Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Northern New England >
Dec 23, 2011 06:18 AM

Anything good near Essex?

I'm driving up from Montreal on the 26th to do some post-holiday shopping at the Essex JCT Outlets, hoping to score some after Xmas sales at Brooks, Bass, Orvis, etc.

I've been Hen of the Wood in Waterbury and other great tables in the area, but am really only looking to make a short day-trip out of this and hopefully not verge too far off route, if can be avoided. Not necessarily looking for anything fancy. Just great local/seasonal fare en route.

Is there anything in the area that's worth a stop?

I'd be more than willing to drive into Burlington for a great lunch. Any suggestions?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There's an Italian place, I can't remember the name of it, in the Essex outlets, near the cinema, that Alice at 7 Days says is pretty good. (If you go to the 7 Days website and search Alice and Essex you'll probably find it).

    In Colchester there's Don Pedro's and Peking Duck House, both of which I love. :) Don Pedro's is new, and they have some yummy Mexican "fast food" that's not fast like Taco Bell (not in ANY way), just prepared quickly. Peking Duck House is an old place with the standard American Chinese menu BUT they've added some Korean and Thai dishes (the son of the owner owns a successful Korean place in Boston) to update the menu and they have lunch deals that are great. I love their beef bulgolgi. Don Pedro's is right on the rotary, and Peking Duck House is about a block away from the Rotary (and has its own parking lot).

    I'm trying to remember good things in Essex, because I know there are a couple, but I'm blanking. You could also go to the 7 nights website and search in Essex to see what folks recommend there. :)

    7 Replies
    1. re: Morganna

      Tiny Thai in the Essex Outlets is really good but it's not local/seasonal. They have a great lunch deal there - a drink, and app and an entree for under $10.

      1. re: bm_vt

        Thanks, I think I'll give Tiny Thai a try!

        How's the peking duck at Peking Duck; worthy of the namesake?

        1. re: OliverB

          I've not tried it. :) I keep having the bulgolgi. :) I do like their wonton soup a lot, too. It's more like the soup I used to get when I was a kid, really flavorful with some nice veggies in it. Not the watery stuff the local place here serves.

          1. re: Morganna

            I should've tried the Thai place, but the shopping day was kind of a bust and I was solo and wanted a change of scene so I drove into Burlington in the early evening to find something a bit more special... didn't work out! I couldn't access wifi on my phone because of roaming rates and it was bitter cold walking the streets downtown, so I finally gave up and ended up at some Bistro (Leunien?) on Church St. that wasn't very good. I ordered a pumpkin soup that was just okay, nothing special and not very refined. It tasted more like squash puree with some pumpkin seeds and corn kernels tossed in. It looked like Gerber's, tasted pretty good. Not really worth mentioning though. I ordered a scallop entree next, that came in an overly sweet teriyaki-like sauce with more pumpkin seeds (were they trying to promote a seasonal menu or something?? couldn't see the purpose here...) and a completely dried out potato stuffing of sorts, that was absolutely terrible. The ingredients all tasted very fresh however, and the scallops could have been much better if prepared by a chef who put more focus towards emphasizing flavors rather then overpowering dishes and trying ti impress with heavy sauces and flare, dumping in all sorts of frivolous ingredients that added nothing. Wasn't nearly as interesting a kitchen as they'd have you believe. I shouldn't have tried a "french" (not quite!) bistro coming from Montreal anyway. It wasn't a terrible meal, just uninteresting and unmemorable. Seemed like more of a scene destination than one of culinary focus, but that may be the entire shopping strip on Church for all I know. Or perhaps downtown Burlington is just too collegey an area. It was very pretty outside at night with all the holiday lights glowing though and would have been nice to walk around if not for the cold tonight.

            In the end I realized that I should've stayed in Essex- I passed by the Belted Cow but they were closed this evening. I wanted to try Amuse but forgot the name or where it was and didn't want to rack up roaming charges on my phone.

            I'll definitely take you up on the suggestions the next time around! Thanks again!!

            1. re: OliverB

              You went to Leunig's. Your review is spot on. Its a cute little place and can certainly bring you in but the food is just okay. But really, going to a Bistro coming down from Montreal! Of course, Montreal is going to spoil you; there are so many great places there.

              1. re: OliverB

                There are actually some pretty nice food places downtown and not far from Church Street. I'm sorry you only got "eh". :)

                1. re: Morganna

                  Too late for this visit, but here are my Essex: Tiny Thai is quite good (for some reason, I actually like the Winooski location better). Amuse is not open for lunch, but me experience at dinner was excellent (and the Tavern has improved, and is open for lunch). The Belted Cow is a great place (dinner only). The rest of the outlet area restaurants are ok (Oriental Wok is serviceable for Chinese takeout, Mimmo's has good pizza, My Little Cupcake is good for a sweet bite). The turnover at Rustico's has been constant so I can't comment on the current quality of food.

                  As far as Church Street goes, nothing great but there are some decent spots. Re-Post when in the area again for a current update!