The Center Cafe
1027 Great Plain Ave
Needham, MA 02492Neighborhood:
AmericanPrice: $30 and under
The Center Cafe
- Dining Style: Casual Dining
- Website: http://www.thecentercafe.com/
- Phone: 7814558800x
- Hours of Operation:
Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm
Thursday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 9:30pm
Summer Hours: Closed Sunday and Monday
- Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
- Cuisine: Seafood, American, Vegetarian
- Executive Chef: Vanessa Cortesi
- Dress Code: Casual Dress
- Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
- Additional Details: Beer, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
- Private Party Contact: Steve Waller 7814558800x
- Entertainment: We offer musical entertainment for special events.
- Cross Street: Needham Bank/Eaton Square Pedestrian Walkway
- Public Transit: We are on the commuter rail line at Needham Center Station.
- Parking: Public Lot
- Parking Details: There is a new and expanded free municipal parking lot across the train tracks from our front door and a free municipal lot in in back of the restaurant.
A word from The Center Cafe
Great food. American Cuisine. Outstanding chefs, Attentive service. Local farms, fresh produce and poultry. Varied Wine List. Creative specialty drinks. Come Discover Needham Dining. A neighborhood restaurant tucked away in the center of Needham. In Home Cooking Coach is a personalized coaching and training service provided to you by our chefs. Visit www.inhomecookingcoach.com for details.Continued
Foodspotting photosSee all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
- Diners' Choice WinnerNeigborhood Gem
- Diners' Choice WinnerAmerican
The Center Cafe - Best Restaurants in Needham ›
The Center Cafe reviews from OpenTable diners
35 reviews since June 25, 2014
- Ambiance4.1Noise LevelModerate
neighborhood gem (28)fit for foodies (15)special occasion (6)good for groups (5)kid-friendly (3)notable wine list (3)great for brunch (2)great for outdoor dining (2)great for lunch (1)hot spot (1)late-night find (1)Show More
- My wife and I went to TheOpenTable Diner Since 2013Dined on 1/24/2013My wife and I went to The Center Cafe for the first time to celebrate a birthday. We were very pleased with the courteous service and attentiveness of the staff who were neither overbearing or inattentive. I had the pork loin from the menu while my wife tried a special with was veal parm with pasta. Both were done as ordered having portions that were not huge as some folks have commented but just right. The spinach salad was fresh and the bread hot from the oven. The ambiance was fine. Lots of mirrors to make the place appear larger and the wall deco was very average. We went on a Thursday evening and the place did fill up very quickly after 7pm. All in all a very enjoyable experience that I would recommend to anyone.Special Features:
- Nothing like going to a restaurantbnbrhbDined on 1/19/2013Nothing like going to a restaurant where the owner greets and treats you as an old friend. Great food and service. Small menu with very nice alternatives to consider and all the items are very good. The bar makes really good classic drinks. The wines are reasonably priced and go nicely with the items on the menu. This is what you want neighborhood dining out to be.Special Features:
- The Center Cafe is a trueAmy111VIPDined on 1/12/2013The Center Cafe is a true neighborhood gem. The owner is present and takes his role as a host seriously. It is a warm, inviting place, with great food. Don't miss the blueberry cosmo!Special Features:
- I went two nights in a rowDCMaid1Dined on 12/28/2012I went two nights in a row and had wonderful food each night. Bread is hot and fresh as were the entre's. Nice wine selection. Owner is a delightful but relaxed host.Special Features:
- It took 45 minutes for ourRickVIPDined on 12/26/2012It took 45 minutes for our dinners to be served. My son's Angus burger was cold, and my breast of duck was so undercooked that I wasn't able to eat most of it.
- We tried the Center Cafe onOpenTable Diner Since 2006VIPDined on 12/23/2012We tried the Center Cafe on a whim and we are glad we did. The food was excellent--the pork loin with the apple and onion sauce was outstanding. The pork was so tender and the apples and onions were a perfect compliment to the dish. The substituted broccoli for the squash because of my food allergies (and were stellar in managing my extra long list of allergies). My dining companion loved fried scallops and the black bean burger. We had the brownie sundae for dessert--we asked for side cups of both the home made hot fudge and hot butterscotch sauce. Both were just amazing. We ate every bite! Service was really attentive and friendly. We will definitely be back!Special Features:
- Our first visit was much betterOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 12/21/2012Our first visit was much better than our second.The risotto was bland and under cooked. Very disapointing! Maybe it was an off night. The staff is so friendly and it is so nice to have a local neighbrhood place, we will give it one more try!
- Nice family run place whereSteveDined on 12/18/2012Nice family run place where the owner is attentive to the customer. The onion soup was quite good.
