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Boston's Student Eats

As you wander through Cambridge it's safe to assume that almost every other person on the street attends a nearby institute of higher learning. (Forty percent of the city's population is between the ages of 18 and 29.) But soaring Harvard Square rents have been the death knell for many quirky diners and coffee shops. Even so, a handful of places that cater to poor grad students continue to persevere. Try one of these:

Darwin's (148 Mt. Auburn St. 617/354–5233 1629 Cambridge St. 617/491–2999 www.darwinsltd.com). A self-described "shabby-chic deli and café," Darwin's symbolizes both the bohemian Harvard Square of yore and its newer, more gentrified persona. It has nearly 20 sandwiches that cost less than $8 (try the The Strong, a delicious prosciutto-pesto-fresh mozzarella combo), very good coffee, locally baked breads, and free Wi-Fi, making it many a student's second home.

LA Burdick's (52–D Brattle St. 617/491–4340 www.burdickchocolate.com). This Harvard Square chocolatier is known for its unbelievably decadent hot chocolate and bite-size gourmet chocolate in the shape of mice (complete with almond ears). Founder Larry Burdick, a Boston native, spent years in France and Switzerland before founding his shop—and as you sit at one of the small tables nibbling a macaroon or Linzer torte and watching the bustle along Harvard Square's cobblestone streets, you might forget what country you're in.

Miracle of Science (321 Massachusetts Ave. 617/868-2866 www.miracleofscience.us). This funky and casual Central Square restaurant and bar is chock-full of MIT neuroscientists and PhD students at leisure. And no wonder: if anything could drag them away from the lab, it's the Periodic Table of Elements-theme menu with chipotle-tinged turkey chili and several local beers on tap.

Pinnochio's Pizza and Subs (74 Winthrop St. 617/876-4897 www.pinocchiospizza.net). This hole-in-the-wall's been serving late-night pies to Harvard students for three decades. "Noch's" offers thick, Sicilian-style pizza for little more than two bucks a slice.

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