Luce

4.6
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796 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian

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About

LUCE is a family-owned neighborhood restaurant offering timeless, regional Italian dishes in a cozy, comfortable dining room and bar. Our kitchen turns out an array of starters, pizzas, and handmade pastas that emphasize seasonal and local vegetables. There are always a few dishes that showcase New England meats and seafood.

Owner Rene Becker curates a list of Italian and other European wines that compliment the regional and seasonal food. All wines on the regular list are available by the half bottle and in many cases by the quartino, or quarter bottle. The wine list also includes well-aged bottles of Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello, and Burgundy. The Luce bartenders make consistently delicious, classic cocktails and manage a great list of amari and grappa.

LUCE is named for René and Cynthia Becker's daughter, Lucie, who is nicknamed Luce (pronounced loose). Luce in Italian (pronounced loo-chay) means "light". We like both pronunciations. Join us at Luce Tuesday thru Saturday.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Italian, Contemporary American
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Hours of operation
Tue–Sat 5:30 pm–10:00 pm
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Phone number
(617) 714-5295
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Payment options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Kunal Datta
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Massachusetts Avenue
Additional
Beer, Cocktails, Full Bar, Gender Neutral Restroom, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 796 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.6based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.6
service
4.5
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
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KC
New England
60 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

pizza was terribly soggy. heavy with cheese and sauce.

JD
New England
1 review
Dined on August 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing - it’s so unusual that every single item that every person at the table orders is absolutely delicious!

H
New England
27 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service was very good. Menu is inspired. Love the champagne and fries. This is one of the better places in Cambridge, underappreciated.

DJ
Portland
5 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Perfect experience. Very low key environment w incredible food that you can get in half portions. Great European vibe.

OT
New England
2 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Excellent food and drinks!

AM
New England
9 reviews
Dined on July 24, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The food and menu selection were good. They were a little heavy on the sauces for my taste. Dressing /sauce on burrata salad and artichoke appetizer overwhelmed the delicate deliciousness of the main ingredients.
Overall service and atmosphere is nice. Wish the windows onto Shepherd Street opened. Sitting at the bar was pleasant- more sense of a place/ personality than the dining room.

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

Wonderful menu! We love this Shepherd replacement. All dishes were very good to excellent with the exception of the ricotta gnocchi with lamb- too oily for me. I have to remember that lamb can be greasy. Wine is a bit pricey. Otherwise, we loved the menu, food, service- GREAT!!

L
New England
6 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food is imaginative and of high quality. Refreshing! I hope that there will be shifts of the menu from time to time, because it is not a long list and I would like to dine regularly there with some variety.

H
New England
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great vibe, yummy fun food!

c
New England
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 3ambience 4

Starters and drinks were excellent. I thought my pasta was only okay, but there were lots of things that sounded good so I will definitely be going back!

A
New England
3 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Fanatic food that take a new twist on Nonna’s classics.

BA
New England
14 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Very creative menu. The chickpea fritter was extrordinary - crisp on outside, light and ethereal on the inside, with excellent accompanying aioli. The grilled artichokes and the octopus were also terrific. Cheerful atmosphere with acceptable noise level. This was the third time we've dined there and were impressed with the consistency of the preparation and attention to detail, including serving dishes appropriately hot - something that even elite restaurants don't get right.

G
New England
30 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have become a bit of a regular and Luce keeps hitting it out of the park for me. Everything I order is fresh and scrumptious. Service is excellent - Lauren is a wonderful server!

F
New England
8 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I like Luce. Love the Cosmopolitans cocktail with elderflower liqueur. I wish there was espresso for after dinner. The fried artichokes are delicious. I also wish the steak was a better cut of meat. They do a great job with the sirloin, but I would definitely pay more for a rib eye, for instance. Great bread from the HiRise bakery. I will definitely return as I want to try many of the dishes.

N
New England
1 review
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 4

I was disappointed. Risotto was way too salty, pasta was bland, and gelato was icy. The space is beautiful however with lots of natural lighting and an elegant interior. Service was very good, very attentive without being intrusive. I would love to go back to this neighborhood restaurant if they could get things worked out in the kitchen.

D
New England
7 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We live close. Such a great restaurant

K
New England
21 reviews
Dined on June 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We LOVE Luce - have gone twice now. The food is delicious, energy is fun but not too loud, and it's not outrageously expensive. They also have a great wine list. It's our new go-to neighborhood joint.

B
New England
8 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love Luce's bright dining room and its bright food. It makes you think, serving artichokes cooked two ways, how preparation can transform a vegetable. The tagliatelle with bolognese sauce define comfort food; the risotto with scallops and mushrooms and the cioppino are perfect and light for springtime. The wines are always interesting, and the gelato for dessert is completely irresistible. A wonderful restaurant

OT
New England
5 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great pizza for kids! Awesome wine list!

AH
New England
7 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

They forgot our food and drink orders twice! Service was slow and disorganized.

