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Best Dining in Massachusetts | 2014 Editors' Choice Awards

Best Dining in Massachusetts | 2014 Editors’ Choice Awards
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Flatbread Company Pizza

Photo/Art by Kristin Teig
Best Bowling-Alley Pizzeria | Sacco’s Bowl Haven / Flatbread Company, Somerville

Rose 32 Bread

Photo/Art by Rose 32 Bread
Best Bakery for Lunch | Rose 32 Bread, Gilbertville

Hungry? The Bay State offers plenty of restaurant options for hungry residents and visitors alike. Here are our picks for the best food & dining in Massachusetts for 2014.

BEST SEASONAL COOKING:
ALLIUM RESTAURANT & BAR, Great Barrington

From the first greens of spring to the root vegetables of autumn, this locavore New American restaurant serves what area farms are growing. Even meat, eggs, milk, and cheese are local. Anyone for a steak with eggplant, fried potatoes, and tangy corn relish—all of it raised nearby? Entrées: from $14. 42–44 Railroad St. 413-528-2118; alliumberkshires.com

BEST PICNIC FOOD:
NEJAIME’S WINE CELLARS, Lenox & Stockbridge

Whether you’re attending a concert at Tanglewood or taking a hike up Monument Mountain, this wine and gourmet shop takes all the work out of assembling a picnic. Choose the “French Country,” “Mediterranean,” or “Summer Classic” combo, or create your own spread of cheeses and specialty foods from the shelves and deli counter. Baskets: from $53 for two people. 60 Main St., Lenox. 413-637-2221. 3 Elm St., Stockbridge. 413-298-3454; nejaimeswine.com

BEST BERKSHIRES BREAKFAST:
HAVEN CAFÉ & BAKERY, Lenox

Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, and there’s no better place for it than this large and airy room where there’s always a buzz of happy diners. You can go elegant with a French-rolled omelet, sweet with croissant French toast, or hearty with an egg-and-cheese breakfast burrito. Breakfasts: from $7. 8 Franklin St. 413-637-8948; havencafebakery.com

BEST HAMBURGER:
HIGH HORSE BREWING, Amherst

This college town rathskeller-style brewpub has earned its Ph.D. in beer and beef alike. There are fancier dishes on the menu, but it’s hard to beat a burger made with all-natural beef ground fresh daily, served on a brioche bun baked in house, and topped with a slice of homemade cucumber pickle. Burgers: from $10. 24 North Pleasant St. 413-230-3034; highhorsebrewing.com

BEST FRENCH BISTRO:
BISTRO LES GRAS, Northampton

Chef Daniel Martinez makes the vegetables and meats of the Pioneer Valley and environs speak with a French accent, offering such treats as a croque monsieur with Blythedale farm “Gruyère” or blanquette de veau with veal from the stony pastures of Gray Dog’s Farm in nearby Huntington. Vegan and vegetarian options are always available, but with a little notice, Martinez will design a special meal. Entrées: from $11. 25 West St. 413-320-4666; bistrolesgras.com

BEST BAKERY FOR LUNCH:
ROSE 32 BREAD, Gilbertville

Small-batch breads baked in a wood-fired oven provide the basis for stupendous lunchtime sandwiches, such as egg salad with cornichons and bacon bits on fresh sourdough. Grab a seat at the large communal if you want to join the lively conversation or catch up on local gossip. Sandwiches: from $5.50. 412 Main St. (Route 32). 413-477-9930; rose32bread.com

BEST GASTROPUB:
ARMSBY ABBEY, Worcester

Between the array of artisanal beers (more than 20 on tap and many more in bottle) and the Slow Food bar grub, this tavern is a far cry from the usual bar. Order a roasted-corn-and-apple pizza or a plate of spicy beef-heart meatballs in saffron sauce, along with the suggested beer pairings, for an eye-opening gastronomic experience. Plates: from $10. 144 Main St. 508-795-1012; armsbyabbey.com

