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A few days in Hanover, NH!

Coming up from GA for a conference held @ Dartmouth in July, and am actively seeking recommendations on where to find some great local foods. Where should a southern boy go in a New England college town?

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  1. There's not much in Hanover proper for great food, it's a college town, but it's a very small college town. There used to be a superb high-end Italian restaurant in town that I liked a lot, but it has been gone for several years.

    There's lots of great choices if you are willing drive a little bit, such as Carpenter and Main across the river in Norwich VT.


    And Simon Pearce in Quechee, a 20 minutes drive...


    8 Replies
      1. re: signothetimes53

        Carpenter and main is about the best food around, and really can be done with a long walk, so if you don't have a car you'll be fine. In town, Canoe Club is passable. India Queen does reasonable indian food, but skip the Thai and Chinese places--truly miserable. Simon Pearce is good, though very expensive, and a bit of a drive. If you do make it out to Woodstock (past Quechee) there is a great sandwich spot...that I'm currently totally blanking on the name of...somewehere out there.

        1. re: dagoose

          I beg to differ, Carpenter and Main is not that good. For the money I was not that impressed. Our entrees were poorly seasoned, my husband was brought the wrong appetizer and the service seemed more attentive in the bistro than in the 'fine dining' side. Given the choice, Simon Pearce is more reliable.

        2. re: signothetimes53

          sorry to hear Cafe Buon Gustaio is gone...used to be my favorite spot 15 years ago (i can still remember the scallion pappardelle)! there used to be a Chinese restaurant, Panda or something, with decent soft shell crab, still there maybe?

          1. re: barleywino

            You're thinking of Panda House, which closed a few years ago due to repeated issues of the staff skimming people's credit cards.

            The place that replaced it, however (Orient), is actually pretty good, one of the best Chinese places in the area (although that's "damning with faint praise").

            1. re: kaszeta

              thanks for the update...well it's only 2 hrs drive to Boston Chinatown ;) (could be worse)
              There used to be a place around there (across the st from the supermarket/gas station) that sold yummy flakey Cornish pasties, still there maybe?

              1. re: barleywino

                Don't know that one.

                You can, however, get some good meat pies from Umpleby's Bakery on South St (they moved there from Bridgewater, VT). Photo of one of their chicken pies attached.

                1. re: kaszeta

                  nice! sometime maybe you can compare with the chicken pie at Petsi Pies in Boston (Somerville actually)

        3. Lou's is a classic soda fountain/coffee shop on Main Street--great place for breakfast. The terrace overlooking the Green at the Dartmouth Inn is pleasant for lunch, more for ambience than great food. If you have a car and some time to explore, it's a beautiful ride down to Walpole to L.A. Burdick's: http://www.burdickchocolate.com/store...

          1 Reply
          1. re: whs

            IMHO Burdicks has gone a little downhill of late. We have enjoyed it for years and had some outstanding meals. Unfortunately the last few times we left thinking that $80 for brunch for 2 was a little pricey. When we shell out $100 for a meal I like to be sauntering to my car in a state of bliss, and not from the alcohol. Great food, a bit of attitude from the waitstaff, and if you think nothing of shelling $100 for a nice meal by all means, you will enjoy.

          2. We've eaten at Jesse's a few times in Hanover and we've found the place very good.
            AJ's over in White River Jct. is a real good steakhouse also.
            Not much else in Hanover worth raving about.
            Look under Woostock,Vermont(a neaby town_ for better eating reccs.)
            Good Eating!

            1. Lou's on Main St. in Hanover is wonderfully prepared college town diner type food. Great soups, sandwiches, etc. Everything that goes by looks like it would earn a return trip.

              1. This thread illustrates what happens when the O.P. asks for recommendations for great local foods, but doesn't indicate whether he's looking for great (expensive) food, or great-for-the-low-price bargain food.

                bigtuck, is it coffee shops and diners you seek, or truly great dining?

                I will say this: Jesse's and AJ's serve passable, ordinary institutional microwave and grill food, but they are exceptionally run-of-the-mill and boring. No chef needed at either of those places, just follow the directions on the packages, and set the timers on the grill.

                4 Replies
                1. re: signothetimes53

                  Because you worded it that way, I'm guessing that you are someone who just cannot experience great dining in a coffee shop or diner or what you might consider a pedestrian joint. And I kinda feel bad for you if you need a chef for a great dining experience. I can enjoy a sausage dog from an Athens GA street vendor as much as I can a meal of medjool dates, imported cheese, and squab at nationally renowned chef Hugh Acheson's Five and Ten here in Athens.

                  Thanks to those who have given me all sorts of local places to go, I look forward to my trip. All I asked for was local places and for the most part, you obliged.

                  1. re: bigtuck

                    bigtuck, I love diners and coffee shops. I simply expressed an uncertainty about what it is that you seek in this thread. No disparagement of diners and coffee shops intended.

                    Think about it for a moment: if you were me, based on your original post, would you interpret it as desiring a recommendation for a "fine dining" meal at a big price tag?

                    Or would you interpret it as desiring a recommendation for a "great and inexpensive" food/meal?

