In the recent weeks that I spent roaming New England I had plenty of superior lobster rolls and fried clams and chowder. Defining as those staples may be, though, many more of my meals were punctuated by incredible swaths of dishes — Portuguese stews, Turkish dolmas, Cantonese-style pork and shrimp dumplings, and modern imaginings like “Mexican fried rice” — that also shape the Northeast’s diverse, exuberant dining landscape.
Our survey encompasses six states: It begins in one of the country’s pizza capitals, New Haven, Connecticut, and stretches to Burlington, Vermont, 71 miles south of the Canadian border. No one person can definitively cover this much territory, and so 11 region-based writers and experts joined me in narrowing down scores of outstanding restaurants to New England’s essential 38. It’s their on-the-ground knowledge that really makes this roster exceptional.
No list can cover every gem: As with any Eater map, this assembly of restaurants is an invitation to savor and debate. I will say, though, that I devoured my share of rolls filled with lobster both slicked in mayo and doused in hot butter. I’m pretty confident in our nod to McLoons. — Bill Addison, restaurant editor
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