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Aug 23, 2007 05:59 PM

Manchester, NH (question about 2 places)

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.

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    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

      I don't have anything to add on these places, but you should check out 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: whs

        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

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

        2 Replies
        1. re: kparke30

          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

            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. 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. 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

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

              1. re: whs

                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

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

                  1. re: gryphonskeeper

                    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

                      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: whs

                          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

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

                            1. re: rmsoul

                              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

                                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

                                    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

                                      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

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

                                    1. re: hummingbird

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

                        2. 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