Russell House Tavern

4.3
1669 reviews
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$30 and under
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American
Top Tags:
  • Bar Seating
  • Casual
  • Good for Groups
Russell House Tavern continues the Harvard Square tradition of local enterprise as a New American Tavern serving seasonally-inspired, classic dishes from New England and beyond. An inviting, multi-level space adorned with vintage photographs of the Square, Russell House Tavern specializes in artisanal fare served alongside carefully hand-crafted cocktails and a distinctive collection of all-American wines and craft beers.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
American, Gastro Pub
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Hours of operation
Dinner: Daily 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Brunch: Saturday-Sunday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Late Night: Sunday-Thursday until 12 am, Friday-Saturday until 1:00 am
Bar: Sunday-Wednesday until 1:00 am, Thursday-Saturday until 2:00am

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Phone number
(617) 500-3055
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Pay with OpenTable, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Sebastian Navarrete
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Brattle Street
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Parking details
Validation for the harvard square parking garage and on street parking
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Public transit
Harvard Square Station (Redline or Bus)
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Gift Card
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 1669 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
4.2
food
4.1
service
4.2
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
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4.0Dined 3 days ago

It was too loud in the dining room downstairs, exacerbated by a patron who spoke at volume 11 throughout her dinner.

Food was very good — solid and delicious usual — and our server was very friendly and responsive.

A good experience overall, except for hearing every laugh and utterance of the person at the adjacent table, whose shrill voice was audible even over the very loud atmosphere.

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4.0Dined 5 days ago

Appetizers were excellent. Mains were disappointing. It was a warm day and more attention should have been paid to the water carafe. It took a while for us to find someone to refill our carafe and glasses.

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5.0Dined 7 days ago

Staff was so accommodating when the air was blowing too much. Staff was also super friendly! Food was delicious!

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3.0Dined on June 16, 2018

We’ve been fans of RHT in the past but this visit didn’t impress us or our out-of-town guest. Server and trainee were very nice, attentive, and had helpful suggestions for drinks and dishes (except we never got one of the small plates we ordered.) But the food wasn’t up to past standards, and the menu seemed less imaginative. Lobster sliders were a giant heap of arugula with a little lobster. Flatbread had tasty toppings but crust was leathery and tough. Caesar salad was as swimming in way too much dressing, and beet salad only had a couple chunks of beets. Fried Brussels sprouts were burnt to a crisp. All in all, a disappointment. And the place was half empty on a Saturday evening, which is unusual - we wondered if others were having similar experiences and going elsewhere.

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3.0Dined on June 9, 2018

I have been a number of times and the food is superb, however the management and service is continuously disappointing and until it is addressed by management I unfortunately will not be returning, nor will I be recommending it to anyone.

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3.0Dined on June 9, 2018

Anniversary

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5.0Dined on June 8, 2018

Went here to celebrate one week of being engaged with another couple and the restaurant treated us to a complimentary glass of champagne for the table! Great customer service that made us feel very special.

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1.0Dined on June 3, 2018

Really poor service. Probably waited 15 minutes for water, and then had to repeatedly ask again 4 times for a refill. Our server was very rude to us.

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1.0Dined on May 30, 2018

I requested outdoor seating and when I got there it wasn't available. They put us inside where it was extremely noisy and I could hardly hear my companion. Finally, they moved us outside after first saying they couldn't do it.

We both had swordfish. We were told it was fresh but it tasted previously frozen , not fresh and very dry. We had lobster sliders and the bread was cold and they were not very good either. The chocolate mousse cake was almost frozen solid. Very bad food.

And very expensive. All of this cost nearly $100 as I recall.

The outdoor server was very nice, but told us the swordfish was fresh and I think he really didn't know. I could be wrong. Maybe it was just over-cooked.

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5.0Dined on May 27, 2018

Friendly, great food and creative cocktails. Great local beer list.

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3.0Dined on May 26, 2018

Limited daytime menu. Extremely noisy. Service was not good - clearing of plates, long waits on drink refills, chaotic and disorganized staff. TVs not working.

