Cambridge, situated just across the river from Boston, is home to some of the country’s most prestigious schools like Harvard and M.I.T. Travel & Leisure says that “innovation is at the heart of Cambridge” an observation that certainly comes across in the food scene. Like many academic communities, this metropolitan area is a thriving cultural hub, packed with interesting people, provocative art, cutting-edge music, and impressive food. Cambridge is also home to a set of caterers that are as diverse as the people they serve.
We managed to narrow down the absolute best of Cambridge catering into the top ten. Read on, and find out if your favorite made the list.
For Mexican that’s rooted in traditional flavors and techniques, Cambridge catering’s most popular option is José’s Mexican. The restaurant focuses on the authentic, vibrant home cooking of central Mexico, and every dish is lovingly prepared using fresh ingredients and family recipes. No office party is complete without the restaurant’s signature Fiesta Ixtapan de la Sal, a build-your-own taco and quesadilla bar that comes with refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, and chips.
Taking its inspiration from the brightness of the aromatic Pandan leaf, this Cambridge caterer offers vibrant Thai classics, from Pad Thai to Pad See Ew. Everything on the menu is made to order, ensuring that it will arrive to you as fresh and flavorful as it would at a restaurant. It’s worth adding an order of chicken, pork, or shrimp done “Ka-Pow” style, with string beans, basil, peppers, and lots of chiles.
One of the most popular purveyors of Chinese food in America, it’s no surprise that P.F. Chang’s is Cambridge’s go-to caterer for beef with broccoli and lo mein. P.F. Chang’s revolutionized the 2,000-year-old Chinese tradition of wok cooking by bringing in master chefs and modern recipes. One of their favorite dishes that intermixes tradition and innovation is the irresistible Chang’s Lettuce Wraps with Chicken which are plump, flavorful cubes of chicken wrapped in a crisp, refreshing greens. Serve them as an appetizer and the crowd will be thrilled.
With its friendly service and top-notch ingredients, Primo Pizza specializes in thick, Greek-style pizzas that are piled high with toppings, from ranch dressing, chicken, and bacon, to buffalo chicken and blue cheese. You’ll also find a stellar selection of subs — like the classic, gooey cheesesteak with American cheese and hot peppers.
For classic, seasonal fare that’s ideal for a high-end party or luncheon, Sebastians is the best in the Cambridge catering scene. Whether your guests want to keep it light with a Caesar Salad or go for something heartier like the rigatoni with pesto, Sebastians has you covered with simple, healthful fare. Customers love the Sampler Tote, a mix-and-match platter that includes a half sandwich, with options like honey mustard chicken and roasted Portobello, plus a simple salad like a Caesar or strawberry spinach.
At Ladyfingers, everything is made by hand with the best possible ingredients, like the spring roll filled with garlic-infused chicken or a crostini topped with pesto shrimp. It’s an elegant choice whether you’re catering a casual lunch-and-learn or a fancy black tie event. Try the Deli Platter, which smartly supplies customers with various breads and toppings to build their own sandwich — ensuring no soggy subs or limp vegetables!
Nirvana adds a modern, sleek twist to classic Indian fare. Consider the popular tofu coated in a tomato, onion and spice gravy, and hot samosas stuffed with smoky lamb. Regulars love the savory lamb saag which comes with lentil wafers, rice and chutney. For a cold-weather pick-me-up, order sides of masala tea, a classic English breakfast tea steeped with spices like cardamom and cinnamon.
A staple on the Cambridge catering scene for almost 20 years — and named by Boston Magazine as one of the best Indian spots in the city — Shanti offers a sprawling menu of Punjabi cuisine greatest hits. Their menu includes plenty of hearty, comforting dishes to go around. Can’t pick just one? Order the Deluxe Package, which includes a choice of two entrees (Chicken Korma, Shrimp Tikka Masala, are just two examples), and favorite appetizers like samosas and aloo tikki (potato fritters), chutney, and saffron-scented rice.
Mediterranean food is a popular catering option these days because it’s fresh, portable, and suitable for many diets. Cambridge’s best catering for falafel and baba ghanoush (a smoky eggplant spread) is Baraka Café, which offers flavors of not only the Mediterranean but also North Africa, with Moroccan chicken tagine, and Cherbat, a North African lemonade that’s flavored with mint and rose petals. The chef, Alia Meddeb, has also put in time at some of the country’s top fine dining destinations, so you know you’re in good hands.
For hearty, home-style Indian cooking, choose Dosa Factory, which offers stick-to-your-ribs entrees like Chicken Biryani and Garlic Beef, alongside fluffy garlic naan and paneer pakoras (chickpea-battered fritters of Indian cheese). For the vegetarians in your group, order some of the comforting veggie- and bean-based entrees like the Aloo Choley or Palek Paneer, an Indian-style cheese with spinach.
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