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great special occasion meal in western mass

moved this from the boston board

we will be in northampton this summer. just wondering if people know of anything either in noho or in the (even further) boonies, a hidden gem somewhere (i'm thinking of a wonderful restaurant we used to eat at in plainfield run by two gay ex-monks long since closed as a template) in the berkshires. nothing east of noho preferably.


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  1. It's a bit of a ride from Northhampton, but I highly recommend the Salem Cross Inn in West Brookfield. Especially if you can make the Drover's Roast

    1. If it is still open "The Mill On The Floss" is outstanding and is in N. Berkshire County

      1. Green Street Cafe is still great place for a special dinner... not as hidden as some of the other recs but away from the busy main street madness. Had a great house-smoked duck breast recently. Lucky for you the summer months are some of their best because they feature produce grown in their own organic garden...

        1 Reply
        1. The Montague Night Kitchen isn't too far from Northampton, maybe 20 minutes or so. We went there just before New Years and really enjoyed it. It is set in an old mill building on a waterfall, a gorgeous setting. The room is warm and relaxed, and the food is very good, if sometimes a little busy. It would be perfect for a summer night.


          1. The Blue Heron Restaurant in Sunderland is both elegant and comfortable, with wonderful food! To see the menu go to www.blueherondining.com.

            1. I recommend John Andrews in Egremont in the Berkshires (south of Great Barrington). I've never had a bad meal there. Food is creatively done....ambience is very nice and service is excellent....great wine list also. You can search it here as well....most hounds love this place!

                1. re: wmassnative

                  DiPaolo is definitely on my list...and I still haven't tried Gypsy Apple in Shelburne Falls.

                  1. re: hollerhither

                    I just went to the gypsy apple last night, and I have to say it was one of the best dining experiences I've ever had. The food was phenomenal, the prices very reasonable, and the owners are a blast. I can't really say enough about how great the place is. Highlights (though it's hard to pick out what was best) were probably the market fish (a blue fish last night, but changes often) and the fillet mignon in a demi-glace. (which compared favorably to the best steaks that I've had).

                    1. re: dinnerdoctor

                      Sounds great! I've been there only once since my post and had a good meal, a couple of very minor quibbles. I really liked the vibe of the place, and we had great service. I've been wanting to go back, and your post + the pending thaw (!) are inspiring me.

                  2. re: wmassnative

                    Finally made it to DiPaolo's, and had a really enjoyable meal. The highlight might have been the "fritto misto," which we ordered as a starter. Small calimari, shards of sweet potato, and shaved leeks delicately fried. Went well with a glass of Prosecco. Nice wine list. Had the duck special, the meat was cooked perfectly although the sauce was a little more aggressive than I prefer (heavy on the citrus, or was it passionfruit). My companion ordered a rigatoni with ragu which was perfect al dente. My house salad was a throwaway -- my date's "upgraded" spinach salad was much better, and the portion was huge, we could have easily split it. Comfortably elegant atmosphere, good service. It's on the higher-end for us in terms of pricing, but not astronomical. Thursday evenings they have live music, and looks like nice patio seating in the summer (loved the candles along the walkway).

                    For my area "upscale" favorite, I think the Night Kitchen is still tops, but we'll definitely be back again. Nice to have this place in Turners.

                  3. Both the Night Kitchen and the Blue Heron are great. The Night Kitchen has a wonderful used bookstore attached to it, and in the summer you can eat outside by the waterfall. Both restaurants are "in the country" and you'll pass a lot of farm stands on the way. Both restaurants have an emphasis on local produce/ingredients.

                    1. People are hitting the standards, Night Kitchen, Gypsy Apple, Green Street, DiPaolo's. I've got nothing to add but will second all of the above.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: andytee

                        Oh, one thing to add:
                        When I think special occasion meal in the summer in the Pioneer Valley, I think of cooking. Nothing against the restaurants here, despite our frequent complaints there are many good (though very few amazing) places, but if I wanted to do something special, I'd stock up on great produce at the farmer's market and local stores, maybe some good cheeses, breads, meats, and make a delicious feast to eat outdoors. Maybe a picnic by a pond with strawberries and prosecco, or maybe a tablecloth under a tree in the yard, whatever works.
                        Now, I don't know your occasion, and sometimes not cooking is what makes it special, but it just wanted to throw that out there as something to consider.

                        1. re: andytee

                          this is a great suggestion, and often times the tastiest meal around.