tomato, snow pea shoots, and greens), to name a few. If you’re into cafés that take their theme and atmosphere seriously, Diesel is for you.
257 Elm St., Somerville.
Monday - Saturday 6 a.m. - 11 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m. - 11 p.m.