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Manchester, NH Dining Scene...what are your thoughts?

I have just moved back to Manchester after being away for several years. I am very impressed by the multitude of new restaurants downtown. Thank god the days of the Renaissnace and the Chateau are gone. Was sorry to see that Baldwin's had closed, but glad to see Cotton and Richard's still going strong. I would like to know what you guys think of the new players in downtown.

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  1. I'm hearing great things about Z but havent' been yet myself and still want to get to Commercial Steet Fishery too. Have you done Premeir Pallet on elm for excellent bbq and southern soul food, not upscale just excellent. Excellent Mexican at La Carrata's (always packed but well worth the wait), not sure how long you've been gone - they are technically in hooksett maybe, up past Puritan Back Room next to Tinkers Seafood. I miss Baldwin's too.

    1. We're big fans of Premier Palatte. The fried chicken is worth the wait and probably some of the best we've ever had. Sides are nice too. BBQ sauce is particularly good both on the beef ribs (no pork) and drizzled onto the dirty coleslaw. Tried Z a few weeks ago and wasn't overly impressed. The asian nachos (based on wonton skins) were lacking in compelling flavor. We were hoping for the peanut sauce to be more of a Malaysian style satay instead of a Thai style. Arancini were prepared well but not overly flavorful. For entrees, the duck breast was perfectly prepared, just at the edge of showing it's fat which gave it nice richness without being greasy. Accompanying spring roll with duck confit was tasty, but didn't really seem to go with the rest of the dish. The herbs, while flavorful, completely overwhelmed the duck confit to the point that the meat was irrelevant. Best plate of the night was the pork tenderloin, nicely crusted and perfectly prepared - moist and tender. Service was adequate if a little uneven. Water glasses disappeared for quite a while and we needed to remind server that we wanted water. Interesting wine list - server was able to answer our questions about the Sauvignon Blanc. Overall, glad to have tried it, but others are more compelling to visit again. Usually find something interesting at Taste of Europe across the street -- menu is a little uneven and not quite tapas as anticipated, but good nevertheless. Recent favorite, though, is Hanover Street Chophouse.

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        1. I recently tried Piccola Italia on Elm for the first time (though I've been meaning to go for ages), and was completely thrilled. Our tomato/fresh mozz appetizer was everything you could ask for in that dish- flvorful olive oil, smooth cheese, fresh cracked pepper, and gorgeous ripe tomatoes, and entrees (for only $13!) were every bit as good. If you haven't been yet, you should definitely try it. Great service, too.

          1. Have been to Commercial St Fishery. Love what they did with the space. I left the area soon after Starfish Grill had opened. I thought Starfish Grill was too sterile and uncomfortable, much prefer what Jeff Paige did at Cotton. Not sure what the fuss is Piccola other than filling the void left by Cafe Pavone. Had coktails and apps at The Upstairs Lounge, wayt to much garlic everywhere. Z looks good, it seems to be well recieved on past threads. Saw the menu online. Looks like a like something up my alley. Is the Chop House worth the money? Or would I do just as well going over to CR Sparks? I'll have toi give Premier a try since my favorite BBQ place closed (Down n Dirty). Thanks for your help so far.

            3 Replies
            1. re: viva manchvegas

              Personally,
              I found Chophouse worthy neither the hype nor the prices! My favorites for downtown dining are hands down Richards Bistro for just about anything (The breads alone are with the trip!) and for casual lunch believe it or not I like Thousand Crane (Sushi only!!)
              On the flipside....
              I absolutely loathed Gauchos. The service stinks, they shove very low quality meat at you 10x before you see one cut of decent meat, add to that the salad bar is an absolute joke. I would not send my worst enemy there.

              1. re: gryphonskeeper

                my feelings exactly! (on all your comments)

              2. re: viva manchvegas

                I agree about Piccola too, I ran to it and liked it my first time but been dissappointed since - much better Italian at other places in other areas. Have you tried Gaucho's Brazillian - I really like this place but some say it's declined some since it moved to Lowell St. La La's Hungarian isn't new but new to me - Love it - on Elm St.