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Lakes Region NH: Looking for better than average food...


We spend a few weekends a year in Gilford, NH and have yet to find a restaurant in the region I would go back to twice. I'm looking for food made with love, care, thought and quality ingredients.

We eat everything so anything goes. Anything within an hour or so of Gilford would work.

Just looking for something that rises above the pedestrian crapola that most places serve up there. (I'm talking to you Harts Turkey farm and your bogus, steam table cafeteria slop).

Is this just to much to ask?


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  1. We have many nice restaurants such as O's steak and seafood but some horrors also . As a long time resident of Gilford I looked forward to the opening of the Lobster Pound in the Weirs. We waited one hour and forty five minutes and then the mangager suggested it was our fault because we chose to dine there on a Wednesday.

    1. O Steak and Seafood is a wonderful new addition to Laconia. I also love the little Thai place next to the high school in Lacaonia. Other then those two, I head to Ctr Sandwich at The Corner House Inn. Abondante's in Meredith for great Italian. Of the Common Man restaurants - I've enjoyed Lago in Meredith (but the others I don't care for). Fugi is great for chinese, family run in Meredith. Sushi/Vietnamese in Ctr Harbor at LemonGrass. Awesome awesome Lobster Roll @ Sam & Rosies in Ctr Harbor (across from the beach). Little further around the lake is excellent steak at The Woodshed. Many love the Canoe in Ctr Harbor - I just hate the service each time I go so I stay away. Great casual fresh is The Village Kitchen - excellent value (Moultonboro). It's good for everything, breakfast/lunch/dinner. Two diners in Meredith are very good - Ma & Pa's , and George's Diner. Expensive but great views and great food is Church Landing (I think this is another common man place) - I love their wedge salad. My family does their sunday brunch and love it.

      1. Canoe, O and Scott's new place, The North End.

        1. I agree with everyone here - O is excellent. I also second LexPatti's opinion of Canoe - although it has the same owner as O, we didn't care for Canoe at all.

          Of the many area restaurants we've dined at, Mise en Place on Lehner Street in Wolfeboro is the closest you'll find for what you describe as "food made with love, care, thought & quality ingredients". Reservations are a must, though.

          1 Reply
          1. re: beaner2

            sorry, but i have to disagree with Mise en Place in wolfeboro. we went there for lunch this summer and found the food just okay. we had hoped for a better lunch and all we got was very average. maybe dinner is better but just to let you know

          2. Try West Lake on 28 north of Wolfeboro for top-notch Chinese food. Skip the center page with all of the specials, and head for the regular menu, which is better and cheaper. The eggplant in garlic sauce and sauteed string beans with chicken are particularly nice. Not surprisingly given the location, the spicy items tend to be the more authentic ones.

            1. Speaking of Thai, we were searching for Thai during one of our regular jaunts up 93, and stumbled across Kyaratip, at exit 20. They suffer from a lack of signage but the cooking is excellent; we cook Thai at home and have sampled every Thai from Boston northward. They deliver the extra effort in presentation, in the dishes and on the table. Take a right at the Tilt'in Diner and they're in a little plaza next to Dunkin.

              3 Replies
              1. re: jgraham65

                jgraham, have you tried the small Thai restaurant in Franklin NH next to the opera house. The name Asian Delight is in my brain but I'm not sure that's the right name. I think they may have changed owners. Franklin is the town south of Tilton on Rt 3. Thanks for the tip about the restaurant at exit 20. I don't think we've tried that one.

                1. re: dfrostnh

                  There is a new place in Plymouth called Thai Smile. It's more of an Asian Fusion than Thai and it might not be the best in NH but it is unconditionally the best that Plymouth has to offer and a nice change from the mediocre Common Man restaurants that saturate the area.

                  1. re: dfrostnh

                    No I haven't - Just looking it up now. Thanks for the tip.

                2. We're spending 3 nights at the Inns at Mill Falls in Meredith end of January. Any new recs or old faves within a short drive?

                  15 Replies
                  1. re: whs

                    have you done "O Steak and Seafood" in Laconia? Fantastic. owned by the same folks as Canoe, although you would never know it based on the service (I think the Canoe's service is just outright wrong, soooo very poor, I'll keep my language PG).

