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: American
- 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 WinnerAmerican
- Diners' Choice WinnerNeighborhood Gem
The Center Cafe - Best Restaurants in Needham ›
The Center Cafe reviews from OpenTable diners
34 reviews since May 5, 2014
- Ambiance3.7Noise LevelModerate
neighborhood gem (27)fit for foodies (12)special occasion (7)kid-friendly (5)great for brunch (3)notable wine list (3)romantic (2)great for outdoor dining (2)good for groups (1)great for lunch (1)Show More
- Comfort food with flairJohnRDined on 8/16/2014Good fresh comfort food with flair, excellently prepared. Prices were a little high.
- CfoodDined on 8/9/2014As usual we had a wonderful dinner last weekend at the Center Café.... everything was prepared properly and served on time--nice wine list and nice ambianceSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- A;ways a PleasureCarolVIPDined on 8/8/2014My husband and I have been to the Center Cafe quite a few times. The food is always very good, the owners are friendly, and it is just a comfortable place to be.Special Features:
- Perfect for Your Regular RestaurantObjectiveCriticVIPDined on 8/6/2014Great food, surprisingly large menu, friendly and attentive service, and owners who are on site every day and really care about their customers. I can't imagine a better place to make your regular restaurant.Special Features:
- Be Charmed at Central CafesnorkelsDined on 7/23/2014This place is a charming neighborhood gem in Needham. The Staff is friendly not only with guests, but also with themselves. The food is really consistent, especially the burgers. This is a good antidote to chain restaurants, and overly stuffy places. The staff is extremely accommodating, treating each guest as a member of the family. The service can be a bit slow on busy nights, so come with patience, it is worth it. Freshly cooked food takes time. It is a great place to meet friends and have a great meal. I recommend the onion rings! Overall, the warmth of the whole place makes it a comfortable place to have a great meal.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Dinner with FriendsBarjoeDined on 7/22/2014We had dinner with friends visiting from Florida on a Tuesday evening. The restaurant was not crowded and we were able to spend some time talking and catching up. Everyone enjoyed their meal. I would definitely recommend The Center Cafe.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- CathDined on 7/16/2014Staff is constantly yelling at each other, service was slow.
- Disappointment in more than one waylove2eatoutDined on 7/16/2014My wife and I went to the Center Cafe on a Wednesday night. I ordered the seafood special which included scallops, shrimp, calamari, and clams. The calamari was overcooked & smelled old. The clams were oily and not sweet. I was unable to eat either of them. The scallops & shrimp were good. When the owner came over & asked how everything was, I informed him that the calamari & clams were terrible and he was free to try them. His response was that he doesn't eat while he is working. That was it. No offer to bring me something else or to remake the food. So I ate half my dinner. When the bill came, there was no compensation for being served a non edible meal. On the way out the owner thanks us for coming. We will never come back.
- Excellent restaurantflyfishDined on 7/8/2014AS usual, good food, good service. Have eaten thre svral times and never been disappointedSpecial Features:
- We shall returnPsdlnVIPDined on 6/28/2014An excellent small restaurant with an attentive owner, fine food and reasonable price tag. Wine selection was fine and per glass prices were reasonable in contrast to many other places. A veal and pasta dish were flavorful and duck breast was tasty. Creme brulee was excellent. Overall, well worth a visit.Special Features:
- WonderfulOpenTable Diner Since 2004VIPDined on 6/22/2014We dined here the other night and made our reservation via Open Table. We were greeted by the owner Steve who is very personable. The service and food were great. When in the Needham area again, I would go back for another delicious experience. The pricing was moderate and was a good valueSpecial Features:
- suzythcatt1Dined on 6/15/2014Great place that just keeps getting better. How many restaurants can you think of where they recognize and remember you when you only go a couple of times a year? Forget the carbs and ask for the fresh hot bread. That alone makes the evening special. yes it is crwded and sometimes the service is a little slow but it is always friendly and the food is fabulous.Special Features:
- OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIPDined on 6/13/2014Very reliable and chef does a nice job with sauces-- light and well flavoredSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Small gem of a restuarant!PennySDined on 5/9/2014We so enjoyed our first visit to The Center Cafe. The restaurant is small and quaint and the owners were so welcoming. We started our meal with homemade bread right from the oven followed by a wonderfully crisp caesar salad. I enjoyed a steak that was cook perfectly and served over creamy mashed potatoes. My husband had a veal dish (I am always hesitant to order veal due to toughness). This veal, however, was so tender and flavorful. We had our two youngest children with us and they thoroughly enjoyed their chicken fingers and hamburger. Crayons and paper were an added treat! We wished we saved room for dessert....next visit!Special Features:
