Soleil US Map & Phone & Address

18 Eliot St, Cambridge; (617) 876-7018 Opened in the spring of 95, Soleil is a creative addition to the ever-burgeoning Harvard Square restaurant scene. Peasant foods from sunny lands is the motto here, and that covers a lot of territory. Cuisines represented include Mediterranean, Mexican, Indian, Italian, and more a handful of dishes from each.

This allows you to mix n match. Start with a plate of crunchy bruschetta ($2.95), and move on to a spicy Caribbean Pepperpot of vegetables, grilled chicken and rice ($6.95), or feijoada, a Brazilian stew of smoked pork and sausage. Not to mention curries, quesadillas, crepes, pastas…

The payoff question is: Can one kitchen make so many specialties well? Well, yes. Mine hasn’t tried em all, but he and a companion sampled a bunch, without a loser among them. Judging by the lively crowd, this is the consensus of opinion. Everything is tasty and fresh, lovingly presented; portions, while not overwhelming, aren’t skimpy either. Most entrees are in the $5-$8 range, so you can make several visits and work your way through the menu.

Soleil has squeezed the entire tropics into a narrow, artsy cafe, its stucco walls painted a warm terra cotta red. At the front a service bar hut makes up fruit smoothies and herbal teas (no alcohol). Desserts are equally varied, but at $4 and up, they’re not so cheap. Still, with its mellow jazz and cozy banquette tables, this is a fine stop after a film at the Brattle. Open for lunch and din- ner six days, Fridays and Saturdays til midnight; closed Sundays.

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