Massachusetts is known for being one of the six New England states and one of the original 13 colonies. Therefore, it has a long and rich history that attracts many tourists to the area.
Although it is not necessarily known for its food, this state is also a fantastic place to eat out, as there is everything from top-notch casual eateries to award-winning fine dining venues. There are also various options to suit different tastes, ranging from modern American to global cuisines. Here are the 20 best restaurants in all of Massachusetts.
20. Bocado, Wellesley and Worcester
Spanish food has distinctive flavors and characteristics, and it has inspired the cuisines of many other countries across the globe due to the extent to which the Spanish have contributed to world exploration. If you are a fan of these flavors, then one of the best places to eat in Massachusetts is at Boacado.
There are two restaurant locations, with plans to open a third restaurant. The first restaurant opened in a renovated factory space in the Canal District of Worcester. Following the success of the original restaurant, the second location in Wellesley followed in 2014.
The third restaurant is planned for Leominster, which is a central Massachusetts location. Several menus promote different styles of eating with different dining experiences. These include a tapas menu, a charcuterie menu, and a queso list.
19. O ya
Tim and Nancy Cushman opened o ya in 2007. It is a Japanese restaurant located in the Leather District of Boston. O ya is widely considered one of the top restaurants in both Boston and in New England. Furthermore, it has won multiple accolades since it first opened its doors.
There is a high-end menu of sushi, omakase, and other Japanese favorites, all of which are presented in a visually striking way. Although it is one of the most expensive restaurants in the city, it is worth it for a culinary treat.
18. Cedar Street Grille, Sturbridge
Cedar Street Grille in the village of Sturbridge has an interior that is refined yet warm and inviting. Dimmed wall sidelights, a real fireplace, and wooden flooring all add to the ambiance in this restaurant. Diners can sit at tables of various sizes, along with some cozy booths.
There are several sharing dishes on the menu, including fried goat's cheese, pork belly sliders, and mussels in a mustard sauce. An unusual yet delicious addition to the menu is the four varieties of mac and cheese. As this small restaurant is popular amongst the locals, booking a table in advance to ensure you can be seated is best.
17. Spoke Wine Bar, Boston
While some people love nothing more than a hearty, rustic meal, others prefer something lighter or to eat several small dishes to sample different flavors. If you fall into the latter category, then a fantastic place to eat is Spoke Wine Bar in Boston.
There is a focus on curating the best produce at this restaurant, and that is evident on both the menu and the wine list. The menu predominantly consists of New England small plates that are made using locally sourced ingredients, and the menu changes seasonally. Due to the small size of this eatery, it is best to make a reservation in advance to avoid disappointment.
16. Orta Trattoria and Lounge, Pembroke
From his grandfather, who ran Lombardo's in Boston, Chef-owner Brett Williams took his inspiration for the menu at Orta Trattoria and Lounge in Pembroke. The chef also took inspiration from his travels through Northern Italy.
Typical examples of dishes you can expect to find on the menu include braised short ribs with Parmesan cream and gnocchi and beef carpaccio with lemon aioli. Diners can accompany their meal with Italian wine from an extensive list.
15. The Inn on Shipyard Park, Mattapoisett
America's oldest seaside inn still in business is The Inn on Shipyard Park. It is located in Mattapoisett, which is a quaint and historic village. The waterfront position of the inn means that diners can enjoy ocean views as they dine.
As you would expect from a seaside venue, seafood features highly on the menu. However, there are also other options, including pizzas with various toppings. It is the perfect restaurant to visit after a day outdoors exploring the coast.
14. Nightshade Noodle Bar, Boston
There is a strong Chinese culture in Boston, and this is reflected in the number of Chinese restaurants in the area. However, there are many more varieties of Asian cuisine on offer in this diverse city for you to try. One option is Nightshade Noodle Bar, which serves Vietnamese-influenced dishes.
Chef-owner Rachel Miller runs the restaurant, and she originally started out her business as a pop-up. It became a restaurant in 2019 and has gone from strength to strength since. Although the restaurant specializes in noodle dishes, it is not just a basic noodle bar.
The hand-pulled noodles are served creatively, including inside sea urchins or soaked in a spiced broth. There are also multiple other options on the menu, such as foie gras with coconut rice, lobster laced with vanilla, and various seafood specialties.
13. Gibbet Hill Grill, Groton
Set against the rolling hillsides of Groton, Gibbet Hill Grill is part of the 300-acre Gibbet Hill Farm compound. Chef Tom Fosnot has a farm-to-table ethos, so the restaurant uses as much produce from the farm as possible to create seasonal dishes with a New England flavor, many of which are cooked on the grill.
Although the meals are rustic, thought is put into the presentation to make the dishes visually appealing. So that the restaurant can serve some of its most popular dishes throughout the year, they now use a root cellar and a winter greenhouse.
