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Massachusetts Best Restaurants 2010

by in May 2010
Massachusetts Best Restaurants 2010
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Best Paella
VIVA, Glendale
Sharing is at the heart of Spanish dining, and nothing invites communal eating more than a steaming pan of paella. The full-flavored paellas for two or more ($27 and up) at this rural hotspot are as bold and bright as the chili-red and saffron decor. 14 Glendale Road (Route 183). 413-298-4433;

Best Barbecued Ribs
ROUTE 7 GRILL, Great Barrington
Whether it’s the heritage pig breed or the slow-smoked dry-rub BBQ technique that makes the moist, meaty baby back ribs here so tasty yet lean, they’re guaranteed crowd pleasers. 999 Main St. (Route 7). 413-528-3235;

Best Licorice Selection
ROBIN’S CANDY STORE, Great Barrington
The whole world loves licorice, judging from the international origins of the 50-plus varieties found at this confectionery temple. Whether you prefer salty double zoute drops, caramel-brown salmiak bella, herb-infused laurel pastilles, long-lasting “marbles,” or even vegan and sugar-free varieties, look no further for your licorice fix. 288 Main St. 413-528-8477

Best Soft-Serve
An Upper Pioneer Valley institution for more than 50 years, this family-run take-out stand features dairy treats of all kinds, from regional ice cream brands to frappes made with farm-fresh milk. The rich, creamy soft serve is a must-have, dipped in one of a half-dozen flavored coatings and sprinkles. 62 Main St. 323-459-5499;

Best Casual Dining
HOPE & OLIVE, Greenfield
Delicious food, excellent prices, convivial setting: a cheerful spot emphasizing local grass-fed Black Angus burgers, organic salmon, and free-range chicken roasted with the season’s freshest vegetables and fruit chutney. 44 Hope St. 413-774-3150;

Best Variation on Surf & Turf
Bringing Hawaiian pizzazz to the banks of the Connecticut River, this eye-catching restaurant features inventive Pacific twists on New England favorites; the snow crab and seared filet mignon sushi roll unites surf and turf in every bite. 1150 West Columbus Ave. 413-730-6699;

Best Multigrain Bread
The seven-grain loaf is studded with bits of organic dates that lend it moisture and a hint of sweetness, perfectly balancing the tang of the sourdough base. You may find yourself consuming half a loaf in one sitting–it’s that good. 152 Commonwealth Ave. 978-318-1999;

Best Scones
DORSET CAFE, Wellesley Hills
The real thing: Enjoy subtly flavored citrus and currant scones plain or with traditional clotted cream or lemon curd. 352 Washington St. 781-239-8988;

Best Southwestern Cuisine
MASA, Woburn
Finally, an exciting alternative to the Italian and Asian duopoly on suburban ethnic dining. Try the chorizo-stuffed sole, beer-braised pork, or fruit-glazed short ribs. 350 Cambridge Road (Route 3). 781-938-8886;

Best Comfort Food
15 WALNUT, South Hamilton
Chef Sam Hunt is zealous about getting back to basics: baking bread, making sausages, curing meats, infusing vinegars, producing fresh mozzarella. Applying this yields his wonderful linguine with wood-roasted veggies and meatballs, or pizza topped with homemade pepperoni, sausage, and pancetta. 15 Walnut Road. 978-468-2434;

Best Brodetto
Brodetto was originally a stew made from whatever catch Italian fishermen couldn’t sell. Next to such simple fare, the luscious brodetto served here–full of mussels, clams, shrimp, and fish in a fragrant tomato sauce over squid-ink pasta–is a cathedral beside a country chapel. It’s a rustic and hearty seafood lover’s dream dish. 145 Nantasket Ave. 781-925-6336;

Best Chocolate Fudge
A throwback to the era of tried-and-true family-run confectioners. The chocolate flavor is quite simply the creamiest and most chocolaty to be found, period. 576 Main St. 508-778-0350

Best Calamari
Basque cuisine is the specialty at this cozy restaurant. That translates into robust tapas, such as stuffed calamari, a tender whole mantle filled with a garlicky mix of onion and Bayonne ham, roasted in a traditional spicy red-pepper tomato sauce. 800 Main St. (Route 6A). 508-385-5600;

Best French Toast
CHACH, Provincetown
Heavenly French toast ($7.50) is reinvented with vanilla custard instead of mere eggs and milk, for a taste and texture that produces audible exclamations of delight. 73 Shank Painter Road. 508-487-1530

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Updated Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

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