New England dining >>> Norfolk County restaurant reviews, Massachusetts
The Best Dining in Norfolk County, Massachusetts
our top dining choices in Medfield, Walpole, Millis, Franklin, Norfolk,
Wrentham, Westwood, North Attleboro and Foxboro!
Norfolk County, located southwest of Boston, has many nice,
relaxed-feeling towns with lots of great restaurants. For those who don't want the traffic and parking hassles of Boston or Providence, it's very easy to find some upscale or casual restaurants near, equal and sometimes better than the urban establishments. The following list was difficult to put together as narrowing down to the best eight ultimately excluded some fine dining spots:
Our top choices:
Zebra's Bistro and Wine Bar
Zebra's Bistro and Wine Bar, 21 North St., Medfield, MA. Tel. (508) 359-4100
Zebra's Bistro and Wine Bar takes suburban dining to an entirely new level, often surpassing the best of Boston city dining. Elegantly but casually residing in a former U.S. Post Office, Zebra's Bistro and Wine Bar delivers innovative New American offerings without ever falling into pretentiousness or attitude -- common downfalls for this type of dining. We have sampled memorable, hearty, made-from scratch food like Confit duck leg with braised lamb, Boudin blanc sausage, French white beans, slow roasted tomatoes, bacon rashers, and walnut bread crumbs ; and Maryland striped bass pan roasted in a thin frittata, with pumpkin ravioli, brussels sprouts, and lemon sage beurre noisette. Service is pleasant and highly professional and the warm wood tones, soft lighting and colorful walls result in an interior design that would make the most finicky HGTV designer proud. With an extensive wine list, sushi bar, brunch and a pastry chef who sets the standard for tasty sweets (try anything chocolate here), Zebra's creates savory dining options for the urban sophisticate, parents looking for a well-deserved romantic night out, dates trying to impress, or just about anyone else who likes good food.
Basil Restaurant , 43 Frairy St., Medfield MA. Tel. (508) 359-4400.
Some Norfolk County restaurants rely on hype, promotion and pretentiousness to mask overrated food, but Basil Restaurant takes the high road by concentrating solely on high quality food, atmosphere and service. The efforts of owner Tom and Karen McGue make Basil Restaurant the best American-style (but yet reasonably-priced) restaurant in Norfolk County. Tucked away in the poor part of beautiful Medfield ($400-500K homes), Basil's soft tones, impressive fish-filled aquarium centerpiece, dim lighting and bright dinner concoctions make this a nice little getaway for lunch or dinner. The perfect place for a date, Basil's expertly prepared chicken, steak and seafood dishes always come with a flair and a flavorful persona. The shrimp, veal and chicken marsala (one dish!) is one of the best dishes this writer has ever experienced in a restaurant, sautéed with prosciutto and mushrooms and finished with a marsala wine sauce and served over linguine with asparagus. An herb garden out back offers a fresh, wholesome taste to many of the offerings. Service is top-notch and suggests a restaurant that is extremely well-run. Few Norfolk County restaurants deliver as well as Basil's -- and with a comfortable, home-like atmosphere to boot.
679 High St., Westwood, MA. Tel. (781) 461-2440
Twenty-something restauranteur Victor Servello has created a masterpiece of a restaurant, quite possibly the best we've tried in Norfolk County. Located in the former Newport Creamery and Bergson's Ice Cream storefront in an unassuming Route 109 strip mall, Vello's has instantly become a local favorite by serving delicious, oversized sandwiches and creative dinners worthy of the best of Boston. Try the oven baked salmon with bacon mashed potatos and seasonal steamed veggies and you'll be amazed by its tender and flavorful presence -- all for under $13.00 (includes an excellent mixed green salad). The hot pressed turkey and pastrami sandwiches cry out "New York, New York!" and the pizzas rival the freshness and innovation of Boston's best-known North End establishments. The clam chowder lets it be known that you don't have to travel to Maine to get this traditional taste of New England -- it's the thickest and most flavorful we've ever sampled. The fresh tomato bisque is not far behind with its smoky flavor. Deserts are absolutely amazing ranging from the authentic teramisu to the wide variety of great ice cream -- the coconut stands out. Vello's is small inside -- sort of like an elongated and somewhat sophisticated luncheonette. Vello's also serves breakfast on the weekend. The coffee is always great! Service is attentive, as Servello has chosen a young but thoroughly professional and interested staff. If there was a restaurant hall of fame, the board of directors would waive the five year waiting period for Vello's as their universal appeal and commitment to excellence is a model for the way a restaurant should be operated.
Rossi's Restaurant, 270 Exchange St. Millis, MA. Tel. (508) 376-1004
If Rossi's were located in a major city, it would be considered the cream of the crop of Italian restaurants. Rossi's is an absolutely charming restaurant, the perfect place for a special occasion. Situated in a pleasant residential neighborhood in Millis, Mass., this elegant 1887 estate serves some of the best Northern Italian cuisine we've sampled anywhere. The atmosphere is truly special, too, with "nine elegantly appointed dining rooms that boast original tile fireplaces and rich mahogany paneling." Our favorite dish: the Seafood All' Apassionata, featuring fresh linguini sautéed with lobster, shrimp and scallops, tossed with bacon, plum tomatoes, garlic, butter and ripe olives. Save room for dessert, too, especially the wonderfully moist carrot cake. After leaving, you'll wonder how this great restaurant ever slipped by you. You'll want to return again and again.