                    My all time fav is Corner House Inn in Ctr Sandwich. Calamari is fantastic as is the lobster/mushroom bisque. Have fun, probably will pass you up there.

                    1. re: lexpatti

                      What's up with the service at Canoe?

                      1. re: whs

                        There are a couple service people there that , really, I can't believe still work there. Terrible servers. Huff at you when there isn't room on the table to put down the food because they just barely brought out aps, then wait just off the side twiddling their thumbs saying "come on hurry up". Blame you for a mess up on the order. but mostly just this all around attitude that says "ya, well, we're the best in town so be happy with that, I don't need to be!" One time they asked my Dad if he wanted fresh grated parm and when he said yes, they huffed, rolled their eyes then came back and said "I can't leave this, we're too busy". I could go on and on, one time the waiter went through the specials sooo quickly that I asked her to repeat when it came to my turn. She said "which didn't you hear or understand, 4th one or 5th". I was just in shock, then she proceeded to go through it even more quickly, as she was frustrated with me.

                        Too bad - the food is fantastic!! But I just won't go because the chance is too high in getting one of these boobs to ruin my experience.

                        I also have inside scoop (from family members) that attitude is a huge problem at this place between the workers. That actually explained a lot.

                        1. re: lexpatti

                          Lex. I hoped you tipped that snark a dime! Ugh, I hate that! There is no excuse for being rude to a customer who is not being rude to you. I used to love Canoe, but I won't go back anymore either because of what I am hearing about the service. Back 5 years ago, they were wonderful.

                          At least I have Richard's Bistro ... and I am all set.

                    2. re: whs

                      We stayed there in August. For something casual, the Italian restaurant in the main building at the hotel was surprisingly very good and a lot of fun. We had the pizza, bruschetta and the scampi and they were all good. They had some guy singing and playing guitar. Everybody was having a good time.

                      1. re: hotwing

                        We're staying at Church Landing this year--we stayed at Mill Falls last visit, and Giuseppe's was good. We've also had a decent meal at Lakeside, the restaurant in CL, but were hoping to expand our horizons. Anything within walking distance of the hotel?

                        1. re: whs

                          Have you done Abondante in Merideth (walking)? What about The Woodshed for a great steak (tuftonboro)? What do you do for breakfast? ma and Pa Sunshine is great and of course George's Diner (both in Merideth). My Dad lives walking distance to town so I frequent many. Largo's is good but I like Lakeside better.

                          Have fun, be up there this weekend - son's coming in from Paris today.

                          Happy New Year

                          1. re: lexpatti

                            Thanks lexpatti! HNY to you too--I hope 2009 brings many new food discoveries.

                            1. re: lexpatti

                              I am oblivious to where things are but we eat breakfast at the Alton Bay Diner with great, consistent diner food and great friendly service. We have tried a few places in Wolfeboro but have been extremely unimpressed with quality and consistency of food.

                              1. re: lexpatti

                                A caution on Abondante - I had one of the most miserable meals of the past year there a few months ago. See http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/566021

                                1. re: whs

                                  just had lunch today at church landing - don't get thier appetizer pizza with prochutto, pear, walnut and goat cheese - I was dissappointed, sliced caned pears all over my pizza (looked like potato). I usually love thier food. Have fun, you bringing your ice fishing gear???

                                  1. re: lexpatti

                                    I liked the pizza at Giuseppe's--too bad about CL offering.

                                    lexpatti dear...ice fishing is one of those pastimes that elude me...sort of like bungee jumping or water boarding. Will stick to massages!

                                    1. re: whs

                                      lol, right out of the mouth of my hubby - he too feels the same way. It's a very social thing in freezing weather, and a little fishing. :-) have a wonderful time, and report back of your dining adventures.

                                      1. re: lexpatti

                                        Have not had a chance to post--ended up in Texas the following week (great mesquite smoked brisket and Tex-Mex). Anyway, dinner first night was at Lakeside Grill in Church Landing and second night at Lago. Both were quite good, though two weeks later, I can only remember my duck two ways at Lakeside. It was rare breast and duck leg confit. Hmmm....my impression was that the plates had too much going on--Common Man restaurants tend to load on the veggies and potatoes to no discernable effect. Service was of the sweet young girl variety--inept but earnest. BTW, the barman at Lago makes a good Negroni. We had lunch at George's Diner--the fried oysters were fresh but the batter was the main feature and it was dull. Took a lot of tartar sauce to finish the plate. Dining partner liked his franks and beans.

                                        1. re: whs

                                          My Dad loves the btenders at Largo, one in particular came from New Orleans and makes my Dad a nice sazerac (sp?) Glad had fun. Recently had the best fried oysters over at Corner House Inn in Sandwich, they were a special - that's my favorite place to go in the lakes region.

                        2. I know I am late here, but we love Lago in Meredith. Inspired Tuscan food served with warmth and great efficiency. It's right on the water in Meredith Bay, so ask for a seat near the window. Nice wine list, great bar. They don't take reservations, but you usually don't have to wait long particularly if you get there early. We went last Saturday and had a wonderful meal: my husband had a to-die-for spaghetti carbonara for a first course with pan-seared scallops for his main course and I had an arugula salad with blue cheese and pan-seared salmon with jicama-apple slaw and salsa. Both were served with the house risotto -- great. One of the Common Man chain of restaurants, where you usually can't go wrong (avoid the Italian Farmhouse in Plymouth, however -- snotty service and mediocre food).

                          Down the road in Center Harbor is Canoe, an unprepossessing place in a log building. Great food, good service, nice wine list. Good for lunch or dinner.

                          I love both these places.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jlbrown

                            Well I know I am REALLY REALLY late here, but may be one of you that goes to the Big Lake will see this and remember I sent you to this out of this world place. Now listen up, it's a good one. I can't believe no one mentioned it on Chowhound, NOT once! It's a restaurant that just closed for the season on Thursday night, September 17th, 2009, BUT it's reopening again in May 2010, so remember this in the spring, try to go before Bike Week! It's a real gem of a place, I'm telling you right now, put it on your agenda. It's called "Kevin's Cafe" at the Pier in Moultonboro at Weirs Beach. This chef & owner's name is Kevin Fisk, who used to be a chef at Legal's Seafood in Boston. If you want unbelievable seafood GO here. You can check his menu out to see what I mean about it:


                            Kevin's Cafe these days has a lobster tank, so they feature live steamed or stuffed lobsters on the menu regularly. Sizes vary from 1 1/4 lb lobsters up to 3 lb lobsters. So for all those lobster lovers stop by and check them out. Also at Kevin's Cafe the all you can eat Lobster and Prime Rib Buffet at $40.00 plus tax. Reserve the last Sunday of the month, seatings are at 3 pm, and 5 pm, so make reservations early since seats are limited during this time.. Also--every Friday night they have an all you can eat Fried Whole Belly Clams for $19.00 per person plus tax. On Monday they have $12.95 Specials, so call and make your reservations. You HAVE to try the best best crabcakes here, as good if not better than Maryland's yummy ones! Hey, you be the judge, I'm telling you GO here, you will be SO glad you read this. It's also a local yocal favorite. Oh oh, now I let the cat out of the bag. Oh well, hey, it's got wonderful cuisine here! Just wit till you try it, you'll be psyched you found this place around that beautiful lake.

                            Let me know what you think, enjoy it!

                          2. Go to Kevin's Cafe at the Pier in Moultonboro! The chef & owner is from Legal's Seafood in Boston. It's quite good here, you won't be disappointed. They closed for the season on 9/17/09 BUT they will be reopening in MAY 2010, so remember that. Go to their menu to see what I mean about it:


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Gets2PointA

                              Agree with all the good words but a little location clarification. Kevins at the Pier is new this year and is on Weirs Beach in Laconia. Kevins Cafe (the restaurant) is in Moultonborough on Rt 25 about 8 miles from Kevins at the Pier. I believe the original Kevins in Moultonborough is open year round, but I may be mistaken.

                            2. I'm surprised nobody mentioned the William Tell just down the road in Alton [very quick from Gilford, just drive past Ellacoya for about five minutes]. Lovely Swiss food with excellent early bird specials. Beautiful salads and desserts. The building looks odd and kitschy from the road, but the food is quite good and the interior is just lovely -- reminds me of Napa with clean stucco walls, plants, twinkly lights and quiet. Give it a try. Here's an earlier post on the board http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/306765