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4.0Dined on May 20, 2018

The food, service and overall restaurant was excellent the only drawback is the lack of parking but there is garage parking close by.

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5.0Dined on May 20, 2018

We chose Russell House Tavern based on its proximity to the Loeb Theater. 12:45 reservation prior to a 2 pm show. Seated downstairs in a cozy (and comfortable) table. Told our server our show time, and she assured us we’d be out in plenty of time. I ordered the anti-Benedict, and he ordered the Nutella French toast. Each had a cocktail too. Clearly, she expedited our order as it came out in what seemed like 5 minutes. Nice!

His French toast was fantastic. My anti-Benedict was very good. The server described it as a standard poached egg that is flash fried and still has a runny yoke. The yikes on mine were hard cooked. Still very tasty. Next tine I’d get the regular eggs Benedict. If that’s the worst thing that happens, I’ll call it a win. Great atmosphere, outstanding service and good food. That’s a trifecta.

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4.0Dined on May 20, 2018

Wonderful brunch in a nice atmosphere with a great selection

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5.0Dined on May 19, 2018

Great restaurant. Highly recommended. I was there to celebrate my sisters birthday and they did a fabulous job making it extra special for us. The food was amazing too. I got the steak frites, which was superbly done.

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4.0Dined on May 16, 2018

The food was top-notch, and the staff was extremely friendly and knowledgeable. It was super loud, though, so it was tough to hold a conversation. Definitely would come back, however!

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4.0Dined on May 13, 2018

Great location, interesting subterranean venue. Steak frites were quite good, lovely stout on draught. Caesar salad with shrimp a bit overpriced, but ok. Wait staff was very pleasant. We would go again!

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4.0Dined on May 13, 2018

Mother's Day brunch. Made reservation via Open Table for party of 3. Initially seated at bar area upstairs, with small table & uncomfortable seats; I complained about lack of notice that we would be seated in bar area and not in main dining room. Manager then graciously switched us to a much more comfortable table and seats in main dining room. Be sure to specify you want MDR.

Some establishments do indicate when you will be seated at high-tops or bar area seating rather than MD.

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5.0Dined on May 12, 2018

Russell House is a unique find a short walk from the Harvard T station; I've been there 4 times (3 with large work groups and once with my husband) and every single person has been thrilled. On this special occasion trip with my husband, the service was attentive without being intrusive. Unlike many restaurants--even really high-end places--Russell House knows how to make lemonade! My husband loved his steak frites and was delighted to find good cider choices on the menu. I was pleased with the spring vegetable risotto. The noise level overall is a bit higher than ideal for me, but we were seated a little out of the fray and that worked out fine. My only suggestion for improvement is to stock Coke products instead of Pepsi.

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4.0Dined on May 12, 2018

I was quite surprised. I know Russell serves food pretty well but our dinner was exceptional. The clam pizza and the Brussels sprouts were a standout. My friend from jersey couldn’t forget those 2 particular dishes

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4.0Dined on May 12, 2018

Menu is limited

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4.0Dined on May 11, 2018

We enjoyed the historic tavern atmosphere, the casual ambiance, the lively feel. The food was very good and reasonable.

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1.0Dined on May 11, 2018

I typically love coming to this restaurant for lunch but was disappointed with this experience. The restaurant was mostly empty, yet we were seated in a corner table, next to one of the only other patrons in the downstairs area adjacent to the folding glass doors, virtually out of sight. Could I have asked for a different table, sure, but I figured that since I place the reservation the day of that it was due to that and the restaurant was about to take on a rush of other reservations. That never happened so why were we placed in one of the least appealing places in the restaurant??? The lighting overhead was harsh and felt like I was being interrogated by my friends during conversation because the lighting was shining directly on my face.

It also didn’t help that when I asked for the secret burger to still be placed on an English muffin instead of ciabatta, it still came out in ciabatta. It’s only bread so I just mentioned to the waiter who graciously apologized and offered to swap it out. I just ate the burger without.

