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Downtown Manchester NH vs. Downtown Nashua, NH

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I was having this discussion with a friend at a local watering hole this weekend. I thought I'd bring it to the chowhound community.

We both agree that both downtown have stepped it up to a point that you don't have to go to Portsmouth or Boston for that extra special meal, but we were split on which city had the upper hand.

What are your thoughts?

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  1. Great topic. I've always found Nashua a little soulless. Manchester, warts and all, has a character of its own. That said, I think Nashua has better sushi (Takumi and Red Leaf). Manchester has the better upscale casual bistros (Cotton and Z). Have not been to Richard's in Manch in a very long time, but my go-to fancy dinner place would be Michael Timothy's in Nashua. Bowl of pho--Golden Bowl in Manch. If Manchester still had Premier Palette and Baldwin's, it would win--but Nashua has Surf, probably the best seafood restaurant north of Boston. Curious to hear other opinions...

    1 Reply
    1. re: whs

      Have you tried the sushi at Yuki in manchester? It's devine! As for Richard's do not waste your time, it has gone south fast. I used to love going to Richard' but the last 3 visits were a huge letdown.

    2. Wow, interesting topic. I'm on the fence on this one. Quantity wise, I think Nashua has more options; don't forget San Fran Kitchen, Peddlers Daughter, two excellent bakeries plus what seems live a slew of diners. Too bad Seven Hills and Mezza are gone. Manchester has Cotton-Z-Richard's, Red Arrow, one good bakery downtown-LaLa's and many mnay sports bars- or so it seems. I just don't know.

      4 Replies
      1. re: edinaeats

        We basically broke it down restaurant vs. restaurant.

        Piccola vs. Villa Banca
        Richards, Z, Cotton vs. Micheal Timothy's, Saffron Bistro, Black Orchid Grill
        Peddlers Daughter vs. Sashkeen, Wild Rover
        Surf vs. Commercial St Fishery
        etc.

        This was a pretty livley debate.

        I think Manch comes out on top on the upscale range overall. Manch's upscale restaurants deliver more consistanly than Nashua's, save Michael's.

        Nashua does have the "adult cocktail bars" that Manch doesn't, MOP and Unum's, but I was not impressed with eihter. Look good but lacking in quaity. Love the sandwiches at the Nashua Garden and the night life has a cool funk about it, better than the meat markets in Manch,

        Overall it is a close call but I like the newer places in Manch over Nashua. If you asked me this queztion 2 years ago I might go the other way.

        1. re: viva manchvegas

          in what watering hole did you have this discussion? just wondering!

          1. re: edinaeats

            Penuche's on Hanover. Which BTW is the nicest Penuches I've been in.

        2. re: edinaeats

          I am getting dissapointed lately with both Cotton and Richard's... maybe it is just me but they seem to be really sliding in quality. You would think with the lower amount of people eating out lately they would be doing the opposite to entice them. Last 2 visits to both were extremely underwhelming to downright disappointing.. But I have always loved Vietmanese Noodle House. (Yes I know it is a hole in the wall dive.... but man it is all about the FOOD!)

        3. great topic, Because I venture out more often in Manch and because most recent ones were fantastic (Cafe MOMO and City Flames Smokehouse and Z) - I'll say Manch. But I'm discovering Nashua and just love Surf and Michael Timothy's. Manch does seem to have a nice diverse variety - Golden Bowl, El Mexicano Jr. or Consuelo's Taquaria, Gills Indian, City Flames BBQ, Cotton, Korean Place, sushi at Yuki, Cafe Momo, Z, Lala's Hungarian, etc.

          5 Replies
          1. re: lexpatti

            Golden Bowl is for sale

            1. re: edinaeats

              I am surprised about the positive reviews it has received. I am not a pho afficionado, but I didn't find their chicken pho to be too flavorful. Also had a pork cutlet there and it was fairly thin and fatty, with a huge piece of fat served with it.

            2. re: lexpatti

              I hadn't even heard of City Flame Smokehouse.

              1. re: observor

                City Flame has the best BBQ in Manchester IMO . For that matter, you'd have to drive down to Blue Ribbon in MA for anything comparable .

                1. re: Msample

                  Ditto!!! LOve the place, love the food, love the people - can't go wrong. And very consistently awesome.,

            3. Did anyone read NH Mag. about $1 oysters at Hanover Chop House on Wednesdays before 7pm??? Sounds like a deal.

              1. Yes, good topic. I happen to like restaurants in a downtown area, so you can walk to another place for drinks, dessert or entertainment afterward. I really would like to try Cafe Momo, for example, but it doesn't look like there's any life nearby.

                I don't know that much about downtown Manchester, but am planning to rectify that soon. I do like Strange Brew for live blues and the best beer selection north of the border.

                There's a good concentration of places downtown in Nashua, all within walking distance. I like MT's, Surf, Black Orchid. I haven't been to Villa Banca or Fody's in a while. I do like outdoor dining, but eating on the sidewalk of a busy street has never really appealed to me. I do miss Mezza (Lebanese) and Del Vaudo's (live music, drinks). It looks like a new Indian place is replacing Mezza.