Where to eat locally

And beyond!

Ryan at bluAqua mixes up a heck of a cocktail.

Family Meal

Puritan Backroom
245 Hooksett Rd, Manchester
A New Hampshire classic, the Backroom has been serving the community and hosting presidential candidates since 1917. Let the kids dig into some tenders while the adults enjoy a mudslide and watch the scene, as there is always a crowd. Something on the menu for everyone.

Portofino Italian
456 Daniel Webster Hwy, Merrimack
Classic checkered tablecloth Italian that brings back sweet memories for anyone older than 40. Dependable Italian favorites with portions that won't leave you hungry. Try the crab spinach dip appetizer, and this will become a go-to on Family night. The attentive staff will talk your ear off, tell you jokes and even show you a trick or two if you engage them. 

The Coach Stop
176 Mammoth Rd, Londonderry
Rustic 1810 colonial that has served as a tavern and stagecoach stop since the 1890s. The menu is broad, with plenty to appease the whole gang. Seafood and chops are well represented here, but there are sandwiches and flatbreads for the lighter eaters. Great outdoor patio for the warmer months and live entertainment most weekends.

Putnam's Waterview
40 Main St, Goffstown
Quaint, family owned restaurant in the heart of Goffstown serving American fare. Locals flock here for the chowder, and the lobster roll is always a hit. 

Airport Diner
2280 Brown Ave, Manchester
Classic diner with booths and counter seating and a 50's vibe. Serving breakfast all day, but locals know dinner is the right time to hit the Airport. Comfort food favorites, great mixed drink specials, and classic frappes for the kids. The chicken fried steak is the best you will find this far North, and the Boston Globe has deemed the tuna melt worthy of leaving the Bay State for. Kids eat free on Mondays.

The Tavern at the Bedford Village Inn
2 Olde Bedford Way, Bedford
With a welcoming, laid back atmosphere, the tavern benefits from the critically acclaimed chefs that serve the main restaurant. Great burgers, pizzas, and a rotating menu of entrees, so you'll never get bored. One of the best wine lists in the state, per Wine Spectator. Great little bar to sit at in case you forgot the kids.

Local Tip
The patio at Fratello's is the perfect spot for warm evenings.  Multi-tiered, with plants, wrought iron, and tons of lights it feels more like a European city than Manchester.   Lisa K.

Date Night

Trattoria Fondi at The Grand 
12 Olde Bedford Way, Bedford.
(603) 472-2001.
Modern vibes in a hotel lobby serving up some of the finest re-imagined Italian food in the state. Grab one of the corners at the bar for easy conversation and direct access to the bartender, who will custom craft a cocktail to your preferences. Pay attention to the pizzas here; they are creative and big enough to share. Start by sharing a charcuterie plate or other antipasti for a perfect date.

bluAqua Restrobar
930 Elm St, Manchester
bluAqua manages to be both a hip bar catering to a younger crowd and a restaurant serving up some genuinely innovative Southern-based cuisine. From the tuna tartare to the gumbo, nothing on the menu is worth missing. The espresso martini is a house specialty, and if that isn't your thing, flag down Ryan behind the bar, and he will whip up something delicious to fit your wants. 

Hanover Street Chophouse
149 Hanover St, Manchester
For an extraordinary evening, it's hard to beat the Chophouse. From the club-like bar to the elegant dining room, the atmosphere screams sophisticated, which isn't so easy to find in the Granite State. Be prepared to spend serious money, but your date is worth it. The Wagyu beef carpaccio and Italian burrata make an unlikely starter pairing, but they both melt in your mouth and taste divine. If the Hanger steak is on the menu, order it, period. 

54 Nashua St, Milford
Seasonally inspired farm-to-table cuisine in a historic bank building. Chris Viaud is considered one of the most innovative chefs in New Hampshire and consistently puts out creative dishes that always please. Sitting at the bar lets you work with the bartenders to craft a cocktail that compliments your dish. 

Local Tip
The Wellington Bites at Tomahawk Tavern in Merrimack are simply devine.  Amy R.

Ladies Night

Vine 32 Wine + Graze Bar
25 S. River Rd, Bedford
First of its kind in New Hampshire, Vine 32 offers a rotating selection of 32 wines in a self-serve format, with pours as small as one once. Perfect for trying something new, and with the curated choices, you will want to. Inviting and cozy space, with couches to lounge on or tables to nosh flatbread or charcuterie and cheeses. Perfect for a cold New England night.

Industry East
28 Hanover St, Manchester
Small space with inspired cocktails crafted to perfection. Or tell them what flavors you like and let them make something on the spot. The food offering matches the feel of the space with creative snacks and lite bites that complement your drink. It can get crowded, given the size, but that adds to the ambiance.

815 Cocktails & Provisions
815 Elm St, Manchester
(603) 782-8086
Eclectic and fun speakeasy style bar serving up the most diverse selection of drinks in the area. The staff behind the bar are engaging and knowledgeable, and the owner Sarah goes overboard to deliver a big city experience. The drink names alone are worth visiting for. Definitely a spot to hang out for the evening. The password is shared on social media, though I've gotten in without it with a quick joke from Google.

