I think Easthampton, population 16,262, is coming into its own in terms of restaurant choices. I no longer feel like I have to go out of town to get a good meal. I would like to hear what other hounds have to say about it, if there are any in this area! Do you have any special likes or dislikes? Are any of the restaurants particularly good with vegetarian choices? Here are a few of my favorites....
Coco - Open for dinner only, Wed - Sat. Google says they open at 5am but that is incorrect. Their menu changes a bit now and then but the ingredients are always fresh and treated with the utmost care; the sauces are delicate and delightful, and the atmosphere is great. If you dine upstairs, you need a reservation, but we've gotten to like the downstairs where you can just walk in any time, and order the same food as they serve upstairs. Their sparkling water is $3 and they keep it coming. Apps are $5 - $9 I think, and the entrees are around $12 - $15. My very favorite dish is the fried chicken served over a mild vinegar based coleslaw which is on a bed of pureed potatoes. The chicken is white meat, juicy, tender, and very crisp. The "gravy" is delicious! I also love the meatballs and all the ragu dishes have been great. The only dish I didn't care for was the braised pork, and that's because it was too fatty for me. I know some people like it but I have a problem with the texture of fat. They don't have a website but here's a Chowhound thread and they're on facebook.
Silver Spoon - Best little diner! Serves breakfast and lunch until 2pm, 7 days a week. I love the rustic feel of the space - wood floors and booths, mugs lining a shelf that goes all around the wall. Very civic minded owner. My favorite dishes - the eggs benedict, their homemade wheat toast with any kind of eggs and sausage, cheeseburgers, fries, tuna salad, BLT, grilled cheese (my husband likes their omelets and pancakes). I guess you could say we've liked most everything we've tried there, except clam strips. We drive to Jake's, Look, Green Bean, and Sylvester's for breakfast and lunch. Silver Spoon is equally worth the drive! http://silverspooneasthampton.com/
Amy's - Took us several years of living here to finally try Amy's. They're open every day, except Monday, from 11:30am - 2:00am. The space is fairly large with a sports bar on one side and the restaurant on the other (a closed door between the two). It has never been too loud in the restaurant but we've never been there very late at night. Discovered they have THE BEST fried clam strips in the Valley - fresh and tender. Good fries and great tarter sauce but the coleslaw suffers a bit. The clam strip platter is HUGE so we now just order the appetizer portion for the two of us. I of course could eat the entire order by myself! Their twin sliders are good, as well as their French onion soup. I tried their pulled pork but can't remember the details about it. I think it was pretty good. They have several varieties of mac & cheese which I'm always tempted to order, but never have. We've also enjoyed the club sandwich, fish sandwich, and the chili. Try it - and visit White Square Books while you're there!
Riff's Joint - Open 7 days a week until 10pm, in the space formerly occupied by Blue Moon grocery in Eastworks. Bad location, not much of an atmosphere but we enjoy take-out from time to time. We ate in the restaurant for lunch once and it was okay. Not sure what it would be like at night. Having lived in Philadelphia for several years, we know good cheese steaks and my husband says they're good here. I haven't been that adventurous yet. I like the Thai-Dyed noodles, the pulled pork egg rolls (kinda weird, I know), the burgers, and the avocado BLT. The only thing that I don't like, and it baffles me why they do it, is that every sandwich comes with TORTILLA CHIPS! To me, tortilla chips just don't go with sandwiches. You have to pay extra for fries which I resent when I'm being forced to pay for tortilla chips I don't want. They have a great looking selection of vegetarian offerings but I haven't tried them (except for the noodles) and I'm afraid to try the burritos because I'm afraid they would be a disappointment after living on the west coast and having access to the greatest burritos in the country.
Nini's - Open every day except Sunday, from 4pm until 9 or 10pm. They used to deliver and they were our favorite local pizza, but they no longer deliver. I still recommend the pizza. My husband and I went for dinner once during the holidays. I really liked it and we both enjoyed our meals very much, but for some reason my husband decided he didn't like the atmosphere and I haven't manged to get him back there yet. I'm working on it because I liked it and I'm curious to see if other dishes stand up to the test. They serve complimentary fresh baked bread that's pretty good. We both had salads and they were good. I think my husband had the caesar and I had the garden salad. We both really enjoyed our entrees - my husband had the Lasagna and I had the Rigatoni Bolognese. BTW - the very best Fettuccini Alfredo I have had in the Valley is at Joe's Cafe in N'hampton - excellent!
La Casita Azteca - Open 7 days, but they're one of those places that opens for lunch, closes around 3, and then opens again for dinner. Best to check hours before you go. This little place had its ups and downs but I think they've finally worked out most of the bugs in their operation. Initially the service was very spotty and they often were out of things on the menu. I often placed my order only to be told "we don't have that tonight." No way to run a restaurant, but people kept coming back, giving them another chance and today they're pretty popular. Outdoor seating in warm weather. I would say their food is authentic but it might not be the type of Mexican food you're used to. The cooking style is from the Oaxaca and southern regions of Mexico as opposed to the northern Tex-Mex style. I've enjoyed everything I've had there but I usually get enchiladas (I'm partial to suizas), tacos, burrito, or a combination plate. Go and experiment! Don't let one trip make up your mind for you. I think there's something for everyone here. Great looking vegetarian options, good chips and salsas.
Tandem Bagel Company - Open 7 days a week from 6am - 3pm. Although I can't with a good conscience call them a good bagel place, their sandwiches are pretty good. The bagels lack that chewy consistency that makes for a good bagel, but they're flavorful and they work well as bread for a sandwich. I have to admit the only thing I've had was an egg sandwich on a bagel but was very good. A salad passed by our table and it was large and looked great. The space is wonderful! An old railway station, painted white brick walls, including a fireplace, give it a very crisp, clean look and feel. Very pleasant. They're on the bike trail and have a bike up window. I will definitely go back and try some of their specials. Soup will have to wait a few months!
Tong Sing - Not sure what their hours are but they seem to always be open for dinner. I see lunch specials on their menu, so I assume they're open for lunch as well. This is a little jewel of a restaurant. They don't deliver and they don't have a website but they are definitely the best Chinese food in Easthampton. Possibly the only place we like better is China Garden in Hadley. We love the ginger chicken w/string beans, lo mein, egg rolls, soups, chicken with black bean sauce, and generally everything we've had from there. They have a couple of tables but we get take-out. I wish they delivered!
We can get good pizza at Antonio's and Village Pizza and there are other pizza joints that we haven't tried. Glory of India moved in on Union St. a while back but I don't care for it. When I want good Indian food I will make the drive to Pintu's in Springfield. People also like Apollo Grill. I've had good lunches there but my husband and I didn't like their dinners. Maybe we should try them again - or maybe not. We haven't tried Popcorn Noir but they look enticing. We'll have to try it sometime. We've tried Captain Jack's several times and have never enjoyed it, but I wouldn't tell people to stay away because I know other people do like it. Oh, and Mt. Tom's Ice Cream - how could I forget!! Great homemade ice cream and milkshakes! Cute old fashioned candy jars with all kinds of candy, but we go there for the ice cream.
So, there you have it. Not bad for such a small town, huh? I hope some other people will chime in with their thoughts on Easthampton eateries!