Catalyst Restaurant

4.6
1255 reviews
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$30 and under
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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.
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Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Contemporary French / American, Contemporary French
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Hours of operation
Brunch
Sun 10:30 am–2:30 pm
Lunch
Mon–Fri 11:30 am–2:30 pm
Dinner
Mon–Thu 5:00 pm–10:00 pm
Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–11:00 pm
Sun 5:00 pm–9:00 pm
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Phone number
(617) 576-3000
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
William Kove
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Catering
events@catalystrestaurant.com
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Main Street
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Parking details
We validate parking at Technology Square Garage (800 Technology Square)
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Public transit
Red Line Kendall/MIT
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Special events & promotions
For parties of 11 guests or more, we require a prix-fixe menu in our dining room. For parties of 17 guests or more must book with our Private Event Coordinator at events@catalystrestaurant.com
Additional
Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Fireplace, Full Bar, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access

Private Dining

Beautiful custom weddings, rehearsal dinners, showers, & post nuptial brunches. Seamless planning, award winning modern American cuisine & flawless execution

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What 1255 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.4
service
4.3
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
93% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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h
Minneapolis
5 reviews
5.0Dined a day ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good place for business dinner

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b
Washington DC
10 reviews
5.0Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was outstanding, especially the octopus appetizer and the sea scallops entree.

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OT
Charlotte
1 review
5.0Dined on September 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent service and cuisine, abundantly fresh and balanced, each bite delicious. Highly recommend.

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R
New England
6 reviews
5.0Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent, and our two guests concurred.

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MD
1 review
5.0Dined on September 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Service was the perfect balance of attentiveness and friendliness without getting in the way of us having a business conversation. Our server made excellent recommendations on food and wine, and I love the daily Rose feature! perfect for a hot summer day in Boston. Will definitely go again.

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MH
New England
3 reviews
3.0Dined on September 4, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

We really enjoy the feel of this place. The food is generally fine, however was less impressive during our last visit. Desserts are average. My personal bugbear is overzealous staff eager to remove dishes while I am still chewing on the last bite.
Anyway would still recommend Catalyst and will definitely return.

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RW
New England
34 reviews
5.0Dined on September 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and drinks are always impeccably prepared and interesting. Their menu doesn’t change much over time. That’s my only negative.

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d
New England
16 reviews
5.0Dined on September 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent scallops, cooked perfectly. Also good burger and appetizer of Shishito peppers.

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OT
New England
37 reviews
5.0Dined on August 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Another terrific meal, with attentive and nice servers. I have never had an experience here that has been other than excellent - and the Oreo ice cream is to die for!

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j
New England
36 reviews
5.0Dined on August 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a good meal at Catalyst. Went here for a work dinner, a colleague was a bit late but his meal arrived the same time as the rest of the table. Good service!

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BD
New England
28 reviews
4.0Dined on August 29, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

This is my third time at Catalyst. Every time the food has been very good overall, with some dishes being excellent. Service is polished and non-intrusive. The decor is artistic and the restaurant is spacious, which is good, because at peak dinner hour it can get crowded. The price is fair given the quality.

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BG
New England
13 reviews
4.0Dined on August 29, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 4

Fine for lunch.

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D
New England
9 reviews
3.0Dined on August 20, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

We have been to Catalyst a number of times over the past two years and have always enjoyed our experience - the food, ambiance, everything. Which is why we felt confident that this time would be great as well.

But it wasn't. My wife and I each ordered the seafood pasta. The plates were hot, but the pasta itself was tepid at best -- sort of like they took some that had been lying around and figured that it would get warmer if they served in a hot plate. But the pasta was also quite dry, like maybe it had been re-warmed. When we've had pasta at Catalyst in the past, it was served hot, moist and very tasty. But this time the pasta had little flavor, and the dish itself had only a few very small bits of what must have been seafood. Salt and pepper made it a bit tastier, but I normally don't put either on my food except where absolutely necessary, as was the case here.

We've had some very good meals at Catalyst so this was a real disappointment. Maybe they were having a bad night. But having dropped $140 on what was a mediocre meal at best, it may be a while before we give this place another go.

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DB
San Francisco
9 reviews
5.0Dined on August 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great lunch at Catalyst. I tried the Southwest blackbean bow with quinoa and it was outstanding! Definitely something I would order again.

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ML
1 review
2.0Dined on August 16, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 3

I was disappointed with my meal. I ordered seafood pasta dish - it didn’t come with lobster. Brought it to the attention of wait staff. They promptly took my plate and replated it but it was delivered only with lobster no other seafood.

Whole experience was frustrating.

Wait staff was attentive.

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R
New England
1 review
4.0Dined on August 10, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 4

Tried Catalyst as part of Dine Out Boston. The appetizer and entree were very good but the dessert was still quite frozen and did not taste as expected.

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WH
1 review
5.0Dined on August 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Another superb meal at Catalyst . I dined with an old friend and it is our favorite meet for lunch or dinner place. Very good old standbys that are consistently well done. I ate some lovely grilled salmon, he the cod. We both indulged in excellent dessert a chocolate mousse tart. Just great food, attentive service and a good wine/beer list.