- The following 132 reviews are from the The Center Cafe reviews archive.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2013Dined on 4/19/2014Nice owner, super tight seating. Didn't feel comfortable talking to my boyfriend since we were crammed between two other tables. We were also sat there when two other open tables with more space were available. However a local family owns it and the owners do a good job checking in and making pleasant conversation. I would go back but just request a different seating area.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Abled to have a conversation!MareVIPDined on 4/4/2014It is a rare outing lately to find I don't need to shout at my dining companions because of the outrageous noise levels in so many restaurants. This cozy neighborhood gem never gets too noisy even with tables in fairly close approximation. The service here is often a little uneven, but it has the feeling of being served by a family and they are doing the very best they can…the servers work hard, have multiple roles as do the owners. At the end of the evening any unevenness could be forgiven. Our 4 meals were uniformly OUTSTANDING! We will be back for excellent food and conversation.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Neighborhood gemNeedhamLeeAshDined on 3/8/2014This is a family owned and managed fine dining restaurant. Very warm and friendly environment, fantastic menu, reasonable prices, homemade sorbet is a must.Special Features:
- One of our favoritesandieVIPDined on 3/1/2014The Center cafe consistently delivers. It provides wonderful, flavorful food while not being uptight or too fancy. the owner visits each table and will sit, chat and serve food. He makes you feel like you've entered the Cheers Bar (where everybody knows your name) coupled with the specialness of a night out.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Wonderful Neighborhood GemGSPluvstodineDined on 3/1/2014Great service, involved, but not in your face. The food was fresh, wonderfully prepared. Both my husband and I got the specials, and were both happy! So many layered flavors and textures - yummy!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Loved The Center Cafe!OpenTable Diner Since 2006Dined on 2/22/2014It was our first trip to The Center Cafe. Friends had given us a gift certificate, and we were so glad they did! The food was delicious, the service superb. Very friendly, enjoyable restaurant! Can't wait to go back!Special Features:
- Snowy night havenFionaVIPDined on 2/18/2014On a snowy night my friend and I decided to venture out to dinner. Luckily we found the Center Cafe. We were warmly welcomed and treated well by the owners and our waitperson. The food was well prepared and delicious.We had a great time and would definitely go back!!Special Features:
- Certainly real chef-levelJF02461Dined on 2/14/2014Certainly real chef-level dinner at quite reasonable prices, so excellent value. Décor nice but not fancy. Waitress was capable but not elegant in manner. Owner/mgr very friendly, sets a nice tone. On the whole, very pleased and will return.Special Features:
- Great neighborhood spotOpenTable Diner Since 2007VIPDined on 2/1/2014Overall a great experience, everyone was very friendly. Service was great. Highlights were the apple squash soup, pork tenderloin and steak (perfectly cooked). Wines were reasonably priced. Ample portions so we didn't have room for dessert. Will have to return.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Best Local RestaurantRichDined on 1/29/2014We live in Needham and Center Cafe is one of the best local places. Food iOS great, service is complete and the menu is wide enough for a good selection. Steve is the best host. And we don't have to drive to Boston opt one of the closer suburbs to enjoy a fine dining experience.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- We had only been to The CenterOppi328VIPDined on 1/14/2014We had only been to The Center Cafe once previously, but we decided to give this neighborhood restaurant another try, and we are so glad that we did!! It is cozy, intimate, and family run. The service was outstanding. The food was excellent! I had a Caesar salad and my husband had a green salad. Both were fresh and delicious. We also split an order of four ribs. We enjoyed them very much. For our entrees, I had leg of lamb which I hadn't seen on a restaurant menu for a very long time! It was so flavorful and tender. I thoroughly enjoyed it! My husband had the salmon which was fresh and beautifully prepared. We highly recommend this restaurant. We can't wait to go back!Special Features:
