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The Gelato Cafe, Wellesley and Center Cafe, Needham

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I have not had much Gelato in the US but what I have had has been just so-so, not as creamy as that in Italy. That said, I have had the Hazelnut Gelato twice at the Gelato Cafe in Wellesley and It is absolutely creamy and delicious, the best I have had other than in Florence. Not sure how long they have been open but they do not seem to be too busy. It would be a real pity if a product this good went undiscovered. Also, I have reported before on the Center Cafe in the old Fava Restaurant in Needham but this place (and the owner and staff) just seem to "get it" when it comes to price (very reasonable), service (excellent) and freshness/quality. This is not fine dining but it is casual, excellent food. I have had the fish and chips several times, extremely fresh and lightly fried with homemade tarter sauce. Tried the Lamb Lollipop appetizer for the 1st time, 3 baby lamb chops perfectly cooked to medium rare served with tossed greens and a nice mint aioli for $12. The owner is busy clearing tables, seating and greeting customers, making sure everyone is happy and basically doing it all. His daughter in law does a tremendous job as the head chef. There may be other family members involved but I am not sure. In any event, they deserve to be supported (and they seem to be getting plenty of that).

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Fava Restaurant
1027 Great Plain Ave., Needham, MA 02492

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  1. Interesting. We tried Center Cafe recently and were not at all impressed. I had the very boring hamburger, overcooked. Had the clams casino as app- very tiny clams with a miniscule piece of bacon sitting on top.DC had salmon, which he liked. I think the service is ok but the owner's constant presence ("how is everything"?) was annoying. Creme brulee was ok- nothing special. The menu is quite short and more than 1/2 the entrees with sides had spinach as the veggie. I might try it one more time but was disappointed.

    1 Reply
    1. re: emilief

      I'd give it another shot. We've eaten here a few times since it's been open and thought it's been pretty good. No one should go here expecting to be blown away by the food (although the seasonal desserts I've tried have been quite good). The price point and service makes it a great addition to the town. I actually feel good giving them my money.

    2. Hot damn - I have to try that Gelato Cafe. The gelato places that preceded Lizzy's in Needham were really disappointing. It was served rock hard, and had an unpleasant crystalline texture, nothing like the stuff I got in Italy, which was glistening and puddingy (the closest thing I've had in the U.S. was Herrell's chocolate pudding ice cream).

      I really liked the honey soy wings at Center Cafe - they were small, and the portion wasn't huge, but they were crispy, and had great flavor.