Nostalgic Waltham restaurant reviews

This page contains reviews of restaurants that are now closed. Thanks to everyone who has written with their opinions and updates.

Waltham Restaurants home

Key to price codes
Price codes are based on price of a typical entree:

  $ Less than 7.50
 $$ 7.50 - 15.00
$$$ More than 15.00

Key to review colors

green dot Positive review (green light)
yellow dot Mixed review (yellow light)
red dot Negative review (red light)

  • $ Buckaroo's - 223 High Street - 781-899-4505

    • green dot 2005 10 30 review by A F

      Looks like they transplanted this roadhouse straight from Austin. A wagon wheel out front, and cozy wooden booths inside. There's smoky ribs, messy pulled pork sandwiches, burgers, and student-friendly prices. Plenty of veggie and fish selections, too. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and after. Very good for kids. I liked the atmosphere, but the food was good, especially for the price.

  • Casa Mia $$$ - 229 Newton Street - 781-891-0100

    • green dot 2002 03 29 - Some distance from the Moody Street restaurant area, and nearby parking is scarce. Open since the summer of 2001, tasteful but not ostentatious, with an upscale feel. 3 separate levels of dining rooms for a quiet dining experience. Antipasti $5 - $10, Insulate $7, Pasta entrees $10-18, Other entrees, Carne e Pasce, $14 to veal for $28. Bruschetta, $5, simple and good. Caesar Salad ($7) with a creamy dressing and a single anchovie atop. House Chardonnay, $5. Special of the night swordfish $22 with a chopped tomato sauce similar to that on the bruschetta. Veal Parmigiana, $15.

    • yellow dot 2004 03 20 - A recent visit to Casa Mia was disappointing. The rooms were more crowded than expected, service was spotty, and meal quality was not what we anticipated. The wait of about 20 minutes was reasonable, considering that we visited on a Saturday night without a reservation. We were seated at a table in the upper room. All wines by the glass are now $6, and we ordered the Pino Grigio and a Chianti, both of which were reasonable. A caesar salad was crisp, with a nice dressing, but it would have been better if we didn't have to flag down our waitress to get some fresh pepper for it. A chicken breast with pasta was well-cooked, but could have had a bit more spice. A rack of New Zealand lamb with mashed potato and green beans ($24) was cooked as ordered, but the chops were fatty. The once airy rooms now seem a bit claustrophobic; the wait staff actually had to take circuitous routes to reach some of the tables. The service was friendly, but our waitress did not get to our table very often. A long delay in receiving ordered entrees was attributed to a new chef. All in all, we felt that the quality of our dining experience did not equal the $60 before tip tab. We'd be happy if the crowding were reduced, and we hope the new chef gets up to speed.

  • Ciro's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria $$ - 207 Moody Street - 781-647-0555

    Reviews

    • green dot 1999 07 03 - Ciro's is a large restaurant on the first floor of the Cronin's Landing building on Moody Street. The decor is black and white with red trim on the chairs and lights. Jennifer started with the Salad Insulata de Ciro ($2.50), which she generally enjoyed, but could have done with a little less of the mushrooms, and more lettuce. I had a glass of the house wine, a nice Trebbiano d'a Bruzzo ($3.50). For dinner Jennifer had the grilled chicken with white wine sauce and lemon, with mushrooms, scallions, tomatoes, and peppers over fetuccini ($11.95). This proved to be delicious. I had salmon with pesto and plum tomatoes over linguini ($13.95). The salmon was cooked just right, and the sauce was good, but I could have stood a little less pesto. I'd recommend this, however. We've heard reports of sporadic service at Ciro's, but we've been seated promptly on several visits, and the staff has been attentive. This summer the outside patio opened, where you can dine overlooking the Charles River.

    • yellow dot 2002 09 13 comment by Christy Santos - I'd like to make a brief remark about Ciro's. I have been to the location in Waltham as well as the one in Maynard. While their food is tasty, they are not very sanitary. In Maynard, my Mother had a fly in her drink. In Waltham, I had chipped pieces of glass in my drink. I have been turned off of them every since. Just thought it might be useful information.

  • $ The Coffee Ring - 655 Main Street - 781-891-1212
    • 2003 04 12

      Except for the decoupaged tables, the decor of this new breakfast and lunch venue is much the same as when it was "Sam's Deli". It is open 7 days a week, and the menu features breakfasts from $2.50 to $6.95 and lunches from $2.50 to $7.95. One of us had the stack of pancakes, home fries, and bacon, and the other a western omelette with home fries and toast. The pancakes and home fries were rated good, but the bacon could have been better. The omelette was just right, but the toast was overdone. This is a new place, and we suspect the meals will become more consistent in time. The coffee was very good, and refilled frequently. Service was very attentive, but there were only a few diners present.

  • Franca's $$ - 16 Felton Street - 781-899-7200

    • 2002 04 14 - Review by Allan Telio

      green dot Pizza. What do you think of when you hear that word? Do you think gourmet treat or greasy, cheap, fast-food ? Unfortunately, most of us probably think the latter. There is one place, however, that takes the time to remind us, that when done correctly, pizza is one of the greatest foods ever. The place is Franca's.

      Located off of Moody Street in Waltham, next to the Charles River, is the small brick oven pizzeria known as Franca's. I first went there three years ago on my brother's recommendation. It was love at first bite. The pizza was greaseless, crispy and covered in a rich tomato sauce and stringy mozzarella. It was perfection. Mysteriously, however, about a year ago, Franca's closed down. It seemed as if my dream pizza shop was out of business. How could of this happened? I blamed myself. I should have eaten there at least 3 times a week. It was all my fault. "Please don't leave me Franca! Come back," I thought to myself. Alas, it seemed as if Franca's was out of my life forever.

      However, a few months ago, I heard that Franca's was open again, but this time under different ownership. "Is it really true? Is Franca's back?", and more importantly I pondered, "Would it be the same as before?" I rounded up five of my friends to investigate if the rumors were really true.

      We drove up to the restaurant at eight o'clock on a Friday evening and were greeted by a large glowing red F at the top of the brick building. (Apparently, the "anca's" section of the Franca's sign had burnt out.) As I entered the room, I was greeted by the familiar brick walls, faux Italian frescos, orange benches, and the smell of pizza coming from the wood heated brick oven. So far, things seemed to be as I remember them.

      The new owner, David Rosenberg, seated us at our table. He recommended that we start with the Hot Antipasto ($6.95) and claimed, "If you don't like it, I will pay for it. It is that good." He was right. The Hot Antipasto is a salad served with sautéed mushrooms, pepper, onions, pepperoni, eggplant, prosciutto and more. The fried eggplant was thinly sliced, breaded, and lightly fried. It was perfectly crispy and grease free. The entire antipasto was sucked down by our group in seconds flat.

      We were here, however, for pizza, not appetizers. I crossed my fingers and ordered my old favorite, a large pizza with fried eggplant ($11.00). My friends looked disgusted at the thought of eggplant on top of pizza. I will say to you what I said to them, "Trust me. It is the best thing you will ever have." They agreed with me after their first bite. Just as I had remembered, the pizza was crispy and greaseless. The eggplant was perfectly seasoned with breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning. This is what pizza should always taste like.

      We ordered three other pizzas during the evening, a large mushroom ($11.00), a medium pineapple ($8.00), and a large eggplant and roasted red pepper ($12.00). Each pizza was as perfect as the one before. It is food like this that makes me wish I had four stomachs like a cow, allowing me to eat forever.

      Franca's is back in my life and should become part of yours too. Next time you drive down Moody Street and see the giant red F in the sky, pull over and order a pizza. After your first bite you will remember that pizza is not supposed to be fast and greasy, but instead a gourmet treat.

    • A 2002 05 05 rebuttal by Lois Berkowitz

      red dot I, too, thought Franco's before it was sold had great pizza. However, we went there about a month after it reopened and the pizza was terrible. The pizza maker didn't seem to have a clue about what he was doing, and the pizza suffered for his lack of training. I haven't been back since. So, my question is, have they really gotten back to their former level of quality and taste, or was the reviewer so enamoured of his fried eggplant that he wasn't paying attention to the wood-fired crust?

    • 2002 09 13

      green dot Early on a Friday night, mostly families are seated in the booths in the wood smoke scented interior of Franca's. The giant wood fired brick oven dominates the center of the restaurant, which is split into a front room with a door on Charles Street, and a back room facing the commuter rail stop. Once we were seated in a small booth with a view of the trains, we ordered a glass of Blackstone Merlot for 4.50, and a refillable soda for 1.50. Several selections of wine are available by the glass to 6.50, and bottles range from 14 to 24. A variety of beers were available by the glass for 2.50 - 3.50, pitchers 7.50 & 10.50. A garden salad is included with most entrees, but a range of salads are available a la carte for 3.75 to 10.95 for shrimp caesar. Medium and large pizzas are from 8.50 to 13.50. Jennifer ordered the Chicken Broccoli, sauteed in white wine & garlic, with ziti and salad, 11.95. I tried the Veal Parmigean, ziti and salad, 12.95. The salads arrived first, and were crisp mixed greens with onion & tomato, available with the house dressing, a creamy italian. A loaf of warm, tasty bread arrived as we were finishing the salads. Both entrees were well prepared, and were of sufficient proportions that we had extra to take home. Desserts, choice of 3 (4.95). The service was well-intentioned but chaotic, possibly due to a positive review in a Boston newspaper earlier in the week, and a larger than usual crowd.

    • 2003 06 30 - Review by Joyce

      green dot This restaurant is a wonderful find! Owner David Rosenberg is welcoming and helpful. The menu runs the gamut from pizza to terrific pasta dishes (shrimp scampi and spaghetti carbonara are among our favorites) at very reasonable prices. Wine and beer are available. Relaxed atmosphere great for families, couples, large parties, just about anyone.

    • 2004 12 02 - Review by KC

      red dot We used to get pizzas from Franca's all the time and loved them. Then I think they closed briefly and we tried it once after they reopened but were disappointed. It's been a few years since then and we had a longing for a brick oven pizza so we ordered up one. Sorry to say though the pizza crust was good the toppings were sparse. Hardly any sauce even! One piece was completely bare ( no sauce, nada ) except for a slice of sausage on the end. Hopefully it's just an off night but we might not bother with another try.

    • 2005 01 10 - Review by Daniel Greener

      green dot Franca's Pizza makes great pizza...not too thick, not too thin, not too much cheese, not too greasy, and with just the right amount of sauce. I have also ordered their garlic bread and found that to be equally tasty. In my honest opinion, this may be the best pizza I've had since I last had real NYC pizza in Brooklyn. However, on two occasions that I have ordered from them, their drivers did not have enough change. I strongly recommend either having the exact change on hand, picking up your order yourself, or just avoiding this place all together if you want to save yourself from being scammed.

  • $$ Jewel Of India - 380 Moody Street - 781-893-9500
    Reviews
    • 2003 08 03 by Nicole - You should try Jewel of India , Indian restaurant. I like their service a lot and their luncheon buffet is really good.
  • Mediterranean Breeze [Greek] $$ - 139 Prospect Street - 781-736-7887

    • red dot 2003 12 11 - Our first visit to Mediterranean Breeze, shortly after opening at the site of several former restaurants, was for breakfast. We were pleasantly surprised by the relaxed, comfortable atmosphere of the 2 rooms that make up the place. The radio was up a little high and tuned to a station with a somewhat abrasive repertoire, but the service was prompt and attentive. Eggs and sausage were nicely done, but the western omelet was relatively bland. We were eager to return for dinner to try the Mediterranean specialties. The service was as before, but we were disappointed by both of our meals. Jennifer had the $8.50 Pastichio, baked casserole with layers of pasta, ground beef, grated cheese, seasonings and a white Bechamel sauce. Unfortunately, the ground beef was thinly apportioned, and seasonings were barely detectable. A rather bland choice. Instead of the Mediterranean Broiled Haddock Dinner, $10.25, which I ordered, I received the Fried Haddock Plate, $8.99. The breaded pieces of haddock were tough and not particularly flavorful, and the generous portion of fries they were served over were greasy. With the tartar sauce that accompanied this, it was a mediocre fish and chips. On the plus side, the salad that came with the Plate was fresh and crisp, though the Greek dressing was not particularly zesty. I'd like to see this restaurant succeed, but in this difficult location with limited parking and several other nearby eateries, it will be tough unless the quality improves dramatically. They need to spice up the entrees, and be more generous with the other essential ingredients.

  • Michaels Italian Grille $$ - Best Western TLC, 477 Totten Pond Road - 781-890-7800

    • yellow dot 1999 09 17 - Michael's Italian Grille is downstairs at the Best Western TLC. The medium size dining room and bar feature a ceramic tile floor, booths and tables with red leather seating, and artwork depicting the old country. The atmosphere would be improved with windows in the restaurant. The menu includes 7 seafood entrees, several beef and chicken, and pork, in the $10 to $15 range. A caesar salad is $2.95. The complementary bread and roll were both tasty and warm. Jennifer had the Pollo Con Broccoli Pasta E Pomodoro ($12.95), served with a choice of pasta, chicken with fresh broccoli, herb dried tomatoes and marsala wine, garnished with fresh rosemary. My Salmone Grigilia ($14.95) was a salmon fillet with olive oil, a balsamic viniger lemon reduction, and herb garnish. The fish was cooked properly, but I thought the sauce could have been more subtly flavored. It was a little much. The servers were attentive, but had some problems with explaining the menu and understanding our orders. All in all, I thought the food was good, but not exceptional. On the other hand, the prices are reasonable, and I'm sure there are better choices on the menu.

  • C. P. Nutting's $$$ - 16 Cooper Street - 781-893-5900
    • green dot 2000 01 05

      Joe Malone and his partners recently opened an upscale steak house on the site of a former Italian restaurant. Portions of the new restaurant are still under construction, but the bar and a small dining room, separated by glass windows, was open when we visited. The atmosphere is relaxing, with a muted cream, grey and brown theme. On the brick walls are historic photographs of Waltham, and tiffany lamps light each table. Entrees include a number of steak options, at 29.95, the special steak tips, grilled over oak with garlic rosemary au jus and steak fries, 14.95, and atlantic salmon Filet, available grilled or roasted, for 18.95. Most entrees do not include potato or vegetable, which are 4.50 each. Appetizers range from 6.95 to 8.95 and salads list for 6.75 and 6.95. The waiter served a bowl of warm bread and rolls, and Jennifer had the winter lettuce salad, with radishes, roasted pistachos & bleu cheese, which was delicious. The steak tips arrived cooked as ordered. The salmon was a respectable chunk, nicely cooked. The side order of garlic spinach was a good, not-overcooked, plate full. The mountain of steak fries were crispy, cooked with their skins. Piano instrumentals were played on the grand piano at the end of the room from 6:30 on. The service was plentiful, and mostly efficient. All in all, this was a pricy dining experience, but on the other hand, every thing we ordered was perfectly prepared, and delicious.

  • Papa George's Pizza $ - 897 Main Street - 781-788-8787

    • yellow dot 2004 02 18 - Papa George's Pizza opened early in 2004 at a storefront vacated by Mama Josie's more than a year before. Like the establishments that came before, Papa George's is a large restaurant geared to a takeout and casual dining audience. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We arrived for dinner early on a Wednesday night, and were the only ones seated, but there was a steady stream of people coming in for takeout. We sampled a variety of items, including a gyro chicken sandwhich (6.00), small onion rings (2.50), garden salad (4.25), large grilled garlic chicken pizza (13.75) and diet cola (1.43). Also on the menu are breakfast specials from 4.76 to 5.95, sandwhiches from 4.25 to 6.75, salads from 4.25 to 6.75, dinners at 7.25 and 7.50, seafood plates from 8.99 to 14.25, and pasta dishes from 6.25 to 9.75. None of the choices we had were bad, but none were outstanding either. The onion rings apparently had been the frozen variety, served with catsup packets. The garden salad was large and crisp, but was served with a packet of Italian dressing. The grilled garlic chicken pizza was surprisingly bland. In fact, all of the items were on the bland side. The price was right, but I was hoping for a little more of a home style sit down meal. I'm sure there are specialties of the house, but we were not fortunate enough to have ordered any of them. The service in the large section of tables was good, but we hope the quality of the cuisine improves.

  • Ritcey's Sea Food Kitchen $$ - 560 Moody Street - 781-893-9342

    • green dot 2001 02 26 Review by MoonieTwin@aol.com

      Ritcey's on Moody Street - Their clams are always tastey with no extra grease and are always nice crispy. The broiled scallops are tender and sweet. I have lived in the area for over 50 years and have not had any better. My sister lives in NJ and when she comes up here the first place she wants to go is there.

  • Victoria's Cafe Restaurant $$ [American & Peruvian] - 241 Crescent Street - 781-647-8880 (open for breakfast & lunch)

    • green dot 2004 02 29 review by Eric Salerno

      Run by friendly staff, this small cafe with very reasonable prices is attached to the Waltham Watch Factory building. The menu includes an excellent variety of breakfast and brunch specialties. Their eggs benedict is done very well, and omelets and egg sandwiches are prepared with care. In the summer time a choice between flavored and regular iced coffees is especially nice. The interior isn't huge, but most tables are near a window. In the summer time, there is seating outside. So take a walk on the bicycle path that connects Moody and Prospect Streets (at the bridge over the Charles) and visit Victoria's for a relaxed weekend breakfast off the main restaurant rows of Waltham!

    • green dot 2004 03 07 review by Dave Ventura

      Victoria's is a cozy, clean, and brightly colored (red and white) cafe that is serviced by the most polite staff and able cook. Besides offering the usual breakfast fare common at any breakfast restaurant you are offered some interesting choices. For instance, you have 3 choices of French toast, Texas, California, and Crunchy. My wife had the crunchy which consists of wheat bread crusted with corn flakes with very fresh and large strawberries and bananas. I got to try some and it was very good. I had the everything omelet with tomatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms, bacon, ham and cheese. It was large, moist, flavorful with very fresh ingredients and definitely not greasy. The home fries were mixed with sauteed onions and peppers to give them a little flavor. The coffee was excellent. My wife had the decaf which had a slightly nutty taste that I too got to sample and enjoyed. I had the regular coffee which was very rich tasting. For a small operation only serving breakfast and lunch they had a very large menu selection. We are looking forward to going back!

  • $ Watch City Diner - 136 Prospect Street - 781-647-2282
    • 2002 01 11 - Review by Eric Salerno

      When I am pressed for time, and want to stop in some place for quick, high quality Italian food, I stop here. The first time I ate here (Fall 2000), the sauce smelled like my Grandmothers (really- and she's Italian!). Since then, things have changed a little, but I still frequent the place since they really care about the food they prepare, and put the time into their sauce. I enjoy their Veal Parmesan, and their perfectly cooked Ravioli. (usually on special for about $9). They also serve these bread triangles that I can't get enough of - I am sure you will see what I mean if you visit. They are also an excellent choice for a late morning breakfast on the weekend.

    • 2001 09 04 - Review by Rita Long

      I actually don't think of Watch City Diner as a diner, but as a take-out/delivery Italian restaurant. The food is great, I usually get two meals out of every entree, it comes fast (even though I don't live near the diner), and it comes hot. A great choice for family or casual company at home.

  • Wright Seafood & Italian Restaurant [American Seafood, Italian] $$ - 699 Main Street - 781-899-7292 fax 781-899-7294

    • green dot 2004 03 26 review by the editors

      In the beginning of 2004, both of Waltham's long lived seafood restaurants were closed. Just in time for Lent, Wright Seafood & Italian Restaurant opened at the site of the former Waltham Seafood on March 19, 2004. The decor is much the same inside and out as it had been; it has a cozy kitchen atmosphere. On a Friday night there was a line to the doors by 5:45, but we were seated at one of the booths in the modestly sized dining room within 20 minutes. The largest part of the menu is the fish and shellfish: fried, baked, broiled, grilled or blackened, from $8.95 for Fish & Chips (regular or spicy) to $16.95 for the Fisherman's Platter. Twin market price lobsters were available for $29.95 on the day we visited. I ordered the Chef's Choice Assorted Platter broiled for $15.95. An assortment of Italian Specialties includes pasta, veal & chicken dinners. They prices range from $7.95 for Pasta with sauce to $18.95 for Shrimp & Lobster Fra Diablo. Jennifer ordered the Chicken Kabob for $10.95. Water and diet cola were delivered along with 4 warmed rolls with butter. A cup of clam chowder ($3.25) was creamy, with clams and small chunks of potato. The fish platter came with a baked potato and crisp, cold cole slaw. The 3 large shrimp and 4 scallops were very good. A good sized piece of salmon and a fillet of fish were also nicely prepared. It was more than I could eat on the spot. The kebab was served over a bed of rice pilaf and mixed vegetables. One also had the choice of potato, french fries and cole slaw. The chicken was very good, except for the stray bit of swordfish mixed in. There was an even longer line at the door by the time we headed home. Wright's is a good choice for good seafood on a budget.

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Created: March 2004. Updated: 12 March 2013 ...always under construction!