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About Russell House Tavern

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.

14 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
American, Gastro Pub

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

Cross Street:
Brattle Street

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Pay with OpenTable, Visa

Phone Number:
(617) 500-3055

Website:
http://russellhousecambridge.com/

Parking Details:
Validation for the harvard square parking garage and on street parking

Public Transit:
Harvard Square Station (Redline or Bus)

Executive Chef:
Greg Guevin

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

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Russell House Tavern Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.4

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.1

service

4.2

ambience

4.2

value

3.9

Noise

Moderate

84% would recommend it to a friend

Casual (23)
Vibrant Bar Scene (21)
Fun (20)
See All
Good for Groups (18)
Handcrafted Cocktails (18)
Bar Seating (17)
Good for a Date (17)
Fit for Foodies (15)
Neighborhood Gem (14)
Good for Birthdays (12)
Great for Lunch (11)
Comfort Food (11)
Cozy (10)
Great for Brunch (10)
Happy Hour (9)
Good for Anniversaries (8)
Creative Cuisine (8)
Great Beer (8)
Hot Spot (8)
Special Occasion (8)
Authentic (7)
Business Meals (7)
Local Ingredients (7)
People Watching (7)
Late-night Find (5)
Great for Outdoor Dining (5)
Romantic (5)
Worth the Drive (5)
Live Sports (5)
Notable Wine List (4)
Sunday Lunch (4)
Healthy (3)
Pre/post Theatre (3)
Quick Bite (3)
Seasonal (3)
Quiet Conversation (2)
Tapas (2)
Good Vegetarian Options (2)
Kid-friendly (1)
Disabled Access (1)
Organic (1)
Tasting Menu (1)
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1538 reviews
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vip
 (New England)·Dined 5 days ago

Overall, Russell House is always reliable, generally good, and easy.

Tags: Bar Seating, Great for Lunch, Casual
1 person found this review helpful.
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food3
ambience3
service3
value3

 
 (New England)·Dined 7 days ago

We were downstairs in the main dining room which was full and unbelievably noisy. I assume that RHT is among the restaurants now optimized for noise instead of quiet to give it an atmosphere of rowdiness. There were times when a regular volume of voice was insufficient to be heard by someone 3 feet across the table. The food was fine but unexceptional. Service okay as well. Probably not someplace I would return to. Not the kind of place you come to for a leisurely brunch, but more appropriate to watch a football game.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene
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food3
ambience2
service3
value2

vip
 (New England)·Dined on December 9, 2017

Host had attitude when asked if we could have a booth instead of the table he was heading us toward. One of the parties in our group of 4 received their lunch a good 5 minutes after the other three received theirs with no apology for the delay. Eggs over easy were so uncooked that they were raw, runny and cold. The only hustle we saw in our waitress was her hustling to sell us dessert and coffee twice which we politely declined twice.

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food1
ambience3
service1
value2

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 8, 2017

In the middle of Harvard Square, it is a cozy place to have a lunch, a happy-hour, or dinner. Harvard students are all over the place, and we feel like we are part of it too. The food was ok. That is not the most important thing, but the atmosphere. Loved it!

Tags: Great for Lunch, Happy Hour
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food3
ambience5
service4
value4

 
·Dined on December 3, 2017

Great dining experience at the Russell House Tavern. Reservation was super seamless and easy. Great staff, super friendly. Waitstaff was stellar, made honest recommendations and they were totally correct. We got a booth and it was a perfect setting for conversation. Food was amazing, highly recommend doing small plates and sharing. Highly recommend the Moscow Mule -
house made ginger beer (not too sweet, perfect!) Also very reasonable pricing for Boston!

Tags: Special Occasion, Happy Hour, Good for Birthdays, Casual, Bar Seating, Good for Anniversaries, Fun
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on November 30, 2017

When in Cambridge, Russel House is a favorite eating destination. With a consistent delivery of good food and a welcoming & vibrant atmosphere, we always enjoy our time there.

Tags: Great Beer, Bar Seating, Handcrafted Cocktails, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 29, 2017

Had a great time, nice setting, solid service, excellent chow for comfort-food seeking foodies.

