Destination Dining

By Alexandra Hall | Boston Magazine |

FORE STREET

Portland, ME
> Miles from Boston Common: 108
> Average meal price per person: $
> Meal on a scale of 1 to 10: 9.5

You want pomp and circumstance? Reserve elsewhere. But if what you crave is the most flavorful, delectably cooked ingredients, there’s still no better table to secure than one at this industrial-chic culinary temple. Fore Street is the nexus of Portland’s nationally ballyhooed gastro-scene, and with the first bite of your meal, you’ll understand why. If it isn’t the tomatoes that are perfectly ripe (they wouldn’t have been on the ever-changing menu if they weren’t exactly in season) winning you over, then it’ll be the succulent turnspit-roast chicken and the inspired wine list, both of which will have you requesting seconds. And then there’s the plum-almond tart (pictured above) — a confection so vibrant, its flavors pack all the grandeur your palate could ever crave. 288 Fore St., 207-775-2717, forestreet.biz.

THE RED ROOSTER

Woodstock, VT
> Miles from Boston Common: 141
> Average meal price per person:  $

> Meal on a scale of 1 to 10: 8.5

You don’t come to the ridiculously quaint town of Woodstock expecting to break the cuisine sound barrier; you come to revel in the place’s ambient cuteness. So brace yourself for dinner at the Woodstock Inn’s improbably daring dining room. Ask for a table close to the bubbling water sculpture, and then dive in — to thoughtfully executed plates such as pear with blue cheese and short ribs; a black-truffle risotto so delectable it tastes like dessert; and a velvety duck zapped with mustard spaetzle, tweaked by the bitterness of grilled radicchio, and calmed by the sweetness of stone fruits. 14 The Green, 802-457-1100, woodstockinn.com.

SOLSTICE

Stowe, VT
> Miles from Boston Common: 207
> Average meal price per person:$
> Meal on a scale of 1 to 10:  6.0

Housed in Stowe Mountain Lodge, Solstice restaurant is a true gastronomic stage, thanks to grand tables and soaring ceilings that mimic the towering peaks of nearby Mount Mansfield. Chef Cody Vasek’s upscale comfort menu more than holds its own against the surroundings, with crowd-pleasers that are perfect for warming you up after a run on the slopes — understated but flavorful masterpieces such as Misty Knoll coq au vin and a rich-as-can-be lamb and duck confit cassoulet. 7412 Mountain Rd., 802-760-4735, stowemountainlodge.com.

STREET & CO.

Portland, ME
> Miles from Boston Common: 107
> Average meal price per person: $
> Meal on a scale of 1 to 10: 7.0

One of the very first great Portland restaurants was Street & Co., which has been serving just-caught, Mediterranean-rustic seafood since 1989. And you can’t improve on the setting: a cozy string of brick-walled eating spaces in a converted warehouse in the Old Port. Stick with the classics here — stuffed dates to start; grilled lobster that comes direct from the city’s harbor; and scallops in Pernod and cream. 33 Wharf St., 207-775-0887, streetandcompany.net.

  • 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.