Bambara Restaurant

4.2
909 reviews
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$30 and under
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American
Nestled on the Charles River Canal and a short walk from Cambridge’s popular Kendall Square, Bambara Kitchen & Bar is a modern and relaxed gathering place, offering approachable, seasonal American cuisine rich with ingredients found along the Eastern coast. The cocktail and beer menu mirror the laid back atmosphere, including a robust list of craft beers and globally inspired cocktails.
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What 909 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.2based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.2
service
4.1
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Quiet
81% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Service a little slow to start with but once order taken moved along much more smoothly.

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KK
Oklahoma City
1 review
Dined on May 14, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 2

Service was very slow. We weren’t impressed with the food.

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JA
New England
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 2food 5service 2ambience 1

The menu makes it seems like this place might be a good spot on trend, but in fact it’s only a slightly above average hotel restaurant. Fine if you’re staying at the hotel, but there’s no reason to actually eat here for its own sake.

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JP
New England
54 reviews
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

This particular trip to Bambara was for their Easter Buffet. As would be expected with a buffet, the food is not quite as good as if it had been prepared to order. However, the selection was good. The buffet was served in a large function room upstairs from the restaurant, so this took away from the coziness of the restaurant space. It was a nice experience, but not my best at Bambara. I'm discounting for the occasion and still plan to go back again.

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SS
1 review
Dined on April 18, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

This is our favorite local restaurant. We’re regulars, coming by once a week.
Set on the first level at The Hotel Marlow in Cambridge, the resetting features high-backed upholstered furniture and other noise mitigating features. It’s casual upscale and more often than not, there are either no children. Or if children are there, they’re well behaved.
The food is creative and yet comforting. We get sharing plates, starting with the Monchecho cheese plate and following a beet salad that is crazy good, the hummus plate and one of their pasta dishes.
The servers are also incredible! Each is professional and treats us as though they are happy we are there. If I had to single out a favorite, I would say we’re always psyched when Peter is our server professional. But everyone is fabulous.

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LD
New England
3 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food with a nice mixture of small plates and half sizes.

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GP
New England
7 reviews
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

We came up from NY to go to brunch with our son who lives in Boston. Just a quick brunch to catch up. Beautiful décor, nice place to have conversation. Service and food were very inventive and good.

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JP
New England
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Location is a little out of the way....felt more like an outflow foodery for Hotel Marlowe.....typical of hotel food...slightly overpriced....had a neg experience waiting for my dinner companions...waiting outside had a man drive up in a sedan and offer me the ability to pay for something....drugs, sex...i'm not sure which...but it was broad daylight...a little off putting....

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g
New England
4 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 4

I had the lobster roll which was lacking seasoning and mayo or butter, very small pieces and lots of filler, terrible value

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MM
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We went to Bambara for brunch on a Saturday. The restaurant is spacious, but not cavernous, and bright. Pleasant decor, noise level is low, so one can easily carry a conversation. The menu has several unorthodox items, including duck confit hash with poached eggs, as well as salmon ceviche, which varies from week to week. French toast was made out of an Armenian bread called choereg, which is closer to a brioche and makes the dish quite rich. The wild mushroom omelet actually did have wild mushrooms in it. The service was very attentive, but not intrusive - a rare combination these days!!

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H
New England
19 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Very good food, a pleasant venue, excellent value, seats available. The dishes, which were beautifully presented, seemed inspired by a modern fusion of European and Middle Eastern cuisines. Perhaps because of the hypercompetitive restaurant scene in Cambridge/Boston, Bambara has not gotten as much attention as it deserves. An excellent choice for a last minute, casual dinner.

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OT
Miami
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Last minute Valentines plans. The menu was limited, but interesting and everything we ordered was excellent. Although the restaurant was busy the service was very good and the atmosphere very nice. We did not feel rushed or crowded. Overall it exceeded expectations.

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c
New England
14 reviews
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

My friend and I have a monthly brunch date and each month we pick a different place to meet.
Neither one of us had been to Bambara but we chose it based on the menu. But, the overall experience was much more than the delicious food. She had the hash and I had the lemon ricotta pancakes and we both were tempted to lick the plate! It was quiet enough for us to have a good catchup--with comfortable seating and a relaxed pretty decor.

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OT
Salt Lake City
1 review
Dined on January 25, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

Opera with friends

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CE
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on January 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Bambara is consistently a good restaurant for business meals.

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LD
New England
2 reviews
Dined on January 9, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Overall service is mediocre.

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SL
New England
2 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Have been many times and find the location and indoor parking very convenient. The food is good and generous in portion. The room is nice and almost intimate with a nice ambiance. The hotel location is also quite unique.

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ZM
Miami
7 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 2

Part of a hotel, this restaurant is average on a good day, with a worn out decor and menu. There is not much innovative and spectacular here...average food, average service and average decor.

