Catalyst Restaurant

4.3
icon/ic_reviewCreated with Sketch.
1376 Reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$30 and under
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Contemporary French / American
Catalyst Restaurant is a reflection of Chef/Owner William Kovel’s passion for simple food delivered with warm service in a modern environment. The Catalyst dining experience centers on bright, simple food created from the season’s freshest local ingredients, serious French technique and an appreciation for the details that go into our guest's experience. Catalyst Restaurant opened in 2011 as one of the pioneer businesses in Technology Square near the MIT Campus in Cambridge, MA. Since that time, an influx of start-ups and big companies that have made Catalyst a hub for business lunches, after-work gatherings and private dining.
avatar copy

Private Dining

Book your next event with us

View details
What 1376 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.2
service
4.3
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
83% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
Sort by
Filters
JG
New England
2 reviews
Dined a day ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Food and service were both just fair

OT
New England
51 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Hadn’t been in a while. Used to feel like bustling weekend dinner spot. Only one space had most
Tables full so it had a kind of slow struggling feeling. Maybe it’s more of tech lunch spot. Everything was just alright. From trout to cod to lobster pasta.

OT
New England
2 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

Camila our waitress was fabulous!

KM
New England
21 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

the best, most professional server we have experienced in a long time.

superb knowledge of the wine list, and the food choices

LV
New England
9 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The restaurant was less crowdwd than usual, so not so noisy. The service was wonderful and the amuse- bouche was an appetizer-sized portion of wonderful pasta. The entrees were delicious, we had chicken and the grain bowl. A pleasant place for a meeting with a friend or colleague.

DB
1 review
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

I have been twice to Catalyst (as it is close to MIT's East Campus). The place certainly has a Kendall Square industrial-chic vibe popular with smart people in the technology sectors. The servings are quite good, if not always exciting, and the moderate size of each entrée, presented with generous "white space" on the plate with flair is sensible in an aesthetic and dietary sense.

As to drinks, the same cocktail may vary depending upon which bartender gives birth to it. My Barrel-Aged Manhattan was magnificent in drama and chemistry when created by Cody at the bar (see photo), However, the second time, when I was seated far from the bar at a table with friends, the bartender of the day produced a pale imitation. For drinks, I advise, if alone, sitting at the bar when Cody is present.

DQ
New England
12 reviews
Dined on August 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The is now my favorite restaurant in the MIT vicinity.

JW
New England
76 reviews
Dined on August 15, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 2ambience 4

Have been here many times and food has been excellent and creative. This time, however, things lacked imagination. Salmon was cooked nicely but few accompanying things on the dish. Duck was actually not good - tough and not tasty. Waiter was indifferent and not especially helpful. Very disappointed, as we really like the ambience and the food. We will probably go elsewhere nearby when dining in this area.

SG
1 review
Dined on August 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The food is consistently excellent and appropriate proportions.

JC
1 review
Dined on August 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is a wonderful restaurant. The food was incredible and I was appreciative that there were options for vegetarians. Everything we ordered was delicious! The waiter was attentive and my water glass was never empty!

OT
New England
4 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Staff at this restaurant was warm and welcoming. Service was great. Food and wine excellent. Will definitely come back

OT
New England
1 review
Dined on July 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Reliably excellent blend of haute cuisine and comfort food with reasonable portions, great drinks and a cool techie atmosphere.

W
New England
23 reviews
Dined on July 31, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food at the Catalyst, but meals were pricey. When you add on the cost of a couple of glasses of wine, it's a lot of money.

CB
New England
5 reviews
Dined on July 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I had a wonderful experience at Catalyst. The food is always outstanding, and the ambiance is comfortable and relaxing. No elbowing dining neighbors here. But it’s always like that, I have eaten there several times because I work nearby. It’s very convenient and worthwhile.

What was different last night was that my salmon was just short of perfectly cooked, and Catalyst is one of the few places that I’ve had it perfectly done. Our server was more attentive and engaging than I remember those for past meals (no complaints, just hoping management sees this). She magically procured a replacement, though I was already full (my meal was still excellent!). The manager asked me just to try and see if it was perfect, as I remembered. It was incredible, as I remembered, and he said how important it was they get things just right. Our server then cheerfully packed up the meal and returned it to me to take home at no charge.

I’m now a fan.

ML
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on July 30, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 2

I asked for an available window table, and then was told it has been requested and taken. From 11:30 to 1pm when I left - that table was open and not taken..... not happy!

OT
1 review
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Lunch came out very fast- tough for a business meeting

a
New England
4 reviews
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We had an overall great experience. No rushing between apps and entrees, delicious food all around, tasty drinks. The price was fair what the quality and quantity for what was served. It felt very quiet and we were able to carry on conversation without trouble. I have already begun to recommend to friends in the area.

AE
New England
2 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Lunch: good reliable place for to bring MIT guests. I mean that as a compliment. The ambiance is casual elegance, and while the noise level is a bit high, you can have conversations. The food is unremarkable, in I suppose a good way, so it won't offend anyone.

