Back When Cafe

4.5
563 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary American
A charming cafe serving farm to table style cuisine, with inventive twists on classic dishes. Located in historic downtown Wausau since 1991.

Sustainable, regional cooking at its best in a causal yet elegant environment with full bar and multiple wines by the glass. Open for Dinner
What 563 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.4
service
4.6
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Quiet
98% of people would recommend it to a friend
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M
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Incredible food!!!!! Enjoyed every bite! Wisconsin Brie stuffed salmon with poached pear in a balsamic reduction is still my best meal!

3
Milwaukee
4 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

We always love Back When. The atmosphere is very nice. Food choices are nice too. It is nice that you always have a special menu besides the regular menu.

KO
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

i love the atmosphere, but have experienced slow service every visit (3 times). last time we actually had dessert comped due to the delay in waitstaff responsiveness. the pasta entrees should come with a soup/salad or at the very least garlic bread. I left after butternut squash ravioli hungry.

SO
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was excellent and the staff was very friendly.

S
1 review
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Staff was short handed, but did a great job. Food was excellent as usual. We sat on the patio, weather was great, enjoyed our dinner.

One issue, it was my wife's birthday and noted this in my reservation. Thought the restaurant could have complimented a dessert or provide a small piece of cake. Would be a nice touch.

SW
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Lovely patio and delicious scallops in Parmesan cream sauce.

DG
1 review
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was great and our waitress was exceptional. Drink (old fashion) so-so and pricy.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a pleasure!

P
Los Angeles
15 reviews
Dined on July 24, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 3

The restaurant was cute and good for the area. The server needed better training she pronounced bruschetta wrong and when asked what type of pasta was in the mushroom dish she said shells, when I received my meal it was orecchiette. My tomato bruschetta was put under a broiler which was a surprise. Our Caesar salad did not have real caesar dressing. But, we are in central Wisconsin not Italy so for the area it was ok. They had a large selection on the menu and the wine list was ok. I probably won’t go back though.

LM
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

The food was amazing but the service was very slow. We had to ask for the waitress after sitting for 15 minutes if we could order drinks. They weren’t even that busy. If the food had not been so wonderful I would have rated everything lower.

MM
1 review
Dined on July 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

As good as it gets!! Delicious, garden fresh and creative dishes.

LM
Charlotte
8 reviews
Dined on July 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Entree came with a green salad & it was especially good. I had wild salmon which was excellent & my husband had walleye pike, which he really enjoyed. Portions were ample. No room left for one of their delicious looking cakes unfortunately!

B
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 18, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

The two crackers and four grapes for the two of us that were served always makes me smile..obviously it's all counted as is the stingy, probably measured, half cup of wine. Their version of foie gras ( duck liver not goose) was undercooked ..for $19 but the seabass was excellent as it should be for $38. My fellow diner had the squash filled ravioli but asked for red sauce and it was enjoyed.
I had asked if the music volume could be turned down and it was. When are restauranteurs going to realise most diners want to be able to hear/ speak to each other.
This was my experience....l will return.

LK
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We really like this place. The food seems to be of better quality than what we usually see in the area. We came here for my husband's birthday because the outdoor dining experience is so nice. It's perfect for a very nice date.

RM
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service and great food. Was able to listen to music on the square while sitting on the patio.

J
1 review
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

We had great food but we waited to much. While other servers brought us our appetizer and water our waitress was not very aware of us. At first we thought she was giving us time for privacy but we sat in front of our dirty dishes for 15 minutes before she asked if we wanted the rest to go. When I asked for desert she only grabbed one of our plates took it in and came with desert menus before she took the rest of our dishes. It was not busy and there was only 2 of us. We wanted to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary and make it something special. I was disappointed.

BH
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Very nice experience! Presentation was creative and the food was excellent. The menus could be presented in binders on heavier paper. We were dining outside and the dessert menu blew away.

SH
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food and great service. We will be going back again.

B
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 1

Although we made reservations a couple weeks in advance, we were put at the table right in the doorway by the hostess stand. My 94 yr old Dad and the rest of us couldn’t keep a conversation going because of the noise level and it was a hugh distraction to have people constantly walking past and occasionally brushing against us. We’ve always made reservations early and are placed at a table by the windows. These tables were still vacant by the time we left.

w
1 review
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 5

Side didn't come with one of the orders. Waiter did not apologize for missing side. Did not fill drinks when needed promptly. Food was not up to the standard that the restaurant normally is. I'm being picky, but the price point should reflect the experience. I would recommend going here since this is one of the nicer places to eat, and it might have been an off night. Food normally is best in town.

CS
1 review
Dined on June 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Grest food and fantastic service from Vicky.
The ahi tuna is one of my favorites. There is always something new on the menu. The wine list has a wide range of prices to meet the needs andbudget of anyone.

DS
Milwaukee
10 reviews
Dined on June 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our Waiter was Tyler. He was very personable and paid attention to every detail. He more than
exceeded our expectations for outstanding service resulting in a most enjoyable dinner.

OT
1 review
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

The food was good, but not worth $19. I found the room dark and noisy. The waitresses were helpful but too busy, like you were short staffed.

JS
1 review
Dined on May 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place to visit before a show at the Grand. Great variety of food and drinks.

AD
1 review
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our favorite to take friends to in the area! Always good food and great staff! Owners are awesome!

JL
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent Dining experience in all ways. We go to the Back When Cafe for all of our special occasions!

OT
Minneapolis
2 reviews
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 1ambience 4

Dining experience started out great. However, our entry took a very long time to come and then we ordered dessert and it took 30 mins before we notified our waiter. Then we had to wait another 10 mins for it to come.... she had clearly forgotten about it. After all that she didn’t comp the dessert or apologize for the inconvenience. Great food, subpar service.

GR
1 review
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great atmosphere, excellent food, a outstanding place for date night

AS
1 review
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great restaurant, great food. A nice surprise in Wausau!

PB
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Surprise gem in downtown Wausau. Great variety of choices on the menu. Flavorful entrees with high quality items. Great dessert choices. Old time feel and welcoming ambiance.

GS
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

Food was good. Unfortunately, my wife's entree was not what she ordered, she chose not to send it back as my food was already served, and there was no effort to make amends to us.

JS
Milwaukee
2 reviews
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always enjoy dining at Back When. Great food, pleasant atmosphere and friendly people.

DR
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful food, service, and atmosphere. I make a point of going here every time I visit Wausau

MH
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on April 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Back When has great Salmon and fantastic Tuna. The ambiance is The Most Romantic of all Wausau restaurants.

C
St. Louis
2 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 1

I had a dinner with my SO a few days ago. She ordered sea bass and I ordered the 4oz steak. When the order came out, the sea bass was in a wax paper wrapper that we had to basically work to get into. The steak was about the size of a golf ball. Her lobster soup was bland and my potatoes were overly sauced with what looked to be pan grease. Definitely not going back.

RP
Milwaukee
14 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Went with our children home for Easter. Food was great. It was Friday so we had numerous meatless options to choose from and all were good. I would highly recommend.

PM
1 review
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Nice little restaurant! Servers were very attentive. The food was served hot and in good time. We enjoyed the Back When for our first time. We will be back!

TP
1 review
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

Nice food, but slow service. Nice waiter, but slow check-ins. Overall, nice but not great.

LB
1 review
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Staff is friendly, very pleasant, hard working, and helpful. The food is great!

DG
1 review
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent restaurant in every way!! Our absolute favorite!!!

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