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OT
New England
2 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Expensive small portions. Mediocre service and ambiance. Not worth it

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m
New England
138 reviews
Dined on November 15, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

If you want a lot of food for a reasonable price, this is the place for you. We opted for the three course Vietnamese style prix fixe lunch. The three part appetizer was the best part of the meal, a fresh tasting summer roll, crunchy fried chicken wings, and meatballs. I had the pho, which had very little flavor though I added a lot of hot sauce. My companion had the bahn mi sandwich with fries; she was not enthusiastic about either. Dessert was avocado ice cream, which was OK, though I wouldn't have known there was avocado in it. The price was $20, which was good value. All in all, we were satisfied, but I wouldn't order it again.

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w
New England
67 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 3

Disappointed. Went here for lunch. Two of us ordered ceviche for lunch. Approximatley 3 tablespoons of ceviche came in a large bowl with no chips. nothing. It specified chips on the menu-- when we asked the waitress-- she said-- oh we don't do that anymore. After we spoke with manager she brought over potato chips. Was just dumb. either you modify menu or warn people before they order or offer to compensate somehow. Bad service

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a
Philadelphia
162 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

This is a nicer hotel restaurant. Cool vibe. Food and service were pretty good. Not crazy expensive. I would come back.

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LE
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

The hummus dish hardly had any hummus. The chicken was bland.

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MW
New England
2 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really tasty food and great wait staff. Very attentive and provided useful recommendations. The food was a little bit on the pricier side but the setting is also very elegant.

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SM
New England
3 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 4

Conveniently attached to the Cambridgeside Galleria and across from the Museum of Science.

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M
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

They could have a better menu to offer more normal type choices. Not everything needs to be extra complicated and trendy.

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AH
New England
5 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was excellent. My only complaints are tiny quibbles about the bathrooms being on the opposite side of the hotel, quite a hike away. My duck confit hash was wonderfully spicy, and the bocadillo's chorizo was a revelation. It's not supercheap, but the dining room was nice (loved the map of the area!), and the food was great. We'll be back!

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e
New England
21 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 4

Food was fine, middle eastern flair on typical menu items. Mostly ordered apps. The service was poor--25 minutes to get shucked oysters, 40 minutes to get apps. Even though it was not especially busy, the server was inattentive and disappeared a lot. At that price point, I expect more.

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AJ
New England
11 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service friendly knowledgeable staff . Wonderful and delicious food

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e
New England
18 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

We looked for a restaurant within walking distance following a Cambridge River Cruise. The food here was better than anticipated, with a wonderful salmon cerviche appetizer and delightful warm hummus with abundant seasonal vegetables to share. They were followed by a creative pork chop dish in cherry sauce and a pasta with lamb and mint. The only detraction was the service as our young server was not familiar with the menu and seemed indifferent to our inquiries. Our fist wine selection went "missing" for twenty minutes and we had to ask to see the wine list for an alternate selection should it never be found, as indeed turned out to be the case. The service also left plenty of time for relaxed conversation, which was fine with us.

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NY
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on September 4, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Interesting menu, the food was excellent.

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OT
New England
47 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We had a great night. Jeremy the manager was serving wine in the courtyard and he treated us great. Food was very good - try the bread its delicious. We had the charcuterie to start. We split everything including the hamburger which was delish! Will go back.

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K
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on July 29, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 5

The food at this restaurant is spectacular. The portions are on the small end but it’s generally fine. The problem was that our service was comically bad. Everyone was very kind but they screwed up everything that could be screwed up. They brought us the wrong meals, the wrong sides, all the wrong specifications. They were extremely kind about it all but ultimately we gave up on getting the drinks we wanted and the sides we wanted. Probably will not go back.

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I
Nashville
45 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We always stay at the Marlowe when in town and usually eat one meal here. Never disappoints.

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JB
New England
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our server was wonderful and was happy to make recommendations. The food was delicious and so flavorful. Will definitely be going back!

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KA
Philadelphia
24 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

A restaurant very likely to be in a Kimpton hotel, with limited but good food options. The menu is a short list of good and uncommon things. We were a party of 5 so had a chance to taste many different dishes - which were all very good! The service was great, so helpful and friendly. On gentleman from El Salvador and a lady from Colombia were helpful in pointing out strengths of the menu and helping us make the most of our choices. Probably the least relevant was the dessert menu. Next time I’d probably try the manchego.

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JA
1 review
Dined on July 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My husband & I had a delicious Anniversary meal at Bambara. We hadn't been since they changed chefs and decor and we were blown away - everything we ate was absolutely delicious! The service was perfect. Ou server was attentive but not overly so. We cannot wait to go back with our family...

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S
Philadelphia
62 reviews
Dined on June 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Three of us for a business dinner and Bambara doesn't disappoint! Great service, delicious food with unique flavors and preparations, we all enjoyed our appetizers and meal ... highly recommended!

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L
New England
5 reviews
Dined on May 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Armenian sandwich and poached eggs with hash were both fantastic. Interesting and unique brunch menu.

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S
New York Area
19 reviews
Dined on May 26, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 3

The food was excellent but it could have been the first night for our waiter as a waiter. The restaurant was fairly quiet and most requests took and excessive amount of time. Food was very good though. I would return.

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