UpperWest

4.4
40 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$31 to $50
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Mediterranean

Restaurants you may also like

View all

About

A casual neighborhood wine bar in the basement of a veteran’s club with old world wines, classic cocktails, tasty bites, and good vibes brought to you by owners Kim and Xavier. Menu changes regularly including cheese, charcuterie, and shareable small plates.

Reservations are generally seated at the bar. Contact us by phone for table seating or parties of 5 or more.

You will find us in the back entrance of the green house located at 1 Cedar Street, just off Mass. Ave., next to the bike path, and a short walk from Davis Square.
Dining Style
Home Style
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Cuisines
Mediterranean, Dining Bar, Speakeasy
icon/ic_clockCreated with Sketch.
Hours of operation
Tue–Thu 6:00 pm–10:30 pm
Fri–Sun 6:00 pm–12:00 am
icon/ic_phoneCreated with Sketch.
Phone number
(617) 714-5734
icon/ic_new_windowCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_paymentCreated with Sketch.
Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
icon/ic_dress_codeCreated with Sketch.
Dress code
Casual Dress
icon/ic_chefCreated with Sketch.
Executive chef
Kim Courtney
icon/ic_neighborhoodCreated with Sketch.
Neighborhood
icon/ic_cross_streetCreated with Sketch.
Cross street
Massachusetts Avenue, Bike Path
icon/ic_parking_detailsCreated with Sketch.
Parking details
There is free street parking available from 6pm at meters on Massachusetts Avenue near Cedar Street. There are also many Zip Cars in walking distance. Please do not park in the veteran's club parking lot behind the building.
icon/ic_public_transitCreated with Sketch.
Public transit
Davis Square T - 7 minute walk
Alewife T - 17 minute walk
Porter Square T - 18 minute walk
77 Bus from Harvard Square or Arlington - Cameron Avenue stop outbound, Cedar Street stop inbound.
Hubways across the street on Massachusetts Avenue.
Zip Cars available in walking distance.
icon/ic_special_eventsCreated with Sketch.
Special events & promotions
Contact us to discuss the details of your special events. We have a versatile space.
Additional
Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Gender Neutral Restroom, Late Night, Outdoor Smoking Area, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, Wine
What 40 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on all time ratings
4.3
food
4.2
service
4.0
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Quiet
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
Sort by
Newest
Filters
GB
New England
9 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

Unique place ... almost like you know something secret!

Report
Helpful
M
New England
32 reviews
Dined on August 15, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

I come back to UpperWest every couple of months to see what Kim's added to the menu and enjoy a cool and relaxing midweek dinner. This time we enjoyed a meat and cheese board of six items, mostly chosen by her, and the day's pasta. I've never been let down by what she and Xavier make for food or drink.

Report
Helpful
a
San Francisco
35 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

I keep going back and re-reading the reviews for this place and wonder what we missed. This place is indeed quirky and we ended up leaving because there was nothing much (except cheese) for the vegetarian in the group. The woman who greeted us on arrival was nice enough, though there were two other people at the bar in the whole place and she seated us right next to them. They moved over because they felt it odd. We looked at the menu on the chalkboard. When we asked about vegetarian options the bartender turned and asked the chef about them and the chef replied, "I usually make a vegetarian pasta but tonight it's bolognese." And that was all she said. She turned around and walked away. We walked away too. It was a gorgeous night and dark and dingy wasn't cutting it. We went to Spoke in Davis Square instead, which was spectacular.

Report
Helpful
J
New England
28 reviews
Dined on April 14, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Delicious food and unpretentious ambiance!

Report
Helpful
HO
New England
7 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Quirky but fun. (Don’t be put off by the entryway.). The house pasta was good; the bocarones were Excellent.

Report
Helpful
KM
New England
11 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

UpperWest is my favorite place to sit and enjoy some great food paired with a small but well chosen wine list. Everyone who works here is dedicated to excellent service and hospitality. The environment is funky, warm, and inviting. And the guests gathered around the bar are likely to become friends and acquaintances of yours because of the convivial atmosphere. This is truly a gem of a place!

Report
Helpful
P
New England
1 review
Dined on December 20, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 2

stunningly good food in the most unexpected venue. seriously. wander around the back of the VFW hall, go down the old basement stairs, sit down at the bar in the wood-paneled basement, and be amazed.

Report
Helpful
r
New England
9 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Another great meal at UpperWest! The cheese selection was fantastic, and the pasta was just delicious!

Report
Helpful
OT
New England
2 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2017
Overall 4food 1service 5ambience 4

Good service, over priced wine list. Limited whiskey cocktail choices.

Report
Helpful
OT
New England
2 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2017
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

I have frequented Upper West about ten times, and each time I go the prices have increased on the food menu and portions have gotten smaller. Service is also slow, which is to be somewhat expected since there only one chef. During my last visit over the weekend, however, my appetizer of a ham sandwich AND entree of ravioli took over an hour to be served without acknowledgment or apologies by the staff of the unusual wait time. Disappointed with the food service, but wine menu cannot be beat in the NoCA neighborhood.

