If there’s one thing that unifies the diverse corners of the state of New Hampshire, it’s reverence for fresh, quality foods. With one of the strongest farm-to-table movements in the country, it is increasingly easy to know where your food comes from, and increasingly common to find top quality cuisine in our little nook of the world. Whether you pop into a local eatery for a quick bite, or take a road trip to try something new, you will likely not be disappointed.
New Hampshirites take quality food seriously, an attitude fully addressed by the offerings of Manchester’s Republic. The state’s first certified farm-to-table eatery curates its menu from just 75 farms and artisanal producers, and lists their daily fish specials next to the name of the boat that reeled them in. A robust roster of Mediterranean fare, familiar but special cocktails, and desserts boasted to be “live free or die for” have made Republic a neighborhood standard as well as a destination dining experience.
Stiff competition for Manchester’s best can be found at Cotton, a classic American joint providing “food, cocktails, and the potential for a really good time.” A perhaps disjointed-at-first-glance menu is a smorgasbord of diverse comfort food ranging from meatloaf to jambalaya. If you can tear yourself away from Cotton’s seminal, award winning martini, a selection of over 40 wines by the glass ensures a perfect pairing. Cotton’s clean, retro environment and attention to detail make it a must-eat in Manchester.
One-hundred miles north of Manchester might as well be 100 light years at the impossibly elegant Omni Mount Washington Resort, a National Historic Landmark once a luxury playground for the likes of Thomas Edison, Babe Ruth, and Joan Crawford. The resort’s opulent Main Dining Room offers dinner and dancing set against an incredible panorama of Mount Washington. A somewhat brief menu features impeccable, seasonal plates underscored by a classically New England palate. Diners who spend the night can indulge yet again with the “Art of Breakfast” buffet, complete with made to order omelets and waffles.
With a raw bar as extensive as its fish-centric menu, Row 34 takes seafood seriously. The second iteration of a Boston based eatery of the same name gives the original in Bean Town a serious run for its money. Add that to clean decor, an inventive cocktail list, and drool worthy brunch offerings, and you have a restaurant experience not to be missed.
Started by a brother and sister culinary duo in 2008, Firefly American Bistro emphasizes good food from fresh ingredients, served up with an ideal date night atmosphere. A stunningly comprehensive menu provides options for even the pickiest diner while each dish remains detailed and special.
Copper Door is one of the rare restaurants that will leave you smiling long after you’ve paid the check. A fantastic children’s menu as well as gluten free options promise happy bellies on all fronts, and the company’s “Random Act of Kindness” initiative could score you a free appetizer, entree, or even a gift card so you can pay it forward. Varied seating areas, each cozy and inviting, give each party a sense of privacy while still being part of the family friendly fun.
White Mountain Cider Company has a lot going on, in the best possible way. Perfectly set in a restored 1890 farmhouse, customers can enjoy inventive seasonal dishes, a casual fare selection at the bar, or to go sandwiches and apple cider donuts from the deli. Cider pressing on site from mid-September till the start of December create an educational, nuanced experience for even the most jaded clientele.
MT’s Local places serious emphasis on customer satisfaction, from a VIP client club to available gluten free options on every dish. The menu features plenty of vegetarian options, wood fired pizza, and inventive takes on classic foods like the superb General Tso’s lobster. Previously operated as the slightly fancier Michael Timothy’s moniker, the restaurant underwent a total transformation to be even more accessible and comfortable for its beloved patrons.
You could search the earth end to end and perhaps find no lovelier spot than Rye’s Carriage House restaurant. Oceanside dining is at its finest with a comprehensive menu of fresh pasta and seafood, and space enough to host your next function with a banquet buffet. Leave yourself enough time to admire the scenery and charming surrounding neighborhood.
A burger voted best in state three out of four years by New Hampshire Magazine is enough to get me in the door, and The Barley House’s other offerings keep me coming back. With a twin establishment located in North Hampton, this gastropub throws off serious UK vibes considering its geography. Guinness beef stew and Smithwick’s curry fish and chips are extra authentic when enjoyed alongside live Irish music every Tuesday night.
An old-school pizzeria with enough of a twist to keep things interesting. All pies are available either wood-fired or New York style, regular or gluten free crust. Endless grinders, salads, baked pastas, and a blow-your-mind eggplant parmesan are simply not to be missed if you live in or visit the Dover area.
Truly an inimitable experience, Café Lafayette is located on a train that transports you 20 scenic miles, serving a five-course meal and cocktails, before safely delivering you back to the start. Admire the Pemigewasset River Valley while enjoying some of the finest service in the Granite State.
Built as a wedding gift for a wealthy man’s daughter in 1869, this 61-room inn holds fast to its traditional roots. Hospitality at its finest, The Wentworth offers hyper local cuisine in a cozy, romantic setting. Dine on a Friday night and meet Bill the Mushroom Man, who delivers locally foraged mushrooms to the inn, or stay overnight and enjoy an impressive, hearty mountain breakfast.
Whether you’re looking for fish tacos or raw bar heaven, Surf Restaurant in Portsmouth is the perfect spot. A second location of the original Surf in Nashua, this eatery brings a seaside element to its quality dining experience, along with some of the best fried clams in the state. Book The Surf Room for a special event and dazzle guests with a stunningly appointed dining room, private deck, and panoramic views of the Atlantic.
Nestled on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee is a resort packed with perfect views, incredible food, and a beyond festive atmosphere. Enjoy a more refined experience at the Blue Bistro, or experience the Caribbean inspired NazBar for something more down and dirty. Whatever your pleasure, prepare for seafood galore and desserts made lovingly by hand by Resort matriarch Hope Makris.