Back When Cafe

4.5
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579 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 579 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
4.6
food
4.3
service
4.6
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
98% of people would recommend it to a friend
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KV
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My favorite Wausau dining destination - consistently a fine dining experience. Thank you!

SR
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is probably the best dining experience available in the greater Wausau area. I'd highly recommend them I have never been even remotely disappointed in any aspect of dining there

l
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Not only was the food and service exceptional, but the ambiance was perfect. I have 50 % hearing loss and I never struggled to converse with my husband.

Thanks to you all!

R
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

There isn't a restaurant in Wausau that even comes close. Fantastic atmosphere inside or out and outstanding service. The Cosmo's and Blue Cheese Crostini are musts. You won't be disappointed.

CC
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We visited on the recommendation of a friend and Trip Advisor! We were not disappointed in anything. We were on a tight schedule and they even made a special effort to get us to a show on time! Would recommend to anyone visiting the Wausau area.

J
Chicago
8 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Nice decor & ambience. Good service . Fois Gras appetizer is outstanding. Mushroom medley pasta dish is always rich, creamy and full of flavor.
Veal piccata is a very tasty dish.
Ribeye steak cooked as ordered with plenty of marbling and flavor.
Very consistent, high quality food

OT
Jacksonville
4 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The sea bass dish is #1 in the USA! Try it and you will agree....veal piccata is a great dish too on the special side the pork chop rules!

AM
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We enjoyed a drink at the bar and dinner before a show at the Grand. Our server was outstanding and the food was incredible!

MS
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

It's always a treat to dine here, and the seasonal menu is awesome

BM
Milwaukee
11 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Back When Cafe is an outstanding restaurant in downtown Wausau. The quanit atmosphere gives a historic feel for Wausau of the past. The menu offers a nice variety of entriees. I have dined at the Back When many times on business and also for pleasure - always outstanding! I've dined on business all over the US and the Back When stacks up with some of my finest dining experiences. Wausau is lucky to have such a fine restaurant!

OT
New England
1 review
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

I made a reservation for 7:30pm. On 8/31\2019. When we arrived the hostess was very rude in sitting us. After being seated we sat at the table for 25 minutes without anyone stopping to see if we needed drinks or ever to say welcome to the establishment. The waitress had looked our way a few times giving us the look of death as why we were bothering her. she cleaned 2 tables next to us and served the couple next to us. At that point we got up and left your restaurant and never to return. We ended up eating at Milwaukee Burger where we were greeted with a smile. The waitress was welcoming and friendly the manager stopped by to see is everything was ok. Maybe you should send your staff to Milwaukee Burger to see how to treat customer's.

NL
Milwaukee
3 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 4

Food was very good. Service was terrible. We dined here once before and had a positive experience so we brought our friends. It was actually embarrassing. The waiter was completely inattentive. They forgot drinks, didn't check in with us so we had to flag down the other waitstaff several times; the meals were not delivered together at all, we had to get up and find someone to bring us the bill. The icing on the cake was leaving and seeing what seemed to be the managers/owners lounging in the bar. The only reason I would recommend is that we had one other much better experience. That said, I would recommend with caution.

RC
1 review
Dined on August 21, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

It’s a nice place for dinner. The food was very good but pricey. We enjoyed the ambiance and Vickie, our waitress was excellent. The “Big, fat chocolate cake with ice cream was delicious!

OT
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Back When is my favorite restaurant in the area. Always great food, nice ambiance. Sometimes service is slow despite their best efforts, this was one of the slow nights. It was OK because we had time and we were enjoying our guests. However, I wish the service was more consistent at Back When Café. Otherwise I highly recommend it.

M
1 review
Dined on August 16, 2019
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!

KW
1 review
Dined on August 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The brie stuffed salmon with pear reduction is still UNBELIEVABLE! The Sea Bass is terrific, too! The ahi tuna appetizer is great! Eating outside was so pleasant. Wait staff was remarkable. So welcoming! We had a perfect evening!

3
Milwaukee
4 reviews
Dined on August 15, 2019
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 on August 14, 2019
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 on August 13, 2019
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.

OT
Dallas
1 review
Dined on August 7, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Not my best experience for this visit, been great in the past but not tonight. Restaurant seemed overwhelmed, average food and out of some choices.

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
2 reviews
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
14 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.

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