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Manchester, NH (question about 2 places)

Jim M Aug 23, 2007 05:59 PM

Hi . . . Michigan hound here. Was driving through Manchester, NH, today, and saw two places that looked interesting, both on Elm, the main drag. One was Lala's Hungarian Café, right downtown. I love Hungarian food, and it's hard to find in many places (including Michigan, despite numerous Hungarians there). The other was north of downtown on the east side of the street, and it had a funny name I can't quite remember--something like Try to Cook LIke Us. I have to go back Tuesday and meet some people--would anyone recommend these places (or others downtown)? Absolutely fascinating small city. Thanks for any info.

  1. whs Aug 24, 2007 05:05 AM

    1361 Elm Street, Manchester, NH
    (603) 625-5454
    Italian, Greek, Mediterranean food. Owned by two doctors who run this more as an avocation than as a business. Pros: very good food. Cons: everything cooked to order so slow service.

    Have not been to Lala's, but it gets good feedback on this board. Other places: Cotton, Richard's Bistro, Z Bistro, Piccola Italia, A Taste of Europe, and a slew of ethnic places. A personal favorite is Premier Palette--Zelma makes amazing fried chicken and beef ribs.

    3 Replies
    1. re: whs
      natureboy Aug 24, 2007 10:56 AM

      I don't have anything to add on these places, but you should check out http://www.intownmanchester.com/ to find out what's going on when you're here. It also has maps, parking and restaurant info, which I found helpful when I went up there recently. I went to one of their (free) summer concerts in Veteran's Park a few weeks ago and it was a nice venue. There's a blues band there on Thurs, for example.

      1. re: natureboy
        whs Aug 24, 2007 12:06 PM

        Here's a link to a Lala's post: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/362429

        Some Manchester info: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/371547

      2. re: whs
        wedeln Sep 19, 2007 07:42 PM

        The Manchester Union Leader just did a review on The Way We Cook.

        It seemed overly positive other than the desert.
        It's posted at http://www.newhampshire.com/article.a...

      3. kparke30 Aug 24, 2007 01:43 PM

        LaLa's has WONDERFUL food, very inexpensive, very homestyle. Would recommend.

        2 Replies
        1. re: kparke30
          rmsoul Aug 24, 2007 02:17 PM

          The Way We Cook is only open Wed thru Sat night. And I believe LaLa's is closed in the evenings. Would agree with any of WHS recommendations, all very good places. Taste of Europe has been closed for about 2 weeks. Anyone know what is going on there?

          1. re: rmsoul
            diggita Aug 25, 2007 08:40 AM

            I was wondering the same thing about A Taste of Europe. I called over there and they said they are closed for renovations and would be reopening around Labor Day.

        2. whs Aug 26, 2007 03:22 PM

          We went to The Way We Cook last night. The place is beautiful--high-ceilings, white tablecloths, sleek. Full bar, well-prepared cocktails. Wine list a little weak--your basic offerings in the $20-30 range. Apps were excellent--marinated "long-stem" artichoke hearts and a moist, slow-cooked brasciole in a tomato based sauce--delicious. The linguine with zebra clams was very good--seasoned with oregano and garlic. SO had beef tenderloin with a mushroom sauce, served with mashed potatoes and spinach--perfectly rare. Service was attentive, and food presented in a timely manner--probably because there were only three or four tables between 7:30 and 9:30. We sat with the owners after dinner--and yes, they are doctors with a passion for food. Only open Wed through Sat--definitely check this place out, a true CH spot!

          1. l
            lexpatti Aug 26, 2007 04:56 PM

            Oooh, can't wait to try this place "The Way we Cook". We love La La's. WHS has already mentioned our favorite places in Manch. I also love Tinkers Seafood for great seafood too, awesome steamed clams and lobster roll out on rt. 28 in the Maple St. Plaza just beyond the Puritan Back Room. Excellent Vietnamese on Queen City Ave is Golden Bowl and a great Indian place on Valley St. is Gills.

            15 Replies
            1. re: lexpatti
              whs Aug 26, 2007 05:29 PM

              Where have you been? Haven't seen any of your posts recently...
              BTW, does Tinker's have a fish market too?

              1. re: whs
                lexpatti Aug 26, 2007 06:24 PM

                yes, great fish market, sushi grade tuna too. Working too much, fired a new employee just after finishing training them (working too many hours, eating on the run these days) :-(

                1. re: whs
                  gryphonskeeper Aug 26, 2007 09:04 PM

                  OMG>... you MUST MUST MUST try Tinkers! Yes it does have a fishmarket.

