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upscale in manchester NH?

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Hey all -- I'm heading up for the weekend. I've heard that the places for good chow are Cotton, Richard's Bistro and the Hanover St Chophouse. Has anyone been to these places? Are there others to keep a lookout for? I'm also interested in great wine and cocktails.

Thanks!!

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  1. All are good--also check out C.R. Sparks and the Bedford Village Inn, both a 10 minute drive across the river from Manchester. BVI has a great wine cellar.

    1. Since you mentioned "upscale", I'm assuming that high prices are not your biggest worry. If that's so, then I'd also recommend the Bedford Village Inn (Bedford is the next town southwest of Manchester).

      Whs... how much did you like Sparks and why? We have heard mixed reviews and haven't eaten there yet - even though it's existed for a long time now.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bunnyr

        The location is unpromising--across from a Stop n Shop supermarket in ugly strip mall sprawl--but the food was very good. A standout was a grilled fig, prosciutto and mascarpone bruschetta. It's wildly popular; we had to eat at the bar. This ended up being a good thing because our bartender was attentive, and quite knowledgeable about wine.

      2. My vote would be for Richard's Bistro. Wonderful food well prepared in a classy yet relaxing setting. The portions are large and the service impeccable.
        Bedford Village would probably be a second choice, but I find the atmosphere a bit stiffer. Sparks disappoints. My one experience there brought me a dish with angelhair pasta that so overcooked it could have come from a can, also the food was tepid - as it stayed on the warming counter endlessly while the servers were nowhere in sight.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gorgo

          Richard's is very nice and the owner is a real character. I find the selection not terribly original and the prices breathtaking: $37 for an entree in Manchester NH??? They do throw in a salad though. If you can handle the sticker shock, you will have an enjoyable meal.
          http://www.richardsbistro.com/index.htm

          1. re: gorgo

            ha! being in boston, high prices are not shocking...I was just thinking more along the lines of better quality....not fried calamari or buffalo tenders. Both the BVI and Richard's look interesting...the rule of thumb here is that we will pay into the 30s for an entree if the food and service is terrific. I suppose from your persepctive that's outrageous....sort of how many of us feel now that entrees are starting to creep towards 50 in some places ("this isn't NYC!")

            thanks!

            1. re: bostonman

              You can't go wrong at either place. The difference is ambience: Richard's has more the feel of an urban bistro, with waiters dressed a bit more casually, contemporary decor, open kitchen. BVI is a classic New England Inn, slightly away from the city, with several dining rooms decorated in uber-colonial style. Some of the rooms have fireplaces. Service is a little more formal. Neither place requires a jacket, though you will see more of them at BVI.