Must Visit Restaurants in Southern New Hampshire: A Guide to NH Dining

Southern New Hampshires Finest Casual Dining

As a transplant from the southeastern Pennsylvania suburbs to the southern New Hampshire region, it took my wife and I quite some time to settle in and find great places to dine out that weren'tyour run of the mill everyplace chain restaurants like TGI Fridays, Applebee's, and the like. In fact, in just over 10 years there are just a few that we would recommend. Needless to say, we haven’t been to nearly all of the independent restaurants in the Manchester/ Nashua region of NH, but out of the several dozen we have visited, the restaurants reviewed below go above and beyond the call of duty and provide individually unique characteristics and menus that are not easy to find in the region.

First Diamond in the Rough:

Mile Away Restaurant

52 Federal Hill Road Milford, NH

Phone: 603.673.3904 Reservations Recommended

A markerMile Away Restaurant 52 Federal Hill Road Milford, NH -
52 Federal Hill Rd, Milford, NH 03055, USA
[get directions]

The Review:

I’ll admit, Mile Away Restaurant, originally named for its proximity to “downtown” Milford, NH, is a bit of a hike from the population centers of the southern New Hampshire region but is definitely worth the trip. Immediately upon arriving, its farmhouse charm and hex symbols took me back to a younger time when seeing such a sigh was common growing up in Berks County, PA. According to their website, Mile Away is described as a restaurant that serves American and European cuisine in a colonial barn setting”. There are two dining rooms with working fireplaces, and their kitchen offers a four course meal with a cost according to what you order. These courses include a choice of interesting appetizers including sorbet and fruit plate, Swedish meatballs, baked stuffed clams, and my personal favorite veal and pork country pate, amongst others. Upon seating you well feel the warmly inviting rustic appeal of the antique wood paneling and colonial décor with a mix of Pennsylvania Dutch and European folk art. This along with the warmth of the wood fireplaces set the template for a wonderful home style meal. Main course options include Filet Mignon, Duck, Rack of Lamb, and surf and turf. My favorite though is their selection of German themed dishes including Wiener schnitzel, Holstein schnitzel (Wiener schnitzel served with a fried egg on top), as well as pecan encrusted chicken, and other succulent surprises. This is all precluded of course by a house salad. Desert includes strudel, ice cream puffs, rum balls, and the like to put a nice cherry on top of a warm meal that comforts the soul.

Rankings (100 being best 50 average)

Category
Score
Out of a possible
Theme
98
100
Cusine
99
100
Atmosphere
100
100
Affordability
50
100

Service is excellent and authentic to the restaurants Amero/Euro/Colonial theme. I would recommend getting a reservation as they serve only dinner from Wednesday through Saturday between the hours of 5 and 9 pm, and Sundays adding an early lunch with the hours of 1 pm to 7 pm. There is high demand from the locals so make sure you call ahead well in advanced. Services including private gatherings and weddings are also offered making available their uniquely themed hospitality and cuisine. In all, Mile Away is a home away from home surprise in the outskirts of suburban southern New Hampshire!

A markerCotton Arms St. Manchester, NH -
Arms St, Manchester, NH 03101, USA
[get directions]

2 Is Just a Number in this Review

Cotton

Arms St. Manchester, NH

(603) 622-5488 Reservations Recommended


The Review:

Leave your kids at home for the adventure into the retro themed martini driven world that is Cotton. Don’t be fooled by the name folks! Cotton is by far one of the coolest restaurants I have visited regardless of where I have traveled. Set in a corner space in what was once a cotton mill in Manchester, NH, if you are a lover of remodeled factory buildings and the unique feel and presence they bring then this is the place for you! Walking in, you will be struck by its part formal, mostly casual feel with its white table covers and candle lights surrounded by blue neon and pictures of popular figures from years passed. Every detail of this restaurants décor has been gone over and even the restrooms stay with the restaurants theme including mock martini ads for your viewing pleasure at the urinals in the men’s room. All the ambiance of cottons will please you even before you have a gander at their small but satisfying menu selections.

