New England

10 Best Foodie Getaways in New England

These 10 towns and cities pack in enough top-notch eateries to make the food scene a draw unto itself. Don’t miss our picks for the best foodie getaways in New England.

By Amy Traverso

Jul 15 2022


College Hill, Providence, Rhode Island.

Photo Credit : Rhode Island Commerce Corporation
New England has so many incredible towns for foodies that narrowing down our list to the following 10 vacation destinations was quite a challenge. And the list of contenders has only grown in the past decade. Of course, Boston has always been a food lovers’ destination, but when Bon Appétit named Portland, Maine, its 2018 Restaurant City of the Year, it was a watershed moment for the New England food scene. Finally, after years of quietly linking farms with tables, recruiting and nurturing top-tier talent, and growing a whole new generation of bakers, cheese makers, and confectioners, we were finally being recognized as a food lover’s paradise on par with San Francisco, New Orleans, and Seattle.  The following guide takes you through the highlights of 10 towns and cities that pack in enough top-notch eateries to make the food scene a draw unto itself. We considered the concentration of restaurants, bakeries, shops, farm stands, and food producers. Many are, unsurprisingly, larger cities, but some exceptional small towns made the cut as well. Time to hit the road and get eating!

10 Best Foodie Getaways in New England

Mystic, Connecticut

The Mystic Drawbridge ice cream shop is a beloved stop in this food-focused town.
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming
Mystic was long known for standard New England seafood, steak, and pizza, but the past 10 years it has seen a restaurant renaissance, sparked by the success of Oyster Club. Many eateries boast water views, and with Mystic Seaport and Mystic Aquarium nearby, there’s plenty to do between meals. Just down the road in Noank, mainstays like Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough and Ford’s Lobster serve up seafood classics right on the water. Don’t Miss: Oyster Club, Grass & Bone, Young Buns Donuts, Sift Bake Shop, Mix, Pizzetta, Nana’s Bakery & Pizza, The Shipwright’s Daughter, Taquerio, Bravo Bravo, Red 36

Biddeford, Maine

Historic mill buildings on the Saco River, which runs between Biddeford and Saco, Maine.
Photo Credit : Carolyn Kamuda via
This up-and-coming former mill town found a second life as a food lover’s destination beginning with the Palace Diner, a classic Worcester dining car that Greg Mitchell and Chad Conley remade into the ultimate destination for perfect tuna melts and buttermilk pancakes. Lured by comparatively affordable rents, other chefs followed — and now Biddeford has an embarrassment of riches, with one of the most innovative dining scenes in New England, with some eateries located in the converted mill buildings, now known as the Pepperell Mill Campus, that give the town its character. It’s home to the greatest culinary bookstore in the country, Rabelais. Even better, neighboring city Saco is seeing its own restaurant renaissance spill over from across the river. Don’t Miss: Elda, Palace Diner, Jackrabbit Cafe, Rover Bagel, Night Moves Bread, Magnus on Water, Little Spruce Baking Co.,Elements, Part & Parcel, Pepperell Provisions, Sweetcream Dairy, Nibblesford, Lorne Wine, Lucky Pigeon Brewing Co.

Portland, Maine

Things to Do In Portland, Maine
Downtown Portland, Maine.
Photo Credit : Courtesy
It’s hard to beat Portland as a food lover’s paradise. It’s packed with incredible eateries, from Japanese pub fare worthy of national awards to some of the best bakeries on the East Coast. Chefs have a notably collaborative spirit, egging each other on to greater heights while maintaining a shared identity of Portland as a food lover’s city. From the tourism center of the Old Port, to the brownstone-lined West End, to the string of must-try restaurants on Washington Avenue in East Bayside, every neighborhood in the city is packed with can’t-miss restaurants and food shops. Don’t Miss: Helm Oyster Bar & Bistro, Leeward, Scales, Chaval, Fore Street, Eventide Oyster Co., Dutch’s Breakfast & Lunch, Công Tử Bột, Duckfat Frites Shack, Izakaya Minato, Terlingua, Ramona’s Sandwiches, Tandem Coffee Roasters, Radici, The Honey Paw, HiFi Donuts, The Holy Donut, Norimoto Bakery, Back Bay Grill, Rose Foods, Baharat, Micucci Grocery, Pai Men MiyakeHot Suppa, Quiero Cafe, Central Provisions.