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AD
New England
5 reviews
4.0Dined on August 8, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Ambiance , food, drinks and the service were spot on. Cant believe I am saying this but the portion size for dessert could be reduced.

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TA
New England
1 review
3.0Dined on August 7, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

It was very hot outside, but inside was unbearably freezing, we didn't appreciate being so cold. Watermelon salad portion is ridiculously small and it is too spicy.

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MM
New England
2 reviews
2.0Dined on August 2, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

Long wait for service, despite a member of our party communicating a food allergy the dish was delivered with this ingredient. One meal was delivered very late. Then we were waiting for silver ware.

Manager did come over and apologize.

Previous lunches there have been very good. This was a disappointment

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OT
New England
33 reviews
5.0Dined on July 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Holly was terrific. Great crudo. Great value and always good.

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D
Philadelphia
4 reviews
5.0Dined on July 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Met my husband for dinner last Friday. Restaurant was busy but not crowded. Wait staff were awesome - kept just enough attention to us. We both had incredible meals. Chilled corn soup with crab and avocado was best chilled soup I've ever tasted and paired beautifully with the Tomato, grilled peach, burrata appetizer (also outstanding). Salmon meal was awesome. Love this summer menu!

Also, it doesn't show up in the checklist, but they carry a top-notch N/A beer (Erdinger Weissbrau).

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K
London
8 reviews
5.0Dined on July 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have only been to Catalyst for lunch before and enjoyed it very much. Dinner was fantastic! I had scallops and my friend chicken and both were delicious.

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BO
New England
3 reviews
4.0Dined on July 26, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Very good selection and variety of flavors. Everything plated beautifully. Great waitstaff. Good atmosphere for catching up with old friends as the noise level wasn't too much.
Would be happy to go again.

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DB
New England
28 reviews
4.0Dined on July 24, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great service and dinner menu. Diverse cocktail, wine and beer options.

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F
San Diego
1 review
5.0Dined on July 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I appreciated their willingness to accommodate my dietary restrictions. The food was delicious!

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JB
New England
28 reviews
4.0Dined on July 21, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

My wife and I went to Catalyst before a movie at the nearby Kendall Square Cinema (about 0.3 miles). Seated us right away with our reservation, server showed right up and away we went.
The space is big and airy. Very high ceilings and windows running all the way up bring in lots of light and a view of the sidewalk. We were seated right on the window. In the winter, I've been near the gas fireplace and it felt much more warm and cozy. The tables are set much farther apart than in most restaurants, and the noise level is pleasantly low. Not a TV screen within sight either!
I was very impressed by the craft liquor list - had a Martini made with a New Hampshire gin that had been aged in oak - very smooth, slightly yellow color - very different. My wife had her standard dark rum and tonic, and unusually, the limes were fresh and plentiful.
We shared the spicy, Asian lobster bisque and both thought that it was very different from traditional, but great. We also shared crisp cauliflower as an app - served with yogurt, pine nuts and raisins - very tasty and rich.
Then, she had scallops - nice and light with corn puree and lots of Chanterelle mushrooms. I had house-made linguini with fresh, lightly cooked seafood in a sinful saffron butter sauce - what Alfredo should be, but never is.
No room for dessert, but, we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner.

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OT
New York Area
16 reviews
4.0Dined on July 14, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Food was ok. Service was friendly.

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OT
New England
31 reviews
5.0Dined on July 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food is always great and Holly was a great server.

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ED
New England
25 reviews
5.0Dined on July 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I was hesitant about the weird name of this restaurant, but I’m really glad I didn’t end up letting it deter me from a lovely dinner. The drinks were great, esp the “George Harrison;” the tuna tartar was delicious (although not served with something crunchy like it often is); the gnocchi was phenomenal... but most of all, our server Maggie was SO sweet and helpful, noticed everything we needed- it was excellent service and food and we look forward to returning!

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A
New England
18 reviews
4.0Dined on July 12, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Nice lunch , good service!

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M
London
3 reviews
4.0Dined on July 10, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

A convivial environment and genuinely relaxed vibe about this restaurant. This is a little off the Boston city path, but well worth a visit across the river.

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F
New England
27 reviews
5.0Dined on June 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful waitstaff. Great food selection which catered to my plant-based needs.

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JW
1 review
5.0Dined on June 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Have only dined here one other time, but as I recall both occasions were enjoyable. Would definitely recommend this place to friends/co-workers/out of town guests.

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GG
New England
3 reviews
5.0Dined on June 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great as always!

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F
New England
10 reviews
1.0Dined on June 19, 2018
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 1

They don’t give points.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
4.0Dined on June 17, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Father’s Day

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BS
1 review
4.0Dined on June 15, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We had to ask for something that should have come with our order. Otherwise, the meal was very nice.

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AM
1 review
5.0Dined on June 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My Husband and I got engaged here 2 years ago. We return every year on the same date in June to celebrate! And every year we fall in love more and more with the food, the service, and ambiance!

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OT
New England
1 review
5.0Dined on May 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Superb interior design & sophisticated chill patio made this the perfect night with a dear friend.

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