Where to Eat Well In Lowell, Massachusetts

streetcars in Lowell MA
streetcars in Lowell MA | © Randy Duchaine / Alamy
Matthew Keyte

The city of Lowell in Massachusetts was the centre of the American Industrial Revolution in the early 19th century and today is known as a cultural hub. There are art galleries, poetry groups, theaters and museums, including one dedicated to Lowell native James McNeill Whistler. The restaurants in Lowell and the surrounding areas include French bistros, coffeehouses, Asian delicatessens, and New England seafood establishments that specialize in classic dishes such as lobster and scallops.

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Nashoba Valley Winery

BT489J Main building of the Nashoba Valley Winery, Massachusetts, United States of America

The Nashoba Valley Winery is one of the most distinguished wineries on the East Coast, with over a hundred national and international awards for its fruit, fortified, sparkling and grape wines. The vineyards and orchards were planted by the original owner Jack Partridge. Today the Winery is owned and run by Rich and Cindy Pelletier and the restaurant has been established to offer the wines, fruits and herbs grown on the estate. Diners will need to book ahead to ensure they get a table at a lunch or dinner sitting.

Gibbet Hill Grill

The Gibbet Hill Grill in rural Groton to the west of Lowell city promotes farm-to-fork dining and can boast an intriguing history. The area of Gibbet Hill was most likely named in the mid-17th century by English settlers after a similarly named place in the home country upon which gallows, or a gibbet, was erected for public hangings. An original 1690 farmhouse still stands near to the present restaurant. In 2004 the grill was set up in a hundred-year old barn as one of the only restaurants in New England with its own farm on site where the vegetables and meat are reared.

80 Thoreau

80 Thoreau in Concord to the south of Lowell opened its doors in April 2011 and has since won countless praise in the local press. 80 Thoreau was established by Ian Calhoun and Vincent Vela as a relaxed, elegant restaurant for fine dining. The chef Carolyn Johnson is responsible for highly-praised food that focuses upon combining local New England ingredients with classic French cooking techniques. On the dinner menu are dishes including seafood charcuterie comprising swordfish, bluefish pâte, and rillettes of striper, grilled and braised lamb, mustard tagliatelle and stuffed chard leaves.

Brew’d Awakening Coffeehaus

The Brew’d Awakening Coffeehaus lies on Market Street in the historic centre of Lowell close to the Pawtucket Canal. Just down the street are The Brush Art Gallery and Studios and the Coffeehaus serves as both a place for a brew and a cultural hub. There are regular events held here including open mic poetry slams. Work by local artists adorns the walls and is changed every three weeks, the Coffeehaus invites artists to come forward to be exhibited and sells the pieces to interested customers without commission. You can get coffees, iced tea, smoothies and pick up a bagel sandwich or a pastry.

Life Alive

Just opposite the New England Quilt Museum is Life Alive, the highest rated restaurant in Lowell based on customer reviews and feedback. Life Alive prides itself on providing vegetarian cuisine to nurture the body and soul. They are strong on providing responsibly sourced produce that inspires a devotion to the local environment and matters of global ecology. All of the vegetarian produce used in the dishes is organic and sourced from artisan suppliers. The dishes on offer all have a special name, amongst those on offer are ‘The Swami’, a sweet curry miso sauce with a mixture of tamari almonds, raisins, shredded carrots, broccoli and pear onions with brown rice, and ‘The Rebel’, a ginger nama sauce, flax oil, carrots, beets, dark greens and sprouted legumes with brown rice.

Fishbones of Chelmsford

Fishbones was set up predominantly as a seafood restaurant on the Central Square in Chelmsford, the historic town just to the southwest of Lowell. The Boston Globe gave Fishbones a top-notch write-up back in November 2013, with the mixed seafood grill being singled out for special praise. The seafood selection available is huge and includes steamed lobster, lobster rolls with mayo and fresh lemon juice, tuna steaks, mixed seafood grill, Nantucket scallops with pomegranate risotto, fried New England fisherman’s platter, and a choice of broiled, grilled, baked or fried hake, swordfish, salmon, bass, trout, or haddock. You can also grab a Black Angus steak at Fishbones or filet mignon topped with lobster.

Cobblestones of Lowell

Fish and chips

Cobblestones of Lowell serve classic American cuisine in a historic setting. The restaurant is housed in a building that was erected in 1859 as a boarding house for the high-ranking officials of the Merrimack Manufacturing Company, before being taken over by the exclusive Yorick Gentleman’s Club in 1901. The club had renovations carried out by the leading architect Frederick Stickney, with a library and dining room being built. In 1978 the building was turned into a restaurant with the billiard room of the club becoming the main dining area. In 1994 it became Cobblestones, located around the corner from the Repertory Theatre, The Lowell Memorial Auditorium, and The National Park Visitors Centre. On the menu are classics such as fish and chips in stout batter, catch of the day, Cajun prime rib, sea scallops and New York sirloin.

Hong Cuc Deli

The Hong Cuc Deli now has two locations: one on Grand Street and the original deli on Dutton Street, next door to the American Textile History Museum and the other by the Western Avenue Artists’ Studios. Hong Cuc Deli serves up top-notch Vietnamese cuisine that is much loved by their customers. The Deli keeps a low profile, though, there is no specific web presence or Facebook page run by the Deli. Patrons of the Deli single out the Banh mi for praise,baguettes that can be filled with pâte, barbecue beef and pickled vegetables. There are also lots of spring rolls available packed with pork and shrimp.

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