Wagamama’s hip atmosphere makes it college haven
Restaurant Review | 3.5 out of 5 stars
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012 02:09
Nestled snugly in the heart of Harvard Square, Wagamama, an Asian fusion restaurant, pleases everyone with its food and top−notch customer service. A short T ride away from the Tufts campus, Wagamama is an ideal location for a date or a night out.
Even the name ‘Wagamama,’ — which roughly translates from Japanese to “self−indulgence” — suggests the restaurant’s tasty appeal.
Wagamama is an international chain restaurant with more than 90 locations, but it still has the warm, friendly atmosphere that draws plenty of hungry customers. From its enthusiastic service to its ever−evolving array of seasonal menu items, it feels like the restaurant was created for the throngs of college students that flock through its doors every night.
Unsurprisingly, noodle and ramen plates are Wagamama’s strongest and most appealing dishes. The restaurant is, after all, a self−proclaimed “noodle bar,” and it shames the typical pre−packaged ramen dishes so fundamental to college cuisine. A couple of highlights on Wagamama’s menu are the chicken ramen and the ginger udon. Both dishes are wonderfully fresh and meticulously seasoned. Wagamama’s seaweed salad, with its tangy dressing and toasted sesame seeds, is also a reliable menu item. It is perfect as either an appetizer or a side dish.
Wagamama can seem somewhat pricey, though an appetizer, entree and drink combination can cost upwards of 20 dollars. The restaurant’s entrees are generally priced between 11 and 15 dollars. For some, this is unreasonable for a chain restaurant. The portions are above average, which improves the situation somewhat, but not all college students feel they are adequately compensated.
“The food is fine, but for the price you’re paying you expect better quality, and maybe even a bit more on your plate,” said Thomas Claiborne, a junior.
One tip to cut back on price is to stick with green tea instead of ordering soda or another beverage from the menu. Tea is complimentary with all of Wagamama’s meals and is always hot and fresh.
Food aside, one of Wagamama’s greatest strengths is its exceptional customer service. Each of the restaurant’s waiters and waitresses goes to great lengths to ensure that all customers are welcomed with a smile and then made to feel at home. The servers are diligent and quick on their feet, and the wait time for food is never very long. Instead of feeling like a stuffy or formal sit−down restaurant, Wagamama always pulses with energy.
Wagamama also does a good job accommodating customers with dietary restrictions and food allergies. Before taking any orders, the servers ask customers if they have any unique dietary concerns. If they do, the servers make sure the chef avoids all contact with potentially dangerous ingredients.
Tufts senior Miriam Ross−Hirsch, who has a gluten allergy, fondly recalled Wagamama’s accommodating service.
“They’ve always been very helpful and friendly about my being gluten−free,” she said. “They are great with food allergies like mine, and have always accommodated me and my friends.”
Wagamama’s cuisine may only be somewhat authentically Asian, but this does little to diminish its appeal. The restaurant’s sleek, modern interior and speedy service attract those looking for a snack or a casual meal with friends. It’s hip, it won’t break the bank and it will satisfy your craving for Asian cuisine without requiring a long journey into the heart of Boston. What its entrees lack in bang for their buck, the staff makes up for tenfold with their enthusiasm and personalized customer care. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and try it for yourself. Indulge, at least a little bit.