...for the student with a modest budget and a spirit for adventure.
1 // FOOD
There are two types of Chinese food out there, and the Kong (short for The Hong Kong) and Yenching will satisfy your cravings on either side.
For those who like their deep-fried, cheese-filled crab rangoons, sweet meats, and dubiously brown dishes, the Kong (open until 1 or 2am) is perfect for those late-night munchies and drunken outings. But for those who long for authentic Chinese cuisine, Yenching is your closest bet in the Square if you know what to order. Try their spicy salted dry-fried pork, fish slices with vegetables, or popular kung-pao chicken.
For Vietnamese, Le's will provide you with deliciously light summer rolls, vermicelli, and heartwarming pho noodle soup. Tip: when you're hungry but not that hungry, get an extra large bowl of beef noodle soup and split it with a friend.
Oh, and don't forget the delicious Thai restaurants such as 9 Tastes and Spice, as well as Indian restaurants Chutney's (fast Indian food in the Garage) and Tanjore's.
We've all heard of Mr. Bartley's burgers, but Flat Patties is a true hidden gem that holds a special spot in the hearts of students and local residents. Try their Forager burger (sautéed mushrooms, swiss cheese & horseradish sauce) if you're a mushroom fan, the South of the Border (Jalapeno relish, avocado, cilantro aioli & jack cheese) for a Latin American-inspired twist, or the yummy fish sandwich for a lighter option. Then top it all off with a side of fresh cut french fries, and revel in the delight that is a tasty and inexpensive meal.
Tasty Burger is open latest into the night (3am), and different students have different feelings towards Tasty. Some love it, but others think everything is very greasy and salty. If you order anything, try the Tasty, featuring their signature sauce. Shake Shack just just joined the family earlier this year, and soon became a popular burger spot. They have amazing custards and shakes, but french fries are not their forte.
Harvard Square offers no dearth of options for Mexican fast food. Boloco's, Qdoba, Felipe's, and Chipotle -- we've got it all. For sit-down group dinners, Border Cafe is an excellent option, with a bustling atmosphere, fairly priced food, and never-ending tortilla chips (the fajitas and margaritas are huge hits). Be careful when going on weekends, however; the wait can be excruciating.
(Tip: when going to Border, ask for condiments like sour cream on the side so you can portion them out yourself.)
For a more intimate, classy, and quiet setting - pricier yet perfect for dinner dates - Orinoco is a wonderful, tucked-away option. Fans recommend the ribs. Remember, Latin-American food doesn't have to be heavy; it's totally in your power to shape your meals and portions!
Noch's (short for Pinocchio's Pizza & Subs) is definitely the most famous pizza place on campus. They have been around forever, frequented by celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg and Matt Damon. Besides the rich history, Noch's pizzas are absolutely delicious and unforgettable. According to Flyby, even Noch’s plainest cheese pizza brings students flocking to the most boring of events. If you are living in the yard this summer, and do not feel the walk, Otto's -- conveniently located right across from Johnston Gate -- is also a great choice.
Al's in the Smith Campus Center is one of Harvard students' favorites as well -- serving humongous, greasy but delicious subs at a very reasonable price. No wonder it is always packed with hungry students and tourists.
For hearty, cheap breakfast/brunch diner food at any time of the day, try Zoe's and order a hefty helping of pancakes or a savory omelette. Russell House Tavern, while famous for its dinner entrees as well, also offers brunch entrees for $10-20 in a classier and more ambient setting; we recommend the Breakfast Pizza or The Benedict. Finally, for a relatively inexpensive, savory breakfast-on-the-go, try any of the breakfast burritos at Boloco. We love the Truck Stop! The smoothies are also yummy -- try the Jimmy Carter (banana, peanut butter, and milk), or the Berry Blitz for something fruitier.
JP Licks will always have spot-on sundaes, but don't deprive yourself of the boundless opportunities waiting just around the corner. Chocolate fanatics favor L.A. Burdick's, famous for their impossibly thick and rich hot chocolate; for cakes, tarts, and romantic dates involving cakes and tarts, visit Finale. For a new and inexpensive treat, try some mochi ice cream at Boston Tea Stop. And for the occasional splurge (dessert for two?), try the Liege Belgian waffles at Zinneken's for roughly $7 or $8 dollars. Add nutella, strawberries, bananas, and whatever your heart desires, then melt along with the first bite.