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The Fantasia Restaurant in Cambridge, Mass.

As kids, we recognized Fantasia as a great Walt Disney movie, but also knew that there was nothing "goofy" about the Fantasia Restaurant at Fresh Pond in Cambridge, Mass.

 Looking back, Fantasia might have been the epitome of an old school restaurant: large-sized, carpeted dining and functions rooms (the latter slightly tacky in a 60s/70s sort of way), beautiful music in the background, a personable "Hi honey" wait staff, and tasty chicken, steak and seafood dishes that never failed.

I remember my Dad would go here with his teacher and school administration friends; they found the setting perfect for good conversation and laughs. Although the Fantasia food was quite good, the service was even better. An established wait staff rarely slipped up and knew many of their customers. This paved the way for being confident that you could experience here a great ideal family dinner, graduation, wedding and reception, Bar Mitvah, birthday party, Communion, etc. It was always nice to have a near-retirement, kind waitress focused on the customer instead of some "I'll take-any-job" employee being totally fixated on, say, what Lovin' Spoonful album to buy at Music Land after work.

Interesting to note, too, that Fantasia was only minutes from the war protests and various counter culture elements in Harvard Square in the 1960s, but felt like a warm, safe placed a million miles away from a changing world. Fantasia really felt like the restaurant version of "Leave it to Beaver!"

11 comments:

  1. My Grandfather's cousin owned this restaurant. We lived with him in Bridgeport, CT and didn't know much about his family. Is anyone else related? His name was Pietro Fantasia.

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    1. I am! It was my Great Grandfathers restaurant, Ralph Fantasia.

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  2. Memories come flooding back, of meals at Fantasia, Igos in Porter Sq. and Joyce Chens, right beside Fantasia. Brings back all the wonderful dishes we enjoyed, in addition to all the the folks no longer with us, with whom we enjoyed them. Thanks for the memory.

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  3. I loved Fantasia, many memories there. Does anyone have any photos of it?

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  4. Wonderful to see comments about Fantasia's Restaurant. I ran the plant for Continental Can Company for 5 years, right behind the Restaurant and we shared the parking lot with Ralph. All visitors to our plant were taken to Fantasia's for lunch, and they loved it. Joyce Chen opened her restaurant right across the small street that entered our industrial park. All gone now, but the memories are still alive.

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  5. I used to waitress there. The food was awesome. Great chicken pie and the scampi was to die for. We had a lot of great times there and were always up to something.

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  6. I used to waitress there. The food was awesome. Great chicken pie and the scampi was to die for. We had a lot of great times there and were always up to something.

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  7. My Dad took us there once a year for about 5 years in a row. Only thing I remember as I was very young was how good the mashed potatoes were...lol. Grew up in Belmont
    but can't remember what year it closed.

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  8. Wow! What a blast from the past. I used to work there in the late 60's. Started as asst salad chef and worked up to the line, just before going in the service. My Dad did some architectural work for them in the kitchen area. That is where my love of Italian cooking started. Big place if I remember plus their famous "Lido" rooms. Loved it.

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  9. I worked there from 1976to 83 . Some of the best times of my life. I still hang out with Chef Arthur's son

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  10. I used to go there with my boss for lunch back in the late 70's and 80's. Scrumptious Shrimp Scampi.Fond memories.

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