Tags: Fun, Hot Spot, Authentic, Great for Brunch, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Great Beer, Comfort Food, Neighborhood Gem, Casual
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on November 23, 2017

Very good experience with Thanksgiving dinner - appreciated the alternatives to traditional 3 course dinner although the selections looked great - just a bit too much food. Friend and I each ordered entrees, then split app and dessert - perfect and so good! Excellent service as well.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Pre/post Theatre, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Good for Groups, Sunday Lunch, Bar Seating, Quick Bite, Casual, Notable Wine List, Vibrant Bar Scene, Cozy, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 23, 2017

The ambiance and the service were good but the Prix Fixe Thanksgiving meal was very disappointing. The presentation of the turkey dinner was slipshod and lacked "all the fixin's." The mashed potatoes seemed to be "instant" There were two pieces of turkey: one was moist and one was dried out. The bread pudding dessert had a rubbery texture that made me wonder if it had been made last Thanksgiving. The pate appetizer was good as was the coffee finale.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Neighborhood Gem, Casual
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food1
ambience4
service4
value3

vip
 (New England)·Dined on November 23, 2017

Came in for Thanksgiving dinner with my boyfriend. They had a three-course Thanksgiving meal that was quite tasty! And the wine pairings for the dishes were well done. I was very happy with the experience. Definitely a perfect Thanksgiving for 2.

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food5
ambience3
service5
value4

 
·Dined on November 23, 2017

A group of us came for Thanksgiving dinner a few days ago. Overall, we were quite happy with the choices offered for the three-course dinner. The sweet potato bisque was scrumptious, and the swordfish dish was delicious (the green beans and delicata squash were amazing). Those of us who had turkey, though, found it a bit on the dry side, and the gravy didn't seem to help. Staff was friendly, courteous, and responsive. We wanted a tavern atmosphere this year and weren't disappointed!

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food4
ambience3
service4
value4

 
 (New Orleans)·Dined on November 18, 2017

We were very disappointed by our dinner! Bread was horrible. Entrees ok. One in our group is vegan and when she asked the waiter if cheese could be left off the pizza he looked at her like she had two heads. We saw the waiter what felt like every 1/2 hour. Would NOT go back except for drinks at the bar.

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food3
ambience3
service1
value3

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 12, 2017

Best pizza I have ever had. We ordered the fennel sausage with onions and sage and if we could of eaten two I would of ordered the melted leek and wild mushroom. We also had a delicious side of roasted broccoli. Delicious!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Quiet Conversation, Healthy, Great for Lunch, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on November 11, 2017

Very good atmosphere, authentic tavern style dining in historic building. Busy late lunch scene. Good mix of people. Food and service were for and appropriately priced.

Tags: Casual, Good for Birthdays, Great for Lunch, Authentic, Live Sports, Vibrant Bar Scene, Good for a Date
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 11, 2017

Whenever I stop in for a drink and/or food I'm always greeted and get service right away. I have had brunch here which was good. But I honestly go here because I love the wine selection and the ability to read my book in peace.

Tags: Great for Brunch, Good for Groups
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Montreal)·Dined on November 8, 2017

Russell House Tavern was just fine. Not great but not offensive. The host and server was friendly, however, we didn't see our server once after our food arrived. We waited what felt like a long time for our food to show up and when it did, many of the items were luke warm like they had been sitting in the kitchen for awhile. Overpriced for what it is.

Tags: Business Meals, Bar Seating
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food3
ambience4
service3
value2

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 6, 2017

The food was fabulous. The way the food is plated is very appealing to the eye. I highly recommend the salmon. The waiter was attentive and did a good job explaining the menu. On another note, however, it is a loud atmosphere (acoustics and music), making it hard to hear other people at your table. I would recommend this restaurant for the food, first and foremost. If you like a loud atmosphere when dining, then you will enjoy this restaurant.

