Going out for an evening of very upscale, fine dining is an occasional treat that we all need. One occasion coming up soon, as a matter of fact, is Mother’s Day, which usually means that advance reservations are a wide move. For any time of the year, though, keep in mind these restaurants below, serving incomparable dishes in many of New England’s most beautiful settings, from mountain to the city to the sea.
Mooo at XV Beacon, 15 Beacon Street, Boston, MA — It would be hard to achieve a higher level of sophistication and fine taste than you find at Mooo, located in the magnificent Beaux Arts hotel XV Beacon. Speaking of “higher,” let’s mention here that warm weather bring the opening of the roof deck at Mooo – you can enjoy classic drinks as you overlook at classic city. Throughout, Mooo presents attentive service, sophisticated décor and the creative spin on the classic steakhouse menu. Steaks are cooked to perfection and some diners have privately wished for a sampler flight of the steak sauces(!). Hours: Open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. Menus. 877-982-3226. Map.
Topper’s at The Wauwinet, 120 Wauwinet Road, Nantucket, MA — You are on Nantucket Island, at a AAA Five Diamond award-winning restaurant that has been named by Zagat’s at the best restaurant on Nantucket. How likely is it that you will have a fine meal, including, if you wish, the freshest seafood ever to land on a plate? Answer: very likely. Topper’s in The Wauwinet is one of the nation’s most acclaimed restaurants, It serves a la carte and prix fixe menus showcasing seasonally inspired New England cuisine with an emphasis on local produce and seafood. Hint: try the locally harvested Retsyo Oysters on the half shell. The carefully curated list of 1,450 wines has been repeatedly honored with the Wine Spectator Grand Award. Hours: Open daily; breakfast, 8-10:30 a.m.; lunch into dinner, noon- 9 p.m. Dinner menu. Wine list.508-228-8768. Map. Ferries to Nantucket.
Ocean Restaurant at Cape Arundel Inn & Resort, 208 Ocean Avenue, Kennebunkport, Maine — If you’ve never dining on the deck of a luxury ocean liner, you can savor the next-best thing. Ocean Restaurant at the Cape Arundel Inn on Maine’s south coast, named one of the Top 100 Scenic Restaurants in America by Open Table reviewers, invites you to drink and dine above the dramatic rocky coast from its spacious porch or indoor tables. With a menu inspired by southern France and the Mediterranean, Ocean spoils your palate with signature Maine seafood dishes like Lobster Thermidor and many other fine entrees and desserts. [photo: Merriam Ocean Restaurant]. Hours – Open nightly from early May through the summer.Dinner menu. Wine list. 855-346-5700.Map.
Fresh Salt at Saybrook Point Inn & Spa, Two Bridge Street, CT — Located at the juncture of Connecticut River and Long Island Sound, Saybrook Point Inn and its fine restaurant, Fresh Salt, serve meals that include the day’s freshest catch at the raw bar, and foods from the farm-to-chef program. Light bites and handcrafted cocktails also are a tasty pleasure. Fresh Salt offers stunning water views, a large cupola with windows that bathe the restaurant in an abundance of natural light, and full windows opening to a French balcony for open-air dining. Each Sunday, sit down to the “Best Brunch on the Shoreline,” according to Connecticut Magazine. Hours: Breakfast, 7-10 a.m.; lunch, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; dinner, 5:30-9 p.m. Menus. 800-243-0212. Map.
Kensington’s in the Spa at Norwich Inn, 607 West Thames Street, Norwich, CT — The elegant, eclectic menu at Kensington’s in the Spa at Norwich Inn has something for everyone. “As much as I love and respect the classics, my favorite thing to do is take a simple comfort food and put a twist on it,” says Chef Lee Masten. Meals showcase palates of Italy, Asia, the Mediterranean and America. Diners will find something delicious if they prefer vegetables, heavy beef, or any taste that falls in between. Try the Thai green curry mussels, New England clam chowder, Atlantic salmon, a vegetarian stir fry or a grilled steak. Desserts are luscious. Menus. 860-425-3630. Map.
Wild Rose Restaurant at Stonehurst Manor, 3351 White Mountain Hwy., North Conway, NH — The Wild Rose Restaurant at Stonehurst Manor is a lovely mix of New Hampshire mountain and shore. The mountain views are glorious; wide windows bask the dining room in natural sunlight, while also granting you wide valley views. Seafood creations come from the nearby Maine coast, guaranteeing freshness. The baked lobster dish is a favorite special item. After dinner, save room for a crème bruleè, chocolate bomb or another divine dessert. When guests book rooms direct to the manor website, they receive complimentary dinner and breakfast. Hours: Open daily; breakfast, 7:30-10 a.m.; Library Martini Lounge opens at 4:30 p.m.; dinner, 5:30-9:30 p.m. Menu. 800-525-9100. Map.
The 1865 Wine Cellar at Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa, Mountain View Road, Whitefield, NH — This is out of the range of ordinary: formal dining at the Mountain View Grand takes place in the 1865 Wine Cellar, where guests can enjoy stellar menu choices surrounded by 6,000 gleaming wine bottles. Particular dishes paired with the proper wines elevate the full experience. Mountain View Grand has been known for its character and comfort since 1865; it is the only New Hampshire resort to earn AAA Four Diamond awards in Lodging and Dining since 2008. Hours: Daily from 5 to 10 p.m. for guests ages 15 and older. A reservation is required. Attire is business casual. Menu. Wine list. 888-260-4929. Map.
Coast at Ocean House Resort, 1 Bluff Avenue, Watch Hill, RI — Ocean House, a majestic mansion perched above the shore, is home to Coast, serving a seasonal menu that changes nightly. The menu is enhanced by close collaboration between chefs and local farms; you will taste the freshest fish, fruits and vegetables of not only the season, but of that day. Savory and vegetarian menus might include sea scallops from Stonington, artisanal cheeses and buckwheat gnocchi. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy Friday lobster boils and Sunday jazz brunches. Dress code is evening resort wear. Jackets preferred for gentlemen; collared shirts required. Cocktail attire is recommended for ladies. Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 5:30-9 p.m. Menu. Wine list. 877-346-9442. Map.
Reluctant Panther Inn & Restaurant, 39 West Road, Manchester Village, VT — Executive Chef Sigal Rocklin heads a kitchen that creates and serves award-winning gourmet dishes in a sophisticated dining experience. Reluctant Panther serves contemporary American cooking in an upscale atmosphere. As often as possible, the chef purchases ingredients from local farms and producers. The outdoor covered patio is open seasonally, offering al fresco dining and a summer raw bar in one of Vermont’s most lovely and sophisticated downtown. With views over the gardens and Mount Equinox, the Patio is a picturesque venue. Hours: Daily except Sunday, 5:30-9 p.m. Dinner menu. Wine list. 800-822-2331.Map.
Old Tavern Restaurant at Grafton Inn, 92 Main Street, Grafton, VT — The Old Tavern restaurant is located in the heart of this beautiful old inn, where candlelight and firelight seem more appropriate than electric. But the menu served among this candlelit ambiance is as sophisticated as you will find in any urban center. The chef emphasized farm-to-table dining with entrees prepared in small batches to ensure the highest quality. All of the ingredients are sourced from local and sustainable purveyors throughout New England while the knowledgeable staff will explain ingredients and preparation methods and help you to explore the cuisine. Reservations are required; call 802-843-2248. Please call ahead to confirm current dining hours. Dinner menu. Wine list. 802-843-2248. Map.