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Restaurants

Where to Eat Right Now in Worcester

Worcester has become a culinary hub for foodies from all over. Whether you’re checking out Restaurant Row on Shrewsbury Street or hunting for hidden gems off the beaten path, here are some of the top spots to try during your visit to Central Massachusetts.

Morning Fare

Hearty Breakfast: Shaker’s Café

This kid-friendly spot specializes in hash and home fries, but offers a robust menu of classic breakfast dishes including inventive omelets and fluffy pancakes. Go with your gut and try a local favorite: the Shaker’s Special comes with three eggs any style, homemade corn beef hash, home fries, and toast.

Brunch: Livia’s Dish

The Italian and Mediterranean-inspired menu focuses on artisanal local ingredients; all breads, sauces, and farmer’s cheeses are made in house daily. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Livia’s French Toast, topped with blueberries, candied pecans, and mascarpone, or set your sights on something savory, like the bacon breakfast panini with farm fresh eggs, roasted peppers and onions, and fresh mozzarella cheese.

Lunch

Birch Tree Bread Co.

The bakery/café combo offers artisan breads, pastries, sandwiches, and hearth-baked pizza, choosing to stick with local ingredients—even the coffee is roasted in town at Acoustic Java. Snag a gourmet sandwich made with “Mom’s meatballs” and aged provolone on focaccia or sample the famous sweet or savory bread pudding. The 21 and over crew can drink up from the full wine and beer list, complete with spiked coffee cocktails.

Basil n’ Spice

Owner and Master Chef Bator Lachmann brings the taste of her homeland—the Sukhothai province of Thailand—to the Bay State with mouthwatering dishes like Bangkok duck, kanom jeeb, and tung tong. All of the innovative and artfully crafted dishes are made fresh to order at this family-owned restaurant open early to help fill those midday cravings.

Flying Rhino

The hip and eclectic Flying Rhino Café & Watering Hole is the place to pop by with friends and cool down with a cold cocktail on a warm summer day. The bar serves a stocked selection of vodka, rum, tequila, gin, and whiskey drinks, plus 12 rotating drafts. Need a flavorful boost during the workweek? Pickup the Chicken & Waffle sandwich with maple Sriracha dip or the Goddard Rocket salad with fried pancetta to go during your lunch break to breeze right through the afternoon slump.

Dinner 

Brew City Grill

Even the craftiest connoisseurs will find something new among the 155-plus different beers with 40 on tap, including three beer engines that pour cask-conditioned ales. The burger bar has more than a dozen beer-inspired bites, but you can never go wrong with the signature Brew City Beer Burger: the fresh Black Angus beef is basted with Wachusett Country Ale and topped with beer-braised onions on a toasted, buttery house roll.

Bocado Tapas Bar

Small plates are a staple of Spanish cuisine. Bocado offers both simple and sophisticated fare with more than 40 different tapas, imported meats and cheeses, paella dishes, and an exclusively Spanish wine list. Enjoy sangria and pinxtos in the warm and welcoming atmosphere.

deadhorse hill

Located in the former Bay State House hotel in the heart of downtown Worcester, deadhorse hill is the authority on classic New England fare. Find Massachusetts and Maine oysters at the raw bar alongside curated seafood favorites. Or opt for the “horse feast” and let the chef decide your dinner during a family-style meal.

Sweet Tooth

The Queen’s Cups

Curb your cravings at this gourmet cupcake shop that has something for everyone, including gluten-free options and dog-friendly “pupcakes.” Flavors and desserts change daily, but you can count on decadent treats like whoopie pies, cannoli cookie sandwiches, cinnamon rolls, and more.

Blue Shades

Only Blue Shades can claim to have the world’s greatest waffle and prove it. The made-to-order Belgian liege waffles are yeasted and caramelized, so they have a donut-like texture and taste. (And there’s a gluten-free option, too!) Sip a single-origin coffee with high quality beans or try a Boba tea to wash it all down.

For more information on dining in Worcester, visit discovercentralma.org.