You don’t have to travel very far to experience good quality food near the Business School. Just a short walk to Harvard Square, you will stumble upon a small alley of restaurants called Winthrop Street, home to “Upstairs on the Square”.
The main dining room, the Soiree Room, is suggestive of 1940s extravagance, with fireplaces warming each side of the exceedingly pink-hued room. The clientele is hardly prominent, an inconspicuous mix of pre-theatre diners and family get-togethers.
The wine list is comprehensive, with a focus on Italian wines. There is a broad enough selection of wines by the glass for the casual diner to enjoy. The chef prepared a small cappuccino of spiced carrot soup – a delicate aperitif, and perfect welcome for autumn – to tempt the tastebuds into mobilization.
As a starter, I chose the Insalata Garga, a blend of wild arugula, avocado, and hearts of palm, sprinkled generously with roasted pinenuts and lightly dressed in a delicate vinaigrette. I followed the salad with a Skate Wing Farcie, a tender, meaty white flesh grilled to perfection to achieve a crisp exterior and stuffed generously with chanterelles, saut‚ed cabbage and a touch of bacon. Another seafood favorite, the Tuna … L’Unilateral, also arrived cooked to perfection, highlighted with a strong saffron aioli and orange d‚cor, and served with a ratatouille – a superb ragout preserving the integrity of each of the saut‚ed vegetables.
For the finish, the dessert selection satisfies a variety of appetites. The simple, yet sophisticated, Apple Tart Tatin is served with an aromatic cinnamon ice cream and evokes memories of autumn orchard excursions. For a more distinctive climax, try the rich chocolate cake, resting in an intense marsala reduction and served with zabaglione gelato, or the coconut profiteroles smothered in warm chocolate and caramelized macadamia nuts.
With good service, a first-rate selection of wine, and creatively inspired food, the Soiree Room at Upstairs on the Square is a choice destination when looking for a simple indulgence within Cambridge.
Dinner for two with wine: ~$100.
Open Mon – Saturday for dinner.
91 Winthrop Street