restaurants include a variety of cuisine, such as Italian, Middle Eastern, Asian and seafood. Restaurants are scattered around the neighborhood, including on Cambridge, First and Third streets.
Locally owned and family friendly, the East Side Bar & Grille can accommodate a family meal with the kids or a special dinner date. Although this is an Italian joint, trying their award-winning ribs is a must. A small, intimate space, it can also host large parties of 10 or more thanks to a second dining area in the back. A water fountain provides the appearance of a romantic, Italian setting. Although the menu looks pricey at first glance, the portions are large enough to be doggie bagged and split over two or more meals. Plus, each entrée comes with a small side salad sprinkled with a zinfandel vinaigrette. On Friday and Saturday nights, come by before the 7 p.m. rush to take advantage of the shorter wait.
The Helmand serves Afghan cuisine, with fresh-baked flat bread to start and homemade ice cream to finish. Thumbing through the menu, you’ll find a multitude of vegetarian options, including the Vegetarian Aushak appetizer and the Vegetarian Mantwo entrée. As the only Afghan spot in the area, it gets packed, so reservations are recommended Thursday through Sunday evenings. The restaurant sits far from public transportation options, so be prepared for a walk if taking the bus or subway. The Helmand has been named the "Best Restaurant for a Date Night" by the Boston Globe and has received an "America’s Top Restaurant" award from Zagat.
Across the Charles River Basin lies the Orpheum Theater. With great acoustics and a good view from anywhere in the house, this old building has provided entertainment for Bostonians since 1852, with a few name changes and remodels along the way.
For an evening of entertainment, locals in the East Cambridge area head to Courtside, a karaoke bar and sports bar. Get your name in for karaoke early, as spots for fill up fast. Firebrand Saints, a local bar located on Broadway Street, features a spicy cocktail with the same name, plus a full bar of other drinks and a variety of food, including deviled eggs, steak tartare, spiced carrot puree and whipped celery root. They open at 5 p.m. on weekdays and offer free parking with validation. Meadhall, located on the border of East Cambridge and Kendall Square,
offers one of the area’s largest selections of beers and ales. Some of the menu items include poutine, latkes and buffalo mac ‘n cheese. Go later in the evening to avoid the after-work rush, during which grabbing a seat or standing near the bar can prove difficult. If you want to get a little more comfortable, snag a couch in the upstairs lounge.