Wellesley offers a variety of eateries, from fancy to homey to chains. A slew of Asian restaurants dot the town, from sushi-and-more to Chinese to Thai. Or you can try out Italian eateries, Indian cuisine, Turkish specialties, or an old-timey diner with a Greek flair. And don’t forget those necessities — pizza, ice cream, donuts, and coffee. Wellesley’s got you covered there.
The Swellesley Report’s Wellesley restaurant reviews:
92 Central St., 781-237-6100
Italian; owned by Michael Schlow, who has made name for himself with several popular Boston restaurants.
I dined here in February, 2020, and had a delicious fettuccine alfredo dish with a slab of broiled chicken on it. A solid portion, but not so much as to make me regret ordering it. A ricotta cheese dip softened small toasty appetizers, and chocolate wafers with better-than-oreos cream to spread on them finished the night in a memorable way. The staff was friendly and attentive throughout the evening. The room was filled on a Thursday night, and unlike so many nice restaurants these days, the sounds weren’t deafening. My dinner mate and I were able to talk easily, and before you knew it it was 2.5 hours later… (BB)
27 Grove St., 731-239-1350
102 Central St., 781-772-1804
Healthy chain, with salads, smoothies, burgers and lots of kale. (our original review)
45 Church St., 781-772-2390
Spanish wine and tapas bar/restaurant, with seating for 100-plus, including inside and outside.
97 Central St. 781 235-2358
Bagels, sandwiches, soups. Worth noting: Every so often they surprise you with special bagels tied to things like big Patriots football games.
555 Washington St. (781) 235-5322
We stopped in a this popular ladies-who-lunch spot where every table was taken by noon on a Thursday. But we saw that coming and beat the rush, getting ourselves all settled in at a prime table where we could dine in comfort and watch the comings and goings at this spotless, bustling, eatery that’s been in town for 19 years.
Since Mangal specializes in Mediterranean cuisine with a heavy Turkish influence, I had the Turkish Lahmacun, a thin dough spread with ground beef, lamb, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices, served with side salad that was crisp, fresh, and not too heavily dressed ($14.50). It looks a little like a burrito, but the lamb, which gives it a touch of gamey-ness, and Mangal’s use of spices puts it culturally worlds apart. There was a little too much fresh parsley for me, but I was able to easily set most of it aside.
Other dishes that caught my attention for maybe next time: The Turkish Borek (baked pastry layers filled with feta cheese and parsley); the Yengen sandwich (grilled with Turkish soujouk, tomatoes, kaser cheese on white toast bread); the arugula salad with poached figs and proscuitto di parma.
Also on the menu: sandwiches, soups, and salads.
339 Washington St, (781) 283-5700
183 Linden St. (781) 416-3690
Pizza, plus salads, tacos and more
279 Linden St. (781) 235-3737
Seafood restaurant and store. Worth noting: brunch on Sundays.
15 Washington St. (781) 237-7500
Chinese food. Full bar service. Our take: appetizers of chicken wings, chicken fingers and peking ravioli were all tasty and hot (temperature-wise). Entrees were OK (Shrimp fried rice didn’t have tastiest shrimp). Service was excellent, and the restaurant itself is bright and clean and lively. Watch out for sitting in booths facing the front door on a winter night though — chilly.
Raw vegan food, superfood smoothies, and organic juice cleanses, as well as breakfast items, sandwiches, and salads. (More here).
257 Washington St. (781) 431-2388
288 Washington St. (781) 235-7300
Popular for their 16″, $8.25 bargain pizza. The popular Italian eatery also offers signature dishes are called “Messes” and feature a mix of veggies, pasta and more. Comella’s has several other locations in surrounding communities, including Newton and Needham.
19 Washington St., (781) 237-1331
Pizza, salads, wraps, calzones, pasta, and more.
190 Linden St. (781) 239-1100
Features food with Southern California flair. Full bar service.
We visited the restaurant in early 2018 to check out their newly renovated interior and slightly revamped menu. See the full post here.Highlights for us: the fried calamari appetizer and the spice-rubbed hanger steak.
352 Washington St.
CrepeBerry offers a diverse and healthy menu. You can see our review here.
1 Forest St. (781) 235-6811
This place has a Greek flavor (pictures of Greece on the walls), has about 20 seats, features Tiffany-style lamps and an assortment of foods beyond pizza: salads, calzones, vegetables, etc. Be warned: No credit cards accepted.
868 Worcester St. (781) 235-6800
165 Linden St.
Wellesley’s second restaurant from the owners of The Cottage opened at the end of 2018, and emphasizes small plates, a raw bar, and craft cocktails. It’s a “chef-driven” eatery whose name, Door No. 7, comes from the fact that this is Laura and John Wolfe’s 7th restaurant. Like the newly renovated Cottage, it is located in Linden Square, though on the south side of the street.
951 Worcester Street (Rte. 9 west) / 781-235-9815
978 Worcester St. (Rte. 9 east) 781 237 1437
277 Linden St. (shown)
Healthy, seasonally inspired meals — no cooking required. Feast & Fettle is a gourmet meal delivery service that offers chef-prepared entrees and side dishes delivered right to your door. Some menu items: Balsamic Grilled Flank Steak with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes; Toasted Hazelnut Crusted Salmon; Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Roasted Summer Vegetables; Corn on the Cob with Garlic Scallion Butter.
575 Washington Street, (781) 694-8800
Fiorella’s opened in March 2019. The fast-casual place was does a brisk take-out business, and customers were also enjoying meals in the dining area, which has six tables and two booths that seat approximately 25 diners.
11 Washington St. (781) 237-5888
63 Central St. (781) 416-1799
Ice cream, yogurt, coffee.
I knew my companions would mock me, and they did, but the kiddy size cup ($3.09) is what I ordered. That’s really all the Oreo Cake Batter ice cream richness I require after dinner. Besides, in the interest of research I naturally needed to try a taste of the Brownie Brownie Batter ($4.69 for two scoops). It was a chocolate-lover’s dream, densely packed with all it promised, and likely impossible to get out of a white t-shirt. The Peach (three scoops for $5.39) was good, but I prefer bigger, firmer chunks of fresh peach in a purer vanilla base. They marinate their peaches in brown sugar giving it a more fall-is-coming look and flavor rather than the summer-is-here attitude I need in July.
The seating inside, the bench outside, and the fun fake grass on the walls all encourage customers to graze awhile and indeed, we did.
13 Central St., 781-446-6950
Greek Mediterranean cuisine, from the owner of Needham’s Sweet Basil restaurant. Full bar. Here’s our review.
Beyond Wellesley: If you’re a fan of Juniper owner and chef Dave Becker, and already know of his long-running Sweet Basil restaurant in Needham, you might like to round out the trifecta and visit Balani on Moody Street in Waltham, too. The fusion restaurant opened in late 2018, and serves up an eclectic mix of small dishes, salads, entrees and desserts that will feel both familiar and different to Juniper patrons.c
Yes, there’s Octopus on the menu, though when I went with a group of 7 other guys, the attentive server warned us that it isn’t the best sharing item for strapping lads like ourselves. We pleased ourselves by ordering for starters the pork belly rangoon (sweet, flavorful), smokey seafood fritters (crisp, just the right softness inside), and brussels sprouts (I steered clear, but my vegan friend ordered them and loved them). I had the the special, a serving of 5 hefty scallops served on black rice (guess I don’t get out much…had never had black rice, but it was not to be feared), and plentiful broccolini cooked just right. Adobo fried chicken was a favorite of my friends, who portions were hearty. We sampled several beers, including Revolution Anti-Hero IPA (so suitable for our crew). Our vegan friend was quite happy with his sparkling water and main dish of beet salad, presented just so. The room was dark but not too dark, with playful oversized art on the walls to add a splash of color to a restaurant that also features quirky decor, including purples, pinks and neon themes. The staff was friendly but not overbearing. The prices won’t faze those of you who have been to Juniper, with entrees generally in the mid-to-high $20s. We went on a Tuesday night in spring and had no problem securing a reservation for 7pm. Here’s a more thorough review of Balani from Eater.
555 Washington St. (781) 237-6995
162 Linden St. (781) 235-9837
The fun family-owned deli that seats 31, including 2 handicapped-accessible spots, has a ton of variety on the menu (from sandwiches — cheesesteak is yummy — to smoothies to soup) and can be a real madhouse at lunch, though the staff does a great job juggling it all.
There was plenty of friendly, efficient staff on hand to take our order of a toasted meatball sub with cheese and a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sub, no mayo. Both items came as ordered, and we were moved along smoothly to the cashier, and then to what was, at the time we went in (12:30, weekday, school cancelled due to snow day), plenty of seating to choose from.
The meatball sub was hot with plenty of cheese in the proper state of melt, and a nice tomato sauce. My companion reported that the BLT came with lots of bacon, tomatoes that are about as good as they can be in the middle of the winter, and crisp lettuce.
They renovated a couple of years ago, and the white subway tile backsplashes and the crisply painted grey, white, and bright blue accent walls give it a clean feel. The gleaming stainless steel appliances let you know that the owners made their wish for more modern food storage a reality. Look for the university pennants and other homey touches.
11 Forest St. (781) 694-1210
Wellesley’s Frank Santo, and Tom Wynn have brought gastropub food and drink in a warm, sophisticated interior. Check out our review here
MassBay Community College cafeteria
50 Oakland St., Wellesley
The cafeteria dining room is the hub of activity at the publicly funded community college that serves about 8,000 students at its Wellesley, Framingham, and Ashland locations. They’ve got a good hot bar that changes daily with offerings from Indian, to Italian, to Asian.
300 Washington St. (781) 235-9647
Classic breakfast and lunch diner, with Greek flair.
552 Washington St. (781) 235-8300
Their pizza crust is neither thick nor crispy-thin, and they don’t skimp on the mozzarella or the slice size. My bowl of minestrone, however was a disappointing bland collection of mushy pasta, a few cannellini beans, and some canned tomatoes floating about in an unseasoned broth. That’s what I get for ordering soup at a pizza parlor, I suppose.
Tons of nostalgic memorabilia and oldies tunes on the sound system keep the atmosphere lively. You can’t leave here downhearted after dining to classics like “Help Me Rhonda” and “Be My Baby.”
16 Washington St. (781) 235-4747
Italian food, including pizza. The 250+ seat Wellesley standby underwent a complete renovation and refresh in 2018. In addition to the main dining area, the private dining room has space for 100; the bar area has tripled in size and seats about 45; and the patio area has been expanded to 44 seats. See our full story on Papa Razzi here.
Our most recent visit, October 2019: We were invited into Papa Razzi’s function room for a sneak peek at the new Fall 2019 menu items. Standouts: the Shrimp Scampi with polenta crostini, spinach, sun dried tomato, roasted garlic, and lemon; the Pappardelle with slow braised veal, mushrooms, tomato, and grana padano; the Butternut Squash Ravioli with shallot sage butter and pancetta; and the Sea Scallops with smoke bacon parsnip puree, fingerling potatoes, romanesco, blood orange, and blood orange vinaigrette.
9 Central St. (781) 235-0018
57 Washington St. (781) 489-3205
Breakfast, lunch & dinner, plus catering. Cash/checks, ATM inside.
263 Washington St.
Hand-thrown Neopolitan-style pizza ($10.99 for a 16″ pie); salads; fresh, never frozen, burgers; Boar’s Head meat sandwiches; house-made meatballs, chicken and veal cutlets; chicken salad; spinach and artichoke rangoons; and grilled veggie wraps. They’ve also brought their Natick location’s #1 best seller, the buffalo chicken wrap, across the border. Seating for eight.
Serves cold-pressed juices, healthy freezes. Our post about Pressed Juicery’s opening.
185 Linden St. (781) 235-339
272 Washington St. (781) 237-2111
552 Washington St., Wellesley Square
Rice Burg opened its first non-food-truck shop in Wellesley Square in the spring of 2019. It’s a unique addition to the Wellesley food scene. Rice Burg’s forte is burgers with specialized buns made from Japanese small-grain rice. They’re a gluten-free alternative to traditional bread buns, and the idea is to welcome back those who have run away from burgers due to dietary restrictions. You can also get their menu items in bowls, and the shop offers fro-yo, too.
Our Rice Burg review during the restaurant’s grand opening week
Roche Bros. Ramen Noodle Bar
Roche Bros. in Linden Square in spring 2018 opened up an in-store Ramen Noodle bar over in the prepared foods area. Dine in at the 6-stool eat-in area or take your ramen bowl to go. I knew I had to give it a try when Wellesley resident and foodie Carol Almeda Morrow posted on social media, “”My daughter, son, and I just tried out the new Ramen Bar…Let’s just say that it received a three thumbs up from this crew of frequent fliers to Allston’s Korean-town.”
312 Washington St. (781) 235-1666
Fine Indian cuisine.
583 Washington St., (781) 992-5150
Smith & Wollensky Wellesley reopens Wednesday, June 10, for outdoor table service only. Guests can enjoy socially distanced seating on both the front and back patios for an elevated al fresco dining experience. Reservations are recommended. In addition to signature Smith & Wollensky favorites, the steakhouse will offer a seasonal menu with newly added dishes such as Cajun Bleu Stacked Filet with bacon confit, a new “S&W at Home” meal kit program, and takeaway bottled wines at a 25% discount.
Wellesley Hours of Operation: Monday through Sunday: 11:30am–8:30pm
Ask about new curbside pickup, dinner packages, and grill kits.
268 Washington St. 781-237-1000
With 41k+ locations in over 100 countries, it’s no wonder Wellesley didn’t want to be left out. You don’t need me to tell you that they can put together a decent tuna melt.
180 Linden St., (617) 917-3500
Salads, warm bowls, lots of kale. Our Sweetgreen review.
151 Linden St. 781-235-9888
570 Washington St. (781) 431-2250
Italian specialties, including lunch and breakfast offerings.
Wellesley’s Tutto Italiano owner goes Hollywood — sort of
35 Grove St. (781) 239-1356
Serving ice cream and yogurt, including soft serve, since 1992.
542 Washington St. (781) 235-1171
Baked goods, soups, sandwiches.
This 12-seat cafe serves baked goods (croissants, cookies, muffins, scones), soups, sandwiches, wraps, and salads. It’s cash or check only here, so be prepared. I ordered the 1/2 sandwich and soup combination for $6.95. The generously sized 1/2 portion of chicken tarragon on French bread had the right touch mayo and tarragon. The tomato soup was served hot and chunky, but didn’t taste much like tomato for some reason. The star of the meal was dessert, a shortbread heart cookie with red raspberry jam filling. So good, and worth every calorie. Everything is paper plates and plastic utensils here, strictly a quick place to grab a bite or get take-out. Paintings for beauty and for sale from local artists decorated the cheerful yellow walls.
Wellesley College eateries
Collins Cafe (across from Davis Museum)
Campus Center Emporium on 2 (in Wang Center)
Claflin Bakery (Claflin Hall)
Leaky Beaker (Science Building)
Cafe Hoop (Wang Center)
Punch’s Alley Bar (Wang Center)
7 Washington St. (Rte. 16) (781) 237-3388 or 3389
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Our family enjoyed a broccoli & chicken calzone served hot and fresh, buffalo chicken wings and a garlic and cheese pizza. The staff was friendly and accommodating. We sat at one of the four tables near the front door, so was a bit chilly. Decor is pretty modest, mainly consisting of posters of food. There’s a flat screen TV and the prices are reasonable.
Weston Road Cafe
336 Weston Rd. (781) 235-1116
Breakfast and lunch, with salads, subs, etc. Motto is: A place where you can meet anybody.
380 Washington St., (781) 591-5500
The shop is filled with cakes, pies, breakfast pastries, fancy breads and more. Some are pre-packaged to take on the road, back home or to the office, while others are free range, ready to be gobbled up. No table service, but seating is available.
442 Washington St. (781) 235-7262
The 26,000 square foot grocery store is big with those looking for natural and organic foods. Its prepared foods section offers a salad bar and a hot and cold prepared foods bar. You can also get sandwiches and pizza, and for dessert, gelato or kefir. There are always three or four kettles of soup as well. Seating is available near the check-out area at the front of the store. There is also outdoor seating in the summer.
We like stopping in for breakfast for a container of piping-hot steel-cut oatmeal, but there are plenty of other items on offer. The warming trays have breakfast sandwiches wrapped and ready, and the coffee bar employees are there to tend to your caffeine needs. We’ve also tried the egg and cheese on a croissant and grabbed a Stonyfield smoothie from the refrigerated wall rack. The breakfast sandwich was warm and obviously hadn’t been sitting there forever, and smoothies are always good.
180 Worcester St. (Rte. 9) (781) 235-0238
245 Washington St. (781) 431-8886
We went in for lunch and ordered the Sushi Special, which is one tuna roll and six pieces of assorted sushi. The $10.50 special includes miso soup and salad. We also ordered some edamame for good measure. The service was excellent and the sushi was beautifully fresh. Other things on the lunch menu: Bento boxes (beef teriyaki; seafood tempura; vegetable tempura, and more); noodle specials (udon; raman; soba. All with a choice of protein and/or veggies. There are also combo options and a selection of ice cream desserts or fried banana.
The space also has a sushi bar and and area for large groups. Yama is BYOB place, which is becoming more of a rarity ever since Wellesley loosened up its liquor licensing laws.