Cambridge’s must-try restaurant breathes Euro-chic life into Harvard Square.
Parsnip: Not truly a carrot, not truly parsley. Parsnip in Harvard Square: Cambridge’s coolest new eatery. Nestled in Winthrop Park (in the former Upstairs at the Pudding space), Parsnip Restaurant & Lounge has planted its roots in a historic duplex brimming with creative cocktails, cushy leather chairs, and simply divine dishes. “The secret is the ingredients and the local sources I use,” says executive chef Peter Quinion. “The seasons. The people around me.” Main fare, like a duck breast with white chocolate purée, almonds, coffee sauce, and—of course—the restaurant’s namesake vegetable, highlight a menu featuring complex, internationally inspired entrées. Quinion, who hails from Reading, England, makes a point of infusing his farm-to-table creations with global flavor. The restaurant’s vibe is homey yet sophisticated. Bright white walls complement hardwood flooring, two cozy fireplaces, and dramatic artwork on the first floor. Upstairs in The Lounge, guests can sip signature cocktails like the The Cantabrigian (applejack, Diep9 genever, Kina l’Aero d’Or, Benedictine, Boker’s bitters, Peychaud’s bitters) in a colorful, vintage goblet. “For a lot of people it’s memorable because it’s unique,” Quinion says. “It’s all handcrafted. It’s everything you’d get from fine dining, but casual.” 91 Winthrop St., Cambridge, 617-714-3206