You server will begin, as usual, asking you what you would like to drink, and in a not so usual way give you options of some of their exotic martini varieties which is their specialty. Once you choose between flavors that range from the Flirtini (vodka, champagne, and pineapple), to the Espresso (Bailey’s, Stoli Vanil, Kahlua, and Grand Marnier). There is something for everyone who loves a good martini. Not to mention that Cotton has been rated “Best Martinis in NH” for 8 years in a row!. Once you have finished your 3rd drink you may be ready to soak up some of the alcohol with a groovy appetizer. Options include baked goat cheese, Asian pot stickers, pan-seared scallops, sweet and spicy popcorn shrimp along with a wide array of classy and unique salads. Yum!

Rankings (100 being best 50 average)

Category
Score
Out of a Possible
Theme
100
100
Cuisine
95
100
Atmosphere
100
100
Affordability
60
100

Dinner main entrees include a retro meatloaf and all you can eat mashed potatoes meal, butternut squash ravioli, New Hampshire lobster ravioli, wood grilled Delmonico steak, among other delights! Lunch offers many of the same entrees as dinner but also offer a variety of tasty sandwiches including spicy roast beef melt, “pretty good chicken salad sandwich”, Jumbo Crab Cake Burger, along with a create your own style burger menu. What’s not to love?

In the end, Cotton is a lovely restaurant to go on a first date or to go out on the town while your kids enjoy spending time with their babysitter. Cotton is a fun time, a good meal, and a tasty way to get a buzz! I recommend getting a reservation as it has become quite the hot spot restaurant in Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest city.

A markerPortland Pie Company 786 Elm St., Manchester NH -
Manchester, NH, USA
[get directions]

Three is the Place to Be!

Portland Pie Company

786 Elm Street Manchester, NH 03101-2105
(603) 622-7437


The Review:

Pizza Lover's Delight!

Good Pizza, unique menu, and a nice viewpoint of downtown Manchester, NH activity. I would consider myself a connoisseur of pizza. Not because I am an expert of pallete, but because I have eaten so much of the darn stuff. Needless to say, Portland Pie Company in the Heart of Elm st. Manchester New Hampshire is quite the destination for the lover of the pizza pie. Per their website, the restaurant offers “a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere in both the Pub and Dining Room areas of our restaurants. We have come a long way since our modest take-out and delivery operation on India Street, where we slung our slices on paper plates and picnic tables were the only available seating. Our pubs have multiple HDTVs, serve beer, wine and liquor, and are a great place to watch the game or have a drink with a friend”. I never knew of PPC in the before days as they describe above but I can say that they have definitely come a long way from the typical dive pizzeria. Walking into the corner establishment from bustling Elm St. you are invited in by a warm pub feel with tall boy tables and high stools to match. Gouged wood floors add to the pub appeal and if you can, get a seat by the front window to get a view of the nighlife of Manchester, NH on a weekend evening. We were privy to the nearby Verizon Wireless Center hosting a mid-evil convention of some sort. The streets were flocked by “interesting individuals” wearing various garb from the age of old. Too bad there wasn’t a Star Trek convention although I wouldn’t be surprised if they are the same attendees. I digress, after you have absorbed the comfortable pub appeal of the joint, order a drink from a nice list of beer on tap as well as a good selection of nice wine that is sure to go with many of their menu choices. PPC’s claim to fame, the thing that sets them apart from many pizza places, is their choice of crusts. You have the choice between a beer,basil, wheat, or what I chose, garlic dough! I am a bit of a simple man so I chose the garlic dough with pepperoni and hamburger. It was exquisite in its simplicity and available in a personal size which allowed my wife to try out one of their many interesting varieties of themed toppings. From Nor’Easter featuring blue cheese dressing, buffalo chicken, and frank’s red hot sauce to the Shipyard Special and its fresh spinach , artichoke hearts, and garlic atop a bed of three cheese blend and red sauce, there is surely something for everyone. While we awaited our splendid pies we downed a hearty portion of baked potato fries which nearly made us too full for the rest of our meal.