Boston, Massachusetts

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The crowds descend on North End staple Mike’s Pastry on warm summer nights, especially if there’s an Italian feast and procession happening.
Photo Credit : Amy Traverso
It’s impossible to distill Boston’s food scene into one paragraph, but here’s the broad-strokes sketch of the different neighborhoods: The North End (pictured above) is Boston’s Little Italy, with plenty of red-sauce joints but more innovative spots as well. The South End has long been home to sophisticated, chef-owned spots such as Barbara Lynch’s The Butcher Shop and Douglass Williams’s Mida. The Seaport District is Boston’s glossy new neighborhood, home to more chains than homegrown spots, but there are gems to be found. South Boston has an ambitious newer crop of notable chef-owned restaurants. Back Bay has standouts like Uni and Saltie Girl. Chinatown remains an essential stop on any tour, but Allston also serves up noteworthy Korean and Taiwanese food. Dorchester has a vibrant mix of Vietnamese, West Indian, Dominican, and pub fare. And Cambridge and Somerville continue to nurture a diverse assortment of innovative fine dining spots, great bakeries, cheap eats, pubs, and the city’s best ice cream. Don’t Miss:Bar Mezzana, Alcove, Table, Tasting Counter, Chickadee, Mooncusser, SRV, Sarma, Bisq, Bondir, Terra, Woods Hill Pier 4, Pagu, ReelHouse, Shojo, Sportello, Myers + Chang, La Saison Bakery, Row 34, Ganko Ittetsu Ramen, Fox & the Knife, Sweet Cheeks, Bow Market, Toscanini’s, No Relation, Area Four, Scampo, Dakzen, Giulia, Tanám, Juliet, Puritan & Company, Cafe Sushi, Deuxave, Oleana, Waypoint, Craigie on Main, O Ya, The Lexington, Toro

Great Barrington, Massachusetts

Guido's Fresh Marketplace Pittsfield, MA
Guido’s Fresh Marketplace in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, is a home cook’s (and picnic packer’s) paradise.
Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker

Great Barrington balances its identity as a weekend destination for city folk with an eat-local, farm-forward community of dedicated, food-savvy year-rounders. This creates a fantastic cross-pollination of top-notch ingredients, talent, and a consistent customer base. Head over to Railroad Street, known as “Restaurant Row,” to be in the center of things. And don’t miss a stop at Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, the kind of green/gourmet/everyday supermarket that every town deserves, but few have.

Don’t Miss: Bizen, The Prairie Whale, GB Eats, Bizalion’s, Fuel, Twoflower Cafe, Berkshire Food Co-Op, Rio Cafe, Marjoram + Roux, Barrington Brewery & Restaurant, MoonCloud, Patisserie Lenox, Xicohténcatl, The Great Barrington Bagel Co. and Deli, Rubiner’s, SoCo CreameryThe Bistro Box, North Plain Farm

Nantucket, Massachusetts

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Nantucket, Massachusetts, is the foodie’s island.
Photo Credit : Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
It can be difficult for resort towns, especially island ones, to sustain truly great restaurants. Between labor challenges, the limits of a three-month high season, and the challenges of transport, running an island business isn’t for the faint of heart. But Nantucket’s innovative chefs and entrepreneurs have cracked the code, maintaining a high bar of quality that’s downright astounding. From stellar breakfasts to top-notch fine dining, Nantucket is the foodie’s island. Don’t Miss: The Proprietors, The Nautilus, Straight Wharf, Cru Oyster Bar, The Pearl, Black-Eyed Susan’s, Millie’s, The Downyflake, Galley Beach, Cisco Brewers, Via Mare, Òran Mór,American Seasons, Something Natural, The Juice Bar, Ventuno, Topper’s, Bartlett’s Farm

