111 Harvard Street in Cambridge’s Kendall Square is home to Amelia’s Trattoria, a small & cozy Italian restaurant that attracts a variety of diners. From those seeking an after work drink, to couples looking for an intimate meal, the simple decor provides a warm & casual atmosphere. The 1/2 circle bar leads you towards a window peeking in at an open kitchen. Wooden floors, brick & stone walls, and copper accents give the place a rustic vibe. My 3 friends & I were seated in a 1/2 booth in the back corner of the restaurant.
Bread: We had to ask for bread, which I never like doing. Apparently the waiter was “waiting for the spread to be made” before bringing the basket over; seems like it took a while to make this spread, but it was worth it. The white bean, plum tomato, garlic, & cumin creation was a perfect companion to the long narrow slices of bread.
Menu: Consisting of small plates, appetizers, salads, pastas, & entrees, I was tempted to pick one option from each section! The polenta (with EVOO, garlic, & parmesan) was calling my name, but I would have never been able to finish my Braised Short Rib Bolgnese if I ordered an appetizer.
Presentation: My bolognese was a generous portion and came in a shallow bowl. Fresh parmesan cheese was sprinkled on the rim, which is perfect for diners who like to add their own. With my fork I immediately scraped all the cheese into the bowl and started on this meaty journey. The short rib, which was more of a ragu than what I normally see as a ‘bolognese’, was plentiful throughout the dish; the sauce was heavy but quite delicious. I managed to power through and finished the whole damn thing… it was just too good to look at!
Bathroom: The restrooms are down the stairs in the basement of the building. There is one room/stall for each gender, but the ladies room seemed to be locked the entire night, even towards the end of the meal when we were the only diners left. Needless to say, I used the men’s room twice. Clean & newer looking (esp. for a basement restroom), I just wish there was more space between the toilet & sink.
Wait Staff: Our waiter was pleasant and particularly friendly. Service was a little slow for a less than crowded restaurant. Perhaps it was my short ribs that held up our meals? We did order a bottle & a half of wine, so our waiter also may have been allowing us to enjoy our time/drinks before bringing our dinners. Also I’d like to note that at one point while we were having our main course, a homeless man approached the window and stood & stared at us while we were eating. Obviously this made us extremely uncomfortable (even though we laughed it off), but the manager/owner immediately ran outside and told him to get lost, before & after he apologized to us. Absolutely not his fault (I’d be staring down my bolognese too!), and he handled it well.
Overall: My girls & I enjoyed a few glasses of smooth Chianti and were more than satisfied with our meals (I tried a handmade gnocci off my friend’s plate & it melted in my mouth). Seating may have been a tight squeeze (my friend had to bump her rear neighbor a few times) but the setting is warm & comforting. I highly recommend Amelia’s Trattoria, not just because of the great food, but the prices are extremely reasonable and won’t hurt your wallet.
The Perfect Bite: I don’t think I’ve ever met a bolognese that I didn’t like. This dish was particularly tasty with the wise fusilli pasta choice & hearty sauce.