The Best Cheap Eats in Cambridge, Massachusetts (MA)

Cambridge, Massachusetts might be home to a couple of posh universities, but the city is still very much a regular college town. There are libraries everywhere you turn. Every coffee shop you enter will have a number of coffee-sipping professors and laptop-cradling students while nighttime entertainment occurs at classic Irish pubs and dive bars instead of high-rise clubs. Most notably, the city isn’t flooded with chain restaurants and celebrity chef-named restaurants. One of the best things about visiting college towns is that good food often comes cheap and Cambridge is no different. Here are the best cheap places to eat in Cambridge MA.

Best Cheap Places to Eat in Cambridge MA

The Place to Grab a Pint

Cheap Places to Eat in Cambridge MA: The Druid Pub Fish and Chips
The Druid Pub Fish and Chips

If you’re looking for a casual place to grab a quick drink with friends, head towards Inman Square and pop around The Druid. This classic neighborhood Irish pub has a great selection of beers, ales, and stouts on draft, including Guinness. Locals who regularly come here would recommend getting an order of fish and chips, a veggie burger, or fish sandwich to soak up the pints while watching Premier League matches. The pub also hosts live music events featuring Irish folk musicians twice a week.

Address: 1357 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02139
Hours: Open everyday from 12 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday to Wednesday, 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday and Friday, 11 to 2 a.m. on Saturday, and 11 to 1 a.m. on Sunday

Breakfast With a Twist

Cheap Places to Eat in Cambridge MA: The Friendly Toast, Cambridge
The Friendly Toast, Cambridge

Located right in the heart of bustling Kendall Square, The Friendly Toast is a one-of-a-kind diner, serving breakfast classics with a twist. If you crave pancakes, they have regular, pumpkin, and coconut versions plus all sorts of omelets and breakfast plates to choose from as well. When you dine here, you’ll likely see students gulping on milkshakes or stuffing themselves with different types of macaroni and cheese particularly after exams week. Besides the aforementioned features, what makes The Friendly Toast one of the best cheap places to eat in Cambridge MA is that nothing on the menu is over $20.

Address: 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02139
Hours: Open everyday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and until 2:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday

No Frills Sandwiches and Custom Pizzas

Cheap Places to Eat in Cambridge MA: Noch's Sub
Noch’s Sub

Every great college town has a go-to local pizza place and in Cambridge, that place is Pinocchio’s Pizza and Sub. Affectionately known to locals and students as “Noch’s,” this pizza and sandwich eatery is known for their thick slices of Sicilian pizza and mouthwatering steak sandwiches. Whole pies cost as little as $12 each and can easily feed two people. The prices for sandwiches range from $5.75 to $7.50 for the large. The service is friendly and quick too. What’s more, Noch’s is open late and delivers.

Address: 74 Winthrop St., Cambridge, MA 02138
Hours: Open everyday from 11 to 1 a.m. Monday to Wednesday, 2 a.m. Thursday to Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Sunday

Greasy Tacos and Cheap Beer

Cheap Places to Eat in Cambridge MA: Fish Tacos at Border Cafe
Fish Tacos at Border Cafe

Just like pizzas, greasy tacos and cheap beer have become part of the college culture and in Cambridge, you go to Border Café to get both. The place is also known for their delicious margaritas, which you can get cheaper during happy hour. The original location opened in Cambridge’s Harvard Square almost 30 years ago featuring traditional Tex-Mex dishes that include tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. Shortly thereafter, the restaurant started to include Cajun food items on their menu as well. The restaurant now has several locations throughout Massachusetts, New Jersey, and including one in Delaware.

Address for Cambridge location: 32 Church St., Cambridge, MA 02138
Hours: Open everyday from 11 to 2 a.m. Monday to Saturday, 12:00 a.m. closing on Sunday

A Taste of Latin America in Cambridge

Cheap Places to Eat in Cambridge MA: Orinocos Salad with Plantains
Orinocos Salad with Plantains

Most people these days are developing more sophisticated palates so they are usually more open to trying new cuisines. That’s how Orinoco, the Venezuelan eatery also on Harvard Square, won locals over. Diners can’t seem to resist the temptation of the exotic aromas of simmered beef and slow-roasted pork the restaurant uses to stuff their smoky arepas and scrumptious pepitas. The prices are very reasonably too. Orinoco has won many accolades for being one of the best places to eat in Cambridge including Best South American Restaurant for 2015 according to Boston Magazine.

Address for Cambridge location: 56 JFK St., Cambridge, MA 02138
Hours: Open for lunch Sundays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, dinner only Thursdays to Saturdays, and closed on Mondays

There are plenty of other cheap places to eat in Cambridge MA. If you want to know more about the others not included on this list and other ways to save money on your trip, visit the city’s official tourism website, Cambridge USA. It also contains tons of information to help you plan your trip including details on car rental, public transport, and hotels in Cambridge.

About Iris A


Born in the Philippines, but grew up in Texas, Iris has been traveling and writing about her experiences for well over a decade. Her work has been published on well-known travel sites like Hipmunk (#hipmunkcitylove) and D Magazine Online Travel Club. She has been all over Europe, the US, and has recently started exploring Latin America. She loves trying local cuisine and visiting UNESCO deemed World Heritage sites. Her favourite city is New York, with London, following a close 2nd. You can follow her on Twitter @sundeeiris or through her travel blog, Traveling With Iris.

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  1. What to do in Cambridge MA - Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] charms of a typical New England town with the advantages of an urban city. Small boutique shops and family-run restaurants are more common here than chain establishments, and traditional pubs are the staple of nightlife […]


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