Rialto (the Bar)

Rialto Caprese Salad
Local mozarella, farm fresh tomatoes, microgreens

One great way of enjoying fantastic food without spending too much is to eat at the bar of an expensive restaurant. After having some amazing entrées at Jody Adams’ Rialto in Harvard Square, we decided to stop by on a Monday night to try the bar menu.

What a pleasant surprise! We loved the ambiance of the bar inside the Charles Hotel, and the food was really enjoyable. Choose from an assortment of antipasti ($4 each or 3 of $10). Salads made from farm fresh vegetables range between $7 and $8, and pizzas and sandwiches range between $10 and $15. You can also order pasta, seafood, or steak, which range between $12-$18.

All-in-all, it’s a great way to try Jody Adams’ great Italian menu without breaking the bank. Best yet, Mondays are $1 oyster days!
Rialto bar oyster sauces
Oyster Sauces
We loved the Monday $1 oyster deal. The day we went they had Island Creek oysters from Duxbury MA, which tasted fresh, briny, and sweet – not at all fishy.
$1 Monday Oysters (Duxbury) Rialto Bar
Duxbury Oysters ($1 each)
Rialto Bar creamed corn
Corn, bacon, basil $4
We also tried three antipasti ($10). Although this corn dish was good, we kept thinking we liked another corn dish we had tried recently a little better.
Rialto Bar Roasted Artichokes
Crispy Artichokes, Pepper Aioli $4
These crispy artichokes were perfectly grilled and served as a great appetizer.
Fish Stew
Fisherman’s soup rouille, gruyère, basil oil 14
I ordered the Fisherman’s soup, which is actually not pictured because my photo came out blurry. :( Essentially, it’s a rich, seafood based soup that is blended and then strained. It’s served with crostini and  gruyère cheese (pictured above). The soup was pretty good, though I couldn’t help but compare it to this fantastic blended fish soup I had enjoyed in France a few years back, and I kept thinking it did not quite compare. Nevertheless, it’s a nice, light soup that still manages to pack in a wonderfully rich and complex seafood flavor.
Rialto Bar Bolognese
Penne Bolognese veal, lamb, pork, tomatoes 14
Bryan absolutely loved his bolognese. The pasta was fresh (which is a huge plus in his book), and the taste of the meat sauce was deep, rich, and fragrant. Best yet, it was reasonably priced at $14.
The bar is a nice place to hang out, and you never know who you might meet. A nice gentleman seated close by struck up a conversation with us. Thinking that we were tourists of some sort (was he tipped off by the fact that I kept taking pictures of the food??) he offered to take a picture for us.

We later found out he lived really really close to the restaurant. He seemed like an old regular, stopping by just to enjoy a plate of oysters and a sandwich – a simple, high quality meal that really doesn’t cost that much.

So, if you want a taste of what Jody Adams has to offer but don’t feel like forking over close to $100 for a meal for two, definitely check out the bar. It’s got a nice vibe, and the food is pretty good.

One caveat – the particular night we went, the service was really really slow. I’m not exactly sure why, but we probably waited close to an hour before we got our entrées. It was a bit annoying, and I’m hoping it was a fluke because everything else (aside from that) was actually pretty good.

1 Bennett St
Cambridge, MA 02138
Rialto on Urbanspoon

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  1. Peggstone says

    I tried Rialto for dinner a few months ago and really enjoyed it. Jody Adams was making her rounds at various tables – there seemed to be a lot of regulars. I was curious about Oyster Mondays so thanks for posting this. The bar menu looks great from your post – I definitely need to go then. I had heard that Oyster Mondays were crazy crowded, but it doesn’t appear to be?

  2. jentinyurbankitchen says

    Hi Peggstone,
    We had no problems get a seat at the bar. We did go a little later, maybe closer to 7:30 or 8pm, so that may have been why it was less crowded?
    That’s cool you got to see Jody Adams!

  3. tinyurbankitchen says

    LOL, “faster than Panera” . . . I’m sure they overstaffed the restaurant in preparation for Restaurant Week. I must have gone on an understaffed day!

  4. MichellePC says

    Great post! And there are (almost) always ways to enjoy an expensive restaurant inexpensively. I’m hoping to try Rialto over the next week or so, to take advantage of their Restaurant Week deals. I’ve been dying to eat there!

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