A
New England
2 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Great food and service. Attentive to needs of kids.

j
New England
1 review
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

I will definitely be back and hopefully sooner rather than later.

JM
New England
6 reviews
Dined on May 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Another fantastic night at Luce. My friend had her one year old and the staff was amazing to the little one. Everyone made my friend and baby feel welcome and at home. Food? Killer as usual. Pretty much you can order anything, including things you would try, and you will want more, and tonight was no different. Except chef was truly on and everything was even more superior than the norm OMG what did I just eat. My compliments. Then there are those cool bartenders and staff. Even when you dont see them for a few weeks the conversation picks up where it left off. One forgets I am paying as these guys almost seem like they would do it for free - that;s how genuine they are night after night. Thank you

B
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Here for a reunion with friends. Wonderful spot for good food, wine and conversation. Staff were welcoming and gracious.

JH
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We’ve been to Luce before, and we’re already planning a return visit with s larger group. Every dish we’ve ordered has been delicious, the atmosphere is relaxed, and the waitstaff are efficient and friendly, but not in your face.

TD
New England
10 reviews
Dined on May 14, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

I had high expectations for Luce given the owner and his other food ventures. I had the soft shell crab on a roll with pancetta which was delicious. The grilled baby octopus was dry with little taste. The charred artichokes and the meatballs did not live up expectations. And the Gave was sharp. Service was good and the room is comfortable. I will give it a second chance as I would like this restaurant to succeed.

RH
New England
7 reviews
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

Wonderful, inventive cuisine. Luce's method of offering either half bottle or full bottle options at the same per-ounce price is an outstanding innovation.

KC
New England
61 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious pizza, nice glass of wine and great service. Perfect for a neighborhood spot.

S
New England
6 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

The dining room at Luce is absolutely stunning, especially in evening light.

The cocktail I had (the Luce Spritz) was delightful, and the grilled artichoke, though a bit prickly, with its delicious sauce, was a great way to start the meal.

I was disappointed, though, by my dandelion green farfalle. It tasted like a dish from an Indian restaurant (maybe chana masala?), which was an unpleasant surprise given that I was expecting a more conventional Italian dish. Nothing on the menu alluded to that flavor other than the "spiced" pine nuts - but the flavor was not confined just to the pine nuts. Perhaps my dish was just an anomaly, and of course I'm just one person. My friend really enjoyed his tagliatelle.

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

Had a wonderful evening having dinner and catching up with an old friend!

m
New England
27 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

A nice replacement for the space... too loud, of course. On Saturday, the service was, distracted and felt quite impersonal, but the server was quite busy. The pizza was nice, but not quite as delicious as what I expected since having smelled and seen one previously. The appetizers were delicious as was the pasta.
I'll go back again, hoping for a better experience! Not every night is perfect...

KZ
New England
1 review
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food. Great cocktails. Great ambiance - unpretentious. Restaurant staff are wonderful. Noise level is perfect. Kudos - thank you Luce!

s
London
48 reviews
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

First visit. Pleased with high quality and freshness of food. Friendly atmosphere. Owner Rene at next table graciously gave us a taste of rare delicious wine. Will return when convenient as we live in Brookline.

JH
New England
3 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Great service with a smile and very good food...little pricey on the appetizers ...but a few were outstanding...

GG
New England
5 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food and service, what an upgrade from The Shepard in terms of being a nice neighborhood restaurant that can be for casual dinner or special occasion too - fits both venues

L
New England
14 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place for a family dinner: very approachable menu, and excellent service, bar, food, and wine quality. We had a great time!

V
New England
18 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Luce was a cute, vibrant neighborhood restaurant with decent seasonal Italian fare. I found it a bit expensive for the quality (decent but not incredible).

RM
New England
4 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome dinner and service. Every dish was wonderful.

AP
New England
16 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Finally a great menu in this location! Super tasty appetizers, great main (swordfish). Friendly, efficient, knowledgeable service. A neighborhood gem!

C
New England
61 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Italian has always been a choice, and now there seem to be more and more of them, even ones claiming a 'fusion' italian menu. Luce (loo-cheh or loose, take your pick) avoids the italianesque 1/2/3 of the standard dogma, but still offers a pasta list and an entree list and a pizza list and a starter list. Our party avoided the pizza, mostly because only I am the pizza fan, and I've got a very narrow pizza boundary- has to have pepperoni and mushroom, has to have a red sauce, and has to have mozzarella. They didn't have that. So you'll have to let us know how the pizza is. There is no wood stove here anymore (a la Shephard, RIP)- the NIMBY neighbors won that battle. Not particularly impressed with the decor change from that establishment, and don't we all still miss Chez Henri? (Amusingly enough, our dessert came to us on an old Chez Henri plate. Homage vraiment.) Good wine list, although nothing easily affordable. We went with a $52 2017 Barbera D'Asti which was quite decent. As the italian venues are starting to crowd into each other in Cambridge, we'll see what Luce can do to move outside the mob.

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