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Where to eat when visiting Amherst?

shawbridgeshawbridge Registered User Posts: 5,596 Senior Member
edited January 2012 in Amherst College
We dropped off our son for freshman orientation and had breakfast and lunch in the dining hall. We went out to dinner with another couple -- it seemed like a good idea to let our kids get to know others -- and went to a Japanese restaurant that was expensive and OK but not overwhelming. On admitted students weekend, we went to a pasta place (Pasta e Basta) which was inexpensive and pretty decent given the price.

I'm sure we'll be back -- we live 1 1/2 hours away. Where would you go for dinner in Amherst (or Hadley, Northhampton, etc.) either as a couple or taking child (and perhaps friends) along?
Post edited by shawbridge on
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Replies to: Where to eat when visiting Amherst?

  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Registered User Posts: 4,327 Senior Member
    I don't know anything about where to eat, but just wanted to say I hope the move-in went well, shawbridge!

    My son is flying out tonight to go back for his sophomore year. It's been great to have him home for the summer, but he's eager to get back.
  • GA2012MOMGA2012MOM Registered User Posts: 5,440 Senior Member
    Judy's is a very popular place that parents take their kids to. It is down Pleasant Street, right around the Starbucks if I remember correctly. Glad move in was successful.
  • shawbridgeshawbridge Registered User Posts: 5,596 Senior Member
    Thanks for your wishes. The move-in was pretty smooth. Fabulous dorm room, pretty reasonable roommate, oodles of activities. He was understandably anxious about starting up a a new demanding school, meeting all new people, etc. and wasn't sleeping well, but has been sleeping OK since arriving and appears to be doing well meeting people. Great adviser (Dean of Freshman) who told him to pick up a relatively easy schedule for the first term. Good freshman seminar. Lots of activities including currently a 3-day backpacking trip. We got great help from the IT department a week earlier installing speech recognition and screen-reading software and notes from the Dean for disabilities services making sure we were doing the appropriate things over the summer. Thus far, everything is as promised, but of course we'll see how things go when classes start.

    Glad you had nice summer with your son. Given the small size of the school, I'm sure they'll meet each other relatively soon.
  • kwukwu Registered User Posts: 4,759 Senior Member
    I love the Dean of First-Year Students. He's a great guy, an alum, very eager to offer help, advice, and accomodations to students who need it.

    Judies is a popular dining place for UMass and Amherst students, but you have to be careful about what you order there... I recommend driving further down until you hit Bertucci's, where the food is more simple and somewhat better tasting.

    I've had take-out from, and attended catered receptions by, Amherst Chinese many times, and the food is decent.

    I was with mom and dad the past three days, and we ate at Val for lunch and dinner. For four/five dollars a person, it's a great deal. And, Val is decent.

    There's an Applebee's on the way to Amherst. I don't know how you feel about that, but it's a typical family restaurant.
  • lmpwlmpw Registered User Posts: 617 Member
    there are lots of great restaurants in Northampton. We always go there when we visit our daughter. Great variety and excellent quality.
  • erik887erik887 Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
    I'm not sure exactly what the restaurant is called but there's a place in town that serves something called "popovers". They're absolutely amazing. We stopped by when I visited this summer. As for what they are I have no idea.
  • kwukwu Registered User Posts: 4,759 Senior Member
    erik887, you're thinking of Judie's.
  • CatfishCatfish Registered User Posts: 725 Member
    If you just want a quick meal, Antonio's pizza deserves every bit of its fantastic reputation. Bueno Y Sano is great for burritos. The Black Sheep makes really awesome sandwiches of all descriptions.

    If you want a sit-down place, Pasta E Basta and La Piazza are both good for Italian, with La Piazza being slightly fancier. Amherst Chinese and Panda East are both good for Chinese food. Arigato (which is I believe what shawbridge is referring to) is pretty good Japanese - there's two halves, but I've only been to the hibachi part. If you want something a little different, Baku's is a fantastic little Nigerian place. Fresh Side is good asian-fusion which is not too heavy (they're best known for their tea rolls). I haven't been to Judy's but I've heard good things.

    If you want to order delivery, there are tons of options open quite late (one of the benefits of being in the same town as UMass). I usually order from Bruno's or D.P. Dough for a calzone, or from Wings over Amherst, where the wings are delicious but probably take years off your life.

    About 5 minutes down route 9 towards Northampton is the Route 9 diner, which fits the classic 50s/60s mold. If you head north on 116 from Route 9, you'll see Bub's Bar-B-Q, which has all manner of delicious meats covered in barbecue sauce and a buffet of traditional southern sides. Route 9 itself is also where you can find most of the area's chain restaurants / fast food places, if that's what you're into.

    In Northampton itself there are tons of great places. Local Burger is great for burgers (surprise!). Zen is a very good Asian-fusion place. I haven't been to Osaka (Japanese food) but I've heard good things. There's a Moroccan restaurant whose name escapes me but was very good. There's also Haymarket cafe, which I recommend based on the tomato mozzarella pesto sandwich alone.

    For dessert, Bart's ice cream (in Amherst) is great. If you're in Northampton, go to Herrell's, which has been called one of the top ice cream places in the country by a number of national publications - it was one of the first shops to develop "super-premium" ice cream.

    I've probably forgotten a few, but these are all places I've been to in my time at Amherst and would (and do) go back to again. All the places in Amherst are a 5-10 minute walk from campus and everything on Route 9 and in Northampton is very easy to get to if you have a car (directions to Northampton from Amherst: get on Route 9 heading west, drive approx. 10 miles, welcome to downtown Northampton), although it's a bit less convenient if you're held to the PVTA schedule.
  • jarsilverjarsilver Registered User Posts: 511 Member
    my favorite place in amherst is fresh side on pleasant st. I guess you'd call it asian fusion?

    the mediterranean place in noho is amanouz (east main st). paul & elizabeth's is great for vegetarian/seafood (it's in thornes market).
  • erik887erik887 Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
    thanks kwu. judie's was definitely it.
  • klee123klee123 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Daughter graduated 09 from Amherst College. These are the places we went most.

    Webster's Fish Hook
    New England fish shack just north of Route 9, between the CT river and I-91. Lunch or early dinner. Reminds us of the Connecticut shoreline fish shack. I'll miss the fried oysters.

    Korean Restaurant
    111 Russell St., i.e., Route 9, south side, about two thirds of the way from Amherst to I-91. Might even have a name or a sign on the building by now. Very good tofu hot pots, and pretty good BBQ and panchan. Good place to warm up in the winter. There are lots of Korean restaurants in the Bay Area, but few so homey and family style as this one.

    Amherst Coffee
    Uncompromised American style espresso. Good place if you are a fan of Blue Bottle, Intelligentsia, Ritual, Vivace style "artisan" American espresso. At night, nice wine and spirits list. I'd guess they'd throw you out if you asked for an appletini or an hazelnut mint soy low fat latte, but I'm not sure about that. From Amherst College walk up Route 116 past Amherst Common, left turn at the stoplight.

    Amherst Brewing Company.
    On the NE corner of N. Pleasant St and Main St in downtown Amherst. Good beer, good American pub grub. Try the fried pickle and the buffalo burger.

    Flayvors of Cook Farm
    Wonderful American style rich ice cream. Usual and unusual flavors ("Hadley grass" = asparagus, worth trying, but not to my taste). Can't get any fresher ice cream unless you do it yourself. You can also personally thank the cows who gave their milk for your ice cream. Out route 9, left at the signal just past Trader Joe's, go about a mile and a half, on the right. No gelato here.

    North Hadley Sugar Shack
    Open spring only, breakfast only. They tap their sugar maples and make maple syrup. We go there and pour onto pancakes and say YUM. Route 47 2 miles north of Route 9.

    Atkins Farms
    Apple cider donuts, at the source. You'll also get them at many Amherst College gatherings. Apples, apples, apples, produce, large selection of maple syrups, and a good place for groceries. Sandwiches, sushi. We'd shop here if we lived here.

    Sonia's Cafe
    It's as if you had a Polish aunt who made you pierogi, bigos, stuffed cabbage. On Railroad St. Going on Russell St/Route 9 from Amherst to I-91, just past route 47 turn right on the first street (Goffe).

    Antonio's pizza.
    (Mentioned already in this thread, but I'll second the nomination).
    Downtown Amherst. It's not the place if your pizza vocabulary includes words like mozzarella di bufala, DOP, San Marzano and you reminisce obsessively about Napoli. If you like the idea of pizza with tortellini, or black beans with avocado, or if you just want a good slice, go.
  • shawbridgeshawbridge Registered User Posts: 5,596 Senior Member
    Thanks all. These are great suggestions. We've got four years, so who knows how many we'll get to try.

    Some interesting choices in klee's thread: Fried pickle, pizza with black bean and avocado. Both my son and I are adventurous eaters, so I'll have to try those.
  • 2bizee2bizee Registered User Posts: 499 Member
    Go to Northampton. Great food, lots of variety.
  • CatfishCatfish Registered User Posts: 725 Member
    Thanks jarsilver. Amanouz is the place I was thinking of.

    Two more very good breakfast places: Esselon Cafe and Stables, both on Route 9 on the way to Northampton.

    I think it says a lot about the scope and quality of the options in the area that of all the places klee listed, I've only been to one. I'll have to try some of them at some point.
  • EPTREPTR Registered User Posts: 3,974 Senior Member
    The East Bay Grille in Northhampton is terrific. We have eaten there many times and have never been disappointed.
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