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Recent finds in Manchester(-ish), NH??

Has anyone found anything new and worthy around Manchester, NH? Or is there any old favourite that you'd like to promote?

I'm a Torontonian spending time in NH who often has trouble finding somewhere to eat. Money is not an issue. I do like somewhere atmospheric where you can linger and cocktail. I have an adventurous palate, so type of food is open, as long as it's authentic (no fake "Italian"). I don't like chain restaurants. Cotton is my current local favourite, Baldwins was good, CR Sparks is OK but sometimes feels a little too big to be intimate. I liked 55 Degrees in Concord... ideas?


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    1. Italian--Piccola Italia
      Nepali--Cafe Momo
      Vietnamese--Golden Bowl
      Indian--India Palace
      Soul Food--Premier Palate
      BBQ--Down n Dirty
      Upscale contemporary--Richard's Bistro
      Poutine--Chez Vachon
      Local color/glorified greek diner--Back Room at the Puritan
      Upscale country inn--Bedford Village Inn
      Chinese--Chen Yang Li
      Brazilian churrascura--Gauchos
      Fish--Commercial Street Fishery
      and if you wish to venture further afar:
      Seafood (probably the best in NH) Surf in Nashua
      Sushi--Takumi in Nashua
      Italian--Cucina Toscana in Nashua
      Thai--Thon Khao in Nashua
      Asian-Fusion--YouYou Bistro in Nashua
      Chinese--Lilac Blossom in Nashua
      Mexican--La Carreta in Nashua (I think they just opened in Manchester too)
      Italian--Angelina's in Concord
      Mexican--Los Hermanos in Concord

      5 Replies
      1. re: whs

        Fabulous list for manchester area! Can we update this for 2008?

        I'd add the new St. Louis style BBQ place City Flame Smokehouse. It's amazingly good, very moist meat with great glaze, and very friendly owners and staff. I'm not normally a big meat or barbecue eater, but we lived in Texas for a while so I know from brisket. We got a sampler plate and it's all good there - chicken, ribs, brisket beef, pulled pork. The usual sides are all good, the mashed potatoes are amazing, and even the Bulgarian owners specialty roasted red pepper salad is great with the meat.

        363 Chestnut St, Manchester 603-622-6022

        I'd also add El Mexicano Jr. and Consuelo's Taqueria for Mexican even instead of La Carreta (there is one in Mancester)or Hermanos in Concord.

        I just read recently that Premier Palette will be closing because the owner is moving to Philly. Sad.

        1. re: starvinginNH

          Sadly, we have to take Premier Palette and Down n Dirty off the list. Word on this board is that Gaucho's and Piccola Italia have slipped. I would add Z Bistro and The Way We Cook to the list as worthy additions to the food scene. 900 Degrees seems to be "hot" right now (sorry). Gill's for Indian food is a great choice. Seven Hills has wonderful Turkish cuisine in Nashua. Also in Nashua--Saffron Bistro is a chic little spot.

          1. re: whs

            Had lunch at "Z" and was not impressed. Had the Asian Nachos and iceberg wedge salad with chicken. Nachos were OK, though sour cream was not substantial at all (two little drips), and the salad was terrible...five dollars more for two small pieces of (cubed?) chicken. Would not return.

          2. re: starvinginNH

            To update for 2008 add:
            Sushi- Yuki Japanese Grill So. Willow St. Manchester
            Indian- Gill's on Valley St Manchester
            Drop Gauchos, it has slid far down the scale.

            1. re: gryphonskeeper

              We just enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Yuki Japanese Grill on S. Willow St. - fabulous tuna tataki, several sushi's (salmon, shrimp, eel, mackral), the best edamame EVER (I always get this), really great miso soup and a very creative maki. Very pleasant place and excellent service.


        2. Fantastic, whs!!

          But if you were to pick one place to take Mr/Ms. whs and hang out for the night (dining and drinking... the whole relaxing-grown-ups-out-at-night schtick... where would you go?

          6 Replies
          1. re: Rabbit

            Well, then I would have to concur with gorgo--Richard's Bistro is intimate, relatively sophisticated, and makes a good martini. http://www.richardsbistro.com/
            We miss Baldwin's, which was a little more "edgy". You might also consider Michael Timothy's in Nashua, which to my taste offers a more interesting product: http://www.michaeltimothys.com/
            CR Sparks feels a little corporate, but we like eating at the bar. Service is a little more attentive, and it's fun to interact with the bartenders.

            1. re: whs

              Oy! - is Baldwin's gone??

              Agree that bar-dining is the only way to go chez Sparks.

              We seem to be on the same page - so I'll try out Richard's ASAP... and see if we can get to Nashua.

              1. re: Rabbit

                Nathan Baldwin folded his tent and disappeared into the night. I miss his foie gras appetizer.

                1. re: Rabbit

                  Yep, sadly Balwin's is gone. What a major loss for Manchester!

                  1. re: Rabbit

                    You'll be happy to know that the NEW (Partner) Chef at Richards is the former Chef at Baldwins. His name is Matt Provencher and he also spent some time as Sous Chef with Michael Timothy at his Surf Rest. in Nashua. Matt has revamped the menu and a spring menu is on the way.