Washington Street, East
800 Washington St., Wrentham, MA. Tel. (508).384.3050.
Who would have thought an Italian restaurant on "anytown USA" Route 1 is as good as any high-quality North End Boston restaurant? Several elegant, carpeted dining rooms, lovely wall murals and fresh Italian cuisine comprise this long-time traditional favorite in the southwest suburbs. The well-trained waitstaff professionally serves wonderful caesars salads, homemade bread that requires eating several slices, and dinners like veal oscar, fruitte de mare and tuna steak that are consistently superb. Homemade deserts --especially the chocolate cake category -- complete a throroughly enjoyable dining experience. Luciano, a gregarious elderly man with a thick and charming Italian accent, personally visits each table asking how the dinner is, or was. We always answer in the affirmative!
Lafayette House , Route 1, Foxboro, MA. Tel. (508) 543-5344
One of the most charming restaurants in New England, the Lafayette House dates back to 1784 and has many interesting architectural nooks and crannies en route to the several dining rooms -- crooked and creaky wooden floors, low ceilings, post and beam design, etc. The atmosphere is rustic, but the food is not. The lobster, roast duck breast with ginger marinade, and the perfectly roasted prime rib stand out. It is believed that George Washington once stayed here overnight, thus confirming the Lafayette House place has been around quite a while.
Spruce Pond Creamery
370 King St, Franklin, MA. Tel. (508) 520-7900.
Marc Bluestein has brought an organic flair to this pizzeria/creamery. From the delicious mixed greens salads to mouth-watering flatbread pizzas and homemade ice cream, Spruce Pond Creamery is an affordable delight, unlike any other place in the region. Organic cheeses, non-nitrate pepperoni and great toppings and mixes like pesto, red peppers, shrimp and goat cheese make you realize that this is a very distant cousin of your basic house of pizza. All the ice cream is superb, but the raspberry chocolate truffle is the absolute standout. Decor is colorful with multi-colored fans, clean-tiled floor, and an outdoor section overlooking pretty Spruce Pond. The open kitchen with a wood stove oven has a certain charm. Organic food-lovers and those about to discover the wonders of Bluestein's fresh new concept of introducing a healthful style to conventional foods, bring your appetites!
Budabing's 50s Cafe
1060 Main St. Millis, MA.. Tel. (508) 376-8999.
A fun, brightly lit modern 50s style diner with booths ample counter space and a very large jukebox, Budabing's makes superb breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu is huge, including great barbecue chicken, pizza (the brick oven type), shepherd's pie, meatloaf, turkey dinner and a mixed green salad with chicken, steak and shrimp. Budabing's is one of the great values on this earth, with excellent food to match, making it a local favorite and a viable alternative to cooking at home.
33 Savin Ave., Norwood, MA. Tel. (781) 762-3000
Set in a house with a tiny sign within a residential neighborhood, the Colonial House is charming on the inside with a roaring fireplace (useless in the summer though) and food that won't roar through your digestive track. From homemade meatloaf to delicious calimari, the Colonial House is a local favorite offering affordable and tasty steak, seafood and chicken dishes. The crowds hint that this is a great place to eat.
Eagle Brook Saloon
258 Dedham St., Norfolk, MA. Tel. (508) 384-7312.
The Eagle Brook Saloon has changed greatly from its rather rough and tumble days 20 years ago, when one could see New Riders of the Purple Sage and other menacing rock bands literally shake the building loose when combined with a lively crowd. Byrds great Roger McGuinn also played here and like the band's hit single about change "Turn, Turn, Turn" (actually adapted from the Book of Ecclesiastes!),"the Eagle Brook Saloon has for the past several years "turned" into a new chapter of its revered existance. A great western-like bar remains, but the Eagle Brook Saloon is essentially a top-notch place to take the family. Healthy items like free-range chicken and mesclun mix salad deliciously reside with old-time favorites like the unbeatable chili, rib-eye steak and prime rib. The atmosphere might just be one of the most unique and appealing in New England with a wide, winding saloon-type staircase leading to a big, rustic dining room that looks more like "High Noon," or Montana than New England. Small, charming rooms veer off from the main dining room, providing the diner with the option of dining loudly, quietly or romantically depending on where you are seated. Service is always pleasant and attentive and providing "equal opportunity" friendliness to children, adults and adults who behave like children. The Eagle Brook may look "western," but it's ultimately pure New England -- what place in the west could you go and order amazingly tasty fried clams?
2 Kings Court, Dedham, MA. Tel. (781) 493-6563
Located in a basement across from Dedham District Court, the Courtyard Cafe is a favorite amongst lawyers, jury duty people and hot shot professionals with cell phones surgically attached to their ears. The wide breakfast and lunch selections (with nice pesto, olive oil and garlic flourishes) make the Courtyard Cafe a comfortable, delicious discovery in a charming-tree-lined, old colonial home section of Dedham center. The Mediterranean paninis on foccacia are especially appealing.
667 South Street, Wrentham, MA.. Tel. (508)684-9400
Cafe Assisi brings authentic-tasting Italian food to tiny Wrentham. The extremely active, equally tiny kitchen concocts a wide variety of wonderful tasting pasta-based dishes and pizzas that probably would stand out if it were located in Boston's North End -- noteworthy given the high quality competition there. The cozy, small dining room with framed pictures of Italy on the wall fills up quickly, so the take out business co-exists side-by-side with diners feasting some of the best freshly made Italian food in the area. Cafe Assisi also serves wine and offers homemade desserts. It's a great value and overall experience while dining in the Wrentham area.
1119 Washington St., Stoughton, MA. Tel. (781) 344-2030.
Town Spa has been spinning truly great thin crust pizza since 1956. Two big dining rooms are just about as busy as Stoughton Center, but fortunately a competent, largely experienced wait staff wastes no time bringing out the almost pastry-like pizza. Town Spa is a great place to eat pizza while watching usually sporting events on the large screen televisions.
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