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“Good food but not the historic ambiance we expected” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Red House

The Red House
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Ranked #22 of 591 Restaurants in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $25 - $35
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Bar scene
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Drinks, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: JFK Street and Eliot Street
Transit: "T" Red Line to Harvard Square
Description: The Red House specializes in locally-sourced, European & Mediterranean inspired cuisine. Our seasonally changing menus features a variety seafood, poultry, and pasta dishes, many of which are prepared with greens and vegetables from our organic farm in Winchendon, MA. In crafting the restaurant's menu, owner Paul Overgaag and executive chef Marc Plourde have chosen to bring fresh organic foods and locally produced ingredients to center stage. In addition to our main dining room and bar-area, the Red House also contains three intimate private dining rooms which can comfortably seat between 8 and 14 guests. Perfect for your next family or business gathering, each of our three private rooms features authentic period detail, with fireplaces and original wide pine floorboards and woodwork. Additionally, we are able to provide customized-set menus for private diners and events as needed.
New England
Level Contributor
567 reviews
313 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 391 helpful votes
“Good food but not the historic ambiance we expected”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2013

Very nice dinner with friends! The roasted kale salad was definitely something very special. I paired that with a half order of the linguini with artichokes - very nice, in fact I ended up putting them together, in the same bowl, yes, yes I did, and it was delicious! At the table, the things that were ordered and each enjoyed tremendously were the oyster appetizer, the sea bass dinner special, the cod, the lobster fra diavolo and the caesar salad. The oysters were extremely fresh and briny and the lobster far diavolo was well balanced - lobster cooked just as it should be, and not too much spice which would have overpowered the delicate nature of the lobster.

My issues are not with the food. The building, the "red house", is super quaint, historic - and we thought, mistakenly, that the main dining room would reflect that historic nature - the photos on the website, the appealing ones that make you think that you'll be eating, well, in a building built in 1802, are deceptive - the room where the fireplace is - the best photos on their site - holds maybe 10 people, it's primary purpose being a bar. The patio, which also would be nice, well, it was too cold to sit outside. And the private dining rooms, which are of historical note and look "period", are well, private - I went snooping in order to see them, which I did, but you have to reserve them ahead for an event or function. The main dining room is a major league disappointment. It is dull, nondescript, and frankly boring. It wouldn't take much to bring it up to the character of the building - we went to The Red House sure that the food would be very good, based upon the reviews, and it was - but we also expected an historic dining event, not unlike the atmosphere you would find in The Colonial Inn in Concord or The Wayside Inn in Sudbury. The Red House has everything it needs - an authentic 1802 landmark home, an amazing location in the heart of Harvard Square and a capable chef - they only now need an interior designer to do something with the main dining room to make the experience authentic. It's just not right, the room is incongruous, it looks like it was "decorated" and I use that word loosely, in the 70s, based upon the skylight in the room - to me, the owners are missing a great opportunity here.

And also, the service - nothing special, nor was it bad, but not the service that one would expect of a destination restaurant. Plates were routinely removed even though one or two at our table were still eating, and we in general felt rushed. Still, I must give them four stars because the food was very good, and the venue is special, but only if you eat in the bar area - the main dining room is a lost opportunity for the owners.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank lexmiller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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242 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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    99
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
26 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Get the oysters!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2013

I absolutely love going to the Red House in Cambridge. Free live music on the weekends, $1 oysters, that's right one dollar. And they are delicious too. Have been at least 5 times this summer and had a great time every time.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank sevynsimon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Falmouth, Maine
Level Contributor
67 reviews
55 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Two Thumbs Up!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2013

We had dinner here last night, a party of six, and we all had a fabulous meal. I had stuffed figs and the salmon, and am still thinking of it today! Our server was charming, and tho super busy, he was never far from our table, and my water glass was never empty. You will need a reservation.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank trieuski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
359 reviews
125 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 162 helpful votes
“Oysters are a great deal, food good”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013

We had lunch here, started with 24 oysters at 2 for $1.00. THen went for another dozen, but the 3rd dozen are $1.00 an oyster. Shared a scallop lunch, small but enough and had 2 great local beers. WE sat outside and it was good for people watching.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank marynaturelover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, Minnesota
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
“Best Lobster chowder ever!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

I'd take a plane to go back to Cambridge just to have that chowder again!
We had our farewell dinner with my son and his friends there and could taste a variety of their entrees. They were all excellent! And to top our meal, we had a Malbec Luigi Boska - the BEST ever. It will be a while to match the experience we had at the Red House.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Food
Helpful?
Thank SSC20132013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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