My friend Don Lesser lives in Amherst, MA and writes on food and other topics on occasion for the local paper. I have linked to a few of his writings before such as In Search of Fresh Pasta, Laissez les Bon Temps Roulez, and Portuguese Cape Cod Cooking with Fado. I was out there recently and got Don to name his favorite places to eat in the area. Don is an excellent cook and food critic so I am confident on these selections
Chez Albert is a French Bistro in Amherst, MA. Amherst downtown calls, it, “a piece of Paris in the heart of Amherst - seasonal French country cooking tapping locally farmed ingredients, cocktails and artisan wines.” It is located on 27 S Pleasant St, (413) 253-3811
Pintu is the best Indian restaurant in the area. It is located in Springfield, MA and the food pundit reviewers like it. They also supposed to have a very talented belly dancer. 217 Elms St. West Springfield, MA (413) 788-4929
The Great Wall in Florence, MA (outside Northampton) is the best Chinese place. It provides gourmet Chinese, not the standard fare. There is dim sum on the weekends. It is located at 176 Pine Street, Florence, MA, 01062 (413) 582-0399
Frigo’s is an Italian deli in Springfield that has counter service for lunch. It is located at 90 William St, Springfield, MA 01105 (413) 732-5428
The Blue Heron is located in the old town hall in Sunderland, MA. It offers modern American food in what used to be the auditorium with a stage at one end. 112 North Main Street, Sunderland, MA 01375 (413) 665-2102
I will add that the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA has great brunches on the weekends and it is one of the better music venues in the area. It is located at 20 Center Street, Northampton, (413) 584-0610.
If you drive a little north to Brattleboro, Vermont try T. J. Buckley’s located in an old diner. It provides wonderful upscale food. Frommers’ says that it is “Brattleboro's best restaurant, and one of the better choices in all of Vermont.” It only seats around 20. Buckley’s is located at 132 Elliot Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301 802-257-4922