                    Both are completely viable...but I am simply not sure what you intended (maybe you intended both), and that's why I asked my question of you.

                    That said, I DO object to shelling out $100 for a dinner for two at a place like Jesse's or AJ's to get really pedestrian food. Consider yourself and anyone else warned about those two places, they are truly bad value for the money expended....and they are most definitely not coffee shops or diners.

                    1. re: signothetimes53

                      Sorry, just a misunderstanding! I really had no preference for style of place or degree of fine dining, I was just looking for good, local places to eat that weren't Applebee's or Dunkin Donuts. I appreciate all of the recommendations and can't wait to visit.

                  2. re: signothetimes53

                    I agree about Jesse's, but have to say that it's been even less than "passable," the last two times I've been there (and not again until they're under new management). It's a shame, because it's a very nice looking place, and especially warm and inviting during the winter. The food was at least passable, four or five years ago.

                  3. About a 15-minute drive from Dartmouth is Three Tomatoes, in Lebanon, NH. It's almost an hour from my house, but my friends and I feel it's worth the travel and fuel. We go for the delicate, light-crust pizza with a fresh-tasting tomato sauce, or "white," or no-cheese, etc. Almost everything is baked in their wood-fired oven, or open grill, including succulent, flavorful chicken breast and perfect salmon steaks. Excellent bar selections, too. We usually eat at the friendly bar.

                    1 Court Street Lebanon, NH 03766
                    Lunch Monday – Friday 11:30am - 2:00pm
                    Dinner nightly 5:00 to close


                    I recommend that you get there at opening when there's a performance at the Lebanon Opera House, up the block. Call ahead to make sure.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Plate_o

                      I totally with signothetimes53 about Jesse's and AJ's; don't bother. It has nothing to do with being a diner snob. Lou's is great diner food. Jesses and AJs are just bad. Umpleby's is a wonderful bakery/sandwich shop in town and Ramuntos is very good NY style pizza. Allechante in Norwich is a caterer that sells high end delicious prepared meals and sandwiches.

                      1. re: Plate_o

                        Also... for "American comfort food," the Salt Hill Pub is about 100 feet away from Three Tomatoes. I'm told their pot roast is wonderful. Most of what they serve is made from scratch on-site or at their other location in Newport, NH. Not much on the menu for vegetarians or low-fat fans, but I can attest to their excellent beer and ale selection, and very friendly staff. Live music Tues., Fri., Sat. http://www.salthillpub.com/salthillpu...

                        1. re: Plate_o

                          Plate, is Three Tomatoes what used to be Sweet Tomatoes? If so, it was decent Italian, not spectacular but fresh and well-made, and onw of the better moderately prices places, when I used to live in the area.

                          Simon Pearce is oneof my favorites, but I'd got for lunch, to get a better bargain.

                          There used to be a wonderful place in Strafford called Stone Soup. Does anyone know if it is still in existence?

                          1. re: guineverek

                            Yes, "Three Tomatoes" is the former "Sweet Tomatoes", due to legal issues (there's a national chain with the same name). I generally enjoy the food there, but recently the service has been a bit slow.

                            I'll agree, Simon Pearce is a good lunch destination.

                            I'm pretty sure Stone Soup is still there, but I haven't been for a few years.

                          2. re: Plate_o

                            Second the recommendation for 3 Tomatoes, we eat here whenever we are going to the Leb Opera house, (which is a great place too but oops - off topic) Get there early on opera night there will be a wait, but well worth it. They support local growers too!

                            I've eaten twice at Salt Hill Pub, once at each place and found the food consistently bad, good beer selection was the only redeeming feature I found.

                            Have had many excellent meals at Simon Pearce, but haven't been in years, since the maître d' followed us out to chastise us for a small tip. (the waitress was horrible so we only left 10%) SO that was that, haven't been back.

                          3. I would not go to Jesse's; it's very pedestrian (again not being snobby; the food just isn't good). Lou's is fine; it's a Hanover institution and the food is good, not great, and a little overpriced (for me part of what's great about diners is they're so cheap and Lou's isn't). Three Tomatoes is your typical mid-level Italian place with a brick oven: all right but nothing special.

                            If you're actually looking for locally-grown food, I'd recommend checking out Peyton Place Restaurant in Lyme or Season's in Enfield (both are a short drive from Hanover). I haven't been to either place but have heard great things about both and both make a point of serving local food.

                            1 Reply
                            1. From Hanover/Dartmouth take the short drive across the river to Rte 5 and the Norwich Inn in "downtown" Norwich, VT. They brew beer on site and also have a separate pub side with it's own menu.

                              Norwich Inn Restaurant
                              325 Main Street, Norwich, VT

                              1. There are a few my husband and I go to that always are worth the money and time
                                Pene Salute in Woodstock VT. Mangowood Woodstock for dinner. For lunch or dinner try simon pearce in Quechee, Tip top cafe in White river junction, For coffee stay away from the chains we have two great places Umplebys in Hanover(try the almond toast) or the Tuckerbox White river junction (peanut butter and bacon sandwich & Blts)