- Service very slow. KitchenflyfishVIPDined on 12/15/2012Service very slow. Kitchen was overwhelmed. Food fine.Special Features:
- We ate here once before andfood4meVIPDined on 12/15/2012We ate here once before and had a good experience. Food was excellent, server attentive. But this time we came with another couple, and allowed an hour and a half before we needed to leave for a show. Our appetizer arrived about 45 minutes after we sat down, and when we inquired about our main courses 70 min. after arriving, we were told there was no way they could have us out by our deadline. They said they didn't do "fast," and that we should have told them if we needed to be out by a certain time. (Shouldn't an hour and a half be long enough?) We felt scolded. Two of us had to leave before the entrees came, so we got them to go. They never apologized, but gave us a gift card as we left (don't know the value).
- Gourmet "Comfort Food" in NeedhamOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 12/7/2012Center Cafe never disappoints! I brought a friend last week to celebrate her birthday, and it was a great occasion. She loved it, and made a point of saying that she'd definitely bring her husband some time for "date night." It is great to have this restaurant in Needham.Special Features:
- A Local DelightCgaarVIPDined on 12/1/2012What a nice experience. It is tucked out of the way, small, and low key. The food was good and the people were friendly. (I had a burger.) We felt like we knew the employees and guests there already. Highly recommended but don't too many of you heed my recommendations because I want to get a table next time I decide to go.Special Features:
- We have always had a greatOpenTable Diner Since 2008Dined on 11/23/2012We have always had a great meal here! The owners greet you like you are old friends! You never feel rushed so it is a great place to sit with good friends, good food and relax!Special Features:
- Slow service plus a scoldingmarbDined on 11/15/2012While the burgers we eventually got were tasty enough, the service was very slow, and when we inquired about where are entrees were--very politely, without whining, mind you--we got a response from the owner, who was defensive and a little testy, and then were approached by another senior staff member--we had not "complained" again--to give us what felt like a scolding, about how things worked at the restaurant, and how we hadn't really been waiting as long as we claimed to have been. Uncalled-for, was the consensus at my table, and it took some effort to remind ourselves to "let it go" and try to have a nice time. All in all, none of us will be tempted to go back after that experience.
- From the moment you enterOpenTable Diner Since 2003VIPDined on 11/4/2012From the moment you enter you feel the warmth. The owners and staff are friendly, kind and caring. The food is wonderful and the service is outstanding. I would recommend this restaurant to all.Special Features:
- Went on a very busy SundayNeedsherDined on 11/4/2012Went on a very busy Sunday dinner time for this restaurant; service was great - attentive without being intrusive. Menu options tend to lean toward basic American but the preparation and delivery were fabulous. A small gem (pleasant decor) hidden behind the Rice Barn (on Great Plain Avenue) and next to the MBTA commuter rail stop.Special Features:
- A Go To PlaceOpenTable Diner Since 2007Dined on 11/3/2012This is a friendly relaxed restaurant with right sized servings including a good variety of sides and reasonable prices. The wine selection is good. The entrees, especially fish dishes, are cooked to perfection and never disappoint. The soups are light on flavor. The kitchen is small expect slightly longer waits for food on busy weekend nights. Make reservations.Special Features:
- We've always had great mealsOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 10/26/2012We've always had great meals here. We're looking forward to coming back for the veal.Special Features:
- After a disappointing previousOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 10/24/2012After a disappointing previous visit (service was excruciatingly slow) we gave it another shot and it was better this time, although still a bit slow with the meal coming out even though it was not crowded. But the food continues to be very good!Special Features:
- I had the salmon which wasOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 10/20/2012I had the salmon which was good. My husband had the lamb which he enjoyed. Our waitress was very good.Special Features:
- We had been to the CenterOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 10/13/2012We had been to the Center Cafe 3 times before and had been pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food & service. Unfortunately, this time was disappointing. Initially all seemed fine. We ordered a bottle of wine & placed our order. The salads came promptly and were good. Then we waited...and waited...and waited. We finished the bottle of wine and tried to locate our waitress or owner to no avail. Finally we went to find the waitress ( this is 1 1/2 hrs. after we arrived!) and when asked where our meal was, we're told we were " third in line". We ordered additional glasses of wine which took 15 more minutes. No apology or explanation was ever given. Although the food was very good, we will hesitate to go back.