                  1. re: gryphonskeeper
                    rmsoul Aug 28, 2007 05:14 AM

                    If you want REALLY fresh fish, there is this Son and Father duo that sell fresh fish every Fri and Sat out of their refrigerated truck at Sandy's Variety at the traffic circle in Manchester. You all probably think I'm a bit nuts !! But try them. They have the freshest fish in Manchester.

                    1. re: rmsoul
                      lexpatti Aug 28, 2007 05:17 AM

                      what times are they there? Do you know where they get their fish? I know of someone very similar that does the same up in Meredith at the Irving Station - fabulous seafood on thursdays.

                      1. re: rmsoul
                        whs Aug 28, 2007 07:52 AM

                        Which traffic circle?

                        1. re: whs
                          rmsoul Aug 29, 2007 05:10 AM

                          The Massabessic Traffic Circle. I think it would be Exit 1 off of 101 or you could go straight up Candia Rd. from Manchester or ByPass 28 from Hooksett toward Manchester. They are there pretty much all day Fri and Sat until about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. They get their seafood straight off the peirs in Boston. If they don't have what you want, you can pre-order and they will have it the following week-end. Had some great sushi grade Tuna a couple of weeks ago.

                          1. re: rmsoul
                            lexpatti Aug 29, 2007 05:30 AM

                            SWEET!!!!!! Thank you so much. That is so doable for me, can't wait.

                            1. re: rmsoul
                              gryphonskeeper Aug 29, 2007 06:18 PM

                              do they get scallops and clams? I would love to get a quart of shucked clams or oysters and a couple pounds of scallops.

                              1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                rmsoul Aug 30, 2007 05:31 AM

                                They do have scallops and they are SOOO sweet. I'm sure they have clams. The earlier in the day you go, the better the selection. They often sell out of many items. Not sure how early they get there.

                                1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                  lexpatti Aug 30, 2007 06:01 PM

                                  race ya there tomorrow? :-)

                                  1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                    lexpatti Aug 31, 2007 05:54 PM

                                    You did go right? I did, had fabulous scallops and steamers for dinner tonight. went later than I wanted, they were almost leaving because they were out of a lot - very nice folks. I mentioned finding out about them through Chowhound and they said another female showed up too, earlier.

                                    Thank you rmsoul - very good connection!!!!! They gave me a card to call ahead and order if I want specific items on hold.

                                    1. re: lexpatti
                                      rmsoul Aug 31, 2007 07:20 PM

                                      Yup I was there earlier today and had some of those sweet scallops. Yum Yum !!! Ordered some Halibut once and it was great.

                                  2. re: rmsoul
                                    hummingbird Sep 29, 2007 05:58 AM

                                    In this weeks HIppo there is an article page 39, aboutthem. It is The Clam Guy.

                                    1. re: hummingbird
                                      lexpatti Sep 30, 2007 02:22 PM

                                      I thought that was them!!! I have their business card and it didn't say that, it says something else. Good stuff.

                        2. j
                          Jim M Sep 6, 2007 01:38 PM

                          OP here. Just wanted to let you all know that the plane was late and we hit downtown at about 9:15. Piccola Italia, with the waitstaff crowded around the bar watching the Red Sox (New England atmosphere there), seemed like the place to go. We split up some soups, a magnificent Shrimp Toscana appetizer with shrimp the size of a small woman's fist, and squash ravioli, and we left extremely happy. Now, back to Manchester next time I'm north of Boston to try some of these other places. Thanks for all the replies.

                          Piccola Italia Ristorante
                          827 Elm St, Manchester, NH 03101

                          1. c
                            cornFusion Sep 26, 2007 02:29 PM

                            Jim, I know hungarians from Detroit who have raved about LaLa's. It is affordable, excellent and authentic. Of course, you are not going to have the eye trappings - but then I hope you are looking for great food rather than environment. Used to have to pay 2-3 times the price at Cafe Budapest (hoytoy restaurant that used to be in Boston) and i like this place better! Try their chicken paprikash and Cabbage rolls but make sure you have at least one sour cherry drink, one slice of dobosh torta and one slice of black forest cake (I know the last isn't hunky, but its the best I have personally had this side of the schwartzwald). Please let us know which place you finally decided on - but I would unreservedly recommend LaLas.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: cornFusion
                              edinaeats Sep 28, 2007 06:43 PM

                              I love LaLa's. The quality is excellent and the prices- unbeatable.

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