Tags: Creative Cuisine
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food4
ambience2
service4
value3

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 4, 2017

It is a classic tavern, and I think they should work towards to be more authentic and less pretentious. The only plate I save is the meatballs. The deviled eggs were tasteless, no piquancy, even if they were supposed to be based on nduja. The chicken was soft and juicy, but with a flat, flavourless taste. The swordfish was a dry, bland insole. The cocktail was very good, but we were there for dinner. The service was great, attentive and accurate.

Tags: Bar Seating, Good for Groups, Live Sports, Casual, Cozy
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food2
ambience3
service4
value2

 
·Dined on October 26, 2017

We came here for a special birthday dinner, and the food/experience was good (I don't think I ordered the right items for my taste): we ordered the poutine starter (potato wedges with gravy, cheeses and a quail egg - somewhat smothered); for dinner, he ordered the hamburger and I ordered the fried oysters and crab cakes (both were good, but the oysters were missing something; he enjoyed his burger - served on an English muffin!). Decent wine list and long list of craft cocktails; nice ambiance with an upscale vibe and price tag (but super noisy).

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails
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food4
ambience3
service4
value3

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 26, 2017

We had a lovely meal preceded by creative cocktails, the service was excellent and the coffee wonderful

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Vibrant Bar Scene, Handcrafted Cocktails, Neighborhood Gem, Business Meals, Cozy, Great for Lunch, Good for Groups, Bar Seating, Casual, Fit for Foodies, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on October 23, 2017

Being as overpriced as it was outweighed the delicousness of the seafood (we ordered seafood sampler) The burger was good but not a fan of the english muffin bun. There are so many more reasonable and delicious restaraunts in Boston.

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food3
ambience3
service4
value1

vip
 (New England)·Dined on October 23, 2017

I have been a regular at Russell House Tavern since they opened. Something has happened in the kitchen, however. On my last two visits, my burger has been seriously over-cooked. The server was quite accommodating the first time; on the second occasion I was offered "some fries." This used to be my go-to burger spot in Harvard Square (grass-fed beef, not too much bread, caramelized onions) but no more. Perhaps they have become too comfortable.

Tags: Great Beer, Local Ingredients
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food3
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 22, 2017

Noise level made conversing with table mates impossible. Service was extremely slow, over an hour wait for food and the it came out in bits and pieces. Would not recommend unless you want a very loud bar with very slow service. However in spite of slow service, the wait staff were very pleasant.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene
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food2
ambience2
service2
value2

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 21, 2017

This place has a great brunch and unlike many places I've been, the service actually improves when it gets busy. I've eaten here many times and will always come back. Breakfast Pizza (pizza topped with eggs, bacon and spinach) is the best!!

Tags: Great for Lunch, Casual
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 21, 2017

This is the second time that we have come to the Russell House tavern for brunch. It's in a great location and close to the T. The atmosphere and fun. Our favorite thing on the menu is the breakfast pizza! You won't be sorry that you got it. We will definitely be back soon!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Casual, Good for Birthdays, Comfort Food, Fun, Handcrafted Cocktails, Great for Brunch, Good for a Date, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 15, 2017

Food took a really long time to come out, but it was good and everything else was pleasant.

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food4
ambience5
service3
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 14, 2017

The forgot about us though we checked in for our reservation

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food5
ambience4
service3
value3

 
 (Tampa)·Dined on October 13, 2017

Very near Harvard so very crowded and extremely noisy. Our reservation was honored right on time and service was excellent. Menu is large. Food is very good but not great. Fun atmosphere but very Loud. D

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Casual, Fun
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 10, 2017

I had the poached pear salad and the duck pizza. The pear was poached in vinegar and the salad greens were drowned in vinegar--I couldn't eat it. The waiter was very nice about taking it back. The pizza was a little dry. My husband liked his steak frites.

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food2
ambience3
service4
value3

 
·Dined on October 7, 2017

Made reservations and seated immediately even though we were early and walkins were told 30 min wait.
Encrusted salmon was best I've had.
Cozy space in the basement with nice lighting and finishes. But tables too close together.
All that said, we went back a couple days later.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience3
service4
value3

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 7, 2017

Meal and service was great! But the noise level downstairs was horrible. We basically had to shout yo each other to be heard.

