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The 16 best Massachusetts restaurants outside of Boston

Did you know there are restaurants outside Boston that are still pretty good? No, not in like, Hartford. What's wrong with you? While Boston may understandably dominate when it comes to Bay State best restaurant discussions, there are some other outposts around Massachusetts that are well worth your attention.

From historic seaside nooks to farmhouse bonanzas, here are some places that make it worth leaving The Hub.

Gibbet Hill Grill
Gibbet Hill Grill (address and info)
Groton
Nestled in the rolling hillsides of Groton, this bastion of farm-to-fork goodness from Chef Tom Fosnot is part of the 300-acre Gibbet Hill Farm compound.They source as much produce as possible (heirloom tomatoes, peppers, onions, greens, beets, etc.) from their own fields in order to forever alter your conception of freshness with creations like warm asparagus with poached egg, potato crisps, and (of course) house-cured ham, or a farro-stuffed pork loin with wild spinach and parsnip puree. A root cellar and Winter greenhouses expand their growing season to bring you year-round New England flavor.
Orta
Orta Restaurant (address and info)
Pembroke
Inspired by his grandfather (of Boston’s famed Lombardo’s) and extensive travels in Northern Italy, Chef/owner Brett Williams gives you the tastes of Piedmont without the pricey flight. Scarf your way through razor-thin beef carpaccio with lemon aioli, Madeira-kissed Drunken Mushroom pizza, and braised short ribs with gnocchi and Parmesan cream. Ratcheting up their Italian-ness, new beverage manager Chris Sweiger (formerly of Scampo) has honed the wine list to spotlight Piemonte region favorites.
Jennifer Adams
The Inn on Shipyard Park (address and info)
Mattapoisett
This quaint, historic charmer (vintage 1799) in Mattapoisett Village is America’s oldest seaside inn still operating in its original structure (man, John Adams' administration was crazy, right?!). Take in the ocean views as you work your way through slightly updated fare like a skillet of garlicky baked Gouda with crostini, bacon-wrapped cajun shrimp with chipotle aioli, and classics like baked jumbo shrimp stuffed with crab. Bonus: Monday nights are for pizza with a BOGO deal (dine in only) and tempting choices such as the Piesagna (YES!) with meatballs, Italian sausage, and fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheeses.
Jack-Tar
Jack-Tar (address and info)
Marblehead
Marblehead’s Jack-Tar (old-timey speak for “sailor”) is an American tavern with a cozy neighborhood vibe and a menu stocked with goodness ranging from pancetta and bleu cheese pizza with aged balsamic to crispy cod tacos with mango salsa. Oh, and you'll probably want to investigate the buttermilk fried chicken with bourbon gravy. MMM... bourbon gravy. 
Brodie’s Seaport
Brodie’s Seaport (address and info)
Salem
Brodie’s bewitches (!) Salem’s historic Pickering Wharf with both its seafood creations (crispy fried haddock fish 'n chips, lobster Reuben) and land-based fare like their signature steak tips and burgers like the Italian sausage-topped Phillips Burger. Live music enters the picture on Friday/ Saturday nights (and on Sunday fundays), enticing you to stick around for a bonus lobster roll you totally didn't think you were going to order. 
Cedar Street Grille
Cedar Street Grille (address and info)
Sturbridge
You’ll be starving after time-travelling around Old Sturbridge Village all day and Cedar Street Grille will return you to this century with contemporary shareable plates like braised lamb tacos with spicy carrot slaw and mint tzatziki, poutine with roasted shallot rosemary gravy, and fried chicken sliders with applewood smoked ham, maple dijon, and Swiss. And, oh yeah… five types of mac and cheese (jalapeño chorizo, carbonara, etc.), because having one type of mac and cheese is for more austere times like the ones at Sturbridge Village.
