I’ve wanted to dine at Bondir in Cambridge since the first time I heard about the restaurant’s seasonal, farm-to-table concept. So when it was time to pick a place to celebrate my wedding anniversary, I jumped at the chance to dine at what Boston Magazine recently rated as the best upscale romantic restaurant in the area.
Bondir is tucked away in a tiny, yet cozy, space on Broadway in Cambridge. Upon entering, you’re greeted with a warm, relaxed atmosphere. The walls are sparse, but not in a cold, modern way. It’s more like they were left blank to let the food and service stand on its own. There are also lots of other beautiful decorations perched throughout the space, making it very inviting and unlike anywhere else I’ve dined in the Boston area.
Bondir’s menu changes daily so the food highlights what’s fresh right now in New England. This meant lots of succulent seafood and incredible summer produce on the night we dined there. The menu isn’t huge, but as most of the items come in half or full portions (to encourage sharing small plates), the waitstaff was very helpful in explaining all of the available options.
I started with a delicious, crisp glass of rose and Mike got a bright German beer that was perfect for summer and complemented the dishes we ordered very well. While waiting for our first course, we tasted three breads: the sea (containing nori), nine grain and barley flour with cranberries and walnuts. We loved them all, but the sea was probably the winner with its unique presentation and taste.
For our first course, we dined on two dishes. The first was spiced-poached beets with local peaches, husk cherries, greens, almond milk cheese and pistachio vinaigrette. To me, this just said high summer. The flavors were incredible together and everything was just so fresh. The second dish, handmade burrata with heirloom tomatoes, melon and sumac granite, romano beens, pickled green beens and confit lemon vinaigrette was also delicious. The burrata was so creamy and complemented the pickled green beans very well.
Next up we had two seafood dishes. First was the smoked Noank Oyster, Rhode Island fluke and periwinkles served with Adirondack potato, tomato, crab apple, salad burnet, coquillage vert and garlic mousseline. The fluke was the star of this dish, with a crisp outside and a tender inside, it stole the show. The oyster was also delicious and the garlic mousseline was out of this world good. With that we enjoyed Scituate scallops paired with roasted local porcini and baby leeks, carrots braised with mountain mint, pumpkin vine, crispy leeks and sage froth. This dish might have been the favorite of the night, with perfectly cooked scallops and the most amazing complementary flavors and textures on the plate, it was wonderful.
Moving onto the third course, I ordered a light, bubbly prosecco and Mike selected an oh-so-smooth Italian red wine. We also shared two dishes here, the first of which was barley flour rigatoni that came with roasted yellowfoot and black trumpet mushrooms with scallions, pickled sweet corn and fresh cream ricotta. Along with the scallops, this dish was a huge hit. The pasta was so tender and the mushrooms were the best I’ve ever had. Our final savory dish of the night was the black mission fig-almond flour tart with farmhouse cheese, seared teff, puffed amaranth and summer vegetables. I liked this dish a lot, but I would’ve loved a heavier hand with the figs, as they are so delicious.
Moving on to dessert, we shared a cheese plate consisting of Vonn Trapp Farmstead Oma, honeyed walnuts, pickled huckleberries and rhubarb. This raw cow’s milk cheese was delectable and the accompaniments went perfectly with it. On the sweeter side, we finished the meal with a southern peach, fennel seed and mountain mint, chocolate-peanut milk ice cream, peanut financier, crème fraiche and boiled Georgia peanut caramel. It was a great end to a wonderful meal.
I’d say that Bondir definitely lived up to Boston Magazine’s best upscale romantic restaurant (my only advice is to make sure you order enough food, as the half portions are quite small). The cozy atmosphere, great food and excellent service make it a wonderful place to celebrate a special occasion.