Drinks with the Boys
No addresses given, as we know you don't need directions

Thirsty Moose Tap House
Merrimack / Manchester
With large spaces and tons of TVs, The Moose is the perfect spot to watch the game. Over 50 beers on tap and standard bar food make this the place to meet up on Sunday and watch the Pats. The naughty tots are a crowd pleaser, and the burgers are excellent.

Auburn Pitts
Almost like a Western roadhouse, with live music, bikers, and an ample outdoor space for the warmer months. Not many places around like this. Huge fire-pit for the not so warmer months. The menu is what you would expect from a place like this. Consistent bar style food. Great place to spend the afternoon having some cold beers with friends. 

Village Trestle
Every town should have one of these. Simple tavern with friendly bartenders, stiff drinks, and solid food. Live music most weekends, with an eclectic mix of genres. I have seen some great blues bands there. Sunday afternoon acoustic sessions are worth coming out for.

Local Tip  The Goat in Manchester has a weekend brunch, with live music and the best day drinking crowd in Southern New Hampshire. Duane A.


Cafe Momo
1065 Hanover St, Manchester,
(603) 623-3733
Delivering authentic Nepalese cuisine, Cafe Momo is a must visit for anyone looking to expand outward from traditional Indian food.  The owner is usually working the room and is happy to help with suggestions. Besides the excellent namesake momos, you can't go wrong with the Nepalese national dish, Thali.

Iguana's Restaurant
245 Maple St, Manchester
(603) 935-8917
While Iguana's serves up various Latin fare, the move here is to follow the owner's Honduran roots and order off her home country's menu.  The enchilada catracha is most likely something you have never encountered and is a must try.  The churrasco entree consists of mixed grilled meats, vegetables, and tostones and is worth ordering for the sausage alone.  Multiple seafood options are worth trying as well.

Zem Zem Mediterranean Restaurant
2075 S. Willow St, Manchester
(603) 440-0370
Lovely Middle Eastern restaurant, run by an Iraqi family, serving up some delights.  Classically prepared hummus is smooth and delicious, while any choice of Shawarma will make you smile.  One of the few places in New Hampshire to get a proper Falafel wrap.  

Don Quijote Restaurant
362 Union St, Manchester
(603) 622-2246
Authentic Caribbean cuisine tucked away in an unassuming space delivers really good food that is reasonably priced.  You can't go wrong with any of the specialties, though the pernil and stewed oxtail are this writer's favorites.  

A Lot of Thai
360 Daniel Webster Hwy, Merrimack
(603) 429-8888
Family run restaurant serving up classic Thai dishes.  Great ambiance with a decent little bar to sit at.  The curry and noodle dishes are spot on, and they have several signature appetizers not typically seen around here.  The Miang Kham are like salad tacos and packed with flavor.  The Chiang Mai sausage is out of this world.

Road Trip Worthy

Pickity Place 
Set in an 18th-century cottage that served as inspiration for Little Red Riding Hood, this foodie mecca serves a rotating fixed five course meal at 3 set seatings. Go early to stroll the grounds and enjoy the gardens when the weather suits. Reservations are highly recommended. 

1981 Ramen Bar
Lowell, MA
Located amongst the historic mills of downtown Lowell, this is the best ramen north of Boston. Far better than anything you will find in New Hampshire. With an industrial chic vibe, they usually have the iPod set to 80s rock and hip-hop which adds energy to the place. Besides the very well done Tonkotsu Ramen, be sure to try one of their bun offerings.

Impossible to pick one restaurant in this food destination of a city. Try Black Trumpet for globally inspired, locally sourced dishes in a rustic setting. Chef Even Mallet is a multiple time semi finalist for best chef in the North East by the James Beard Foundation. Perfect for a date night. Moxy serves up American inspired tapas with small plates that encourage sharing. If the beef short rib marmalade is on the menu, order it. To satiate your seafood cravings(Portsmouth is a working port), hit up Row 34. With a half dozen East Coast oysters to choose from, it is a raw bar paradise. Don't ignore the smoked and cured fish offerings. Served with grilled bread, these pate like morsels are the tastiest things on the menu. If you have kids that slurp down Oysters like they are free, they offer a happy hour "buck a shuck" that can't be beaten. Global travel is the idea behind Street, with a truly international menu. Explore street food from around the world without leaving the state. Cure takes its name from the way they prepare their proteins, with the majority of entrees being brined before cooking. Fine dining exemplified in a casual setting. The menu changes seasonally, but the bleu cheese stuffed dates are out of this world.

Brown's / Markey's Lobster Pound 
Every local has an opinion on this, whether one is their favorite or that they both are over rated tourist traps. Each claim to have regulars that have never visited the opposing business despite the fact that they are literally across the street from each other. If fresh seafood is your thing, you have to give them a visit. While most come for the lobster, the clam belly roll is excellent at both. Brown's is BYO, while Markey's serves beer and wine. Hours are adjusted seasonally.

The Everyday Cafe & Pub 
Make a day of it and plan on stopping here for a late lunch. Whether driving home from Vermont, Sunapee, or spending the day cruising the back roads, this quaint pub in the heart of the village makes for a great stop. Sandwiches and burgers are the moves here, with several smoked meat options. The bacon jam grilled cheese and cheddar brisket sandwich are standouts. If it is nice out, add a stop at Contoocook Cidery at Gould Hill Farm for a cider, outstanding views, live music, and apple picking(if in season).