Again, just disappointed since I usually have a very good experience at this restaurant.

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5.0Dined on May 8, 2018

I've eaten here before and this restaurant always delivers. Fresh oysters, great service. I met my cousin for dinner, and we decided halfway through our first app that we wanted to sit outside. The staff made this super easy, and were very accommodating. The food was all great. The brussell sprouts were a bit oily.

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1.0Dined on May 7, 2018

Worst food I’ve had for that price. Do not come here, save yourself the effort and go to Alden and Harlow.

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5.0Dined on May 5, 2018

We had a great time. The food (burgers, pork 3 ways, salad) was amazing. The drinks were ok. Will definitely go back.

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2.0Dined on May 5, 2018

My partner and I booked a dinner reservation to celebrate our anniversary. Upon arrival, we were seated upstairs and handed two different versions of the lunch menu. We noticed that the mis-matched menus were an issue for other parties that were seated after us.

After checking to see that we did indeed book for dinner online, I inquired with our waiter and he shared that dinner service would not begin for another 45 minutes and suggested that we "hang out" if we'd like. We opted for drinks and a cheese board while we waited it out for a full meal. It took approximately 20 minutes to get our drinks and another 15 for the cheese board, which arrived with no explanation of what was being served on it. Our waiter then requested that we pay our tab before moving downstairs for dinner.

Downstairs we approached a woman who was hunched over the hostess desk, looking pretty disinterested. She offered us seats at the bar, but we were there for dinner (remember, I made a dinner reservation?). Our meal was satisfactory, but again the service was touch and go. We sat with dessert menus for exactly 25 minutes (yes, I timed this) before we gave up on ordering and flagged down another hostess to settle up. She came back and admitted that she "couldn't find our waiter" and would grab us our check. We left disappointed.

While I'd love to consider today's visit an anomaly- we spent plenty of time waiting, giving us time observe other parties who were experiencing the same issues.

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4.0Dined on May 5, 2018

Excellent service and delicious brunch! Highly recommend!

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5.0Dined on May 4, 2018

Contemporary American cuisine with lovely outside seating :)

Tried the market fish, which was trout, steak tartare, the cauliflower and the white wine on tap, which was the chenin blanc . Every dish was on point and will definitely consider coming back again next time when around!

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3.0Dined on April 29, 2018

Loud at dinner, had to shout to have a conversation. Service great. Prices a little on the higher end for what you get food-wise.

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4.0Dined on April 25, 2018

It was great

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5.0Dined on April 22, 2018

Great atmosphere, service and food - thank you for hosting

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1.0Dined on April 21, 2018

Very limited menu

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4.0Dined on April 20, 2018

An enjoyable late lunch, on a weekday when they are quieter than usual. Good food and service.

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3.0Dined on April 19, 2018

We could hardly hear ourselves talk, and this was at a table off to the side. Too noisy.

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3.0Dined on April 18, 2018

The ambiance was lively and active—felt like a fun place to be. The service was poor. Although our server was friendly, he made repeated mistakes that really took away from our experience. He forgot that I had ordered a beer. And it took a while after he was reminded. Then we ordered appetizers (cauliflower special and barbecue pork “wings”), along with our entrees. The brought the meals about 10 minutes before the appetizers. They forgot the cauliflower and said that they had run out. As we were leaving we saw multiple orders of the cauliflower being served!
The steak frites were excellent.
The swordfish and chicken were average.
Service was poor and disappointing.

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5.0Dined on April 18, 2018

We loved everything we ate! The duck poutine especially was SO delicious, it cannot be passed over.
Service was very quick, entrees came as soon as we finished our appetizers.

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5.0Dined on April 17, 2018

Monique (brand new server) was amazing!!!!

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5.0Dined on April 16, 2018

great food and service. can be a bit noisy when crowded, but if you get a corner table it's fine. best burgers in Cambridge MA and other good food and deserts as well.

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5.0Dined on April 15, 2018

Good time had by all

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