- Great food, a nice selection...trulOpenTable Diner Since 2005VIPDined on 10/6/2012Great food, a nice selection...truly, the best neighborhood restaurant in Needham.Special Features:
- Friendly and knowledgablemetrowestDined on 9/30/2012Friendly and knowledgable owner/hosts. All the food is good.Special Features:
- There's a reason we eat hereChowCatsDined on 9/28/2012There's a reason we eat here regularly. The cafe's just changed its menu to fall, and Friday's onion soup special was a great way to welcome in autumn (according to my husband, the onion soup fiend). My pick on the new menu is the sole meuniere on a bed of baby spinach...Special Features:
- Our overall experience atjmdeeDined on 9/22/2012Our overall experience at The Center Cafe was very enjoyable. It was our first time at the restaurant as we had not heard anything about it, and decided to give it a try. My friends and I thoroughly our meals and would definitely recommend this restaurant to acquaintances.Special Features:
- I booked this restaurant onOpenTable Diner Since 2011VIPDined on 9/16/2012I booked this restaurant on the basis of its good reviews as I had not even seen it in Needham as it is situated off the main street down by the railway line. It was extremely quiet in the restaurant however, it was a Sunday evening and early. The food was generally well prepared and well flavoured although the black bean burger was rubbery and needs review in my opinion. The staff were very friendly and highly attentive but I got the feeling that, as a family with teenagers, we were something of a novelty. I really wanted to like this restaurant but I feel that it needs some updating and is better suited to older diners.Special Features:
- Good food, reasonable prices.OpenTable Diner Since 2009Dined on 9/15/2012Good food, reasonable prices. It is obvious many of the patrons are regulars and that the owner remembers them all. Though it is a drive for me, I will be back.Special Features:
- Really nice experienceOpenTable Diner Since 2007Dined on 9/14/2012This was our first time at the Center Cafe. Atmosphere is not fancy. Kind of crowded, but this thrust us up against another table where some very nice people were sitting, and we spent a good deal of enjoyable time talking with them and getting to know them. The food was really good, all of it -- in most of our dining-out experiences there are one or two dishes that are not so great, but when we went to the Center Cafe, everything was good. The service is personal and friendly. It's a family run establishment and feels like one (in a good way). We were surprised at how nice the whole experience was and we plan to return.Special Features:
- What a great place. ThisChopper731VIPDined on 9/11/2012What a great place. This visit was the first of many to come.Special Features:
- Very much enjoyed our experienceOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 9/8/2012Very much enjoyed our experience there - will come back again. We had an 8 pm reservation and the restaurant was busy - in the midst of changing over several tables. Due to this fact, the service was a bit slow for our preference but the owner was very attentive and even suggested an alternative Pinot Noir to the bottle we ordered and came over and poured quite a large pour for us to try. Very relaxed casual atmosphere. Food was quite good. I had the salmon and my husband had the steak - cooked to perfection and very tasty. Looking forward to coming back again.Special Features:
- The owner participated inbiffDined on 9/8/2012The owner participated in busing tables and visiting with customers. Impressive.Special Features:
- I am shocked at the positiveOpenTable Diner Since 2008Dined on 9/8/2012I am shocked at the positive reviews for this restaurant. We should have left when we walked in. I noticed the cook at the open kitchen arguing and throw something (food or a rag). Several families with children complained about the wait for food. The food was so subpar that I wouldn't even consider going back there. My fish appeared to be microwaved. It was a disappointment and a waste of money.
- We were very pleasantly surprisedBudgetGourmetDined on 9/7/2012We were very pleasantly surprised by this restaurant which replaced another one in the same location. The atmosphere is very casual and friendly. The food was delicious with beautiful presentation which belied the decor, which is nothing special. The server was excellent - friendly without being overbearing and knowledgeable. We will definitely go back!Special Features:
- Truly a neighborhood gem.OpenTable Diner Since 2007Dined on 9/6/2012Truly a neighborhood gem. Prices are reasonable, food is excellent value as is the wine list which is more extensive (but not expensive) as one might expect. Staff is very attentive and good humored, with special attention from the owner.Special Features:
- The inter action by ownersmeme4934Dined on 8/18/2012The inter action by owners was fantastic.Thought we were is a country Inn and not in downtown NeedhamSpecial Features:
- It doesn't take a white tableclothChowCatsDined on 8/10/2012It doesn't take a white tablecloth to have a great meal. Note to diners: always order the special - it will be worth it. The fish stew, made with clam and corn broth, was sensational. The chocolate and raspberry sorbets - made on the premises - are a perfect end to a summer meal. Never thought I was one who would make a particular restaurant a 'regular' - but this made my understand why you would.Special Features:
- The chef's willingness toA123VIPDined on 7/28/2012The chef's willingness to cater to the dietary needs of the restaurant patrons sets this restaurant apart. They even substituted a gluten free roll for the traditional bread at the beginning of the meal. The quality of the food exceeded our expectations for this neighborhood restaurant quietly situated in the Needham Center parking lot adjacent the train.Special Features:
- Has become our "go to" restaurant.OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIPDined on 7/27/2012Has become our "go to" restaurant. Food and cocktails are excellent and CONSISTANT...Special Features:
- Center Cafe proves that youChowCatsDined on 7/21/2012Center Cafe proves that you don't need an intimidating menu or white tablecloths to make for a great dining experience. They understand sauces, seasonings, and the strategic use of herbs, as well as the small 'table attention' details (don't bring the check until asked; don't clear one plate until all diners have finished eating) that many places forget in the rush. We've been several times, but brought a friend for her first time - she was nothing short of delighted.Special Features:
- Top on our list was the serviceLocaldinerDined on 7/19/2012Top on our list was the service at center Cafe. Our server and the owners were all friendly and professional. The food was excellent. The only negative was that my friend's friends were not all hot. We loved that there was an option of smaller portions. Great offering! We will return!Special Features: