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Dec 21, 2007 05:48 AM

Place for romantic meal near Saint Johnsbury, VT?

Will be up that way for our wedding anniversary, does anyone know of a nicer place to eat around there or within an hour drive? thanks.

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  1. I personally have never eaten there, but I hear good things about Elements in St. J. You could always drive to Montpelier, about 45-1 hour away, and also have a special meal. There are threads on Montpelier eats. :-))

    2 Replies
    1. re: Addisonchef

      So basically in the area, I gather that Hen of the Wood, Michael's on the Hills and Elements are the top three choices. Any further recommendations between the three?

      1. re: joebelt

        If you're looking for a place around St. Johnsbury, Elements is the only one that qualifies. The other two are around Waterbury, a good hour and 45 minutes away.

        Elements Food & Spirit
        98 Mill St, Saint Johnsbury, VT 05819

    2. Joebelt,

      No attempt to hijack your thread here, but I am also looking for a romantic dinner place for a Saturday night when my husband and I are staying at the Willoughvale Inn on Lake Willoughby. Here is the list they sent of places they recommend -- I'd love to see others' comments on any of them.


      (directions and full menus available at the front desk)

      East Burke (30 minutes south)
      River Garden Café 626-3514
      HOURS: Wednesday – Sunday 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. for lunch/ 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. for dinner
      Excellent food with several local beers on tap. Reservations are a good idea since there is limited seating.

      Pub Outback 626-1188
      HOURS: Sunday – Thursday 5 p.m. – 9 p.m./Friday & Saturday 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.
      Good, casual food, large menu with many options including vegetarian – pizza, burgers, steak, fish, salads etc. Reservations not necessary.

      Tamarack Grille 626-7390
      HOURS: Wednesday – Saturday 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
      Located at Burke Mountain, excellent food with stunning views. On the pricey side, entrees such as filet mignon, venison, tuna (no vegetarian options on menu). Reservations required.

      Junipers (at Wildflower Inn) 626-8310
      HOURS: Monday – Saturday 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
      Casual atmosphere. Good food, not too expensive with steaks, burgers, lighter options and a children’s menu. Reservations optional, but a good idea.

      Lyndonville (30 minutes south
      )Trout River Brewing Company 626-9396
      HOURS: Friday – Saturday 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
      Many varieties of pizza and lots of local beers on tap. Reservations not necessary.

      Newport (30 minutes north
      )Lago Trattoria 334-8222
      HOURS: Sunday – Thursday 5 p.m. – 8: 30 p.m. / Friday & Saturday 5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
      A little pricey, but the food and service are excellent. Menu is northern Italian so there are many options besides pasta. Great for special occasions.
      Reservations optional, but a good idea.

      The Eastside 334-2340
      HOURS: open daily 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
      Good, casual food – burgers, fish, etc. Beautiful view of Lake Memphrenagog. Reservations not necessary

      The Craving 334-8422
      Very good food and not too pricey. French-American menu includes steak, fish, chicken. Chef-owned and operated. Reservations required.

      Derby (20 minutes north
      )Jennifer’s 766-8065
      HOURS: lunch daily from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m./dinner nightly 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
      Good, casual food – burgers, chicken, steak, fish etc. Reservations not necessary.

      Cow Palace 766-4724
      HOURS: lunch Tuesday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m./dinner 7 nights 4 – 9 p.m.
      Casual atmosphere with wraps, burgers, salads, etc. Located on an Elk farm and serving elk burgers (say hi to the elk when you park). Reservations not necessary.

      Danville (45 minutes south
      )The Creamery 684-3616
      HOURS: Tuesday – Saturday 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
      Menu changes nightly – many seafood choices, steaks, not many vegetarian options.
      Reservations a good idea.

      St. Johnsbury (45 minutes south)
      Elements 802-748-8400
      HOURS: Tuesday – Saturday 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
      Excellent food featuring Vermont made and locally grown ingredients. Menu changes weekly, but choices include fish, steaks, ‘blue plate specials’, and vegetarian options. Reservations required.

