Local harvests are in full swing at this time and what better way to celebrate the bounty than to leave your kitchen for an evening and let a local chef wow you with what’s possible to create using local ingredients! We rarely dine out, it isn’t really within our budget. But when we do go out for a special occasion, I love to frequent restaurants that use local ingredients, not something trucked and flown in from 3,000 plus miles away. I want to know the food I’m eating is worth paying for the way it is grown and prepared.
On a recent hunt for a restaurant I was surprised to find so many that at least serve some local food and some that even have its own farms and serve dishes made exclusively from their own ingredients. In approximate order from the most expensive to least expensive with the entree price range, here are just some great Boston and Cambridge area locavore restaurants.
Troquet, Boston ($29-40): A great variety of seasonal and local ingredients on the menu. The food receives top ratings according to all reviewers. Portion size may be more on the French side (just a warning). Romantic and cozy dining spot.
Salts, Cambridge ($28-36): Refined, French influenced, contemporary American cuisine. Not the biggest menu, but carefully chosen. They also have their own organic farm in New Hampshire! Love when restaurants do that and the chefs use the best of the best ingredients.
Bondir, Cambridge ($24-30): A small 28 seat restaurant that boasts some of the freshest ingredients, the menu changes each day depending on what is gathered, caught, and harvested. I think that’s the way restaurants should function. Inviting modern farm decor and always a surprising menu.
Journeyman, Somerville ($39 three course dinner): Ingredients from local farms and markets around New England make for a menu that changes weekly. You can choose from a 3 course ($39), five course ($65), or 7 course ($85) dinner.
Oleana, Cambridge ($24-26): High quality Turkish cuisine for those that like to explore a variety cultures like I do. They get their produce from Siena Farms. They also have their own bakery called Sofra, so I hear the desserts at the restaurant are not to be missed!
Ten Tables, Cambridge ($19-26): High quality wild/organic/local ingredients with a menu that’s based on seasonal rhythms. Produce and dairy is delivered by a bike delivery service daily (instead of the dirty truck). Inviting decor and reasonable prices for the quality of food you get.
EVOO, Cambridge ($25, or $38 three course dinner): A modern spot that serves eclectic New American cuisine. Organic, local, and sustainable ingredients as well as a LEED Gold Certified restaurant. As a professional Interior Designer, I can say ‘wow!’ to that. The menu changes frequently according to ingredients available, how it should be!
Sel de la Terre, Boston ($14-33, or $35 three course dinner): This restaurant offers two locations in Boston and one in Natick. They aim to use only the freshest organically grown ingredients and manage to pass on great prices to the patron. Menu does change often.
Rendezvous, Cambridge ($15-$28): A busy spot with absolutely exquisite food that we visited with my husband on our Babymoon. The prices seem very reasonable, but consider that they have French size portions, not American. Something we didn’t think of but enjoyed the food immensely nevertheless. For discerning foodies only! Not really a place for kids, unless they are very well behaved.
The Red House, Cambridge ($15-29): I wanted to go here so bad, make your reservations in advance! This great spot has many reasons to be popular – great variety on the menu (even six options for lobster lovers), their very own certified organic farm, and great reviews.
Henrietta’s Table, Cambridge ($15 and up): Great place to come with kids (and leave with something left in your wallet). Personally I feel like many dishes are basic and I prepare them at home anyway, but it is classic New England comfort food made with local ingredients. There are items on the menu that I would love to try like the Elysian Field Farm’s Pulled Lamb Shank with a yummy side. Certainly worth a visit!
Life Alive Cafe, Cambridge ($5-10): Not really a dinner spot, but perfect for lunch – Life alive serves a vegetarian menu. Meals are made from fresh organic produce delivered daily. They have warm meals, cold salads, and cheesy wraps (with organic, GMO free , raw cheddar). You can choose your size and it is priced accordingly. They also have a location in Lowell.