The Harvard Square Food Scene

Category Student Voices


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Nina Class of '22 Alumni
Authored on September 03, 2019


Like many people in the world, I’m a big fan of food.

I’m currently halfway through my third year as a Yelp Elite, I’m a Food Literacy Project fellow, and I most recently started an Instagram where I document my food journeys. It seems fitting, then, that I write a blog about the best places to grab a bite in the square. 

College on a college budget: cheap eats

There is a possibility you may grow tired of eating in the dining hall (or maybe not, HUDS is great!). When you do, here are some great places to grab a bite under 10 dollars. 

Saloniki Greek

One of the most common questions I get as a tour guide is “where should we grab lunch?” Unless they have some great distaste for Greek cuisine, I will always point them to Saloniki.

Two students each holding a burrito from El Jefe's Taqueria

A stacked burrito at El Jefe's Taqueria!

El Jefe’s Taqueria

Jefe’s is a fan favorite on this campus, although there is a slight rivalry between this fast-casual Mexican place and another nearby fast-casual Mexican place, Felipe’s. Although Jefe’s might have a slightly less ornate vibe, it’s open until 4 a.m. EVERY NIGHT and there’s no extra charge for queso or guac. C’mon now.

OTTO Pizza

Hot take that OTTO is the best slice in the Square? Maybe. I have to say, though, nothing screams “innovation that excites!” like their Blue Cheese, Roasted Pear & Arugula slice. Also, the people who work here are simply the best. Good vibes all around, and great for first-year students with an incredible location by Harvard Yard.

“Dinner is on me!”: when you don’t have to pay

Throughout your time at Harvard, you can certainly finesse opportunities to eat on someone else’s dime. A popular way to do this is through Classroom to Table, a program where Harvard will pay for you and a professor to go out to eat!

Russell House Tavern

Russell House is classic American fare, but you can also find some great seafood dishes here. It’s where I had to explain to my freshman seminar professor what being a “Yelp Elite” was as I took a photo of my dish. Fantastic salmon.

Hourly Oyster House

Cod from the Hourly Oyster House

Some cod from Hourly Oyster House!

Hourly is nice because it’s bright and airy inside -- a sharp contrast from the darkness of Russell House. Their dishes are innovative but simple. Also great fish. Obviously.

I would say you can’t go wrong with food in Harvard Square, but you definitely can. Trust the upperclassmen as they guide you to their favorite late-night spots: there are plenty!

Nina Class of '22 Alumni

Hi everyone! My name is Nina and I’m originally from Iowa City, Iowa. I’m a rising sophomore at the College living in Quincy House and I’m studying History and Literature (which is a combined concentration here) with a secondary in education.

headshot of Nina