12. Azorean Restaurant & Bar, Gloucester
Azorean Restaurant & Bar's owner, Deo Braga, is an Azores native, and it is the place of his birth that has inspired the menu he has created. Portuguese flavors are incorporated into every dish, which includes soups, salads, steaks, paella, and various seafood dishes. One of the most popular options is the Cataplanas, which is a meal served in a special Portuguese ceramic pot.
11. Table, Boston
Although there are many Italian restaurants in Boston, Table offers an experience with a difference. Eating at this establishment is sociable, as diners sit at communal tables. The menu consists of home-style, Italian-American favorites, and there is a fixed-price menu option. Table's warm and friendly atmosphere means it is enjoyable to eat out with friends and family.
10. The Blue Ox, Lynn
Thrillist recommends booking a table at The Blue Ox in Lynn. Despite being an upscale option, it has a relaxed atmosphere and is unpretentious. Anthony Caturano has created a menu of American dishes with a modern twist. There are even gourmet burgers on the menu, and the restaurant won the Battle of the Burger award from Boston Magazine for three consecutive years between 2013 and 2015.
9. Sarma, Boston
There is something for everyone at Sarma, which is probably why it has become a hotspot in Boston. There are both Mediterranean and Middle Eastern options on the menu at this restaurant, and there are multiple small-bite options. Chef-owner Cassie Piuma offers a prix-fixe culinary experience, and a meze is also an option.
Sarma is one of the best options in the city for vegetarians, as there are some outstanding plant-based dishes on the menu. Some people visit this venue just to enjoy a cocktail, says Time Out, as some of the excellent arrays of cocktails includes aromatic drinks with ingredients such as fenugreek, orange blossom, and cardamom.
8. Skipper Chowder House, South Yarmouth
For seafood enthusiasts, one of the top places to eat in Massachusetts is the Skipper Chowder House. It is far from being a fine dining restaurant, as you can expect mouth-wateringly satisfying seafood at this casual joint. There is everything from lobster rolls to fresh cod fillet and from fish sandwiches with tartare sauce to calamari. It is not a fancy plate to visit, but the taste of the food is second-to-none.
7. Sorrelina, Boston
Italian cuisine is one of the most popular dining options in Boston, and Sorrelina is one of the city's top Italian venues. Chef Jamie Mammano runs the kitchen at this restaurant, and he has taken classic Italian dishes and given them a modern Mediterranean twist. It is one of Boston's most romantic dinner venues, so book a table here for date night or to celebrate a special occasion with your loved one.
6. Hope & Olive, Greenfield
Located in Greenfield, Hope & Olive is a small bistro that many visitors to the area miss as it is tucked away, but it is worth seeking out to try the delicious food. The bistro partners with local farms and producers to use the best quality ingredients available in the area.
They are also committed to delivering the best customer service. The menu at this small restaurant changes according to the seasons. Most diners accompany meals with a glass of wine, and the wines are served by the glass rather than by the bottle. You can visit this bistro at almost any time of the day, as it is open for brunch, lunch, dinner, and even late-night snacks.
5. Mamma Maria
One of the top Italian eateries to visit in Massachusetts is Mamma Maria. It is located on North Square, which is one of America's oldest public squares. The restaurant has been open since 1973, and it has established itself as one of Boston's top Italian venues. In addition to the traditional Italian dishes, such as osso buco, the restaurant has a reputation for its excellent steaks, which are cooked to perfection to the customer's liking.
4. Belfry Inn & Bistro, Sannwich
There is a clue to the Belfry Inn & Bistro's setting in its name, as it is set in a former church in Sandwich, Massachusetts. The Catholic church was built in 1901, and the exterior of the structure remains the same.
However, the interior of the restaurant shows no signs of its past. Chef Nicci Tripp is at the helm of this restaurant, and the menu of refined dishes Tripp has created offers something to suit all tastes. Each dish is immaculately presented.
3. Mill on the Floss, New Ashford
If you are visiting New Ashford in the Berkshires, one of the best places to dine is Mill on the Floss. It is a beautiful restaurant with a menu of French food and a reputation for outstanding service. The aim of the restaurant is to support local farmers, so the dishes are created using locally-sourced and seasonal produce. Diners can enjoy delicious food in an elegant setting that has a history dating back to pioneer days.
2. Mariel, Boston
Mariel is one of Massachusett's newest offerings, yet it has already made its name in Boston. It is a fine dining venue located in the city's Financial District overlooking Post Office Square. The menu consists of Cuban-inspired dishes that have been given a contemporary twist and are beautifully presented.
Inside the restaurant, the décor adds to the overall ambiance and dining experience. The dining room has 23-foot ceilings, elaborate features, and sparkly chandeliers, all of which make you feel like your meal is a special occasion.
1. Alvah Stone, Montague
According to Only In Your State, one of the best restaurants in all of Massachusetts is Alvah Stone in Montague. The restaurant is housed in a former book mill on the Sawmill River, which is one of Montague's most historic buildings, as it was constructed in 1834. Alvah Stone's menu consists of American fare, as there is a farm-to-table ethos. Due to the restaurant's commitment to using only the freshest local produce, the menu changes seasonally.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson