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Best Food & Dining in Massachusetts | 2013 Editors' Choice Awards

Best Food & Dining in Massachusetts | 2013 Editors’ Choice Awards
6 votes, 3.33 avg. rating (68% score)
by in May 2013
Best Clam Chowder in Massachusetts

Photo/Art by Jesse Burke
Best Clam Chowder at Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company in Oak Bluffs.

The Bay State offers plenty of restaurant options for hungry residents and visitors. Read our picks for the best food & dining in Massachusetts.

BEST GARDEN SETTING
MEZZE BISTRO & BAR, Williamstown
More than 70 local farms supply everything from grass-fed local beef to artisanal cheeses and salad fixings for chef Joji Sumi to create his inspired farm-to-table cooking. The restaurant sits high above the road in a woodsy retreat, with outdoor dining available in warm weather. Entrées: from $20. 777 Cold Spring Road (Route 7). 413-458-0123; mezzerestaurant.com

BEST OUTDOOR BEER BISTRO
NOR’EAST BEER GARDEN, Provincetown
Inside the gate, P’town’s summer bustle suddenly fades. New England artisanal craft brews are augmented by classy pub food such as fish tacos, a fried-chicken sandwich, and burgers with lots of lettuce and tomato. Entrées: from $14. 206 Commercial St. 508-487-2337; noreastbeergarden.com

BEST BAKERY/CAFE
DANISH PASTRY HOUSE, Medford
Lucky Tufts students, staff, and faculty! This cheery bakery/cafe near the campus serves lox-and-bagels breakfasts, panini or quiche lunches, and pastry snacks all day. You haven’t tasted authentic Danish pastry until you’ve had a kringle–the perfect combination of buttery pastry, marzipan, and almonds. Entrées: from $3.75. 330 Boston Ave. 781-396-8999; danishpastryhouse.com

BEST FARM-TO-TABLE RESTAURANT
SONOMA, Princeton
Sonoma shines in summer, when local field greens, tomatoes, corn, and other garden vegetables share the menu with local lobster and goat cheese. Chef/owner Bill Brady cooks global dishes–everything from a French duck cassoulet to Korean barbecued short ribs–but rarely strays from California for his wine list. Entrées: from $24. 206 Worcester Road. 978-464-5775; sonoma-princeton.com

BEST WATERFRONT DINING
ALMA NOVE, Hingham
Chef Paul Wahlberg (Donnie and Mark’s big brother) crafts such flavor-intensive modern Italian fare (braised-pork meatballs with creamy polenta, for example) that diners would keep returning even without the cool outdoor fire pit. Pasta dishes, including gnocchi with white truffle oil, can be ordered in half portions. Entrées: from $22. 22 Shipyard Drive. 781-749-3353; almanovehingham.com

BEST CLAM CHOWDER
MARTHA’S VINEYARD CHOWDER COMPANY, Oak Bluffs
This fish house and raw bar is named for its most famous product: a clam-filled version of gluten-free chowder made without flour or butter. Slurp it with Katama Bay oysters at the bar, or take a dining table for a plate of grilled scallops with corn-and-herb risotto. Chowder: $8 cup, $11 bowl. Entrées: from $21. 9 Oak Bluffs Ave. 508-696-3000; mvchowder.com

BEST CASUAL BISTRO FARE
FRANKLIN CAPE ANN, Gloucester
With its late dinner hours (until midnight on weekends), comfort-food menu, and extensive beer list, Franklin captures Gloucester’s malt fiends. Nibble small plates (smoky skillet-roasted mussels, fish quesadilla, tuna tartare) or tuck into coconut-crusted catfish with vegetable slaw and mango sauce. Entrées: from $15. 118 Main St. 978-283-7888; franklincafe.com

BEST GIANT LOBSTER ROLL
BLACK CAT TAVERN, Hyannis
This harborfront restaurant is known for its massive sandwich featuring the meat of a large lobster, nicely chopped and spilling out of a roll, with only a modicum of dressing to hold it together. Lobster roll: $25. Dinner entrées: from $18. 165 Ocean St. 508-778-1233; blackcattavern.com

BEST OYSTER BAR
CRU, Nantucket
As a salt breeze sweeps over the polished-stone bar, you slurp raw shellfish in style. Oysters hail from Barnstable Sea Farms and Island Creek in Duxbury. Seasonal seafood dishes (softshell crab, line-caught swordfish) round out the menu. Oysters: from $3. Entrées: from $28. 1 Straight Wharf. 508-228-9278; crunantucket.com

BEST PORCH DINING
FIREFLY NEW AMERICAN BISTRO, Lenox
Chef/owner Laura Shack cooks New American fare with gusto. Bargain menus for two with wine are offered weeknights; steaks and burgers uphold the thrill of the grill. Ask for a porch table and don’t forget to order the jumble berry pie with all-butter crust. Entrées: from $17. 71 Church St. 413-637-2700; fireflylenox.com

BEST FRENCH-JAPANESE BISTRO
AKA BISTRO, Lincoln
Raised in Macao by a mom from Marseilles, chef Chris Chung cooks fluent French bistro (cassoulet with duck confit, salt-cod fritters) and slices perfect sashimi (yellowfin tuna with ginger and pickled mung beans). The “Taste of AKA” menu offers four sashimi courses and two French courses. French entrées: from $19. Sashimi: from $13. 145 Lincoln Road. 781-259-9920; akabistrolincoln.com

BEST FRIED CHICKEN
MARCONI BEACH BBQ & SEAFOOD, South Wellfleet
You can get shellfish in lots of places, but it’s harder to find good Southern-style fried chicken on the Outer Cape. The takeout dinner of wing, breast, thigh, and leg, with coleslaw, potato, barbecued beans, and garlic toast, is just the ticket for a beach picnic. Fried-chicken dinner: $15.99. Other entrées: from $16.99. 545 Route 6. 508-349-6025; marconibeachrestaurant.net

BEST OVERSTUFFED SANDWICHES
THE BLACK SHEEP, Amherst
Why are the best deli sandwiches always in college towns? The Black Sheep is Amherst’s go-to shop for cookies and sweets, but the real prize goes to the massively filled sandwiches of mildly inventive combos, such as the TNT of roast turkey, portobellos, roasted peppers, and olive tapenade. Half sandwiches: from $3.95. Full sandwiches: from $7.50. 79 Main St. 413-253-3442; blacksheepdeli.com

BEST FRENCH PASTRIES
FRENCH MEMORIES, Duxbury
No one handles puff pastry, gooey white pastry cream, picture-perfect fruit, and rich chocolate quite like a French pastry chef. One taste of the “Paris-Brest” pate-a-choux or a square of caramel-chocolate mousse “Diva” cake will have you speaking in tongues–French, to be exact. Pieces: from $3. 459 Washington St. 781-934-9020; frenchmemories.com

BEST COLONIAL DINING
SALEM CROSS INN, West Brookfield
Restored to its 17th- and 18th-century origins, this crossroads tavern and restaurant, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, even prepares an outdoor colonial-spit roast beef (the “Drover’s Roast”) a couple of times each summer. Yankee classics such as baked haddock and broiled scallops are always on the menu. Entrées: from $16. 260 West Main St. 508-867-2345; salemcrossinn.com

BEST CHINESE MASTER CHEF
Ck’ SHANGHAI, Wellesley
Hong Kong-trained C. K. Sau may offer the usual long list of traditional dishes, but wise diners stick to the house specialties for bold cookery with subtle textures and spicing. The duck dishes and Shanghai-style plates, especially, would please even a discerning emperor. Entrées: from $11. 15 Washington St. 781-237-7500; ckshanghai.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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