Rankings (100 being best 50 average)

Category
Score
Out of a Possible
Theme
100
100
Cuisine
98
100
Atmosphere
96
100
Affordability
75
100

PPC also has a variety of other pub style appetizers along with a nice choice of soups and salads and for those who do not want pizza, a wide array of specialty wraps, sandwiches, and wraps that will, to no surprise, satisfy. The also offer a menu of calzones and a nice kids menu if you choose to attend at an earlier time of day for some good family cuisine.

In the end, the Portland Pie Company is a shining gem on a street in Manchester that is full of other high quality options for the discerning foodie who also likes to have a good drink to start the night. I thoroughly recommend this “pizza joint”.

Fourth Dimension of Dining Pleasure

Cafe' Teresa

103 Nashua Road

Londonderry, NH 03053

(603)432-8850

A marker103 Nashua Rd Londonderry nh -
103 Nashua Rd, Londonderry, NH 03053, USA
[get directions]

The Review:

Wait a minute, there is a restaurant in Southern New Hampshire that specializes in Italian and Mexican food AND is a hot spot for local bar hoppers? That is correct my friend! Café Teresa is all of the above! All though it might not seem particularly interesting from the outside, the inside serves quite a variety of large portioned ethnically diverse fair unusual for Southern NH. Be sure you are hungry. Hearty appetizers ranging from Fiery Latin BBQ Chicken and Shrimp to cheese, beef, chicken, or vegetarian Nachos are sure to satisfy everyone at the table. If you have enough room after starters you need look no further than their tex-mex menu for a wide variety of choices sure to fill your tummy. Fajitas, quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas chimichangas, and soft tacos all filled with your choice of beef, chicken, shrimp or vegetarian are available just to name a few. You may want to share your order as it will surely be enough to serve two. On the Italian menu, Teresa’s has a wide variety of choices including Calamari E Gamberi Con Limone Spinaci (calamari and shrimp in a garlic, lemon, and sundried tomato sauce), Jambalya pasta, as well of several other Italian worded entrees that I am not sure I can spell let alone pronounce. For the faint of heart, Teresa’s also provides a menu of classis such as spaghetti and meatballs, pasta Alfredo, baked Penne, and baked lasagna all of which live up to the Teresa standard of quality and copiousness. Café’ Teresa’s popular bar has specializes in several flavors of margaritas, a select choice of hand picked “Wine finds”, as well as a great assortment of microbrews and imports to go along with the American standard beer selection. Although you are sure to enjoy Café’ Teresa’s dimly lit dining room experience, they also offer a nice take out menu of most of their favorites for those who would rather enjoy their meals in the comfort of home. If you do choose to dine at Café Teresa, be sure to call ahead and check on the wait as they are very popular and often busy. Their hours are Monday through Thursday 4pm to 9pm, Friday through Saturday 11:30am to 10pm and Sunday 11:30am to 9pm.

Rankings (100 being best 50 average)

Category
Score
Out of a Possible
Theme
75
100
Cuisine
95
100
Atmosphere
95
100
Affordability
90
100

When it is all said and done, Cafe' Teresa provides a large menu of Mexican and Italian comfort food sure to warm the soul along with a nice bar with a fun atmosphere! I highly recommend trying this restaurant as it is one of my favorites!

Honorable Mention

Valentino's

142 Lowell Road Hudson, NH 03051
(603) 889-9900

Full Review Coming Soon!


Rankings (100 being best 50 average)

Category
Score
Out of a Possible
Theme
90
100
Cuisine
95
100
Atmosphere
90
100
Affordability
85
100
A marker142 Lowell Road Hudson, NH 03051 -
142 Lowell Rd, Hudson, NH 03051, USA
[get directions]

© 2012 Peter Leeper

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