Yes we are!
I like both Sarma and Oleana, a lot. You can’t be assured of the outdoor seating at Oleana unless you have a 5:30 reservation and line up before then outside since the outdoor seating can’t be reserved. You can’t sit there obviously if it’s raining, but they keep it open when it gets colder and have heat lamps, etc. It’s truly magical. Really worth trying for it. You will forget you are in Cambridge. However, if the weather is uncertain, I’d probably choose Sarma, in my opinion it’s a bit more innovative (not that I ever had a bad dish at Oleana) but can also be a bit uneven…not badly, just once in a while a dish is over salted some, something of that magnitude, or that amazing 7 layer hummus is just a tiny bit less amazing (still worth every penny), but that can happen anywhere. The quantity and variety of dishes on the Sarma menu and their intricate components are truly astounding, I don’t know how they keep up, or make much money, rent is lower and so was liquor license. Sitting at the bar and watching the food and drinks being prepped is also a worthwhile experience. If you can’t get a reservation, the bar opens at 5 and you can stay there and order once the food service begins at 5:30.
Agree wholly on the magic of the Oleana garden.
(We like Sarma, too, but Oleana has a special place in our hearts.)
You’ll be walking distance from Christina’s in Inman Sq - handmade ice cream.
If you’re interested in low-key but authentic Indian, Punjabi Dhaba in Inman used to be excellent - I haven’t been recently. And I still enjoy Dali (spanish/tapas) though I know that may not be a popular opinion.
And if you enjoy ice cream, do treat yourself @jammie . I forget that New England style ice cream is different: very dense, very rich. I mention this because I was raised in the Pittsburgh area and return often—to my knowledge there’s nothing quite like it to be had locally.
Kenji at Serious Eats explains what sets New England style ice cream apart:
Good for the rest of us. Call in sick one day and try ISGM Cafe!
Ever try India Pavillion in Central Square? I used to frequent it decades ago. It appears to have fallen on good times- its enlarged to about 3 times the size it was the last time I visited.
Ice cream: have you tried Milly’s In Shadyside? Will check out Cambridge’s product happily!
I haven’t - actually haven’t been to any of the Central Sq places in a long time.
yep, this was my experience. had a bunch of excellent dishes and a great cocktail, but found the fava bean thing kind of pasty and had some terribly cooked octopus. still, the good far outweighed the bad and I’d certainly recommend it as a place to go.