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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

Good for a Date (23)
Good for Groups (20)
Vibrant Bar Scene (19)
See All
Fun (19)
Casual (18)
Fit for Foodies (17)
Handcrafted Cocktails (17)
Neighborhood Gem (15)
Bar Seating (14)
Good for Birthdays (13)
Creative Cuisine (11)
Comfort Food (11)
Hot Spot (10)
Cozy (10)
Business Meals (9)
Great Beer (9)
Good for Anniversaries (8)
Great for Brunch (8)
Happy Hour (8)
Great for Lunch (8)
Authentic (7)
Great for Outdoor Dining (7)
Late-night Find (6)
People Watching (6)
Worth the Drive (6)
Local Ingredients (6)
Live Sports (5)
Romantic (5)
Special Occasion (5)
Seasonal (4)
Good Vegetarian Options (4)
Healthy (3)
Pre/post Theatre (3)
Notable Wine List (2)
Quick Bite (2)
Quiet Conversation (2)
Tapas (2)
Kid-friendly (1)
Disabled Access (1)
Organic (1)
Scenic View (1)
Sunday Lunch (1)
Tasting Menu (1)
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1527 reviews
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vip
 (New England)·Dined on January 1, 2014

Then again, I always get the same thing: Brussels Sprouts Pizza and Caesar Salad with Kale. The Whippersnapper cocktail is really good, too, if you're into bourbon.

Easy to get to, too. It's just steps from the Red Line.

Tags: Hot Spot, Good for Groups, Great for Lunch, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (New England)·Dined on December 31, 2013

Went for prix fixe dinner on NYE. I know it's NYE, but for $59 I expect a very satisfying meal. went with the server's rec for an app, which she deemed as more substantial. Yes, I guess it was more substantial than the single ravioli that was my other choice, but it still wasn't much. It was very salty too. The entree portion was large, and the lamb was DElicious. Tender, juicy, and not overseasoned. The sides with it were just meh. Finally, for dessert I had a muffin tin-size cheesecake. My date felt the same way - he liked his porkchop and got the same sides as me. He didn't finish his app (something he NEVER does) or his dessert, was disappointed in both. We both LOVED our drinks (despite the fact it took forever to get them).

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food2
ambience3
service2

vip
 (New England)·Dined on December 31, 2013

I don't know why this place doesn't get more hype! The food is always really good and the menu changes frequently enough to keep you on your toes. Also, they have a good oyster selection. I love going to Russell House!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Vibrant Bar Scene, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot
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food5
ambience3
service5

vip
 (New England)·Dined on December 31, 2013

was wonderful for the New Year ..

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Vibrant Bar Scene, Notable Wine List, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot, Great for Lunch, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 27, 2013

Our waitress was phenomenal! Food was great -- good selection and everyone we came with got something different (6 people). Everyone enjoyed their meals. Great wine (domestic) & liquor list. I would recommend this restaurant for a date or a group. It gets a little loud but there are some quieter places in the corners.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (Toronto)·Dined on December 26, 2013

It was our first visit and Cam was very helpful with his luncheon recommendations. The Nicoise salad with the smoked Arctic char was wonderful, although I would reduce the amount of greens. The flourless raspberry chocolate torte was the lightest and airiest of desserts. For a gluten free choice this is an excellent dessert. I tried three different versions of this dessert while travelling through the northeastern part of the US, and no other could stand up to the Russell House version.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Vibrant Bar Scene, Notable Wine List, Late-night Find, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot, Great for Lunch, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience3
service5

vip
 (New England)·Dined on December 23, 2013

It was our first time at the Russell Tavern & our party number kept changing from the time we made the reservation to when we dined. The staff was accomadating when we had more people join us for appetizers but then had to leave. The food was delicious & a great menu. Would definitely be going back

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on December 23, 2013

I got the grilled fish and the tavern's house burger. They did taste quite good, but there was one downside. The fish and the burger beef were, of course, both grilled, and I believe "over" grilled because there were charring on the sides and edges that tasted bitter (like all charred food would taste), which really really took away whatever good flavor the food was supposed to have. However, besides that, I suppose the food is good enough.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Hot Spot
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food3
ambience4
service4

 
 (New England)·Dined on December 21, 2013

This is definitely a "hip" restaurant - less the cozy, New England bar scene - and more hip happening place. Went for a 12:30 lunch date on a Saturday, and wasn't pleased with the limited menu. More cocktail and beer/wine options than food options.

