Bocado's Flamenco Wine Dinner

From the dipping temperatures to the scattered snow flurries, winter is slowly creeping up on us here in New England. But when the wintry weather is too much to bear, there is nothing better than finding a cozy place to thaw out while spoiling your ravishing winter appetite.

Winter dining means different things in different places. In New York City, winter is manifested into a wonderland of romantic nights at Central Park, delicious dinners at the famous Keens Steakhouse and in D.C., winter’s beauty is captured on a dish at the 1789 Restaurant. No two places are alike and for good reason. In Central Massachusetts, there is a growing number of “hot-spots” that offer more than just a warm place to dine during the below zero temperatures. Places like Armsby Abbey – serving up a soul-warming mac and cheese that will make you forget about the frozen sidewalks and chilly winds – and deadhorse hill – offering patrons a stiff drink and a dish suitable for any weather – keep Central Massachusetts as a growing foodie destination during the winter months. But while Armsby Abbey and deadhorse hill run the wintry streets of downtown Worcester, Bahn Mi Saigon and Coco hold their place in Northampton with treats that will cure the common winter angst.

Whether you’re searching for local eateries or planning a day trip to escape the icy hills of Worcester during the winter, Central Massachusetts has a wide range of great places to keep your foodie warm this winter.

La Cucina

What’s better than comfort food on a snowing day? La Cucina’s manicotti dish leaves guests wondering the same thing. It is hard not to credit the Italian community for their gratifying, hearty dishes but at La Cucina, saying grazie to the chef is more than welcomed. Served in a generous portion, the manicotti dish at La Cucina is a tribute to the love of cheese and red sauce. Both filling and satisfying, manicotti is a treat for local Worcesterites looking for a little Italian love.

Blue Heron

With cuisines sourced from the Pioneer Valley, the Blue Heron sits in the Old Town Hall in Sunderland with a menu that will inspire many winter visits. The Duck Two-Ways dish – a Jurgielewicz Farms Pekin Duck breast, leg confit, brandied cherry duck jus, with pickled cherries, potato fennel hash, and caramelized turnips – coupled with the beautiful interiors, makes the Blue Heron a must visit during the wintry weather.

 John Andrews Farmhouse

Known for the region’s vibrant food culture, John Andrews Farmhouse is located in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. The backdrop of snow covered mountains and picturesque landscapes provide visitors to the John Andrews Farmhouse more than just a warm meal. If the scenery doesn’t melt your New England heart, then visit John Andrews on a Monday to experience Mom’s Meatloaf Monday. Starting with a spinach salad with warm rawson brook Monterey chevre, housemade pickled red onion and warm bacon vinaigrette and followed by a housemade pork meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and broccoli, Mom’s Meatloaf Mondays at John Andrews is a sure way to cure the winter blues.

Bocado

Whether you’re ordering tapas frias or tapas calientes, Bocado will warm your soul to the core during the chilly Worcester months. In the spirit of the winter season, visiting Bocado and ordering platos para dos is the best way to dine and enjoy each other’s company. The sharable plates give a new meaning to the “sharing is caring” mantra. The Paella Clasica – a dish compiled of saffron rice, chicken, calamari, shrimp, chorizo, littlenecks, mussels, peas, and tomato – epitomizes the food culture of Spain. While the paella is a must have, you can order paella de carne – for meat lovers – or a paella de verduras – for veggie lovers – and still be completely satisfied.

Pho Dakao

With a menu filled with traditional Vietnamese dishes, visiting Pho Dakao in the winter is a transformative experience. Located on Park Avenue, Pho Dakao is best when indulging in their Pho bowls.  Served with their famous Vietnamese beef and chicken broths, scallions, onions and cilantro with an option of white or yellow noodles, the Pho (noodle soup) can cure a common cold. Adding steak, flank, brisket, tendon, or tripe is an easy way to create a hearty noodle soup to satisfy any lunch or dinner craving.

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