Dining on the South Shore  was once an unfortunate chore, with only baked-stuffed everything, a few inauthentic Italian joints, and poor-quality Chinese food as typical options. But the past decade has pushed the area to new heights, to a point where plenty of food lovers from all over New England—including Boston —are making the drive for a great meal.
One major draw is Tosca (14 North St., Hingham, 781/740-0080, 4 p.m.–10 p.m. Tues.–Sun.; closed Mon., www.eatwellinc.com , $23–30), named for Puccini’s famed opera, and almost as dramatic. From the bustling open kitchen the staff serves authentic, creative Italian in the high-ceilinged, white-linened dining room—specialties like wild-boar Bolognese and lavender-brined pork chop.
But enough with the turf; in an area with this many ties to the water, seafood’s the thing. Find it in one of its freshest forms at Jake’s Seafood (250 Nantasket Rd., Hull, 781/925-1024, www.jakesseafoods.com , 11:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat.; 12 p.m.–9:30 p.m. Sun., $14–24), the quintessential fish shack perched between a little bay and Nantasket Beach . From the fine specimens of simple boiled lobster to fried clams and scallops and linguine, the casual atmosphere is a nice balance between formality and net-and-buoy kitsch.
Equally delicious and fun is the brunch at the funky seaside Arthur & Pat’s (239 Ocean St., Brant Rock, 781/834-9755, $6–12), which serves a killer lobster omelet, fried oyster roll, and fresh crab eggs Benedict. The morning lines (quelled by the complimentary mimosas passed out) can get long but are always worth the wait.
Speaking of something worth waiting for, the Danish ice cream parlor Farfar’s (272 Saint George St., Duxbury, 781/934-5152, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. daily) churns out cold stuff that’s so rich and exquisite it’s considered a local tourist attraction in its own right.