And the food wasn't stellar. Had the un-benedict egg - two fried, poached eggs served benedict style. The ratio of hollandaise to egg was paltry, so, instead of a gooey mess bound together with yolk and hollandaise, the primary binder on my eggs was the grease from the sausage pattie.

Wasn't impressed, and am glad I can say I've tried it.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Great for Brunch, Hot Spot
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food3
ambience4
service4

vip
 (New England)·Dined on December 19, 2013

Summary: Fantastic food... the rest? Meh. If someone else is paying, you have plenty of time and can deal with the cons for a delectable meal, this is the place for you. My colleagues and I had a delicious holiday lunch on a Thursday. I enjoyed the soup of the day - a rich butternut squash puree, the beautiful and tasty deviled eggs, a sumptuous spicy spaghetti and lamb meatballs, topped off with the cider glazed donuts with caramel sauce.

Pros - delicious, creative, locally-sourced food with a wide range of choices

Cons - down stairs into the basement with no windows, a noisy room, slow service (2+ hrs), small portions and high prices, no parking nearby

Focus on the food and you'll be fine.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience3
service2

 
 (New England)·Dined on December 8, 2013

Always exceptional food, amazing bourbon selection, great ambience. Awesome place to bring a date.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 28, 2013

The Thanksgiving menu was not at all generous. Small portions of everything. Especially the appetizer! A dot on the plate! We chose a tavern as they are usually so abundant. With 3 young adults with us, it was pretty disappointing. The turkey was good but the pecan dessert was also notable for its ordinariness. I don't recommend it!

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food2
ambience2
service2

 
 (Switzerland)·Dined on November 28, 2013

My husband and I went here for Thanksgiving and really enjoyed our meal. The food was clever, tasty and well presented.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Notable Wine List, Late-night Find, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion
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food3
ambience4
service5

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 28, 2013

I was very disappointed in our Thanksgiving dinner experience. It was not inexpensive, so I expected special effort and very good food. There was no bread or rolls (sort of expected for Thanksgiving?) The first courses (salad and risotto) were fine, and my wife's turkey was good, but after that it was disappointing. Her side of mashed sweet potato was almost tasteless; it needed some salt/pepper and guess what? Those weren't on the table. Her other sides were only okay. My main dish (beef short ribs) taste was ordinary; no "wow" at all. My sides; creamed kale was plain and the pureed turnips portion was miniscule and utterly tasteless, a complete waste. The desserts were small but fine. Overall not a good value proposition.

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food2
ambience2
service3

vip
 (New England)·Dined on November 23, 2013

Everything here was good except for the waiter we had. He was absolutely terrible. He barely checked on our table and we could see him just hanging out chatting with other servers on the side. He was rude a few times when we tried to get his attention. If the food was not as good as it was I would definitely never go back but since I enjoyed the food I would give it another shot.

Tags: Good for Groups, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food4
ambience4
service1

vip
 (New England)·Dined on November 23, 2013

Picked the restaurant based on the yelp and open table ratings. Made an early reservation at 6pm which worked out because it got increasingly noisy. Service is a little slow with taking orders and getting the tab. The menu was nicely varied. Loved the appetizer and small dish list. The entrees were also a good list. I ordered the arugula and orange salad which was really fresh along with marrow and oxtail pierogi - YUM! My friend ordered the roasted crystal family farm chicken which was also moist and delicious. Definitely a thumbs up

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service4

vip
 (New England)·Dined on November 20, 2013

Russell House is among my favorite places to eat in the area. The food is always fantastic and the service is impeccable. It's absolutely worth a try.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 16, 2013

A little context: My wife and I decided to give this place another chance after two mixed previous experiences. We don't get out as much as only a couple as we used to due to our toddler twins, so we usually try to make the most of our date nights and really enjoyed the food here in the past visits - enough to overcome rude/poor service. This last visit has sealed the deal and we will not be going back. Oddly enough, the service picked up a bit after it was apparent we were going to be spending a lot of money, but it was a little too late since this date night coincided with celebrating our wedding anniversary and we feel we are paying for experience and not just food. We have had poor service two out of the three visits.

