Best of Boston

2003 Best Porter Square Restaurant, Neighborhood

West Side Lounge

The stretch of Mass. Ave. between Harvard and Porter squares may teem with restaurants and bars, but it’s the laid-back-yet-sophisticated West Side Lounge that draws the locals. The main reason: chef Alex Jenkins’s dinner creations. Available at the bar or in a candlelit booth, Jenkins’s menu includes such straight-ahead appetizers as house-cured olives or grilled pizzas , along with more complex, but still humble, main courses, including roasted chicken, sliced tenderloin of steak, and pan-seared tuna with eye-watering wasabi mashed potatoes and ponzu sauce. The bar provides a solid backbeat, with classic martinis and margaritas, and eyebrow-raising beverages like the “little Debbie,” a thick, liquor-soaked chocolate drink that is definitely not for kids.

1680 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-441-5566,