Want a snug place to escape the cold? Café Pamplona on Bow Street is a venerable Harvard Square institution. Nestled in a cellar, the pastel colors and extensive beverage menu make Café Pamplona a delightful place to do some thinking or have some intimate eats.
Walking into Café Pamplona feels like you’re in on a secret. It’s certainly not your average Harvard Square restaurant. Instead of overpriced drinks or fancy décor, part of the charm of Café Pamplona is its simplistic setting. Pastel colored walls and a limited food menu mean diners’ attention is even more focused on their own thoughts, own conversations, or own work. The reasonable prices mean diners get value for money, especially if they opt for a soup and sandwich combination.
Food options include hot and cold soups, sandwiches, panini, and hummus. A true standout is the Sopa de Ajo, a garlic soup that warms you up with all this winter weather. Pairing the soup with one of Pamplona’s sandwiches amplifies the flavor of both. It is one of my go-to places for a quiet conversation with my significant other over a pleasant meal.
Beverages at Café Pamplona give room for much exploration (and return visits). From espressos to Arnold Palmers, the café’s array of drinks include café classics to more off-beat flavor combinations. More intimate than Tealuxe and quieter than Crema, this eatery should be on your radar.
As a student, I love Café Pamplona’s atmosphere and food, but there are a couple aspects of the place that may give other students cause for pause. Like many parts of the Kennedy School, Café Pamplona doesn’t have a good number of outlets. Make sure to charge your device before you go if you plan to work there. Also, Yelpers write in to note that the place has no bathrooms, meaning patrons go elsewhere then return to their table. I’ve never experienced this but preparing before you visit might mitigate this concern.
Overall, Café Pamplona is a quaint spot for good food, good conversation, and a warm drink. It’s hidden location and good value alone warrant a visit, and the Sopa de Ajo will have you coming back.
12 Bow Street, Harvard Square