Food & Drink

The 16 best Massachusetts restaurants outside of Boston

Published On 06/11/2014 Published On 06/11/2014
Gibbet Hill Grill
Jennifer Adams
Brodie’s Seaport
Cedar Street Grille
Chez Albert
White Hut
J’s Restaurant
Salem Cross Inn Restaurant & Tavern
Red Lion Inn
Bistro Les Gras
Route 7 Grill
The Federal
Alta Restaurant & Wine Bar
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1. Gibbet Hill Grill 61 Lowell Rd, Groton, MA 01450

Located inside a revamped barn, this farm-to-fork restaurant is down-homey in its aesthetic, but the menu itself is surprisingly sophisticated and relatively affordable. Steak cuts include a bone-in rib-eye and a 48oz porter, and all come with two farm-fresh sides. Don’t bypass the cocktail program, whose housemade syrups and infusions also incorporate a lot of the farm’s seasonal output.

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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.).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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).

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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.