Bocado
Bocado (address and info)
Worcester
Launched in 2006 inside of a rehabbed Canal District factory space, Bocado is Worcester’s first Spanish restaurant, sporting 40 different tapas, an exhaustive lineup of imported meats and cheeses, and (of course) massive dishes of paella. Order the Vieiras Con Truffle Y Tocino (bacon-wrapped scallops with white truffle honey & red pepper flakes), Hamburguesas De Gambas (twin mini shrimp and Parmesan burgers with hot cherry pepper sauce), and the Piquillo Rellenos (piquillo peppers stuffed with veal, Mahón cheese, basil, pine nuts with burnt garlic crema). Can’t decide on how much to get? They’ve put together prix-fixe combos (the "Bocado Experience") for different sizes of groups. Or you could do what we do and just stubbornly order too much and eat it all anyway.
Chez Albert
Chez Albert (address and info)
Amherst
The Pioneer Valley morphs into the Loire Valley at award-winning Chez Albert, the haute kitchen of mega-pedigreed Chef Paul Hathaway. Establish your French connection with classics like Escargots a l’Albert and pâté de foie (with requisite accoutrements like cornichón), followed by Beef Daube (potato purée and au jus). Take a walk in the countryside with daily specials such as salt cod beignets with peppadew gribiche and rabbit ragout with polenta, and top off your evening with silky chocolate mousse and maybe another glass (or two) from their serious wine cellar.
White Hut
White Hut (address and info)
West Springfield, Amherst, Longmeadow
Since 1939, White Hut has been slinging crave-alicious burgers from their stuck-in-time diner (complete with sawdust-covered floors) and they really wouldn’t have it any other way. Neither should you. The menu is simple (there isn’t one) and you can basically get burgers, dogs, fries (hand-cut and skin-on), drinks, and desserts. Griddled caramelized onions are the headliners here and they are piled high on everything (except desserts, but it’s tempting) for that unmistakable White Hut flavor. Grab a seat at the counter (only 12 stools) and feed your inner child with a shake and a stack of cheeseburgers. You’ve earned it.
J’s Restaurant
J’s Restaurant at Nashoba Valley Winery (address and info)
Bolton
Perched on a hilltop with sweeping vistas, J’s is another embodiment of the farm-fresh, sustainable mantra. Once you’ve peeled your eyes off the view, go for the Parmesan Fried Ernest Farms Egg (toasted brioche, Spring asparagus, pancetta chip, Meyer lemon vinaigrette, truffle oil). Then devour the FreeBird Free Range Chicken with tomato-sorrel spaetzle, roasted foraged mushrooms, sautéed Ramos Farms Spring greens, Stimulus Whiskey jus, and soaring guitar solos. Or maybe you should have the Grilled Berkshire Pork Chop with Spring pea asparagus risotto, wilted baby arugula, and preserved lemon vinaigrette. Bonus: all wines and micro-brews are produced on site to optimize pairing possibilities.
Salem Cross Inn Restaurant & Tavern
Salem Cross Inn Restaurant & Tavern (address and info)
West Brookfield
Take another journey back in time at Salem Cross Inn, a 1700s-era homestead surrounded by 600 acres of working New England farmland. Sourcing from their own gardens and other nearby farms, current seasonal provisions include Lobster Melon Salad (fresh hard shell lobster, watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, arugula, crisp prosciutto, sweet basil lemon vinaigrette), Coconut Rum Glazed Salmon (pan seared with spinach, citrus segments, toasted pine nuts, scallions, rum glaze), and Sea Scallops (broiled in lemon Sherry butter or panko fried). They also fire up the 17th century roasting jack (the only one still working in the US) for occasional distinctive dinners featuring prime rib and other game.
