Luce

4.4
772 reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
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.
What 772 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.5
service
4.2
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
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B
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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KC
New England
58 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.

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S
New England
3 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.

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

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

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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...

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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!

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s
New England
41 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.

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JH
New England
1 review
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...

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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

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L
New England
13 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!

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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).

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

Awesome dinner and service. Every dish was wonderful.

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AP
New England
15 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!

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C
New England
59 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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OT
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Nice variety of pastas, grilled items, pizzas and salads complemented by an interesting wine list. Loved the chickpea fritters! Quick walk from Harvard Square area.

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PC
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 5ambience 3

The food was excellent. So was the service. But it was so noisy we will not be back.

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B
New England
125 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Very nice dinner for four . Quite loud, although a little better in a booth . Food was excellent . Artichokes and asparagus salad excellent appetizers . Swordfish main was very tasty and fresh . Various pasta dishes also very good . Especially enjoyed small cannolis . Service was efficient .

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P
New England
1 review
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Need a lower ceiling to muffle sound.
Will visit again

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D
New England
2 reviews
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 5

Good food, service and ambience. Portions are too small for price point compared to similar restaurants.

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JH
New York Area
1 review
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Luce is cozy, relaxing, delicious, and beautiful. We loved the warm atmosphere, the attentive (but not bothersome!) wait staff, the extremely tasty appetizers, calzone, and beetroot & ricotta pasta. Yum! & the wine by the glass was excellent, too. I loved Catalyst (Luce's earlier incarnation), and I'm sad that it's gone. But I had a wonderful time at this more down-to-earth restaurant from René Becker - it's nice now to have this more informal restaurant in the neighborhood. We are already making plans to come back soon!

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z
New England
7 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

This rebranded, upscale place (formerly Shepard) is coming into its own, with excellent wood-fired pizza, good (not great) pastas, salads, starters, and other Italo-standards. Nothing particularly creative, or exciting - and not a great value proposition (except for the four-course tasting menu).

Good wine selection (warning: the special pours, called quartinos, are NOT the standard quarter liter - they're just a quarter bottle (i.e. one glass) - they need to correct this), full bar. Pleasant ambience.

But come for the pizza, among the best in town: crispy on the outside, moist in the middle, holds up to toppings - more uniform in shape than most authentic pizzas. The hot oven is the secret.

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TG
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 3

They forgot to bring out half of our dessert order (cannoli) and the part they did (gelato) was primarily melted. Soft, warm and unappealing. When mentioned to the wait staff they offered to replace (there was no selection for that to be a reality) but for this level of dining they should know better- either take it off the bill or don’t even bring something so tragic out. Plus food plating was terrible- zero beauty.

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were happy to find out about a new Italian joint that is close to home. The food was great, and they had a fun spin on meatballs. Our entrees we paid the higher price to get more food, but it still didn’t feel like there was enough of it. Not sure if it was because it was an actual small portion or it was so good, I just plain out wanted more. Haha! The hostess and servers were all lovely as well. Looking forward to going back.

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f
New England
14 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

I like the food at Luce. It is well prepared. I also like the "ambience." This was my second visit. While I enjoyed my dinner I was just a little disappointed because I keep to a dairy free diet and am pretty sure the last time I went the kitchen prepared a bolognese for me that was dairy free. This time they couldn't do that. But they did a good job accommodating me and I will definitely go back. And probably, to be honest, I had a more healthy meal and it was quite good.

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GM
New England
1 review
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 2

Saw that there was an 8pm reservation open, as well as more open reservations throughout the night so we drove by and stopped in. When we got to the host, she said that tonight wouldn’t work and they were too busy... basically turned us away. I then told her that open table had many reservations and booked one on the spot, which she then acted surprised, and reluctantly seated us. I found this type of “service” extremely upsetting, rude, rediculous, and unacceptable. Never coming back here, which is a shame because it has potential.

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BT
1 review
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food (truly outstanding risotto), great space, good service. The menu is short listing appetizers, pizza and pasta dishes with two alternative main courses ... but this is more than compensated by the quality of the dishes (we had one pizza, gnocchi and the risotto).

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e
New England
7 reviews
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 3

until recently this restaurant was shephard; which served upscale new american cuisine with a lovely wine list. luce is shephard 2.0: it was meant to be a bit more accessible, and in terms of service and menu, it is. but luce suffers even more from the interior design of shephard: it's too bright, too austere, and too noisy. luce is branded as a more cozy italian restaurant, but it doesn't feel that way when you're dining there. hey the food was good (innovative menu) but not great. the service is an improvement over shephard—more friendly and less obsequious. the wine was exquisite and that's a major plus. i'll conclude by saying that like its predecessor, the food is way way overpriced given its competition (competing with giulia? really?) in cambridge. overall a disappointing experience considering the effort and the chef and service team. it would take a lot for me to want to go again.

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R
New England
23 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

Server wasn’t able to explain food, small portions, but tasty

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t
New England
1 review
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Good, but not as good as previous incarnations of this restaurant. Would probably choose to go to places just around the corner from my house rather than get in a car and go here. But service was good once they figured out that our wine was delivered well ahead of our food.

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m
New York Area
31 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We live in West Cambridge and invited a neighbor couple to join us for our first time at Luce. We had a nice time. Our reservation was for 6 on a Friday evening. We were seated promptly and got our drinks.
My husband got a small plate, fettucini with octopus, that he said was very good. I got a pizza prosciutto and the charred broccolini, and was quite satisfied, even though I gave away two pieces. Our guests liked it too. No complaints, although it was good that we got to sit on the side so it wasn't too noisy. I'm not sure we would have been happy if it were louder.

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I
New England
3 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Great! I like Luce a lot more than Shepherd. The menu is interesting Italian.

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EW
1 review
Dined on March 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Simply superb! The space & lighting is really beautiful, the staff are super friendly & knowledgeable, and the food is consistently delicious. Their beverage program is really great too! Who can beat a $16 glass of Aubry?! I love that you can try different wines that normally wouldn't be offered by the 1/4 & 1/2 bottle from the "Tonight's Pours" list, too. Good vibes at Luce.

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CW
New England
1 review
Dined on March 6, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 2

Just the same as old Shepard... terrible service, rude, uninspired food, and over priced. Do not go!

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e
New England
1 review
Dined on March 5, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Food excellent, service uneven- attentive at times, no bread?!, hostess moved us to quieter table- much appreciated. Will return as menu appealing.

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DT
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Good food but a very limited menu. Please add some dessert that's not frozen. Not everyone enjoys gelato on subzero wintry nights.

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s
New England
5 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We really love this new local neighborhood spot. The menu is creative, while offering some classic Italian dishes with twists. Portion sizes are adequate. We have dined here 3 times since it has opened.
Our only suggestions are 1) to offer bread before dinner 2) have a better variety of desserts. The omission of both of these is surprising, since it is affiliated with Hi-Rise Bakery/Cafe.

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a
New England
6 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had an excellent experience at Luce. Can’t say enough about the food, cocktails, service, and atmosphere. So happy that we found this restaurant!

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