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Best and Worst Dining in Massachusetts, 2001

This is our first year in existence at Visiting New, so, therefore, this is our first "Best and Worst" dining review. We are always looking for reader's feedback, so if you agree or disagree with some of the selections below or would like to add your own, please Write us!

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Best Seafood: The Daily Catch, Brookline and the North End of Boston. Legal Seafoods may get all the accolades, but we think the Daily Catch offers fresher fish and better preparations. It is a "hole in the wall," but who cares when the seafood is top-notch?

Worst seafood: Michael's, Newburyport. Pretty waterfront location, pretty bad seafood with too much breading, small portions and unimaginative creations.

Best steaks: Ken's Steak House, Framingham. Certainly not a trendy choice, as this steak house has been around seemingly back to the days of Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker. Ken's, however, seems to keep on delivering, and at a better value than the highly touted Morton's and Capital Grille.

Worst steaks: The Stockyard, Brighton. The New Balance shoe factory is next to the Stockyard. It might be hard to tell the difference between the taste of a sneaker and a steak.

Best neighborhood restaurant: The Newbridge Cafe, Chelsea. Rude waitresses, down and out atmosphere and some of the best steak tips in the world.

Worst neighborhood restaurant: Applebees. Even the chicken tenders stink.

Best pizza: Spruce Pond Creamery, Franklin. Don't let the soccer mom/minivan environs of Franklin discourage you: Spruce Pond Creamery serves up the freshest, most innovative organic pizzas that we've sampled, to date. Goat cheese, herb blends, non-nitrate pepperoni and bacon, it's all delicious.

Worst pizza: Fenway Park, Boston. Needs to be placed on waivers.

Best Italian restaurant: Luciano's, Wrentham. We've always had great meals here, and place this long-time favorite above anything in the famed Boston North End. Great atmosphere and service to match.

Worst Italian restaurant: Papa Ginos, various locations. Chef Boyardee with seating.

Best Chinese food: Jade Garden, Arlington. The great Chang An in Concord might be the popular choice, but this year we take Jade Garden because of its tasty "no MSG" selections, a terrific nightly buffet and an extremely friendly waitstaff.



Worst Chinese food: Chopsticks, Leominster. We bow our heads to the plastic tiki Gods, as we would have preferred food to go along with our MSG.

Best Thai food: Thai World, Medfield. Sometimes Thai food can weigh you down with heavy sauces, too much salt and poorly balanced meals. Thai World, on the other hand, offers extremly fresh dishes, wonderful vegetable selections and a perfect Pad Thai.

Worst Thai food: Any mall food court establishment.

Best diner: Shawmut Diner, New Bedford. Great home cooking along with wonderful hosts, Phil and Celeste Paleologis.

Worst diner: None. You don't pay for the atmosphere, so the food better be good. And it is, no matter what diner you frequent.

Best brunch: Lake Pearl Luciano's, Wrentham. Great selection, high quality. From the basics like bacon and eggs to the delicious pasta, fish and chicken dishes, we recommend not eating a few days before to get ready for this grand experience. Atmosphere is nice, too, situated on beautiful Lake Pearl.

Worst brunch: Justin's Hearthside, Hanover. As we walked alongside the brunch tables, we kept waiting for something good to eat. It didn't happen.

Best fast food: Kelly's Roast Beef, Revere Beach and suburban locations (Natick, Danvers and Saugus). The roast beef is delivcious and the clam plate is a glutton's dream -- plenty of clams along with a mountain of onion rings and french fries. There's nothing like sitting on a wall overlooking Revere Beach, eating at Kelley's and watching the hilarity of muscle heads and beach babes walk by.

Worst fast food: Buzzy's, Boston. The darling target of local comedians. Unbelievably bad.

Most scenic location: The Old Mill, Westminster. Beautiful pond and waterfall next to an old gristmill setting. Food is above average, with the best bet being the Sunday brunch.

Worst scenic location: Sbarro's on the Mass Turnpike.

Best ice cream: Crescent Ridge Dairy Bar, Sharon, Mass. The cows are just a short distance from the ice cream stand. Ice cream couldn't be any fresher.

Worst ice cream: Friendly's. Tastes like some of the stuff you'd buy at the market. Come to think of it, you can buy Friendly's ice cream at the market.

Best clam chowder: Legal Seafoods, various locations: Thick and full of clams, the way it should be.

Worst clam chowder: Mildred's Chowder House, Hyannis. Ironic, isn't it?

Best caesar salad: Rossi's, Millis. Full of healthy greens and a "just right" dressing.

Worst caesar salad: Cafe Escadrille, Burlington. Well-known for its caesar salad, we found it to be rather bland.

Best breakfast: Dalimpio's, Hyannis, Mass. Everything you'd want for breakfast is here at great prices, high quality and huge quantities.

Worst breakfast: Barbara's Kitchen, Arlington (CLOSED). Once asked for toast at breakfast and was told they were out of it.

Best subs: A&A Deli, Arlington. A master cook lurks somewhere in this convenience store. Great subs, terrific home-cooked meals.

Worst subs: The pre-packaged selection at Mobil gas stations.

Do you have a favorite or least favorite? Write us!


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