Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

Famed cooking, food and beverage publication, Food & Wine recently set out on a task; “This year, we’re renewing our vows with America’s finest old-school institutions.” And we are here for it. They’ve named the best classic restaurants in each state throughout the country, with plenty of honorable mentions included.” Tough task, right?

Here, we share their results of their New England searches. Here you will find the best classic restaurants in each New England State, and slightly beyond. (New York gets a holler). Let us know if you’ve been to any of these, or what restaurant should be on the list.

Forks up, friends. Let’s dig in!

  • Connecticut

    Union League Cafe

    1032 Chapel St. New Haven, CT

    This New England favorite is nestled between downtown New Haven and Yale. Food & Wine says, “Union League Cafe, which opened in 1973 in what was built as the home of a wealthy industrialist, on the site of the original homestead of founding father Roger Sherman. Connecticut romantics can’t seem to quit, and who could blame them, this gorgeous old thing, with its swooping arches and dark wood trim and white tablecloths. Sink into one of the banquettes for foie gras torchons served with quince chutney, followed by duck à l’orange.

  • Maine

    Fore Street

    288 Fore St. Portland, ME

    Opened in 1996, Food & Wine reports: “Fore Street — known then, and now, for its allegiance to fresh, regional produce of all kinds, and a love of roasting things over wood — has achieved all-star status on a now much busier restaurant scene.”

  • Massachusetts


    44 Brattle St. (on the walkway), Harvard Square, Cambridge

    This Cambridge staple opened in 1975, and according to Food & Wine, it “opened to celebrate the very best of the region in Harvard Square in Cambridge, and was right there alongside, at the forefront of New England’s own food revolution. Said to be Julia Child’s long-time favorite, the restaurant’s impact on the landscape cannot be overstated, beginning with the long list of chefs that worked their way through its kitchens and went on to their own careers.”

    A few honorable mentions in the best of the Massachusetts classics from F&W:

    No. 9 Park, Galleria Umberto, Regina Pizzeria, Union Oyster House and Woodman’s of Essex

  • New Hampshire

    Polly’s Pancake Parlor 

    672 Sugar Hill Rd, Sugar Hill, NH

    “Polly and Wilfred Dexter dreamed up a way to promote their maple business back in the 1930s — they’d open a little place, and start serving pancakes. Today, Polly’s Pancake Parlor, still in the same family, has evolved to become one of New England’s most iconic places for breakfast and beyond, even if it is all the way north in Lincoln.” (Food & Wine)

  • Rhode Island

    Al Forno 

    577 S Water St, Providence, RI 

    Of this best-of-the-classics, ” Food & Wine raved, “a Providence must since the 1980s, Al Forno isn’t much more than a pizza place, but the restaurant, over time, has become known as the grandfather of the grilled pie, sometimes duplicated, but rarely properly imitated.”


  • Vermont

    Simon Pearce

    1760 Quechee Main St, Quechee, VT

    Nearly 3 decades after Irish glass maker Simon Pearce and his wife Pia opened the restaurant, sourcing local foods, Food & Wine says, “the restaurant, where you come to eat things like Vermont cheddar soup and cider-brined chicken remains one of the state’s most romantic restaurants, supported by an on-premises garden and an actual farming operation.”

    Simon Pearce Restaurant and Mill at Quechee | Simon Pearce

    The store will not work correctly in the case when cookies are disabled. JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. 1760 QUECHEE MAIN STREET | QUECHEE, VERMONT | 802.295.1470 The Bar is currently open 5-9 PM, Wednesday through Saturday.

  • Honorable Mention: New York

    Since we all eventually take a trip to New York, here’s the restaurant F&W says is a classic must!

    La Grenouille

    3 E 52nd St, New York, NY

    Food & Wine describes this classic as, “lit up like a fairy tale night after night since 1962, (Le Grenouille)artfully pays tribute to an age when fine dining in America so often meant Continental, or to be more specific, French.

    Restaurant | La Grenouille | New York

    Live Jazz Music: 9:15 pm till 10:45 pm Late Night Jazz Menu 9:15 pm till 10:30 pm Experience our Private Party Fireplace Room Located on the second floor with grand 60ft high ceilings and live piano this room is the perfect place to celebrate a birthday, milestone or a special night with special guests.

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