For a "hipster" and "funky" atmosphere, a price point of almost $40 for 2 glasses of wine is too steep for this Cambridge native.

Also, easy parking and friendly bartender, Abby.

Report
Helpful
K
New England
14 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food and service at a very interesting and "funky" restaurant!

Report
Helpful
OT
New England
8 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2017
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Such a fabulous, interesting restaurant. It’s like going into a basement in someone’s home. We could not find it initially and could not believe that it was in the back of the VFW!! But so cool!! So unique.
The food was incredible. There is no menu online and realized when we arrived that the menu is NOT tapas. There are a few small items plus a choice of two entrees. We do not eat meat so Kim made us fettuccini with safe butter. Yum!!! When we go back, which we absolutely will, we will call ahead to make sure that Kim has a vegetarian option. She makes her own pasta & it is beyond delicious.
Such a unique experience. Can’t wait to go back!!!

Report
Helpful
OT
New England
1 review
Dined on October 14, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

At first glance it is a little confusing but once you get past your own bias it's great!

Report
Helpful
F
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2017
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Unique setting with amazing pasta. Interesting aperitifs

Report
Helpful
S
New England
141 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2017
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We loved the Speakeasy type atmosphere...the waitress and chef were welcoming and efficient. The food was great. Although there is a limited selection, there is something for everyone and diners will leave quite satisfied, all the way around.

Report
Helpful
D
New England
26 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2017
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Upper West is a nice addition to the neighborhood, and seems to have developed a bit of a following. It's hard to find fault with the funky atmosphere, interesting wine list, and quality of the food. Unfortunately, some portions are simply too small (on this visit, a case in point was the cheese board) and they have a strange practice of serving individual (also small) portions of bread wrapped in paper. Service is inconsistent; on a past visit, the server seemed entirely inexperienced, having difficulty opening a bottle of wine. This time, a different server was competent, but seemed annoyed by our request for plates with the cheese. The extremely limited menu precludes frequent visits, so it'll likely be awhile before we return.

Report
Helpful
OT
New England
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Amazing homemade gnocchi, delicious pate, charcuterie, perfect place to meet up with a friend or two and realax- either at the bar or on the couch. Friendly staff.

Report
Helpful
OT
New England
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2017
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

I hope not all nights are like the one we went. Tough to consider another visit. One entree on the menu, which was pasta and all other items were prepped dishes (3 cheese items, one charcuterie and warm olives). The only thing the 'chef' needed to do was boil water (and perhaps finish the pasta in a pan). In two hours of service, the waitress come over once and we only got the charcuterie board. Had to cancel the rest of the items and leave to get dinner elsewhere. I know that all places can have bad nights, but it wasn't busy and the menu/chalkboard was set up for fast and easy service.

Report
Helpful
R
New England
2 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Almost afraid to leave a review in this hidden gem because we love the local "hidden" part! This place is in the basement of an old UAV (think VWF)...you'll be convinced you are in the wrong place...power through and you'll be rewarded with awesome wine, a simple tasting menu with spectacular pasta and a local vibe.

Report
Helpful
KM
New England
11 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This is an incredible find - a speakeasy for grown ups! The owners LOVE good food and present a concise menu of small plates featuring Italian and Spanish food. The wine list is a brief, well chosen selection one focused on European wines. Emily works the bar, and she is an expert mixologist and a warm and gracious woman. The atmosphere is cozy 60s/70s rumpus room, and the clientele are a friendly lot. Upperwest has quickly risen to the top of my list of go to places!

Report
Helpful
CT
New England
2 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Rather unique spot in the basement of a VFW hall. It hovers on the line between lounge with food (good food) and a restaurant. Wine list is great with a wine flight offering. Menu is small but I was told this when making reservation.

Report
Helpful
s
New England
9 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2017
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

Funky basement location with surprisingly good food. Excellent cheese board and charcuterie
plate, as well as an excellent daily pasta. Very generous wine pour served in a carafe. Service was on the slow side, but this may have been because there was only one server who was also working the bar as well. All in all a n enjoyable experience that I would repeat.

Report
Helpful
OT
New England
4 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

If the thought going through the back into the basement of the VFW have been stopping you from eating at Upper West GET OVER it. The space is warm and unencumbered. The food is spectacular and the wines are all great. We had a great meal. And we were able to talk without screaming to be heard. Many many stars.

Report
Helpful
LP
New England
7 reviews
Dined on June 17, 2017
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 1

This is located in a basement of a VFW. It smelt slightly moldy and the place looked like it was quickly thrown together. It was also apparent that their menu selection was bought in advance and reheated.

Report
Helpful
OT
New England
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Service was great and wine was delicious & great value.

Report
Helpful
ST
New England
25 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

New Neighborhood Gem

Talk about a surprising find! This newish spot offers a limited but excellent menu, and great cocktails. We had the charcuterie plate, and it was delicious. The Spanish olives are the best we've eaten outside of Spain, and the bartender was delightful.

Report
Helpful
AP
New England
2 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2017
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

This spot is mostly a wine bar rather than a restaurant. The food menu is quite limited. So don't expect to go there and get full unless you order a lot of stuff. Most of the food was cold dishes (mostly cheese) except one hot pasta plate the night we were there. Food was OK nothing special though. Prices are good. Service might run a bit slow (that's ok for me though). A chocolate cookie for dessert? Really? It was a good cookie but still a cookie.

Report
Helpful
MZ
New England
2 reviews
Dined on May 27, 2017
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Upper West was an incredible surprise. The excellence of the food more than makes up for any shortcomings of the location; dining in the basement of the veterans' hall is maybe even a little charming. The charcuterie was excellent; the gnocci was some of the best I've ever eaten; the carpaccio-presentation of whiskey-marinaded rib eye with balsamic was transcendent. I can't wait to go back.

Report
Helpful
JA
New England
3 reviews
Dined on May 24, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We can't more highly suggest coming here. Great food/drink options. Everything is amazing and non pretentious; you don't need to be a sommelier to appreciate the awesomeness. Get at least a cheese plate and a pasta dish- you'll thank me. :)

xoxo

Report
Helpful
TM
New England
2 reviews
Dined on May 19, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I love this place! The charcuterie plates are always a treat and the cheese pairings are fabulous. I love the speakeasy feel to the place, though I wouldn't mind the chance to sit at a table rather than the bar (hence the 4 stars). Everything else is tremendous, and I can't wait to go back!

Report
Helpful
l
New England
44 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

This is a very cool and unique bar/restaurant. It is certainly not for everyone, even Cambridge natives. But it is definitely for the adventurous, patient foodie. Part of the adventure is finding the place and then figuring out how to enter. It is a pleasant surprise when you open door and the ambience of the place beckons you in and the staff immediately welcomes you. The menu is limited and many items are deleted from the menu before 7:30. The charcuterie and the pasta were our favorites. The chef brings out most courses and will discuss them with you. At times the wait between courses can be long. We will be back with friends that we know will like this type of place.

Report
Helpful
GM
New England
16 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2017
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 4

Good food. Unusual ambience. Low key. Please write a review that is at least 50 characters in length. why?

Report
Helpful
BJ
New England
9 reviews
Dined on April 28, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 2

It was a very unique experience. Great food and wine, but it is in the basement of a house. We opted to sit at the large table, but should have chosen the communal bar.

Report
Helpful
RS
New England
13 reviews
Dined on April 14, 2017
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

A down home, no frills neighborhood place with very good tapas style food and a short, but solid wine list.

Report
Helpful
HW
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on March 17, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

You'd never know Upper West existed if you walked by since it's tucked away in the basement of the VFW with only an unobtrusive sign for advertisement. When we walked in we felt like we were in our parents' 1970's basement only much hipper. The owners have done a nice job with lamps and simple decor to make the space inviting. The cheese and charcuterie board were excellent, and the chef described the food pairings that went with each cheese. Wine selection was carefully thought through with plenty of offerings that were out of the ordinary. Our side dish of vegetables wasn't so good, but that's not why we came. This is not the place to come if you've got a huge appetite, but it's just right for a light, inventive meal and a great glass of wine or two or three. We'll be back!

Report
Helpful
MF
New England
13 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This place has the feel of a speakeasy ... a hidden gem that is well worth finding. We enjoyed several spectacular Italian wines that paired well with absolutely delicious food. The 3-glass wine "flight" is well worth it. We also recommend whatever special the chef has dreamed up for the evening. We'll be back!

Report
Helpful
KC
New England
57 reviews
Dined on January 21, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Love that it UW is in our neighborhood. Don't want it to change, as it is casual, simple, offers great food and a good vibe.

Report
Helpful
A
New England
4 reviews
Dined on January 7, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Unique, funky "speak easy"! Friendly staff/ owners. Very curated wine, liquor and food.
And a dart board to boot!

Report
Helpful
KC
New England
57 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Loved it, and I hope it can sustain its quirky, funky, small and wonderful quality.

Report
Helpful
r
New England
9 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Don't let the location fool you- it's located in the basement of a veteran's hall. It's been redecorated and cleaned up, and it now looks like someone's cozy basement bar.

But whose cozy basement has food like this? Absolutely delicious! Homemade terrine and pasta- fantastic! the cheese and charcuterie plates have an outstanding selection of bites. Great service, great food- at neighborhood prices. You must try this place!

Report
Helpful

Tweets by UpperWest