118 Highland Street, Worcester MA
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Worcester’s Seafood Proprietor

Worcester Magazine
Written by Michael Brazell

FOOD ★★★★★
AMBIENCE ★★★★1/2
SERVICE ★★★★1/2
VALUE ★★★★

118 Highland St., Worcester

Known not only for the giant inflatable crab that adorns its roof during summer months, but also for the best seafood in Worcester, The Sole Proprietor continues to be one of Worcester’s best restaurants, with terrific service and excellent food.

Visiting late on a Thursday night, my co-diner Lillian and I entered to a busy but not packed restaurant. When arriving, diners are first greeted by a large, lively center bar, with about a dozen booths surrounding the taps and raw bar. Lillian and I were brought through to a larger dining room in the rear of the restaurant, with plenty of tables and several booths capable of seating large parties. Our server visited us immediately and we ordered a couple of local draft beers and two cups of the Sole’s excellent clam chowder. The chowders arrived hot, packed with thick potatoes and plenty of clams, perfect for those cold, damp autumn nights.

We opted for an appetizer of crab rangoons before ordering our entrees. About six large, coin-purse shaped deep-fried dumplings were served with a tangy sweet and sour sauce. Though crab rangoons are more traditionally served at Chinese-American restaurants and are known for fake-crab filling and cream cheese, these rangoons are packed with real crab meat and are the perfect starter to any meal at the Sole.

Seasonal dinner specials are offered, and Lillian and I both ordered from that menu. Lillian chose the Black and Blue swordfish, two perfectly cooked blackened swordfish steaks that were as tender as they were delicious. The expertly-prepared fish was served with sauteed bacon and Brussels sprouts, beside a helping of au gratin potatoes prepared with fontina and gorgonzola cheese, with a sweet and tangy balsamic reduction. Though I snuck fork-fulls of Lillian’s swordfish, I opted for the Arctic Char, a little known fish similar to salmon that can survive in both fresh and salt waters, and has been a dietary staple of the Inuit in Canada for generations. This grilled, flaky fish had a trout-like sweetness though its light pink color was more similar to salmon and easily gave way to my fork, as a thick skin on the bottom delicately held it together. A tart apple slaw was liberally spread on top of the fish, while a generous serving of delicious pumpkin risotto rounded out the dish.

Service at the Sole is excellent as similar to Worcester Restaurant Group’s other restaurants, two servers wait on each table. Our servers were prompt and courteous throughout the meal, never being far but also not hovering around our table. Prices at the Sole are higher than other mom and pop fish restaurants, but the quality of each dish – even in spite of a terrific amount of variety – justifies the price. Most entrees range between $20 and $30, though the crowd pleasing fish and chips remains $15. With drinks, appetizers and specials, meals can easily eclipse the century mark for only two diners, though the Sole also features a wallet-friendly bar menu of $5-$10 apps and sushi. Speaking of the bar, the restaurant prides itself on being able to match the perfect wine for your dinner order, with an ever changing wine list that easily tops 100 bottles on any given night, though their draught beer offerings are disappointingly limited. The Sole Proprietor has been serving excellent seafood to Worcester diners for over 30 years, and its formula for success – great food and quality service – should see it be a Worcester mainstay for decades to come.

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The Sole Proprietor Continues Its Winning Ways

Telegram & Gazette
By Bill Cory

The Sole is a richly contemporary setting for an unrelentingly busy restaurant.

We made reservations for eight, but were advised we could probably get in quickly if we arrived before 6:30. We almost made that time, were told we’d have a half-hour to wait, and had a table just off the noisy bay in less than 10 minutes. We requested another, quieter table and were told that it would take 20 minutes, which seemed worthwhile to us.

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Great seafood stars in landlocked Worcester

Providence Journal
Journal Staff Writer

WORCESTER — I never thought I’d say it, but one of the best seafood meals I’ve ever had was in Worcester.

Yes, Worcester — a city landlocked in the heart of Massachusetts and a good hour-and-a-half from any Atlantic coastline.

I went with a couple of friends, one of whom grew up, and still lives, in Worcester. It was she who told me that the Sole Proprietor is her favorite restaurant in the city. It has been in business for 26 years.

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Seafood Restaurant Good For The “Sole”

The Weekly Record
By Jan Gottesman, Managing Editor

The Sole Proprietor is one of those places my husband and I always enjoy, but never think of visiting for our average dinner. We always save it for a special occasion.

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The Sole Proprietor Is A Treasure

Telegram & Gazette
By Christine E. Thompson

I’m telling all my friends to go to The Sole. Folks around Worcester are lucky to have this outstanding seafood restaurant. And for those who live near Boston or Providence, it’s time for a road trip.

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The Sole Of Great Dining

Worcester Magazine
By Paul Bernard

The Sole Proprietor has been the business backbone of the Highland Street scene for more years than I can remember. What started out as a simple fish shack has, under the ownership of Robb and Madeleine Ahlquist, been converted into one of the state’s premier dining establishments, rivaling many fine Boston restaurants.

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Revisiting A Classic

Worcester Magazine
By Matt Quinn

Few will dispute The Sole Proprietor’s eminence in Worcester. For nearly 30 years it has set the bar for seafood in town. Like many classics, however, sometimes a few annotations can help. Here, then, is a guide to Worcester’s best seafood restaurant.

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The Sole Proprietor
118 Highland Street
Worcester, MA 01609
Call us at 508-798-3474
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"I have been here several times. The selection of seafood choices are bountiful! Service is impeccable."
- Brandy S

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