As someone who comes from a very small town, whose “downtown area” consists of one gas station and a pizza shop that closes and reopens every five years, living in Amherst has been a great experience since I love to try new foods. There are so many local restaurants that I have visited with my friends and my boyfriend, and I have yet to have a negative experience. Here are some restaurants in the Amherst area that you must try!
- El Comalito (Amherst)
El Comalito is a family-run restaurant in Amherst that specializes in cooking El Salvadoran and Mexican food. The dining area is rather small, but the service is fantastic and the food is incredible! You get complimentary chips and salsa with your order, and I also requested a side of guacamole, which was so fresh and flavorful with bright bites of onion and tomato (and I am very picky with guacamole). I visited the restaurant with my boyfriend who had dined here several times, and he insisted that I tried the birria tacos. Tacos are my favorite food, and the tacos I ate at El Comalito were the best tacos that I have ever had. They were shredded beef tacos served in a corn tortilla with melted cheese, onions, salsa, and served with the most mouthwatering beef broth. We ordered churros with Nutella for dinner, and everything was incredible. I highly recommend this restaurant!
- India Palace (Northampton)
I had never had Indian food before visiting Northampton, and I was not disappointed. My boyfriend and I dined at India Palace and left with full stomachs and much contentment. There was one server who ran the entire restaurant, and he was so kind and had the best recommendations. We tried samosas and vegetable pakora (fried vegetable fritters) for appetizers, and they were served with an incredible rotating sauce wheel consisting of a plum and mint sauce, with diced onions. I tried the chicken tikka masala with garlic naan, and my boyfriend ordered chicken curry. They were served with enormous portions of rice in separate bowls, which made it very convenient for sharing. Everything was fantastic, and after visiting, I developed a new appreciation for Indian cuisine.
- Johnny’s Tavern (Amherst)
Johnny’s Tavern in Amherst serves American cuisine in a casual, warm-lit atmosphere. Every time I go, I order the roasted brussels sprouts appetizer. If you do not like brussels sprouts, you have to try them from here. They are incredible. Their burgers are incredibly flavorful, and their fries are perfectly salty and crispy, plus you can get them topped with truffle oil. I have also had their pasta dishes a few times, which are very creative. I have had gnocchi with asparagus and chicken, and spaghetti with butternut squash, and everything was wonderful. It is a nice place to go to catch up with friends or on a casual date.
- Crazy Noodles (Amherst)
I have never been anywhere like this place. Crazy Noodles, quite literally, has the craziest menu I have ever seen. It is the perfect place to go if you and your friends cannot decide on the same kind of food. They have every noodle dish you can think of, from spaghetti and meatballs to pad thai to pho. They also have a wide variety of milk teas to choose from. I have tried many different dishes from here, and they have never disappointed me.
- IYA Sushi and Noodle Kitchen (Amherst)
IYA Sushi and Noodle Kitchen, located in downtown Amherst, has incredible ramen bowls and sushi. Every time I go, I order an assortment of appetizers from their long menu, such as dumplings, scallion pancakes, and kimchi. Their ramen bowls are so flavorful and I always leave with leftovers. I love bringing my family here when they come to visit because there is truly food for everyone.
- Pasta E Basta (Amherst)
Pasta E Basta is a great place to visit on a date. I came here last Valentine’s Day, expecting to wait an absurdly long time, but they were very accommodating and we were able to get a table rather quickly. They serve great Italian food with very hefty portions (I ate leftovers for two days afterward). Their desserts are lightweight, which is refreshing after eating tons of pasta. It is a very romantic spot, and the prices are reasonable. You are also served complimentary bread upon seating, and who doesn’t love free bread?
- Honorable Mentions: Atkins Farms (Amherst) and Maple Farm Foods (Hadley)
These markets always have the freshest produce and the best sandwiches. I usually hit up these spots on the weekends when I travel back home to get a quick lunch for the road. Maple Farm Foods also offers $6 burritos, which are hard to turn down.
The Amherst area is full of local restaurants with good quality food. It is important to support local businesses, so try your best to check out these spots!