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Italian in southern New Hampshire

Does anyone know of a good old-fashioned Italian-American "pork store" in southern New Hampshire? I'm also always interested in Italian restaurants within striking range of the Manchester area. We've had some very good experiences at Don Giovanni on Depot Street in Concord, which seems to be sort of undiscovered. I see a couple of people have recommended Cucina Toscana in Nashua, which I haven't tried yet. Any other thoughts? Has anyone tried Ciao Baby, the new one in Manchester where Baldwin's used to be?

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  1. This coming Saturday DH and I, along with friends, have a lunch reservation at Piccolo Italia on Elm St. in Manchester. It was recommended by this board. I'll try and report back here. Their online menu looks pretty good. http://www.piccolaitalianh.com/eng/

    1 Reply
    1. re: Gio

      I would suggest Ciao Baby in Manchester, NH on 1105 Elm St. They just recently reopened last week and have changed their food and drink menu. I went in there this weekend. Their menu offers a diverse list of "lighter" italian cuisine, upscale, but fairly priced. I really enjoyed the Veal San Marzano. The wine menu really impressed me as I tried a glass of their Renzo&Masi Chianti...I ended up buying the bottle. I'm glad these guys reopened.

    2. In Salem, NH, you can find the Colliseum and Trattoria Amalfi. I prefer the latter. I'd need to know what you are looking for in order to give more specific advice, though...

      1. If Lowell isn't counts as not too far from southern NH, I love Ricardo's Tratorria Cafe. Had one of my absolute favorite meals there recently.

        1. If Nashua is within your range, I'd try Michael Timothy's.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Science Chick

            MT's is not really an "Italian" restaurant, though the menu might reflect influences.
            Cucina Toscana is run by a Florentine and is quite good (service can get slow).
            If you're looking for prosciutto and mortadella, Angela's Pasta and Cheese shop in Manchester is right up your alley. Sausage Heaven has italian-style sausages too.

            1. re: whs

              Have you been to Sausage H since he moved? I need to get in there, Love their products. Don't know how it's changed since he moved to his commericial location now.

                1. re: whs

                  Mmmm, can't wait to order. Might just send some up to Dad and surprise him.

          2. My fav's in So. NH are:

            Pasquale's in Candia (just north of Manchester)
            Piccola Italia (Manchester)
            Ya Mamma (Nashua)
            Pizzico in Nashua

            One of my tests for good (real) Italian is to order a veal cutlet. Is it real veal ( and not ground veal or pork); is it tender - you should be able to cut it easily with your fork. Your plate shouldn't be loaded with cheese or oil and shouldn't result in indigestion later on.

            1 Reply
            1. re: gorgo

              Yes exactly - my criteria as well, but including antipasto....one of the true signs. But veal indeed is the test.
              I'm happy to read that you endorse Piccolo. I hope I'll like it.

            2. We really like Giorgio's~ the one in Milford NH. Very good italian. Probably the best Calamari I've had. We are used to the great places in RI so it's hard to find good italian in Southern NH. We also love Piccola Italia. The chef/owners of Cucina Toscana are from Piccola, and you'll notice the menu is almost exactly the same as well. Good food, sloooowwww service. Ya Mamma's good too.

              7 Replies
              1. re: snl1129

                I haven't heard of Giorgio's and I love great Calamari - how is it done and what makes is great?

                1. re: lexpatti

                  Brand new restaurant on East Broadway in Derry, NH!


                  Great chef, great Italian food!

                  1. re: lexpatti

                    The calamari comes out lightly battered and fried, not greasy at all. The calamari itself is very tender and not chewy. We have had it at least a dozen times and it's been consistently excellent. They also serve it with two sauces, but we get 2 of the same the lemon garlicy sauce with it. We used to share an order, but now each get our own it's that good. Portion is average. All of their meals are served on very nice white dinnerware. The building is new I think, and very nicely decorated. Seems like it would be a fancy, dressy place when you walk in, but it's very casual. We like to sit in the bar area, but have sat in the dining room as well. Both areas are good if you want to have a good conversation. I do think Giorgio's could pass as a family place, or even a romantic dinner out. We've done both. I am VERY picky and we take all of our out of town guests there, and we go from the Auburn/Manchester area. There are 2 locations, but I hear that the one in Milford is better.

                    1. re: lexpatti

                      Forgot to mention also that they had a Great outdoor patio dining area in the Summer months...not sure if it's still open.

                      1. re: snl1129

                        Very good, thank you. Sounds wonderful. Can't wait to try it, on my short list - now finding the time.

                        1. re: lexpatti

                          Nice martini selection too. No reservations, but the wait has gotten shorter except at peak times on weekends.

                          1. re: whs

                            I love the website, their tapas or meze looks awesome.

                  2. I went to Ciao Baby this weekend and it was fantastic. The food was amazing, service was great and the restaurant atmosphere was really unique. This is the perfect place to take a date.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: rararicci

                      The new Sabatino's in Derry is so great.

                      Anyone been?

                    2. So my friends and I have been regulars at Ciao since they originally opened and we went through a slight withdrawl when they closed but I can guarantee that they are back with the BEST staff, an amazing new menu - The BEST Chef in the are - so dont hesitate to check it out - great place for a date - or step up to the bar - we're a real friendly crowd on Wednesday or Friday Night

                      1. I would put Massimo in Portsmouth as the top spot for Italian dining in Southern New Hampshire. The chef is VERY particular of the quality of ingredients he uses and it shows.

                        1. I too have to add a kudos to Ciao Baby on Elm St. I loved it. The food, the wine, the service.
                          I would recommend it to my husbands boss, that is how much I loved it.

                          1. Renaldo's on Rt 1 and Rt 111 in North Hampton is my favorite. It's worth the trip!!!

                            1. Nicola's Trattoria in downtown Keene is WELL worth your trip-- as a chowhound that's been through Italy, Nicola's is the best Italian I've had in the state, by far! Nicola is a true artist and has an-all around great place........

                              1. Giorgio's in Milford last night. Sunday night, a little understaffed and erratic service--they should have known they were going to get slammed before the holidays. That said, the food was very good. They've introduced a new winter menu--our party of four had lamb shanks ("tender"), bouillabaisse ("delicious") and steak tips (that would be me--I was sold when I saw a plate go by covered in crispy onion rings--it came with a slab of scalloped potatoes and fantastic lemony asparagus). Amazing cheesecake in phyllo dessert! Prices are reasonable, most expensive thing on the menu was ribeye for $23. They're pushing the envelope a bit beyond the typical Italian/Greek offerings. They now take reservations. The room is beautiful, worth a trip out to Milford.