Republic Cafe in Manchester, NH
This place is fabulous. It is a European style cafe in our own Manchester, NH. I cannot wait to go back. The idea behind this fairly new eatery is food goes from farm to table. They keep a chalkboard list of the farms they buy their food from.
I went for lunch and tried to keep my meal light (and my weight down), but I ended up eating every bit of my panini. Half would have been fine for lunch, but it was so tasty, I devoured every crumb. I ordered the Grilled Zucchini that also had roasted red peppers and various other gorgeous flavors like feta cheese.
My husband ordered the Chicken Panini, an unusual choice for him since he is not crazy about goat cheese. I tried a bite of his. It was very good, but mine was better. Both came with a modest side salad instead of the usual fries and starches available everywhere else.
On top of everything else, the prices are reasonable. Our paninis were $6.50 and $7.50. The highest priced item on the menu is $22.
The owners, Claudia Rippee and Edward Aloise, are the former proprietors of the most missed Cafe Pavone in the Millyard. According to their website (http://republiccafe.com ) their menu "will convey our culinary philosophy which focuses on quality ingredients, is seasonally appropriate, and is respectful of its sources." Bravo. I will be back soon to sample the Mussels Provencel, the North African Spiced Vegetables, and the Monkfish (Monkfish in Manchester!!) Puttanesca.
Outstanding food and worth every penny! The food preparation is careful and the result is incredibly tasty. The menu satisfies both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarians, and its diversity is fantastic. You really get the sense that you're eating at a place that cares about its reputation and food quality. The focus on local dining is important. We ate dinner there and the specials were not to be missed.
Ed and Claudia are totally committed to the use of high quality local products. It's a wonderful place for vegetarians (my wife being one) and a welcome opportunity for carnivores (me) to see what life is like on the other side. The restaurant (bistro, really) has an informal air, but the service is gracious and professional, none of that "Hi, my name is Matt, I'm your server and here's my life story...." And no-one hustles you off your table to maximize turns.
Try the chicken confit, the arancini or the kefta appetizer, or the falafel-encrusted fish, really a riff on fish and chips. I can't recommend it highly enough.