BEST FRENCH FRIES:
SCRATCH KITCHEN, Salem

French fries are no mere afterthought at this innovative sandwich shop; a sprinkling of bacon powder elevates them into their very own food group. The fries are great with a pulled-pork or smoked-brisket sandwich—not to mention a burger served with onion jam. Sandwiches: from $8.50. 245 Derby St. 978-741-2442; scratchkitchensalem.com

BEST CHARCUTERIE:
CEIA KITCHEN & BAR, Newburyport

This romantic, low-lit restaurant reflects southern Europe with its excellent charcuterie plates. Try pistachio mortadella from Italy, spicy dry-aged chorizo sausage and paper-thin slices of jamón ibérico from Spain, or chunky slices of cured-pork rosette de Lyon from France. Entrées: from $16. Charcuterie: from $5. 38 State St. 978-358-8112; ceiakitchenbar.com

BEST ITALIAN PLATES:
SWEET BASIL, Needham

Chef/owner Dave Becker really does do it all at this charming Italian restaurant. Not only does he prepare standbys such as Bolognese meat sauce over pappardelle and contemporary plates like chifferi (a ridged macaroni) tossed with fava beans and spring vegetables—but he also makes the brown-and-blue dinnerware on which they’re served. Entrées: from $20. 942 Great Plain Ave. 781-444-9600; sweetbasilneedham.com

BEST SOUPS:
BLOUNT CLAM SHACK & SOUP STORE, Fall River

Blount’s Fine Foods claims to be the largest producer of lobster bisque in the country and the biggest producer of clam chowder in New England. Those two are just the beginning, though. Blount’s butternut squash and apple soup, scallop-and-bacon chowder, and fire-roasted vegetable soup are equally impressive. Soups: from $4. 840 Bedford St. 774-888-0050; blountretail.com

BEST LOBSTER ROLL:
TINY’S LOCAL FOOD, Provincetown

Chef Kristyn “Tiny” Samok has conquered the lobster roll’s chief fault—the tendency of the juices to dribble all over—by creating the lobster dog. She serves the sausage-like treat on a bun with delicious dill slaw. No muss, no fuss. Sandwiches and plates: from $6. 336 Commercial St. 508-413-9582; tinyslocalfood.com

BEST RAW BAR:
NAKED OYSTER BISTRO & BAR, Hyannis

Oysters and clams farmed in Barnstable Harbor off Cape Cod Bay provide the basics for this stylish raw bar and bistro. True to the name, you can order oysters on the half shell with no more adornment than the natural juices. The owner prefers hers with flying-fish roe for a little extra pop without overwhelming the bivalve. Entrées: from $18. 410 Main St. 508-778-6500; nakedoyster.com

BEST CASUAL DINING:
MENEMSHA GALLEY RESTAURANT, Chilmark, Martha’s Vineyard

Nestled amid the fishermen’s shacks at the end of the harbor, the Galley is the low-cost alternative for waterfront food. Many regulars favor the lobster roll, but when the local boats are catching swordfish, the sword sandwich can’t be beat. Sandwiches: from $3.95. 515 North Road. 508-645-9819; menemshagalley.com

BEST BOWLING-ALLEY PIZZERIA:
SACCO’S BOWL HAVEN/FLATBREAD COMPANY, Somerville

The addition of two wood-fired pizza ovens has breathed new life into this classic candlepin bowling alley, a fixture in Davis Square since 1939. A few lanes are always reserved for walk-in customers, and bowling a few frames is a great way to work up an appetite. Pizzas: from $9.75. 45 Day St. 617-776-0552; flatbreadcompany.com

BEST ICE CREAM:
RICHARDSON’S ICE CREAM, Middleton

To see a family farm at its best, stop at Richardson’s, where a family member has milked cows every day since 1695. To taste ice cream at its best, order a cone with farm-fresh strawberry from the ice-cream stand. Then check out the adjoining mini-golf courses, driving range, and batting cages. 156 South Main St. (Route 114). 978-774-5450; richardsonsicecream.com

Please Note: This article 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.

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