Red Lion Inn
Red Lion Inn (address and info)
Stockbridge
New England hospitality (i.e. tough love with a smile) rules the day at Red Lion Inn, just as it has for more than 200 years. This farm-to-table gem, led by Executive Chef Brian J. Alberg, serves contemporary fare based on regional dishes such as Roasted Native Turkey (farmhouse stuffing, mashed, pan gravy), Line Caught Atlantic Halibut (roasted sweet potatoes, Howden Farm sweet corn purée), and Lila’s Mountain Lamb London Broil (goat cheese potato cake, braised kale). Sommelier Dan Thomas concentrates their 400 bottles on family-owned wineries and Northeastern vineyards earning them Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for 14 consecutive years. And that means you win, too.
Bistro Les Gras
Bistro Les Gras (address and info)
Northampton
Bistro Les Gras goes super hyper-local using Western Mass. and other NE bounty for a constantly changing menu of French-inspired eats. They do everything in house, from curing meats to making condiments. Try the Porc aux Lentilles (Riesling-braised Gray Dog Farm pork, smoked sausage, lentils, upland cress), Pâtés au Lapin (hand-cut egg pasta, braised VT rabbit, wild ramps, native asparagus, mustard jus), and Pot de Crème au Chocolat (dark chocolate pot de crème, vanilla Chantilly, salted almond bark). Fun Fact: their name means "The Fat", so don't act like you weren't warned about your suddenly ill-fitting pants.
Route 7 Grill
Route 7 Grill (address and info)
Great Barrington
In the shadow of June Mountain is Route 7 Grill, a fire-fed mecca for meat lovers far and wide. They’re sourcing naturally raised meats from small, nearby family farms for their abundant charcuterie offerings (Spanish chorizo, bresaola, lardo, duck confit, etc.) to pair with rotating cheese boards. Oh, they also have lots and lots of steaks from Tilldale Farm and desserts like pain perdu with Bananas Foster & ice cream. One more "oh" -- they’re spit-roasting a pig every Saturday. See you there.
The Federal
The Federal (address and info)
Agawam
At The Federal, Chef Michael Presnal (Alchemy in Martha’s Vineyard) presents his interpretation of New American cuisine with Italian and French influences. The selections range from elevated comfort (A "Bucket of Balls" - their famous risotto balls with fresh black truffle butter, snipped chives) to decadent / hearty (Balsamic Charred Rack of Lamb – fried Brussels sprouts salad, pancetta, radicchio, cipollinis, garlic butter). For the creative, head to the "You Be The Chef" section and assemble a plate with your choice of meats (lobster, salmon, short ribs, pork rib chops), two sides, and a sauce (like truffle butter or... bacon butter). Then add a slab of seared foie gras. Because you can.
Alta Restaurant & Wine Bar
Alta Restaurant & Wine Bar (address and info)
Lenox
Alta brings Mediterranean bites to the Bay State’s Lenox Village, and you need to bring yourself there. Pronto. Celebs with nearby Summer homes pop in occasionally, but you don’t have to be an A-Lister (or even a D-Lister) to enjoy the Crispy Tuna (wrapped in a basil leaf & brick dough with lemon aioli and arugula), Seared Natural Duck Breast (salty caramel sauce, mashed & seasonal veggies), or Braised Niman Ranch Pork Cheeks (purple mustard braising jus, carrots, peas, scallions, sautéed fingerling potatoes). Their around-the-world wine list has 24 by the glass, enabling you to globe trot all through dinner… like the jet setter you are.
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1. Gibbet Hill Grill 61 Lowell Rd, Groton, MA 01450

