8 Holyoke St.
Mon-Thu: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Fri: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 10:30pm
Sat: 5:30pm – 10:30pm
Sun: 5:30pm – 9:30pm
No restaurant in the Square invokes as much jealousy, awe, inspiration, or sneaky drooling as Sandrine’s, a French bistro on Holyoke that you pass on your way to lunch or to class. With its windows thrown wide open when the weather is good — which luckily isn’t all that often — Sandrine’s is the ultimate treat-yourself restaurant, and hands-down has the best food with such proximity to the Yard. (Whew. It had to be said.) Now, what do you eat there? For a decently-priced lunch, one of their specialties is the Alsatian flatbreads, which are crispy Swiss pizzas with toppings like mushrooms, onions, bacon or smoked salmon baked to gooey, cheesey perfection ($9-13). You can split an appetizer with it for a perfect lunch for two: the crab and avocado appetizer, as well as the Roquette salad ($13), are great offerings. A $12 soup and sandwich special rounds out the list of ways to lunch without going broke.
Dinner isn’t cheap, but you can limit your spending by going for the three-course prix fixe ($40), which gets you an appetizer, an entree from a select list, and dessert. For the seafood lover, there is always a rotation of dishes featuring tender, melt-in-your-mouth scallops: in butternut puree, or pan-seared with butter and chives. Otherwise, try the Angus sirloin ($28), on the prix fixe menu, or the featured lamb dish (price varies). In for a dime, in for a dozen: no visit to Sandrine’s is complete without sampling the escargot ($10). If you’ve never tried it, trust me: these are scalding hot, smothered in butter and chopped onion, doused in parsley, made with love, tastebud fests. If you pass on the escargot, splurge on dessert — the creme brulee will leave you emptying your wallet and loosening your belt before dinner is through.