From the historical cities of Connecticut all the way up the rocky coast of Maine, there is an incredible selection of seasonally-inspired cuisine from award-winning culinary artists that should be on every foodies must-do list. Each state in New England offers their own twist on traditional and innovative dishes or cocktails that have left diners with an unforgettable experience. Here we share some of the best restaurants in New England and which dish or ingredient that makes each state special. No matter how long your drive may be, we guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.
Not only is Connecticut conveniently close to the city, but it’s also the birthplace of the hamburger and home to several craft breweries. Learn some of the state’s rich history by visiting the Yale University campus or by taking a tour of some of the many museums in New Haven. You’ll find that while most restaurants and buildings are completely renovated these establishments come with a lifetime of stories.
Where to dine: Louis’ Lunch, 261 Crown St., New Haven, www.louislunch.com
Come for the lobster, leave with an experience of a lifetime! This state offers the best of both worlds: a bustling city, rocky peaks, and endless coastline all within a short 20-minute drive. Explore 5,000 miles of the stunning rocky Atlantic coast or spend time off the grid in Maine’s wilderness. If cultural fare is more your speed, there are always events happening in Maine, whether it’s a food festival, concert, or art showing. Maine is also on the rise as one of the hottest culinary vacation states in the country. Chefs from all around the world have come to this lovely state bursting with fresh, seasonal ingredients in order to create their own unique dish of lobster or seafood related cuisine. A great example of where tradition meets inspiration is at Natalie’s in Camden. Here you will find Chef Chris Long’s elegantly deconstructed version of the famous Maine lobster roll.
Where to dine: Natalie’s Restaurant, 83 Bay View St., Camden, www.nataliesrestaurant.com
It may seem obvious that there are many great foodie spots all over the state of Massachusetts. From Boston to Nantucket, you will find innovative dishes and craft beverages! This state also offers a rich coastal history of American cuisine and traditional favorites dating back to 1776. One restaurant that celebrates the bounty of the New England coast while pairing it with exquisite wines from around the world, is Meritage Restaurant and Wine Bar. Native to New England, Chef Daniel Bruce has established longstanding relationships with local farmers and purveyors and bases his menus solely on ingredients at the peak of freshness.
Where to dine: Meritage Restaurant and Wine Bar, 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, http://www.meritagetherestaurant.com/
Located along the coast, Portsmouth, New Hampshire is one of the most up and coming small cities in the foodie world. In fact, there’s more than just great food and cultural attraction in this seacoast town! Portsmouth offers several different culinary oriented trails from visiting various breweries, doing a chocolate and martini tour, as well as a local wine and cheese pairing excursion. If you end up leaf peeping through the great state of New Hampshire this fall, be sure to check out a local farmer’s market. You can find them just about everywhere, especially on Saturdays and Sundays. Chat with some friendly locals and pick up some gourmet picnic goodies.
Where to dine: Library Restaurant, 401 State St., Portsmouth, www.libraryrestaurant.com
Next culinary vacation, don’t forget to visit the small state of Rhode Island. While the state is small, their foodie game is big, although you might just have to be up to date on your vocabulary. It’s not uncommon for the people of Rhode Island to use slang for the foods they’re most known for. Grab a “cabinet” or milkshake at one of the local ice cream shops, or try some locally caught, fresh “stuffies” or stuffed clams while enjoying the breathtaking coastline. Rhode Island has a lot of unique specialties and flavors that are great for everyone!
Where to dine: Gracie’s, 194 Washington St., Providence, www.graciesprov.com
Vermont is a true farm-to-table food culture. Many of the different farms and restaurants in this state are part of a network that aims to ensure that as many local ingredients as possible are incorporated in dishes and served at the restaurants throughout the state. Not only is it pretty cool to find that everything you eat here is local, but it’s also likely that the ingredients that are used are award-winning!
Where to dine: Hen of the Wood, 55 Cherry St., Burlington, www.henofthewood.com