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.
92 Central St., 781-237-6100
Italian; owned by Michael Schlow, who has made name for himself with several popular Boston restaurants.
We dined here in February, 2020, and shared a delicious fettuccine alfredo dish with a slab of broiled chicken on it. A solid portion, the chicken was tender and juicy and the alfredo was light and creamy. 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
Authentic Thai cuisine. More on Amarin.
45 Church St., 781-772-2390
Spanish wine and tapas bar/restaurant, with seating for 100-plus, including inside and outside.
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 21 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
California Pizza Kitchen—CLOSED AS OF 12/2021
183 Linden St., 781-416-3690
279 Linden St., 781-235-3737
Seafood restaurant and store. The dining room is open for dinner only. Lunch is served from the onsite food truck See our recent adventure in raw oysters slurping at Captain Marden’s.
Located in The Boston Sports Institute
900 Worcester Street, Wellesley, MA 781-489-3187
Grilled cheeses and comfort food.
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.
57 Central St., 781-772-1213
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.
March 2021: The Cottage dining room is back at full throttle with their signature dishes like the Grass Fed Burger, Cottage Fish Tacos, and Lamb Bolognese. Sunday Brunch is back, too, take-out and delivery are still available.
Notable past visit: 2018 to check out their newly renovated interior and slightly revamped menu. See the full post here.
352 Washington St., 781-772-1731
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
951 Worcester Street (Rte. 9 west), 781-235-9815
978 Worcester St. (Rte. 9 east), 781-237 1437
277 Linden St., 781-235-1237
SPONSORED CONTENT: Feast & Fettle, meal delivery service
No hassle, healthy food. Contactless delivery.
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.
180 Worcester St. (Rte. 9), 781-235-0238
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.
Most recent visit (Sept.2021): We tried out the summery peach gazpacho made with mint labneh (a yogurt cheese). Nice, chunky, and fresh-tasting.
Things we’ve tried during other visits: The charred octopus, which is now more readily available after some supply issues during mid-COVID. When Mr. Swellesley went with a group of 7 other guys, the attentive server warned that it isn’t the best sharing item for such strapping lads. They ordered the pork belly rangoon (sweet, flavorful), smokey seafood fritters (crisp, just the right softness inside), and brussels sprouts (which his vegan friend ordered and loved). Mr. S went with the special, a serving of 5 hefty scallops served on black rice (he doesn’t get out much and had never had black rice, but says it was not to be feared), and plentiful broccolini cooked just right. Adobo fried chicken was a favorite of all, with its hearty portions. They sampled several beers, including Revolution Anti-Hero IPA (so suitable for our crew).
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. On a Tuesday night in spring there was no problem getting seating at this no-reservations spot.
Note: 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 Sweet Basil 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.
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.
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—closed for now due to COVID-19
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.
Breakfast, lunch & dinner, plus catering. Cash/checks, ATM inside.
263 Washington St., 781-235-9494
Hand-thrown Neopolitan-style pizza; 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.
180 Linden St., 781-235-1140
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., 781-772-1473
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
312 Washington St., 781-235-1666
Fine Indian cuisine.
583 Washington St., 781-992-5150
See our post, Nice to meat you, Smith & Wollensky.
68A Central St., 781-235-2390—The Wellesley Square location has been closed since late November 2021. due to a staffing shortage, according to a sign on the door. The once-popular spot will hopefully open in early 2022. More here.
190 Linden St., 781-237-5282—The Linden Square location is open for business.
Our last visit: Their strawberry acai lemonade was our official refreshing drink of summer 2021.
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.
January, 2022. The popular salad spot has resolved its late-2021 staffing issues and is open for all the things—you can order and eat in-store if you please, or order online for easy pickup at their organized shelf devoted to the grab-and-go crowd. We stopped in for a warm bowl of Chicken Pesto Parm, made up primarily of warm quinoa, baby spinach, and roasted chicken, tossed with a pesto vinaigrette and a dash of hot sauce. Spinach can be hard to get 100% right, but every leaf in our bowl was fresh, not a hint of slime to be found. When we asked for “lightly dressed” we got “lightly dressed,” put together by an organized and friendly staff. At a corner table, three high school girls chatted away, clearly enjoying each other’s company and a bit of freedom. Well-dressed customers (hello, Louis Vuitton high-heeled boots) waited in line for their healthy-living lunches and dashed out the door, on to the next part of their busy day. On the cold, raw day we stopped in, the red cafe chairs in the Linden Square Courtyard served as but a reminder that warmer days are coming.
151 Linden St. 781-235-9888
Italian specialties, including lunch and breakfast offerings.
Wellesley’s Tutto Italiano owner goes Hollywood — sort of
Serving ice cream and yogurt, including soft serve, since 1992.
Wellesley Bakery & Cafe
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—the campus is closed to visitors for now due to COVID-19
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)
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.
165 Linden St., 781-391-6500
Wellesley Tavern opened in March 2021, bringing a family-friendly vibe to the Linden Square dining scene. Executive Chef Andrew Swanson has put together creative pub fare that includes short rib tacos; avocado deviled eggs; sushi; pomegranate brussels sprout salad; quinoa tavern bowl; Nashville fried chicken sandwich, falafel; burgers; steak tips; shrimp scampi risotto; and more.
During our most recent visit one of our companions tried out the “Dangerous Man” cocktail, one of just a few items that made the jump to The Wellesley Tavern menu from the spot’s Door No. 7 days. Made with bourbon, rye, amaro kummel mist, smoked glass, and cherry rock, it got high marks for sophistication and its subtle meld of flavors.
The buttermilk fried chicken is reliably crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside, and served with havarti mac and cheese and coleslaw.
The only criticism was for the shaved brussels sprouts that were part of the shrimp scampi risotto. The sprouts were served all but raw. Cruciferous vegetables need more than just a brief stir around the frying pan or they’re just inedible, and rough on the stomach, to boot. The risotto was done just right, however, and nicely brightened up with the addition of lemon and sun-dried tomato butter as a counterpoint to the richness of the parmesan.
Breakfast and lunch, with salads, subs, etc. Motto is: A place where you can meet anybody.
442 Washington St., 781-235-7262
The 26,000 square foot grocery store is big with those looking for natural and organic foods. As of July 2021, The salad bar and some hot and cold prepared foods bar items are available after a long hiatus during COVID. The hot drinks area remains closed for now. You can get sandwiches and pizza, and for dessert, gelato or kefir. Seating is available near the check-out area at the front of the store. There is also outdoor seating in the summer.
We look forward to the days when we can once again stop in for breakfast for a container of piping-hot steel-cut oatmeal or a breakfast sandwich, wrapped and ready to go.
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.