Bar: good wine list and interesting cocktails. The bar menu itself is often more interesting than the dinner menu.

TT
New England
8 reviews
Dined on July 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love dining on the patio for lunch in the summer! It is a perfect patio, food is great, and the service is nice as well. Just a perfect summer lunch - lots of seafood and all kinds of other things. I actually like their lunches better than their dinnners - but maybe it is the outdoors :)

D
New England
30 reviews
Dined on July 15, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

It’s hard to find fault with Catalyst—the host was welcoming, the service was friendly and professional, and the quality and preparation of the food were excellent. Yet, all of our dishes were oddly lacking in flavor—the hamachi crudo, served with thinly sliced radish and cucumber, cried for a touch of something salty—capers, perhaps; the roasted salmon, perfectly cooked, was accompanied by chunks of summer squash, which seemed an odd pairing of bland on bland; and the rack of lamb, the tastiest of the lot, would have benefited by a touch more harissa. We’d return if we were in the neighborhood, but this wasn’t destination dining for us.

JG
New England
2 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely quiet outdoor space!

D
New England
55 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

Although Catalyst has delivered high quality in the past, at lunch recently we were very disappointed. One of the diners selected a seasonal fresh strawberry and greens salad for $14 and added felafel for $8, expecting it all to be enough. What appeared was a small plate of barely dressed greens with three pieces of felafel, for together $22. Fortunately, the server responded by our disappointment by offering another plate of greens, this time adequately dressed, gratis.

FK
1 review
Dined on July 1, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 2ambience 2

Nice place, but that was about it. We both ordered the Cobb salad for lunch, I added the chicken, the salad was nothing like Cobb, it was mostly lettuce, and it was tasteless, and very expensive. I would not go back to this restaurant and would not recommend it to any of my friends.

B
New England
13 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great good with straight forward ingredients and structure. A simply strawberry arugula salad tasted of it. Wonderful

s
New England
23 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was absolutely fabulous. The service staff were attentive. Both my friend had fish entrees which were perfectly prepared. Even though we were full, we decided to get deserts. The chocolate cake and mascarpone tart were really good. I would highly recommend this place.

TM
New England
1 review
Dined on June 12, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

I am at Catalyst several times a year for business lunches and meetings Always a favorite with my clients and I..

r
New England
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 1

Terrible service, overpriced entrees and a bizarre atmosphere. Maybe this is only a lunch spot but I would suggest going to another restaurant for dinner.

RT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My favorite restaurant in Cambridge! Great food, great service, great atmosphere!

RT
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The best restaurant I have visited in Boston! The food is amazing! The price is very reasonable. the service is extraordinary! The interior design is perfect and the atmosphere very cozy. I would highly recommend it!

OT
New England
5 reviews
Dined on May 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Business dinner.

OT
New England
1 review
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 1ambience 3

Food was okay, service terrible with a frown

JC
New England
1 review
Dined on May 15, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Party of four with reservations for dinner seated promptly in cozy booth where we could all talk. Excellent service. Draft beer variety was very good. My dish was excellent (blue cod). Desert was visually beautiful but just ok from my sweet tooth perspective (chocolate raspberry ... wished there was more chocolate than cake). Validated parking and close proximity to T made Catalyst an easy pick.

PB
New England
3 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

Catalyst is one of my go-to-places when I bring guests into town and they always deliver. They didn’t disappoint. We were a large group (12) and it took a bit longer than usual to get but the quality and quantity was excellent. Will definitely keep using them.

M
New England
6 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Mother’s Day Brunch was nice and the staff was friendly, but much of my food was cold. Tons of desert, not as much regular food.

M
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

Understand they are trying to market to a different clientele by offering a Mother's Day brunch, but they should stick to what they do well - which is a normal ala carte menu, not a buffet.
Food was cold, children's buffet was pathetic (overfried chicken nuggets + mac & cheese), and the tableside service with champagne offered a chocolate covered strawberry, which they charge you for but don't really inform you ahead of time that it'll cost a lousy $3....
just....underwhelming. All of it.

D
New England
27 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Mother’s Day brunch a bit disappointing. Very nice spread of food with typical fare, but very overweight on deserts. Restaurant ran out of plates, coffee cold. $52.00 per person felt quite high given the experience.

MT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Mothers Day Brunch. Pretty meh for $60 a person . Great baked goods and oatmeal. Cold scrambled eggs like you find at a free hotel breakfast and very cold and uninspired eggs Benedict .

Bacon was good and again , baked goods were nice.

DD
New England
12 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Special Mother’s Day brunch not very special. For $52 per person not even a glass of champagne included. Dining room not cleaned up completely from the prior night’s dinner. Below the standard of this restaurant.

OT
New England
4 reviews
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

The prices seem particularly high given the portion size; however, the food was tasty. The cocktails tasted watered down.

KA
Minneapolis
3 reviews
Dined on May 6, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

We were a group of 7 but were seated at a long rectangular table even though circular tables were available. Conversation was difficult because of this geometry and the fact that the table was directly under a loudspeaker piping in music.

1
2
3
35

Tweets by Catalyst Restaurant