Sunday, December 30, 2012

When Favorite Restaurants in Harvard Square Close

A favorite restaurant is more than a place for good food. It is a place where memories are made and great times and conversations treasured.

On Friday, my family and I were in Boston, and we were very much looking forward to have dinner in Cambridge, after hours of walking.

Having spent a full year as a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard on my previous sabbatical, and having also been at MIT for two years as a Visiting Scholar and Visiting Professor, earlier, I am very fond of Cambridge. Of course, I could even go back to my Brown University days when running track at the Harvard stadium was great fun. I used to do the two mile.

We were especially looking forward to dining at the Cafe of India, which has (and as we found out "had")  the best Indian food this side of the UK. In the summer, the windows of the restaurant would be open and the delicious smell of curry would permeate Brattle Street. It was located next door to Burdick's, with delicious chocolates and pastries. My year at Harvard I had an apartment on 83 Brattle Street and my office was in Putnam House where most of the other Science Fellows (only 12 of us that year) were based.

I had dined so many times while in Cambridge at the Cafe of India and even took my most recent PhD student, who is now an Assistant Professor, Dr. Min Yu, there after the NetSci 2010 conference at MIT in May. This was the first time she had ever eaten Indian food and she loved it. The photos above were taken at that dinner.

We were shocked to see that Cafe of India had closed, after two decades of operation,  and I found an article on its closure in the Boston Business Journal.

So up the street we marched only to find that Casablanca had also shuttered its doors and it had been an institution since 1955! Today's Boston Globe has an article on this closing.

Within a few months of one another, these two favorite restaurants of ours had shuttered their doors.

Below,  I have posted some photos of wonderful meals with great friends form the US, France, and even Italy, all with whom I had spent time during that great year at Harvard.

We are left with memories and, luckily, a few photos, and papers written as well as books. We'll have to find new places to meet and to make new traditions.

As for other favorite restaurants that have also left Harvard Square, perhaps some of you remember Cafe Paradiso for gelato and Italian cookies, Greenhouse for great breakfasts, and Swiss Alps, for delicious dinners.