Russell House Tavern

4.3
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1961 Reviews
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$30 and under
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American

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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.
What 1961 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
4.2
service
4.2
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
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PT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 1

In the cellar. Very hot. Food was nothing exceptional. Portion was small. Swordfish was about 1/4 inch thick. Waiter seemed clueless. Maybe new.

OT
New England
25 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Always have a great meal here. My out of town guests always ask "can we go to that awesome place in Harvard square again?"

AK
Phoenix
93 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We came for a brunch on Sunday. It was a wonderful experience! The deviled eggs where outstanding! The combination of bacon, the spices, and the avocado layer was perfectly executed! The lemon ricotta and fruit in the crunchy French toast was amazing! We sat in the downstairs dining room and the noise levels got pretty uncomfortable once a big party got seated next to our table. I think next time I would prefer to sit outside. But aside from that, great food, great service and an excellent experience!

OT
New England
1 review
Dined on September 24, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Nice spot. Pretty good food, lots of options. Not a lot of gluten free choices, but staff was educated to make recommendations.

KK
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Enjoyed Brunch - Food was great!

MB
New England
1 review
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 5ambience 5

Food is just horrible!

BW
New England
123 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I ordered a hamburger medium rare. The meat was good, but overcooked. The caesar salad which accompanied the burger was exceptionally good. My friend had crabcakes which she said were good, not great. Our drinks were very good as was the service.

OT
New England
1 review
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 2

Good service and food.
Very noisy and difficult to hear folks two seats over.

GG
New England
2 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a great place to gather and celebrate! The staff was attentive without being pushy. We felt welcomed and not rushed, and the place was hopping on a Friday night. The food was delicious, from the vegan options to the linguini and the lamb. We were very happy to take some leftovers home.

E
New England
12 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

Arrived for late lunch, which caused confusion among waitstaff, as we were swapped out by staff. outgoing server told us we were getting "best server in the house," only to learn server was still in training
Food was good and plentiful, with at least one meal equivalent in take out boxes, although slow in arriving (guess kitchen staff was also transitioning).
will try house again in middle of service to provide a better review.

JA
New England
7 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

It's a tavern trying to be an upscale tavern - which, for the most part, is pulled off nicely. The drink menu is extensive and much appreciated. For dinner, we started with the Duck Poutine, which hit the spot but was incredibly salty; and the Lamb Meatballs, which were tough/dense. For my main dish, I had the Swordfish: the thickness was not even, so the thinner part was overcooked while the thicker part was perfect. The sides were very tasty, but the potatoes were bordering on over-salted. My wife had the market fish, Arctic Char: she said the fish itself was excellent but the salad/sides underneath were "nothing to write home about". The biggest complaint we had was the noise level - we could barely hear each other speak across a two-person table. I recommend the tavern adding some noise-canceling foam in strategic places.

NF
New England
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The crispy french toast is incredible! Wonderful, slightly spicy eggs benedict as well! It is a little bit dark in the lower restaurant, so I would have preferred to have been upstairs or outside, but there is not a lot of seating upstairs.

AP
Edmonton
4 reviews
Dined on September 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent service

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MS
New England
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

YES , ALWAYS A GREAT MEAL AT ESTABLISHMENT . OUR WAITRESS WAS GREAT, FOOD WAS EXCELLENT.

j
New England
3 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding food — swordfish was the best we had in Boston. Outside seating on a perfect night. Waiter has engaging attentive and knowledgeable. A very pleasant experience on all fronts

OT
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on September 3, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

I wouldn’t recommend Russell House when there are so many other great places in the neighborhood.

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great, as always.