      3 Replies
      1. re: jhberkley

        I've been to Elements a few times and always had a good meal there. That was a year ago though.

        1. re: Jayne in VT

          Elements will fit the bill on all fronts.....creative fabulous food in a beautiful setting. And you won't have to drive far!!!

        2. re: jhberkley

          I lived outside of St. J for four years, If you're looking for romantic, these are the one's I'd hit:

          Lago Trattoria
          Rabbit Hill Inn

          Of these, the compromise between price and quality is Lago--though I emphasize that all three are fine!

        3. Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford, VT About 20 mins outside of St. J. Great food, and great atmosphere!

          1. Thanks all for your advice. In the end, we went to Hen of the Wood. We had a mixed dinning experience. The dinning room is beautiful and romantic but it lacks good heating. They had a little electric heater between our table and the next, but it still was on the chilly side. A fireplace would be a gorgeous & prized addition to their dinning room.

            First the food; we both had salads to start and they were excellent, very fresh with quality local products and cheeses. The artisan French bread rolls were very good with a nice crunchy crust. I suspect they made them at the restaurant or at the very least baked them there. My wife’s meat dish was very good while my gnocchi were bland and uninspired. Both desserts were embarrassingly casual and disappointing in taste & texture. The raspberry couli tasted like Smuckers jam and the pastry dough tasted like frozen supermarket dough. Only choice of coffee was drip coffee (or Estate coffee as they like to call it) sadly, no espresso available. All wines on the menu were exclusively American (all but one were West Coast).

            Second the service; when we got there, we stood for a good ten minutes at the entrance waiting for the Maître D' while he helped bus tables for a large party. We found it strange that the restaurant had no bus boys for the whole night. The Maître D' or the servers were busing their own tables. On a weekend night during the holidays that seems a little inappropriate. Our server made many faux-pas, breaking a plate right at my feet, serving curled milk with our coffee, ordering two identical main dishes (one of us is vegetarian), etc. Management was very forthcoming with their errors and offered to comp a large part of our dinner, without a single remark on our part.

            I have to look past our mediocre waiter and see a restaurant, which I felt was trying VERY hard to provide a quality dinning experience and stood proudly behind their business model. Now get working on some better desserts!!! That really is my biggest complaint…

            2 Replies
            1. re: joebelt

              Joe - what night did you end up eating there? We were there on Sunday, December 30th, and had a wonderful dinner, with the exact opposite experience with the service...the place was not crowded though, so that could have been part of it, and we also skipped dessert, as we were stuffed...I'm glad we made the right choice in that department!

              We had two cheese plates and the quail for appetizers, and my fiancé had the short ribs (which he thought tasted like corned beef - I thought they were 'okay'). I had the trout, which I thought was good...

              I'm sorry that your experience wasn't amazing, but I'm glad they at least tried to make up for it. Happy Anniversary!

              1. re: tkln

                tkln, Thanks. We went there the night before.

                We had a good time regardless of the little bumps in the road and would give it a second chance in a heartbeat.

            2. For another time...

              IMHO, the best place for a romantic dinner while in the area of St. Johnsbury is Tim-Bir Alley Restaurant in Littleton, NH. Tim Carr is the chef, and his wife, Biruta, takes care of the front of house. Tim-Bir Alley has just recently returned to Main Street, having been for a number of years a part of an inn in Bethlehem. (I will not name the inn; their unethical conduct prevents me from doing so.)

              We recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary at Tim-Bir Alley.

              As we decided on the beef entrée, we did not have an appetizer. We had "tournedos of beef on roasted onion mashed potatoes w/smoked bacon, gorgonzola and cabernet-thyme sauce." Accompanying the beef were small portions on the plate of the following: curried squash, corn pancake w/banana-fig chutney, snap peas w/toasted hazelnuts, carrots w/soy & pumpkin seeds, and sautéed zucchini w/garlic & butter.

              The meal was phenomenal. As it always is at Tim-Bir Alley. A longtime favorite. This is the place to go for a special dining experience.