                    1. re: masiehosie

                      I hope it is out by next tuesday, I wanted to make reservations.

              2. I'm finding I have very similar tastes as whs:

                Just discovered LaLa on Elm - loved it. Love love love Goucho's - best Brazillian and I've been to several (Boston and north). Love Cotton. and Piccola. Richards is on my list. Best Mexican - La Carratta (hooksett/manch) and Hermano's in Concord

                All of Michael Timothy's places great - I've been to Michael Timothy's in Nashua and going to Surf either tonight or tomorrow but hearing great things about his place in Merrimack too. http://www.mtdininggroup.com/

                2 Replies
                1. re: lexpatti

                  Yes, forgot to mention Buckley's Great Steaks in Merrimack--the tavern menu looks more reasonable and quite interesting.

                  1. re: lexpatti

                    Personally, I much prefer the tavern menu at Bucley's, and the appetizer menu at Surf (never been a Michael Timothy's fan), the onion soup at Buckley's and the mussel appetizer at Surf are favorites of mine, and either makes a nice light meal with wine.

                    Also agree with Lexpatti about La Carretta, although we've had uneven experiences there, but still love their tamales.

                  2. A bit outside Manchester and just a strip mall eatery, but I've had very excellent Italian at Pasquale's in Candia. Two other places seldom mentioned, but very good, Tiya's and the Schezwan House - both oriental and downtown.

                    1. We recently had an excellent meal at the Hanover Street Chophouse (apparently, under same ownership as Sparks based on comment card provided at end of meal.) Nicely prepared soups, including lobster bisque and french onion. Steaks were perfectly cooked to our specifications. Interesting bread selection as well. Didn't try the lobster mac & cheese side, but am curious for a future visit. Truffled tater tots were a fun side -- creamy smooth mini potato croquettes infused with truffle flavor. Wine list had great variety and seemed fairly decently priced. Waiter also made sure to point out that any unfinished wine could be taken home in a doggy bag - nice touch, and an encouragement for me to move up the scale a bit in my wine purchase (wife wasn't drinking that night).

                      For a change of pace, you may want to try Taste of Europe. It's a few doors down on Elm from Piccola Italia -- same ownership. It may be trying to be a tapas bar, rather unsuccessfully since portion sizes are too large for that. Nevertheless, a varied, mainly Mediterranean menu. We've had several dinners there, choices have been interesting, although a bit all over the map. Nevertheless, everything we have had has been well prepared.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: jbh11

                        How does Hanover Street Chophouse compare with Buckley's?

                        Had the same reaction to Taste of Europe--menu is all over the place--ended up ordering way too much because of confusion over the "tapas". Food was good, service was sketchy, due to an event at the Verizon Center.

                        1. re: whs

                          Have not been to Buckely's but am familiar. I have been to Hanover Street Chophouse, and loved my meal there. I can see similiarities with the two; as they are both beautiful old-school steak houses.

                          The filet at HS CH was cooked to my exact specs, the mac&cheese/lobster was to die for, and the service is excellent.

                        2. I'd like to put in a word for two less upscale places - El Mexicano on Wilson St. (authentic Mexican) and Gil's on Valley St. (North Indian).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: woodenmask

                            Definitely agree with you regarding Gil's. Much better food than India Palace.

                          2. We love El Mexicano on Wilson St. - been a couple times. The people are very nice, and food is very authentic.

                            And again for not upscale - Sausage Heaven makes awesome sandwiches - Muffelatta's my favorite but also some great homemade sausages to bring home to make your favorite dishes. they are on N. Elm.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: lexpatti

                              Sausage Heaven is wholesale-mail order only now

                              1. re: edinaeats

                                They still have a retail space in their wholesale location (last time I went). Is this really new news because I know they closed their retail store on Elm St. but they have hours for retail on Canal St. (funky hours but still open for retail)


                            2. My fiance and I went to UnWined on Second Street. The atmosphere is relaxed, the wine is great and the food is AWESOME! The waitresses don't bother you and it's by far the best place I've been to!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: F is for Food

                                This is my husband and I's favorite place to go! Love Love Love this place.
                                He proposed to me there; but even if he had not, I still would have found it. It's such a sweet place; excellent food and service and an extensive wine list.

                              2. A cool place to go is Giorgio's in Merrimack/Milford, NH food its pretty good and the atmosphere is unique.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: jbird001

                                  Giorgio's in Milford is one of my favorite restaurants in NH. I am partial to the atmosphere. It reminds me of a swank restaurant you wouldn't necessarily find here. It's pretty and casual. The food is great! A mix of mediteranean and italian.

                                  1. re: snl1129

                                    Giorgio's is another on my list - good tapas?? Has anyone done the Symposiam Dinner??

                                2. There's a new Japanese Grill opening up in the same space which the Premier Palette used to occupy on Elm. I can't imaging it'll be too much longer before they're open for business.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Ratatouille

                                    I hear they are opening in late April! Hope to report in with a review.