MF
New York Area
1 review
Dined on September 1, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 3

One of the worse dining experiences on so many levels. It took over 1 hour to have our entrees served. We ordered a dish of calamari to share as an appetizer and waited over 40 minutes for it to arrive. Then the waiter presented the dish that had less than 10 pieces on it buried under some greens. The waiter must have noted the delay and most probably the dish because later in the delay he said the restaurant was comp’ing the appetizer. I found the long wait perplexing because the restaurant was far less than 1/2 full.
More alarming was the fact that two of our party ordered the “house” hamburger meal that ultimately arrived stone cold and grossly overdone and dry. Our seats were in view of the door to the kitchen. The door had a window where I observed the wait staff eating french fries while talking to the chefs. Did I mention my wife’s meal had about 1/2 the amount of fries of the other meal. I hope the waiter enjoyed them.
On a more positive note my chicken sandwich was not a negative experience.
One of our party recently relocated to the Harvard Sq. Area, we plan on visiting often and will definitely find a different restaurant. I am not in the habit of writing reviews but if I can save someone else the waste of time and the experience of wasting money on a poor meal - so be it..

OT
Baltimore
2 reviews
Dined on August 27, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

Server was inattentive, food was average at best.

N
New England
15 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Raw bar is excellent, main dishes (we had Duck Hash) good but not outstanding. Service was impeccable.

c
New England
9 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 4

The food here is *just* alright. It’s usually overdone and lacks taste. You pay to be in Harvard Square. Would not recommend. To be sure, the wine was fine. Service, too. Sitting upstairs by the window is nice, but aside from that it’s really not good. There are many better options nearby, almost all of which are cheaper.

B
New England
16 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

It's a fun spot in the heart of Harvard Square. Great brunch (French toast is unbelievable).

OT
Nashville
3 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely ambience and delicious food. The waiter was wonderful and suggested a salad with grilled peaches that was excellent. Would definitely go back!

JE
1 review
Dined on August 20, 2019
Overall 4food 2service 5ambience 4

I had the shrimp tacos, which had very little taste. However, everyone else in my party enjoyed their meals, from the crab cakes to the steak to the chicken sandwiches. And they loved the "composed" oysters.

J
New England
3 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Went to Russell House for Dine Out Boston. Our server changed mid-meal which resulted in some confusion and lulls in service. Good food, great cocktails, and definitely a nice deal for the Dine Out menu.

d
Philadelphia
14 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

The worst. Tourist trap. I feel nauseas and I barely ate. The manager tried to help a bad situation but the Food is just bad

OT
New England
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Thanks so much.

JW
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

The service was slow, despite there being only a few tables in the restaurant. The "breakfast pizza" was literally just a pizza with a loose egg thrown haphazardly on top. The eggs benedict had a hollandaise sauce that just tasted like thick melted butter (gag). Not worth the money honestly!

CD
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Would be 5stars but the calamari was too crunchy, too well done. The dressings were delicious, but the calamari was dried up.

p
New York Area
25 reviews
Dined on August 13, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Well...our waitress helps us with our selections but her accent was so thick we misinterpreted her. Our appetizer plates weren’t cleared before our dinner came do that wasn’t fun for anyone. Then one of the burgers we ordered wasn’t right and she never came to check on us. We finally flag her down and asked for the check. The only saving grace was the lovely Manager who came over and asked us to please explain what was wrong so she could explain it to the chef! Kudos to her and for also removing it from the bill. Nice menu but too many things need to be explained.

AH
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great for a family gathering and a delicious meal.

RK
New England
17 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went with a group of 5, everyone left satisfied - plenty of options on the menu and the cost was completely reasonable

OT
New England
1 review
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Our servers were incredible and accommodating as our group size shifted and grew in size through the evening.

TW
New England
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We came to eat for brunch. We had a time constraint to make a connection. The waiter was understanding and prompt. The food was prompt, and everyone enjoyed the meals. It was a pleasant experience that we would repeat.

KJ
New England
7 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

I appreciated the lunch crowd which was accommodating to my one year old.

LS
New England
2 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love the downstairs bar and the bartenders there are the best!

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on July 29, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Great Kale and Cesar salad! Shrimp cocktail good. Skip the lobster slider and lobster tails

V
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food

OT
1 review
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Traveling and great value and service!

S
Philadelphia
33 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Terrific food, beverage and service, especially the latter, thanks to Sarah H, who was as pleasant and knowledgeable as any server could be. Food was creative, with excellent variety and wine list was terrific. Sarah was a great help in selecting just the right wine. Only negative is the terrible noisiness, making good conversation pretty difficult, even when seated in a corner section behind a glass/wood barrier (close to restrooms.)

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