Destination Dining

HEN OF THE WOOD

Waterbury, VT
> Miles from Boston Common: 191
> Average meal price per person:  $
> Meal on a scale of 1 to 10: 9.0

By now it seems there are few people on the planet who don’t know about this culinary treasure in the heart of ski country that serves the simplest of dishes — heirloom tomato salad, squab under a brick, grass-fed rib-eye. Yet even the most frequent visitors will feel like they’ve discovered it for the first time as they sup in the gristmill cellar to the sounds of a rushing creek outside. The flavors are revelatory — a combination of locally sourced ingredients and the expert hand of chef Eric Warnstedt, who has an almost instinctive ability to bring out each dish’s natural essence. 92 Stowe St., 802-244-7300, henofthewood.com.

L. A. BURDICK

Walpole, NH
Miles from Boston Common: 131
Average meal price per person:  $
Meal on a scale of 1 to 10: 8.5

Boston dwellers who’ve sampled the chocolate at Burdick’s café in Cambridge understand why cult followers from as far as Canada trek to the company’s full-fledged restaurant in New Hampshire. Two parts modern Parisian brasserie, one part fancified country store, it’s an enchanting spot to tuck into a lyonnaise salad with duck egg and duck confit — or a roast chicken in calvados jus that’s nothing short of ethereal. Dessert, of course, centers on chocolate. That said, the raspberry tart? It’ll haunt your dreams. 47 Main St., 603-756-9058, burdickchocolate.com.

CASTLE HILL INN

Newport, RI
> Miles from Boston Common: 75
> Average meal price per person:  $$
> Meal on a scale of 1 to 10: 6.5

There may be no prettier view in Newport than the one from this cluster of turreted chalets and cottages overlooking Narragansett Bay. But the real attraction is in the kitchen, where chef Jonathan Cambra oversees a menu of artfully presented dishes such as pan-roasted scallops (pictured right), and a chestnut velouté that naps a slow-cooked rabbit. And sure, after all that, you could head home. But having dipped into the top-notch wine selection, plus desserts that include pot de crème with s’mores and a divine hazelnut tart, it’s fairly certain you’ll be more inclined to explore those soaring turrets. 590 Ocean Dr., 888-466-1355, castlehillinn.com.

THE PITCHER INN 

Warren, VT
> Miles from Boston Common: 183
> Average meal price per person: $
> Meal on a scale of 1 to 10: 7.5

Tucked into a Rockwellian village, this charmer is a paragon of rustic refinement. Visitors may be drawn to its stately elegance and wildly themed rooms (a library motif pervades the “School” suite), but they’re otherwise distracted once they settle into the dining room. Sue Schickler changes her menu regularly, which means shredded Brussels sprouts and Parmesan tossed into a salad one day, and flounder served dramatically en papillote (baked in paper) the next. All the while, service is impeccably timed, but also personal — so your meal will wind up feeling as welcoming as a visit to your grandmother’s pastoral retreat. 275 Main St., 802-496-6350, pitcherinn.com.

  • Jane

    Al Forno should not be on this list. When was the last time you ate there? Mediocre food, surly service, high prices.

  • Dick

    A message to Todd. Leave that minor league city in the dust where the most popular chef “KO” has his ass kissed for running a Tacos, Tapas and Steak House empire. Too funny.

  • jim

    i agree with jane with the additional note that they have always treated cwoc [customers without connections] as second class. don’t expect to be treated well if you can’t or won’t mention a “friend of a friend”. also,they are quite inflexible if you have even minor dietary restrictions or preferences. comments on other places seem on target.