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

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Black Trumpet Bistro in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker
Like Portland to the north, Portsmouth is a food town that takes full advantage of its proximity to land and sea. Its restaurants brim with local produce and the freshest catch, and there’s ambition and variety here that far exceeds the city’s relatively modest size. That compact geography means that you wouldn’t have to walk far to pull off a very thorough restaurant crawl, but we prefer to return again and again to enjoy one restaurant at a time. Don’t Miss: Black Trumpet, Caffe Kilim, Botanica,Kaffee Vonsolln, Row 34, La Maison Navarre,Vida Cantina, Moxy, Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Café, The Franklin,Great Rhythm Brewing Co., Earth Eagle Brewings, Liars Bench Beer Co., Portsmouth Brewery, Blue Mermaid, Cava, Cure, The Wilder

Providence, Rhode Island

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The College Hill neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island.
Photo Credit : Rhode Island Commerce Corporation
To be a truly great food town, it helps to have one of the country’s top culinary schools nearby. Johnson & Wales University has trained generations of talented chefs, and many have planted roots right here in PVD. Add a crowd of discerning, creative diners brought in by Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design, waves of tourists, and savvy regulars, and you have yourself a scene. Chefs like Ben Sukle, Champe Speidel, James Mark, and Derek Wagner have attracted national acclaim, and the city’s relative affordability allows these creatives to take creative risks. The result: a heady mix of quality and inventiveness that keeps us coming back. Don’t Miss: Oberlin, North, Big King, Persimmon, New Rivers, Tallulah’s Taqueria, Enoteca Umberto, The Dorrance, Bucktown, Gracie’s, Yoleni’s, Al Forno, Nicks on Broadway, Aleppo Sweets, Seven Stars Bakery, Plant City, Venda Ravioli, Pastiche, PVDonuts, Dune Brothers, The Eddy, Cafe Nuovo, Bayberry Garden

Burlington, Vermont

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Church Street Marketplace in Burlington, Vermont.
Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker
Burlington has many urban pleasures — stellar restaurants, markets, and cafes, bustling streets, breweries, an exceptional farmers’ market, and live music — but it also brings rural delights in equal measure. Overlooking Lake Champlain, with views of the Adirondack and Green mountains, Burlington represents a best-of-both-worlds ideal for visitors and lucky locals. And its food scene draws from a far broader repertoire of cultures and flavors than most similar-size towns. The pedestrian-only Church Street Marketplace has long been the commercial center, but great finds are scattered all over the city. And neighboring Winooski has become a food town in its own right, so be sure to head over there for a meal or two. Don’t Miss: Hen of the Wood, Honey Road, Bluebird Barbecue, Citizen Cider, Farmers & Foragers, Penny Cluse Cafe, Pizzeria Verità, A Single Pebble, Leunig’s Bistro, Bleu, Juniper, Farmhouse Tap and Grill, El Cortijo, Butch + Babe’s, Elaichi, Misery Loves Co., Dedalus, Waterworks, The Great Northern, Hong’s Dumplings, Trattoria Delia, Pingala Cafe, Foam Brewers, Restaurant Poco, August First

Waterbury, Vermont

cold hollow cider mill
Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury Center, Vermont.
Photo Credit : Aimee Seavey
Tiny Waterbury has long occupied a spot on Vermont’s culinary map thanks to two institutions: Cold Hollow Cider Mill, where cider doughnuts roll off the line by the dozen, and the Ben & Jerry’s Factory, where every tour ends with samples. Then, in 2003, The Alchemist began making its New England–style IPA, Heady Topper, which went on to cult status, and the town attracted a new batch of pilgrims (the brewery has since moved its main operations to nearby Stowe). Waterbury’s burgers and beer game remain strong, but great coffee, fine dining (including the original Hen of the Wood location), and bakeries are also on tap. Don’t Miss:Hen of the Wood, Prohibition Pig, Michael’s on the Hill, The ReservoirBlackback Pub, Zenbarn, Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea, The Udder Guys, Woodstock Farmers Market, Stowe Street Cafe, La Strada Bakery, PK Coffee, Hender’s Bake Shop & Cafe, Craft Beer Cellar, Smugglers’ Notch Distillery