- nice place near homeRyoe4gudfudDined on 1/9/2014In our neighborhood, a nice and quiet dinner, food was fine, wine was fine, service was excellent, the owners took great care of us in a personal way. We have enjoyed and will definitely come again!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Friendly staff, good foodshel99Dined on 12/19/2013We have lived in Needham for 4 years and kept meaning to try this place, but then would forget about it since it's hidden away back off the street. Finally made it out one night and we will definitely be back. We were warmly welcomed by the owner and our server was quite friendly and personable. My veal marsala was perfect and the brownie sundae we split for dessert was just the right amount of decadent.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- I like the family friendlyJewelDined on 12/13/2013I like the family friendly ambiance of this family run restaurant. The bartender is very accommodating if you want a special drink.Special Features:
- Restaurant Always DeliversCarolVIPDined on 12/8/2013My husband and I have been to this restaurant 3 times and each time the food has been great. . The owner is friendly. He makes you feel so welcome. We brought a friend with us the last time and she also loved the place.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Enjoyable dining experience!!jmdeeDined on 11/23/2013I can't say enough about the Center Cafe. From the wonderful food, to the terrific staff and the warm welcome we received when we arrived, my friends and I had an extremely enjoyable dining experience. I would highly recommend the Center Cafe to friends and family!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- The Center of FoodCfoodDined on 11/22/2013We always enjoy our visits to the Cafe. Steve and hisvstaffvare great they remember us each time and have some new taste treat to try.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Overall had an enjoyable evening.OpenTable Diner Since 2009Dined on 11/15/2013Overall had an enjoyable evening. The food was very good and the restaurant had a good buzz. The wait staff was engaging and gave great recommendations.Special Features:
- Great family run neighborhood gem!DMRadioDined on 11/14/2013Something for everyone on the menu. Great ingredients - fresh - delicious. Can't wait to go back!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- A great findCillaDined on 11/2/2013Center Cafe never disappoints. Food is presented well and is always delicious. Wait staff is friendly, attentive, and accommodating. A great place to dine.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- SlippedflyfishDined on 10/26/2013Have eaten here many times. Owner/manager tries very hard. Had different wait staff this time and service was very slow and not particularly attentive. I cointinue to think that it is understaffed. Food was not up to usual standard just OK..Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- First rule: ALWAYS try the specialsChowCatsDined on 10/18/2013Vanessa is a great executive chef, and she knows sauces like no one's business. The ocean perch was served on a small mound of cappellini that had been tossed with delicate pieces of asparagus and green beans, lightly finished with a touch of lemon... Glad to see Center Café doing well.Special Features:
- Good local eatsfeodellDined on 10/12/2013This is a good casual dining spot at a reasonable price. It was just what I was looking for when I wanted to eat out with friends and just catch up without feeling hurried. Casual, friendly and reasonably priced. Food was good for the price with ample portions.Special Features:
- An ordealWhitSDined on 10/9/2013Eating here was an ordeal from beginning to end. The "homey" banter from owner and staff begins immediately upon entering, and doesn't relent. The wine menu isn't at all accurate (they're missing many bottles and years are incorrect), the staff is mouthy and intrusive without being helpful. The owner is overwhelmed and overly-familiar (please don't give my son a shoulder massage when I've never met you before). The food took forever. We arrived at 6:30pm on a Wednesday and didn't get food until 8:15pm. Guests at other tables got up and left without getting served because they couldn't wait any longer. Food was okay, and wine was decent. Avoid.
- Friendly Find in NeedhamBrosefDined on 9/27/2013As a former chef and restaurateur I can be very picky, but my family and I found this to be a welcoming place that we will return to. The food was excellent, and I can't remember a friendlier staff. It was our family's first time dining here. The hosts actually shook our hands and thanked us for coming as if we had been regular patrons that had been coming for years. This place is a gem.Special Features:
- True Gem!BostonianVIPDined on 8/16/2013I have been there three times in the past month, just beacuse it is SO great! Relaxing, fun amazing family/service, fabulous food, just all around great! Casual elegance, you feel like you are eating at their home. So cozy and comfortable! Make sure you have their vanilla ice cream with butterscotch/caramel sauce (they make) and have them add some banannas, touche! Everything is fresh and so darn YUMMY! I have had their lamb chops, duck and last time their Blue Fish special. All were so fantastic, I want to keep going and try each main course. Nothing like watching the train go by!Special Features: