Settled in 1634, Waltham, Massachusetts is steeped in history and offers visitors a whole host of museums, galleries, open spaces and excellent dining choices. With a culinary scene brimming with international flavors, diners here are spoiled for choice. From seafood to meat to vegan delights, there is something delicious for everyone. We check out the best places to eat in Waltham.
Founded in 1979, Domenic’s Italian Bakery and Deli is a beloved, take-out establishment specializing in an array of savory and sweet delights. While the deli offers an array of pasta, salads, soups and appetizers, they really shine when it comes to their selection of panini’s — both cold and hot varieties — on house-made ciabatta bread. Must-try sandwiches include the verde with mixed greens in balsamic vinaigrette, house-dried tomatoes and Gorgonzola; the sopressa with rustic Italian salami, provolone, house cherry peppers and arugula; and the meatball with house-made square meatballs and provolone. As for sweet treats, there’s a variety of cookies to perfectly round off the meal.
The Gaff is a friendly, cozy pub located on the historic Moody Street. Named after the slang word for home — often heard in Dublin — the pub is a great spot to sample national and international beers, handcrafted cocktails plus tasty pub food all the while relaxing and having fun with friends. Highlights from the menu include Reuben fritters, which are handmade corned beef, Reuben-style, deep-fried fritters served with 1000 island dressing, and the Irish BLT comprised of Irish bacon, greens, tomatoes plus Colman’s mustard aioli on toasted multigrain bread served with fries. A lively joint, events often take place at the pub, including open mic and trivia nights.
Originally founded in Belmont, Gustazo Cuban Cafe moved location to Waltham. Featuring authentic Cuban cuisine, the cafe is a vibrant place, complete with a colorful interior collage of movie posters created by artists from the Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematografica, where guests can relax while feasting upon a delightful array of dishes. The menu highlights include small and large plates with the puerco asado or slow roasted pork with caramelized onions, rice, black beans and maduros. Sweet treats, such as flan and churros with chocolate sauce, are also available.
In a Pickle is a friendly eatery serving American breakfast and lunch. Voted as having the best breakfast and lunch in the area year after year, this popular restaurant presents guests with a modern, casual space with plenty of seating. There’s a combination of comfy booths and table and chairs, where you can sample a host of sweet and savory items. Favored entrées include the caramel crunch French toast with a crunchy sweet topping and whipped cream; the veggie omelet stuffed with various vegetables and American cheese; and the mozzarella, pesto and pepornata panini. They also feature a weekly special menu.
Karibu offers locals a ‘taste of Africa’ with an emphasis on authentic Ugandan cuisine. A menu full of unique dishes keeps guests returning again and again to this warm and inviting eatery. Procuring the freshest ingredients available, the culinary team creates many meat and vegetarian-friendly entrées ensuring something to suit many tastes. Highlights from the menu include the mbuzi or goat stew in a house sauce; and spicy, deep-fried potato balls served with coconut-mango chutney or tomato chutney. Desserts are available as well, including tambi or fried vermicelli noodles with cadamon and sugar.
La Campania is a lovely, intimate restaurant featuring Italian cuisine with a focus on Neapolitan cooking. Using both a wood burning brick oven and wood burning grill gives a unique flavor to the restaurant’s delicious recipes, many of which have been handed down from generation to generation. Seeking out the freshest ingredients, including seasonal products, the kitchen creates flavorful highlights such as flatbread pizza topped with figs, duck confit, fontina, gorgonzola plus aged balsamic and the grilled veal chop served with roasted Yukon potatoes, sautéed spinach and gorgonzola crema. To complement the meals, an award-winning wine list is available.
Masao’s Kitchen is a 100% vegan and macrobiotic eatery tucked inside a small space. Staying away from animal products, this buffet-style establishment also bans refined sugar, MSG and preservatives from its cuisine. Keeping things as healthy as possible, only the freshest ingredients are procured. The buffet features a host of flavorful choices, including organic brown rice, cooked veggies, organic steamed greens and sea vegetables plus a bean dish and a tofu, tempeh or seitan dish. In addition to the buffet, soups, sandwiches — try the popular BBQ Tofu on ciabatta.
Solea Restaurant and Tapas Bar is a vibrant eatery featuring Spanish-inspired small plates and paella. You’ll find an elegant, warm interior adorned with rich colors and mosaics, and a menu brimming with delightful flavors with options to suit meat lovers and vegetarians. Notable plates include broccoli and cauliflower fritters; baked goat’s cheese in a tomato-basil sauce; roasted duck with berry sauce; and baby lamb chops with an apricot glaze to name but a few. A wonderful selection of international wines, including those from Spain, Portugal, South America and Latin America, handcrafted cocktails, and beers are also offered.
TEMPO is a modern venue serving tasty New American food. Recently renovated, the beautiful, stylish interior features an elongated bar, rich colors and comfortable seating. The culinary team sources the freshest, seasonal ingredients daily from the fish pier and other local purveyors whenever possible. Tasty highlights include the polenta ‘Rockefeller,’ which is crispy polenta with Boursin creamed spinach, wild mushrooms and roasted tomatoes; and the pan-seared New Bedford sea scallops with turnip purée, shaved Brussels sprouts, house bacon and apple cider beurre blanc. Seasonal cocktails, beers and national and international wines are available as well.
Serving classic American dishes since 1949, Wilson’s Diner is an old-school diner that’s housed in a Worcester Lunch Car Company creation. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, this venue features a small dining area with stools and wooden booths. The menu offers guests a selection of sweet and savory items, including blueberry or chocolate chip pancakes; broccoli benedict and the house special omelette with sausage, ham, onions, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese served with home fries and toast.