Welcome to Desfina Restaurant

You can learn a lot about Greece from the place mats at Desfina.

Crowded onto each sheet of crinkly paper are a drawing of the Parthenon, a map of Greece, and a history lesson. “Western Civilization and Democracy were developed by the Ancient Greeks,” it says. “Aristotle argued that the earth is round 1800 years before Columbus. Hippocrates was the father of Modern Medicine.”

When you sit down to dinner at Desfina, a cozy little taverna offering authentic Greek cuisine, tucked behind the Cambridge courthouse.

There are only two things you need to know here: one, Greek restaurant food bears only a slight resemblance to country cuisine. And two, at Desfina a man will come to your table and light a piece of cheese on fire. 

As a neighborhood restaurant, Desfina is easy to like.

Among other things, the price/coziness ratio is unmatched; you walk through the front room, with tables and a small warm bar, to sit in a snug booth in back. If you stand outside the windows at night, you can see the neon exterior of the CambridgeSide Galleria several blocks down, but you still feel miles removed from the scoured vastness of a mall. You feel like you’re somewhere else. Not Greece, maybe, but somewhere.