Little Donkey

4.7
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1486 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Tapas / Small Plates
Little Donkey is the latest restaurant from James Beard Award-winning chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette of Boston’s beloved Toro and Coppa. Located in the heart of Cambridge’s Central Square, less than a mile from Harvard, MIT, Inman's Square, Kendall Square, Harvard Square, Porter Square, and Lesley University. Little Donkey is Oringer and Bissonnette’s first Boston-area restaurant in over six years, offering a welcoming, day-to-night dining experience that features market-driven, global small plates, inspired by the chefs’ world travels such as the Pickle Brine Fried Chicken Sandwich, General Tso Chicken Wings, Caviar Sandwich, as well as many Vegetarian and Vegan options which are always on menu and available.

What 1486 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.6
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
New England
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Every time LD is outstanding, service and food. One of my favorite spots!!

DW
New England
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing service, and great food. 1st time going for brunch, and it was fantastic all around. Still the best burger in Cambridge.

NF
Denver
8 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall3food2service2ambience4

After hearing this place was a must try spot from several friends we decided to go for my birthday on Saturday night and couldn’t have been more underwhelmed. The two most important things: the food and the service were both average with the service leaving a lot to be desired.

Food:
Jerk chicken empanada - this was good, my favorite thing
BLT lettuce wraps - this was good, I liked the lamb bacon
Burrata - not my favorite preparation for burrata, mole was very salty
Campanelle - we did not like this dish at all, it was very rich with absolutely no balance. The breadcrumbs on top made no sense and basically ruined it
Fried Chicken Sandwich - very average, fried chicken was dry

Service -
I think our server was inexperienced. She made no mention about the food or recommendations until prompted by me and just told us her name and to call out if we need anything. My biggest issue is that it felt like we were being rushed out by the way the food was coursed out. All 5 courses came out within 25 minutes and placed right onto the table. Maybe the chicken sandwich would have been better if It didn’t sit on the table for 10 minutes before it was touched because we already had 3 other items on the table. They also dropped off the empanada which is supposed to be a hors d’oeuvres with the chicken sandwich, kind of baffling.

Overall, it was a cool vibe and I liked the music but don’t think will be returning for the reasons I’ve stated.

LJ
New England
3 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

This is our second time to little donkey and the food was just as amazing as the first time! Seating was a bit crammed which was the only thing that wasn’t perfect. Will definitely be back to try more plates!

PR
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food4service4ambience5

Food excellent just a few choices we didn’t like such as the pizza and the cheesecake
Service was great Chloé was consistent in checking in food arrived promptly. Good cocktails and wine choices

PB
New England
5 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was delicious and prompt. Pacing of dish arrival is also good which is amazing since we ordered like a table of four but were only two people. Highly recommend and their cocktails are absurdly delicious even flavors I normally would not try. Betty Davis left me with Betty Davis eyes.

PR
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall4food5service4ambience3

Eclectic menu with many options to please anyone. Would suggest asking if a dish is spicey ahead of ordering. I love spicey food but not everyone in my group did.

PB
New England
5 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

tasty, innovative and interesting food. Loved the BLT wrap. If wine were "food" it might bring down my rating to 4.5 stars, given limited choices by the glass, but don't want to be unfair-- I didn't explore the bottle menu that wasn't appropriate with my guests. But overall really fun and look forward to returning.

AR
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service3ambience4

I hadn't been to Central Square for about 30 years, but Little Donkey is a sign of how much the area has come-up in the world since then. The restaurant was pricey, but when I left, I didn't regret a cent. The menu seemed designed for adventurous foodies, and it was the perfect place to relax and ground myself in sensory experience. Each item on the tapas menu was intriguing, pleasantly unfamiliar in some way. For instance, I'm a huge fan of a gin and tonic, but their gin and tonic special was served iced in a grapefruit half. The drink was delicious and had the added benefit of having bits of gin flavored grapefruit and grapefruit flavored gin as the ice melted and extended the time I could savor the flavor. The first bite of striped bass ceviche with coconut, kefir lime, and red pepper took my breath away. I would have licked the plate clean if the waitress hadn't whisked it away to replace it with the next experience. The last thing I ate, manti, were lovely bite sized packages of flavor with a chopped tomato ribbon on top. An added bonus was the proximity of ImprovBoston, which it turns-out had three different shows running on a Thursday night. Although, the restaurant was crowded and a bit loud for easy conversation, I think it would be an ideal spot for a date to remember.

VL
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall4food4service5ambience4

our table ordered 16 items from the menu and 11 were really good only two just ok and 3 super

Service was lovely drinks great

We'll certainly go again

Totally recommend it

EI
New England
9 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Went with my husband and two kids. Food was delish! Got to sample lots of apps/small dishes. Service was great. Loved it

VS
New England
7 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall4food5service5ambience4

First trip there -- it has a really interesting menu -- very varied, interesting dishes, wonderful preparation. The only downside is that restaurants should realize that a lot of people who can afford to eat out like this don't hear as well as they once did and don't enjoy screaming. The noise level just gets tiring.

MB
Chicago
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2019
Overall3food2service2ambience3

We were really excited for our meal here, as we'd heard great things. Unfortunately, we were quite disappointed. Most of our dishes were very rich. Flavors were good but a bit unbalanced and overwhelming. Great example - the wild boar perogies were smothered in far too much mustard. It would have been a nice compliment to the dish if it had been dialed back. We were also not impressed by the service. Despite a menu built for sharing, our individual plates were quite small. We weren't asked if we wanted new plates between dishes. While normally I prefer to reuse - some of the dishes were very heavy on the sauces - so a new plate was really necessary. Finally we asked for new plates - our server took them but placed our dirty forks/knives on the table and didn't replace them. It was just an odd way to pull things off the table. Everything also came out of the kitchen piping hot. It was nice in a way, but we had to let each dish cool for a few minutes before we could even eat it. The cocktails were great and the wine list is awesome. Sadly, we won't be back for dinner. Just drinks.