Nestled in the rolling hillsides of Groton, this farm-to-fork operation from Chef Tom Fosnot sources as much produce as possible from their own fields, with freshness like warm asparagus with poached egg, potato crisps, and house-cured ham.

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2. Orta Restaurant 75 Washington St, Pembroke, MA 02359

Chef/owner Brett Williams gives you the tastes of the Piemonte region without the pricey flight. Beef carpaccio with lemon aioli, Madeira-kissed Drunken Mushroom pizza, and braised short ribs with gnocchi and Parmesan cream all pair with selections from a superb wine list.

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3. The Inn at Ship Yard park 13 Water street, Mattapoisett, MA 02739

Built in 1799 in Mattapoisett Village, the Inn on Shipyard Park lets you take in the ocean views as you work your way through slightly updated fare like a skillet of garlicky baked Gouda with crostini, bacon-wrapped cajun shrimp with chipotle aioli, and classics like baked jumbo shrimp stuffed with crab.

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4. Jack-Tar 126 Washington St, Marblehead, MA 01945

Marblehead’s Jack-Tar is an American tavern with a cozy neighborhood vibe and a menu stocked with goodness like pancetta and bleu cheese pizza with aged balsamic and buttermilk fried chicken with bourbon gravy.

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5. Brodie's Seaport 215 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970

Brodie’s finds home on Pickering Wharf, delivering delicious seafood creations like their lobster Reuben and land-based fare like their signature steak tips and burgers.

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6. Cedar Street Grill 12 Cedar St, Sturbridge, MA 01566

Located in historic Old Sturbridge Village, Cedar Street Grille will return you to this century with contemporary shareable plates like braised lamb tacos with spicy carrot slaw and mint tzatziki, and poutine with roasted shallot rosemary gravy. They've also got five types of mac and cheese (jalapeño chorizo, carbonara, etc.).

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Bocado 82 Winter St, Worcester, MA 01604

Bocado is Worcester’s first Spanish restaurant, sporting 40 different tapas, a killer lineup of imported meats and cheeses, and massive dishes of paella. Can’t decide on how much to get? They’ve put together prix-fixe combos for different sizes of groups.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Chez Albert 178 N Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01002

The award-winning Chez Albert holds the haute kitchen of Chef Paul Hathaway, who will educate your palate with French classics like Escargots a l’Albert and pâté de foie (with requisite accoutrements like cornichón), which you can round out with a chocolate mousse and maybe another glass (or two) from their serious wine cellar.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. J's Restaurant at Nashoba Valley Winery 100 Wattaquadock Hill Rd, Bolton, MA 01740

J’s is anembodiment of the farm-fresh, sustainable mantra -- try the FreeBird Free Range Chicken with tomato-sorrel spaetzle, roasted foraged mushrooms, sautéed Ramos Farms Spring greens, and Stimulus Whiskey jus. Bonus: all wines and micro-brews are produced on site to optimize pairing possibilities.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Salem Cross Inn 260 West Main St, West Brookfield, MA 01585

Take a journey back in time at Salem Cross Inn, a 1700s-era homestead that sources from their own gardens and other nearby farms. Provisions include Lobster Melon Salad, Coconut Rum Glazed Salmon, and sea scallops broiled in lemon Sherry butter or panko fried.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
11. Red Lion Inn 30 Main St, Stockbridge, MA 01262

This farm-to-table gem, led by Executive Chef Brian J. Alberg, serves contemporary fare based on regional dishes such as Roasted Native Turkey with farmhouse stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pan gravy. Sommelier Dan Thomas concentrates their 400 bottles on family-owned wineries and Northeastern vineyards.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
12. Bistro les Gras 25 West St, Northampton, MA 01060

Bistro Les Gras goes local, using Western Mass. and other NE bounty for a constantly changing menu of French-inspired eats. Try the Porc aux Lentilles (Riesling-braised Gray Dog Farm pork, smoked sausage, lentils, upland cress), or Pâtés au Lapin (hand-cut egg pasta, braised VT rabbit, wild ramps, native asparagus, mustard jus).

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
13. Route 7 Grill 999 Main St, Great Barrington, MA 01230-2028

Route 7 Grill is a fire-fed meat lovers' paradise. They’re sourcing naturally raised meats from nearby family farms for their charcuterie (Spanish chorizo, bresaola, lardo, duck confit, etc.) to pair with rotating cheese boards. Tons of steaks from Tilldale Farm and desserts like pain perdu with Bananas Foster & ice cream are available as well.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
14. The Federal 135 Cooper St, Agawam, MA 01001

Chef Michael Presnal presents New American cuisine with Italian and French influences, with selections ranging from elevated comfort food (A "Bucket of Balls" - their famous risotto balls with fresh black truffle butter, snipped chives) to decadent and hearty options (Balsamic Charred Rack of Lamb – fried Brussels sprouts salad, pancetta, radicchio, cipollinis, garlic butter).

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
15. Alta Restaurant & Wine Bar 34 Church St, Lenox, MA 01240

Alta brings Mediterranean bites to Lenox Village, like their crispy tuna, seared natural duck breast, or braised Niman Ranch pork cheeks.

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