We always enjoy the Center Cafe. The food is good, and the staff is very friendly. Just like Cheers, they know your name. The portions are smallish, but sufficient. Some tables are a little close together, so we ask for ones that aren't. Overall, a very comfortable, relaxing experience in a cozy and friendly neighborhood place.
We love this neighborhood gem. From the moment we walk through the door, we are made to feel as though we are having dinner at a close friend's home. The menu is diverse with wonderful nightly specials. The food is fresh and always cooked perfectly. We so enjoy our visits to The Center Cafe.
Family operated makes this a special place. We feel like part of the family every time we dine here.
It's 2015 and they changed a lot of great original California style menu items and ruined them! Food is overlooked, dry, awful.
Servers are great, nice folks who are prompt with wine and food service.
This is a fun, neighborhood place with very good food, and excellent service. My son and I were enthusiastically greeted when we walked in, promptly sat, and had attentive service throughout the night. The "Brooklyn" is a well made, tasty rye Manhattan and I recommend the Gazpacho and Prosciutto and Mozzarella appetizers. Enjoy!
Each time we ho we enjoy itmore more consistently excellent
The Center Cafe is is an unpretentious spot for a great meal. The setting is comfortable with a noise level that allows for pleasant conversation. The food is always good and the owner is a great host, intent on making sure your night out is successful.
Service can sometimes be inconsistent but this remains a 'go to' spot for our family.
The prices belonged in a fancy restaurant, but the decor reckoned to a neighborhood cafe and the food could be mistaken for three day old leftovers. The owners were wonderful and friendly, but I couldn't help but leave with a sour feeling having forked over $100 for an appetizer, two entrees and a dessert when 2/4 were literally (I don't use the word in the figurative sense) inedible. The barbecue chicken was good, but was the kind of thing I could make myself on a weeknight. It's a cute place with nice owners, I just hope they will either align the food to the price or the price to the food.
Steve is wonderful. He makes you feels special. We are regulars and love to bring out of town friends to the Center Cafe. It's like the Cheers Bar - everyone knows your name. My husband loves the cod and I love the veggie plate.
I have dined at the Center Cafe a few times now and have always been pleased with all aspects of the dining experience here. Great food and very welcoming and friendly professional staff. I shall return.
Owner and waitress wonderful. Great food and fun place. Good wine list and excellent bourbon list!
I love this place !! The food, the service and the friendliness are worth the trip. I have been here numerous times and it continues to be a winner -- You must visit.
One of my very favorite restaurants. It is like walking into someone's home, the owners are so incredibly welcoming, you feel comforted the minute you walk in the door. The entire staff is friendly, funny and so accomadating. And that is just the beginning our your experience. The cocktails are done very well and the wine list has all you could want. The menu has something for everyone and the food is exceptional!!
Small place....seating a little close together...one waitress was a little loud...but our waitress was excellent ...friendly and attentive...overall a good experience..i would definitely go back.
Steve is really the best host - he makes you feel so welcome and special! I've never had a bad
meal there and take friends and family for special occasions as I know they care! Keep it going
Steve and thank you for a great evening. Jane
We celebrated my birthday at Center Cafe. The food was very good. My daughter is a picky eater and I was excited that we found a restaurant that she found something she liked on the menu. The service was very friendly and we had a nice conversation with the owner.
My husband and I went out on Saturday for a date night. I found this restaurant though Open Table, had never heard of it. I am so glad I did! We loved everything about it- the hostess, the manager, the service, the food, the bread! It is clear that folks from the area go often and even though we are not from Needham and are not regulars, we were treated as such. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.
Two coworkers and I met for an early weekday dinner. The restaurant filled up over time...it seemed to be an older crowd. Our meals were good. The Icelandic cod was fine and my companions both had steak they said was good. I wish our server was warmer. She was efficient but a bit brusk. Our meals were slow coming out of the kitchen, but we were in no hurry. I wouldn't not go back.
I ordered the meatloaf, it came with mashed potatoes and broccoli and a small amount of a mushroom red wine sauce. The meatloaf itself was basically flavorless, as were the potatoes, and the broccoli was simply steamed broccoli. This could easily have been a Swanson's frozen dinner. I have eaten here several times in the past and never had such a disappointing experience.
I was dining alone that evening, as my girl was out of town. I was given a great seat under some light so I could read. The staff was extremely attentive to my needs (the owner planned that seat for me since I was alone) and it was a great evening of reading and having some great food and drinks.
We always enjoy the Center Cafe. The owners, staff and chefs all make you feel like you're part of a big family. The food is always first rate.
The food was outstanding: the salmon I had was rare, just as I had ordered, the asparagus was crunchy not overcooked and they are willing to cook exactly the way you desire. I tried the creme brulee for dessert just to see if it was the right temperature (I don't like desserts that are straight out of the fridge). The burnishing of the sugar on top just prior to serving created a perfect temperature for the brulee. I also had a small ceasar salad. The parmesan cheese was grated and I prefer the look and taste of shaved cheese on top. The dressing could use a bit more zip such as using anchovies as in the traditional salad (mixed in with the dressing so that you can't see the anchovies. The coffee was served in a glass cup complete with spoon prior to pouring the coffee...a nice Russian or old fashioned touch. At the end of the meal a napkin was spread before you and the coffee and dessert are placed on the napkin, another nice touch
One thing that I would recommend is that all tables have a black tablecloth with a piece of glass placed on top to cut down on the linen bills. I really don't like having such a lovely meal on a formica table top.
My husband and I have been to the Center Cafe three times since discovering it last month.
The owners are welcoming and the wait staff are friendly and very helpful. The fried scallops (worth doubling the appetizer order and having them for your entree) and fish and chips are well prepared and flavorful as are the ribs and pasta dishes. Last time, my husband's veal was a hit. This is the place where the food and atmosphere feel like home, but better. The menu is not huge but there is something for everyone from a burger and excellent fries to a three course meal. A nice touch for those of us without a huge appetite is the offer of petite plates of several of the entreés. Regular portions are not overwhelming for a change, but definitely satisfying. Prices are reasonable and they do take reservations. The Center Cafe has become one of our favorite haunts. Try it but save us a table!!
The food is always very good. The owners are very friendly and attentive to their customers My husband and I enjoy going to The Center Cafe.
This was our second time here, and by far a better experience. Steve was attentive, but not overly so. Our waitress was patient with us as we asked a million questions, and couldn't decide among the many excellent sounding entrees. She made some good recommendations! We each had something different - meat loaf, trout, lamb chops, duck breast. They were all outstanding. Also shared the ribs and scallops for appetizers - great choice. Scallops were tender and perfectly cooked.
We were there to celebrate the other couple's 50th wedding anniversary. They were presented with an amazing dessert - Happy Anniversary written on the charger plate with chocolate. The dessert was free.
An overall excellent time had by all!
We are regulars at Center Cafe but last Friday was a very unusual night. Our usual rating is AAA. This night, the place was very crowded and Steve admitted that the kitchen got overwhelmed, causing the service to be unusually slow. But this was the exception. The food was excellent. We still think this is the best restaurant in Needham and vicinity and one "off" experience will not dissuade us from our regular visits.
The food is very good. The wine list has many familiar wines at reasonable prices. Much of the staff are family and make their guests feel like part of the family.
We had a great meal! Food was wonderful and the staff was extremely friendly. Seemed like we were eating at the home of family. Great menu and wonderful desert options. There was a small issue with our order but the restaurant aimed to please. We will be back soon!
THE CENTER CAFE IS A WONDERFUL PLACE TO DINE, WHETHER YOU JUST WANT TO GET OUT OR ARE CELEBRATING A SPECIAL OCCASSION. OWNERS STEVE AND KAREN WALLER ARE GREAT HOSTS, THAT TAKE PRIDE IN REMEMBERING THEIR GUESTS AND GREETING THEM INDIVIDUALLY, USUALLY WITH A HUG AND A KISS. CHEF VANESSA CORTESI AND HER CHEF HUSBAND, JON, ARE TRULY MASTERS IN THEIR KITCHEN; THE FOOD IS DELICIOUS AND PREPARED WITH CARE AND DETAIL. BROTHER, JOSH IS A GENIAL AND EFFICIENT WAITER AND A PRIMO BARTENDER (AS WELL AS AN EXCELLENT PHOTOGRAPHER) SANDY AND VICKIE, THE PRETTY AND PERKY WAITRESSES, KEEP THINGS MOVING ALONG WITH A SMILE AND A QUIP; MAKING DINING OUT THERE A MOST ENJOYABLE MEAL WITH FRIENDS.
Super friendly and knowledgeable waitstaff; outstanding food; the owner greets you like a long list friend...no one rushes you and they honor reservations. It is like eating dinner at a friend's home as long as the friends is a gourmet chef!
This place is a bit of a hidden gem, located off the beaten path in downtown Needham. The location is charming, the food is great and the service was great. The owner makes it a point to get around to the tables and check in with the guests. I would highly recommend a visit to this great restaurant.
We were not sure what to expect but had heard and read good things. We arrived at 6:00 on a Friday night and it was rather empty. When we left, it was full and very energized. The food was very good as was the service. The dining room is small but we never felt crowded or cramped. We would and have recommended it to friends. The owners clearly care about their guests and take the business seriously which is nice to see these days. Good Job.
I have been to the Center Cafe four times in the last few weeks and each time was delighted. The good is excellent, a warm and friendly atmosphere. I plan to keep going back.
We are regular customers of Center Cafe in Needham. It is first class. The food is terrific, the menu varied, the specials special. We are always greeted by Steve and Karen who really care about the family atmosphere. Our favorite wait person Sandy worked our table and made the experience even more enjoyable.
The Center Cafe is an authentically satisfying restaurant. Food is interesting and very well-prepared, wine list has some good values, and the prices are reasonable. Whenever we plan a meal out with friends or as a couple, we find ourselves drawn back to the Center Cafe. The family run establishment is friendly, informal without being sloppy, and a terrific way to spend an evening.
Husbands birthday. Dinner was great! Dessert on the house beautifully presented with on a plate inscripted with a chocolate fudge Happy Birthday written in cursive around the plate, personalized on bottom of plate. Staff and owner extremely personable, menu slections with flexible side dishes.
This is the third time I've been to The Center Cafe in the last couple of months and I shall keep going back. The food is really good, Steve
and his wife are wonderful, friendly hosts and the service is good and pleasant.
As always, unpretentious, excellent food, moderate price.
Good fresh comfort food with flair, excellently prepared. Prices were a little high.
As 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 ambiance