Tags: Fit for Foodies
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food4
ambience4
service1

 
 (Toronto)·Dined on November 15, 2013

Loud and wonderful. Great oysters, cocktails and the most amazing mushroom leek pizza of my life… you could smell the truffle oil before it came to our table. Everyone there seems to be having a great time (including us!) i don't know if it's always like that, but russell house tavern had a great energetic vibe when we went Nov 15. our server seemed super nervous (maybe new?) but she did a fine job.

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food5
ambience4
service3

vip
 (New England)·Dined on November 13, 2013

Restaurant is VERY noisy at night -- fun atmosphere, but not very good for catching up with friends from out of town -- very hard to hear each other talk, and we were at a table on the side. The food was tasty, but borderline oversalted (had the arctic char). Too salty for me, fine for fellow diner. Would give a qualified recommendation -- might try for lunch, but probably not for dinner, because of the noise factor. Glad it seems to be doing so well, tho! Live in the neighborhood, and am happy at the success of local restaurants.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Hot Spot
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food3
ambience3
service4

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on November 12, 2013

Our expectations may have been too high. The restaurant's interior is awesome -- low lighting, intimate, great bar, very tavern-ish -- but the food was just OK. The appetizers (crab cakes, melted cambozola) were the best part of our meal. The entrees -- steak frites and hamburgers -- were undercooked and cold. And the steak just wasn't presented elegantly. There were huge asparagus stalks buried under a mountain of fries, with two huge pieces of meat lumped on either side of the mound. We didn't even try dessert, instead opting to grab cupcakes from the bakery around the corner. Be warned: they were awful -- too sweet and hard as rocks.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene
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food2
ambience4
service3

vip
 (New England)·Dined on November 10, 2013

Served by Emmalee and although we were tucked into a corner she did not forget us and made us feel quite welcome. Food and service topnotch. We will be back!

Tags: Great for Brunch, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 10, 2013

Pleasant bar scene upstairs and down, plenty of local beers (and surprisingly good wine-on-tap), modern cocktails, solid raw bar offerings, the kitchen is great at turning out tasty bar food in the evenings but brunch is underwhelming.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene
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food3
ambience4
service4

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 9, 2013

My parents were in town visiting so we were looking for a spot with a mix traditional as well as more exotic foods and Russell house delivered on that. Burgers/salads but also things like fried chickpea sandwich. Service was quick and constantly refilling drinks

Tags: Great for Brunch, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot
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food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 8, 2013

Our many meals at the Russell House Tavern continue to delight my family and friends.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Great for Outdoor Dining, Great for Brunch, Romantic, Late-night Find, Hot Spot, Great for Lunch, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience5
service4

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 2, 2013

We've been for lunch, brunch, dinner and drinks and it's always been enjoyable whether you are seated outdoors, at the bar or in the main restaurant downstairs. Food is good and the service is great.

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food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 31, 2013

Russell House has great food, especially for the price. The only real downside is that it's a little loud, but if you're okay with that, this is a great place.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Late-night Find, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 20, 2013

Russell House Tavern is conveniently located in Cambridge just off of Harvard Square. The ambiance is fun and energetic. There is a small outdoor dining terrace, but it's fairly shady so unless it's warm it's not a good idea!
The brunch menu was perfect. It's a nice mix of the traditional brunch choices of Eggs Benedict,etc. with lunch options of salads and sandwiches.
Our servers were attentive, friendly and efficient.
I would definitely go back!