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food4
ambience3
service5
value4

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on October 7, 2017

I’ve dined at Russell House several times before and the food and service were very good. I was disappointed with this last visit. The salmon was overdone, the oysters were not as good as other times, and unfortunately, the service was terrible. I hate to write this review because the girl who served us was very nice but she got almost everything wrong.

1 person found this review helpful.
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food2
ambience3
service1
value3

 
·Dined on October 6, 2017

This was such a great place for my friends and I to have dinner. We talked laughed and enjoyed great food and amazing wine. I definitely will be coming back

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New England)·Dined on October 5, 2017

Consistently solid but nothing amazing. Not sure why they need such a loud musical soundtrack for weekday lunches, many (if not most) of which are informal business gatherings.

Tags: Good for Groups, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience3
service4
value4

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 3, 2017

We celebrated our son's 23rd birthday and we could not have picked a better restaurant. Very enjoyable! Thank-you Open Table and Russell House Tavern!

Tags: Good for Groups, Comfort Food, Casual, Vibrant Bar Scene, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 2, 2017

This is a nice place to get together but is always chaotic. On this occasion, the main floor was engaged by a private party and a sign advised other patrons to find a host. Although no host was in sight and customers busily asked each other what to do, I found assistance and seating on the lower level. The service was very good but the tables were set up awkwardly so one could barely hear the other person. I would advise noise deafening material on the ceiling. My burger was good and I particularly appreciated the waiter's suggestion that I have salad and french fries. I did not think my friend's pasta special was very ample but she enjoyed it.

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food3
ambience3
service4
value3

 
·Dined on September 29, 2017

service was exceptional. You should expect loud. Charcuterie and cheese boards tantalized and fried oysters were simply yummy. Drinks were innovative and delicious. Main course was just OK. Two of us got the steak fries (which we usually get); unfortunately the fries could have been warmer and crisper. Another got the salmon which was slightly overcooked. Nevertheless overall it was a fun time had by all. Phenomenal service! Looking forward to the next time.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Handcrafted Cocktails, Worth the Drive, Comfort Food, Casual, Fun
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (New England)·Dined on September 26, 2017

Reserved a high-top in the bar area since I knew we were only doing drinks and apps. I've eaten downstairs before and the upstairs bar is more casual and lively (especially with the windows opening right onto the heart of Harvard Square). Our waiter was perfectly attentive and filled orders quickly and correctly, refilling water while we deliberated app choices. The charcuterie & cheese board was delicious as were the cocktails. Very grateful for the purse hooks under the tables in the bar area because the stools were backless. Looking forward to my return visit soon I hope!

Tags: Happy Hour, Bar Seating, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (New England)·Dined on September 17, 2017

I really wish this could be a positive review but it's was my second time here and both times my experience here was not that great. (Alway give at least two tries). Went there Sunday night bringing two out of country guests. Wanted to show them a great place and a great meal and was glad this place was still highly rated. Well, went well until we sat down at our table. We waited, waited, waited, for 20 minutes and no waiter showed up so went up to the host. She was kind and said she will find someone. We waited again for 10 minutes until a waiter showed up. The waitress was very kind and apologized for the long wait. Then ordered our drinks and food. Drinks took 20 minutes. Food 45 minutes. Couldn't really understand why it took so long as it didn't seem that busy that evening. Once the food arrived my burger buns (ciabbata bread) from their specials was a cold and seemed stale as it broke apart easily. Sent it back and wasn't much better the second time. I just ate it (minus the bun) anyways as I was really hungry by that time. Waitress was kind enough to not charge me. It was quite drafty where we sat and asked to turn off the ceiling fan. Like I said, wish I could give a better review but unfortunately two bad experiences is enough to form an honest review. Best of luck guys. Hope things turn back up for the good.

1 person found this review helpful.
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food1
ambience1
service1
value2

 
 (New Mexico)·Dined on September 16, 2017

Fabulous food in really nice atmosphere. Much bigger than I thought from the street. Downstairs dining room was lovely!

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Good for Groups, Fun
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food4
ambience5
service4
value3

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