Boston was once known as the home of the cod and the bean, but thankfully, things have significantly progressed since then. These days, those beans might easily be mixed up with Latin spices or Italian-inspired stews. And that cod might be dressed up with organic tomatoes over potato-basil puree.
Here are just a few of the best ways to discover the region’s bounty and specialties.
With New England’s incredible supply of fresh seafood, you could go to almost any beachside seafood shanty and get a great meal. But today, many restaurants are shaking up the seafood shack genre with newfangled and vibrant ways to cook the ocean’s offerings.
In Boston, Legal Sea Foods  complements its classic seafood chowder with an adventurous menu of South Indian-spiced shrimp, tuna, and salmon.
On Nantucket, The Pearl  turns oysters into a revelation, with a cilantro sauce that leaves even the most jaded bivalve lovers addicted. Their salt-and-pepper wok-fried lobster is equally phenomenal.
The menu at Newport’s Cheeky Monkey Café  works its way around the oceans of the world — with choices like calamari with prosciutto and pepper sauce, and a to-die-for tuna with lemongrass.
Even tried-and-true New England cuisine has gotten a reworking of late. To wit: The Fireplace , just outside of Boston. Go for the cozy room, stay for the maple-glazed pork ribs.
Portland’s much-loved heavy-hitter, Fore Street , packs people in with straight-from-the-farm dishes like wood-oven roasted mussels and grilled hanger steak — all from local sources, all inspired by simple, full-flavored New England classics.
The same goes for The White Barn Inn , though you’ll find the results far fancier. Housed in an antique-dotted old barn, the candlelit setting is downright lovely — as is the ever-changing regional menu with options like halibut over slow-cooked fennel, bacon-wrapped pork loin with butternut squash, and wild Maine blueberry cobbler.