Three miles south of Cambridge city center, in Grantchester Village, is the famous Orchard Tea Garden. When the weather is dry, where better to sit than in the low-slung deck chairs on the grass, shaded by apple trees? Wasps aside, nothing interrupts the laziness of the place. The Pavilion has indoor seating with photographs on the wall evoking the spirit of the past. Morning coffees, afternoon teas and lunches are all served here. Sandwiches and cakes on the service counter prove difficult to resist.
If you are looking for a highly exclusive place to dine, then Midsummer House Restaurant is a great place in Cambridge. Its location and setting is perfect: a Victorian villa house overlooking Midsummer Common. The culinary delights are many and prepared by the in-house chef Daniel Clifford, and you can expect every dish to come full of a multitude of tastes and flavors. The quality of the food is mirrored by the perfect service from the waiters. Feast your taste-buds on a fine, five to ten course, French-inspired meal, which is certain to instill a new found fondness for the exquisite European cuisine.
Upon entering this restaurant and historic wine cellar, you are instantly immersed in a medieval setting. A variety of exquisite salads are offered, but don't miss out on the heartier entrées. Favorites include the traditional sausages and mash with a special house sauce; or sink your teeth into a 16-ounce beef chop, sugar snaps, tomatoes and shallots. Traditional and savory side dishes are available a la carte, and you can wash it all down with your choice of a wine and dessert.
The Free Press offers something unique. It prides itself on its history; it has been a pub for over 120 years, and its name comes from when it used to be a printing press, circulating a free newspaper in Cambridge. It also boasts an excellent reputation for its selection of ales - there are three "permanent fixtures" and two guest ales at any given time - and its top quality home-cooked food. As if this weren't enough, its newly refurbished beer garden offers you the ideal setting in which to sip on the local ale on a warm summer's evening.
Located on the River Cam, The Anchor boasts a suntrap terrace that is packed all summer, so arrive early and bag a table. Inside, the upper level is wooden and smoky, with the lower level sporting a trendy feel. The drinks choices and quality is excellent, three changing guest beers are available on tap. Traditional pub food includes fish and chips, sandwiches, jackets, potatoes, burgers and a variety of sides and salads, all at very inexpensive prices.
The fact that Cotto is helmed by a Michelin-star awarded chef makes food connoisseurs sing a happy tune when they enter this elegant restaurant. As you would expect, the menu is perfectly designed with mouthwatering dishes pegged in a prix fixe format. A sensational Seared Beef Carpaccio takes center stage as the Herb Salad and Duck Liver Parfait make for fitting peripherals. Chef-owner Hans Scweitzer is first and foremost a chocolatier, so whatever you do, don't give the chocolate-gilded treats here a miss.
With the atmosphere resembling a cozy restaurant more than an ale pub, the Clarendon Arms spoils you with their inherently comforting homemade food. Made with locally sourced produce, this warm and friendly restopub includes rotating specials, a lunch menu and an extensive dinner menu. The Herbed Pork Sausage and generously loaded Bruschetta are more than just pub eats, and manage to satisfy all your foodie alter egos. With real ales on stand-by, good food and excellent service, the Clarendon Arms creates a lasting impression.
Rotana Cafe combines an Internet cafe with a shisha bar and a range of halal snacks and sandwiches on multicultural Mill Road. The Magic Strawberry halal cocktail is a Rotana Cafe specialty and a perfect accompaniment to all of the above, making a stop in this cafe a relaxing and refreshing experience away from the bustle of the center of town. The quality of the service from the personable staff is very high, and the speed of the Internet connection is very pleasing. The comfortable seating is an additional perk, with an outside area getting understandably good use during the warmer months.
For an authentic Thai meal, step right into Mai Thai, overlooking the Parker's Piece. Formerly a creperie and once a cricket pavilion, this restaurant is now one of the most frequented hubs in town. The interiors are pretty in pink with a capacity to seat 60 persons; the dim lights and minimalist, clean look makes this joint a comfortable place to dine at. During the warm evenings, ask to be seated outdoors in the green gardens and have a drink from the bar, they have wide selection of concoctions.
Burleigh Bake Shop is a cheap and cheerful take-away bakery with traditional varieties of cakes, buns, pastries and breads aplenty. There are some great value lunchtime meal deals to be found here, such as a Coca Cola and a sausage roll or a filled jacket potato and soft drink at a very decent price. Situated near the Grafton Centre shopping area of Cambridge, Burleigh Bake Shop is a great place for seasoned shopaholics to stop and pick up a quick snack without straying too far from the stores.