OT
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Small plates varied in quality and were mostly very good. Expensive. Plan on $40/person.

F
New England
4 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food and service. Very well done food and excellent restaurant

JM
New England
3 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Favorite restaurant in Cambridge - always the best.

OT
New England
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Food was good, but a little bit pricey, especially for Tapas. A bit loud as well, but overall energetic ambiance.

d
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall1food1service5ambience5

Food doesn’t live up to the hype and was way to pricey for the quality and quantity.

OT
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall2food4service3ambience2

The music was quite loud and the lighting was so dark that everyone at my table across various ages had a hard time even reading the menu. The food was very small portions and extremely expensive. The long beans dish was our favorite but we ended up leaving with a couple hundred dollar bill and hungry.

PF
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience2

Trying to do way too much and none of it well, this is the hodge podge diner of allegedly fine dining. Most dishes were over-sauced, including the tuna poke, which we sent back. The waiter did not handle us sending it back well, acting like no, it's all good, it's you, not it. The best thing we had were the drinks and the oysters. Maybe an off night? The friends who recommended it are usually to be trusted, but I'd never send anyone to this place.

OT
New England
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great! Delicious! Attentive!

MI
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Putting Little Donkey in the weekly rotation. Long Beans and everything on the menu amazing, and went through three different amazing bottles of wine.

DO
New England
3 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Thanks to all the other reviewers for their suggestions about the food options. We loved the Phat Lao, Wagyu Steak tartare crostini and the Vietnamese bologna- the only dish that was only ok was the Shrimp Tikka Masala - this wasn’t bad just kind of meh next to everything else. The gin & tonic in a grapefruit was really fun. It is dark and tough to read menus but if you know that going into it, it’s not annoying. All in all, we really had a fun night with delicious, interesting food.

OT
Orlando
2 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2019
Overall3food5service2ambience3

Terrible service and welcome attention.

OT
New England
3 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Great food for sharing. Interesting flavors.

DV
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2019
Overall1food1service3ambience1

Food-while eclectic over-spiced, wine list absolutely horrible for paring this menu. The hostess forgot I told her our reservations were for 7:30. The bar is waiting list only, at least that’s what the bartender said. So, we stood for 30 minutes waiting on a booth that was empty the entire time we stood there. The foie gras flavorless; completely overpowered by, of all things, balsamic vinegar so we asked them if they could taper it down so what did they do, brought foie gras without any balsamic which isn’t what we asked for. But, in fairness, it was as smooth, supple and delicious as foie gras should be. Their version of flowering cauliflower was sloppy, limp and about 6” in length. We prefer the Vietnamese style of preparation where the cauliflower is cut into manageable pieces you can eat with chopsticks. This fish sauce covered limp vegetable should not have been presented at all. The staff is not sufficient to manage a full seated dinner with any semblance of proficiency...completely unfamiliar with the wine list from a vintage as well as pairing perspective; they couldn’t answer one question about a simple Alsace white...their cutlery is deserving of use in a military chow hall. The fork bent when my wife tried cutting through the stiff crostini the foie gras was plated on. I would be embarrassed to have my name at the bottom of the menu, regardless of any previous JB recognition...lastly, I wish this text could be heard because I would make it as loud and noisy as their establishment. Oh, the bathroom-shame on them for putting honest paying customers through that filthy dirty dripping slum. The evening was completely laughable from a fine dining perspective! I tried uploading picture 512kb but their site said they were too large, said I need to get them under 5mg...now I’m not an IT guru but even I can call BS on this. If you want good food-avoid this place!

OT
New England
16 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nice environment with an interesting array of food

DM
New England
3 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Believe the hype.
Great food, great group service, interesting space, good background music that doesn't overwhelm conversation

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delish food and great atmosphere!

NO
New England
7 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience2

Service was excellent! Server was knowledgeable and attentive.
Noise level is our chief complaint but it’s got a friendly, energetic vibe.

RL
1 review
Dined on October 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great tapas place. There was a group of 5 of us, each got a drink and we got somewhere around 6-7 plates. The cost was very affordable and we were full by the end!

J
1 review
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Fantastic cocktails and delicious food! We ordered a Thai fried rice special that was phenomenal, and manti (Turkish ravioli) was soo good. Would have given 5 for food but the pupusa was a little too cheesy and lacked other flavor. Overall one of my favorite Boston restaurants and would absolutely go back!

RT
New York Area
42 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great variety of small dishes. Service was excellent

b
New York Area
25 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

First time at restaurant for Sunday Brunch which is not necessarily my favorite meal, but Little Donkey had interesting choices on the menu which was a refreshing change from the usual brunch fare. Their version of corned beef hash was delicious!

m
New England
5 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Actually it was a family get together. The food was very creative and good. The service was excellent. The prices were fair. I recommend Little Donkey for brunch!

DJ
New Orleans
3 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had great cocktails and great food. Ordered 5 plates and that was satisfying for 2 hungry adults. Really enjoyed the dessert ice cream sandwich and after dinner drinks.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall4food4service2ambience5

The service was poor. The food was delicious but the serving sizes were small compared to how the dishes were priced.

D
New England
6 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great restaurant and very accommodating! The food was delicious!

JR
New England
167 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

This was my first brunch visit and it did not disappoint. The Toad in a Hole was the greatest. Banana bread, eggs and creamed spinach? Yes please. The side of lamb bacon made it extra special. I did try a bite of my daughter's blueberry cornbread muffin and it was also amazing.

MD
Chicago
1 review
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall2food3service4ambience1

Extremely underwhelming. All hype, no execution

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