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

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on October 19, 2013

Oysters, mussels, cobias, article char were all outstanding!
I called earlier in the day to change the number in our party for our reservation and was told I couldn't. We all showed up anyway and the hostesses that night had no problem with one more person and seated us within 10 minutes.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Vibrant Bar Scene, Notable Wine List, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service3

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on October 19, 2013

Excellent, fast service in spite of a large crowd.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Vibrant Bar Scene, Hot Spot
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food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 19, 2013

and the food was amazing, too. Go for brunch. You won't regret it.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Brunch, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 18, 2013

I had no idea there was a vast cavern beneath Harvard Square! The food was quite good--especially the steak. The duck was wonderfully crispy, but I'm getting lazy about bones in my old age, alas. I do have to say it was incredibly loud, and the table set-ups put you far away from the other person if there's just two of you, so it's quite difficult to have a conversation on a Friday night. But if you want to spend most of your dinner/date checking your iPhone, like most people these days, you should have no problem.

Tags: Good for Groups, Vibrant Bar Scene, Hot Spot
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food4
ambience3
service4

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 18, 2013

I couldn't even hear myself think. And the service was quite slow.

Tags: Good for Groups, Vibrant Bar Scene, Hot Spot
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food3
ambience2
service2

vip
 (New England)·Dined on October 12, 2013

If it weren't for a rocky start (seating us 20 mins later than our 7:15 reservation and then trying to seat us upstairs as opposed to the dining room) this would have been a 5 star evening. Service was a little slow (drinks delivered 15 mins after order placed) but the food was spot on, portions were perfect and we literally cleaned all our plates. Someone was listening too, when we complained about the wait for a birthday celebration and the meal ended with a comped birthday dessert. We'll be back again because we love the food and have never been disappointed on that end!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 12, 2013

This was a great find. Everything we tried was amazing from the bread and olive oil to the mussels to the crab cakes and the steak and bleu cheese pizza. Definitely some of the best food in Boston and a great Gastropub for foodies and adventurous eaters.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Great for Outdoor Dining, Romantic, Late-night Find, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on October 12, 2013

On a Saturday when we were visiting the city. We made an appointment and so were seated quickly. After that, everything was slow. After taking our order for drink, it took a long time for them to bring it to us. We immediately gave our lunch order but it took an even longer time for our food to arrive. We noticed some noise from the bar, it must be sports crowd. Our server was courteous. Too much waiting time.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Great for Brunch, Hot Spot
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food3
ambience3
service4

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 7, 2013

Had dinner here with a few friends and overall I'd definitely recommend this restaurant. Perhaps not "foodie" grade but appetizer, salad and main course for all of us were well presented and very tasty.

One negative, I felt the service was a bit rushed from the time we sat down to the intervals between appetizer, salad and main course. Granted, it was a Monday night so it wasn't too busy so perhaps that's part of the reason. Other than that the overall experience was great.

Tags: Good for Groups, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food4
ambience4
service3

vip
 (New England)·Dined on October 5, 2013

The food is always dependable and good here. It's one of my favorite places to go to for oysters and a great meal. The restaurant was very busy, but our server communicated with us very well and made the night relaxing and fun. Thank you!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Vibrant Bar Scene, Notable Wine List, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot
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food4
ambience3
service5

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 5, 2013

Our whole table ordered the burgers and they were wonderful

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Vibrant Bar Scene, Great for Outdoor Dining, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot
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food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 5, 2013

Very varied brunch menu. Some high end twists to more traditional breakfast items like the nutella stuffed french toast and crispy poached eggs benedict. Also some light but filling salads, and hearty sandwiches like the prime rib sandwich and the pork loin sandwich. The menu changes with the seasons and what they can get fresh. We were told it also changes based upon the whim of the chef and his creative staff. Service was excellent. She didn't hover but was ready with a refill of coffee, iced tea, water, etc and to clear away empty plates. While there is patio seating we chose to eat in the downstairs dining room with the brick walls and funky lights.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Great for Brunch, Romantic, Late-night Find
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food5
ambience5
service4

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