The Best Food and Drink in New Hampshire for 2018 from The Best Food and Drink in New Hampshire for 2018 (Gallery)
The Best Food and Drink in New Hampshire for 2018 (Gallery)
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The Best Food and Drink in New Hampshire for 2018
Located in the heart of the Northeast, New Hampshire is lush with lobster, crab, and other carefully cooked shellfish. Though it’s largely not a coastal state, it does feature a sliver of coastline and borders two of the best states for seafood — Massachusetts and Maine. We’ve rounded up the best of the state’s eats as part of our first annual guide to the best food and drink in every state.
While you’re enjoying your delicious New Hampshire food and drink, you can enjoy the state’s beautiful views. White Mountain National Forest features an enormous state park rich with hiking trails, rivers, and recreational activities.
If you’re more inclined towards city life, take a trip to the state’s most populous regions by the coastline or in its larger cities. Manchester and Concord both feature a vibrant foodie scene and have attracted chefs and drink experts from around the world. While there is a huge variety in the types of foods you’ll find served in New Hampshire, you can bet on traditional inclusions of cheese, apples, and maple syrup derived from its rich history of local sourcing and farming. And of course, don’t leave without trying the seafood — it’s a point of pride throughout all of New England.
Over the course of the past year we’ve honored everything from its best hot dogs and farmers markets to its best dive bar and craft brewery in our comprehensive and wide-ranging lists and rankings, compiled through extensive research and with input from a wide network of site contributors, bloggers, journalists, and chefs. We’ve compiled these into individual slideshows celebrating the best food and drink in every state.
Facebook/The Portsmouth Brewery
Best Bar: Portsmouth Brewery, Portsmouth
Open since 1991, the Portsmouth Brewery was New Hampshire’s first brewpub. Housed in a nineteenth-century brick building in Portsmouth’s historic downtown, the two-story establishment is the quintessential New England neighborhood bar. The beer is brewed in-house and there are whiskey-based cocktails, too, like the Market Street Manhattan (Woodford Reserve bourbon, sweet and dry vermouths, and Woodford Reserve bourbon-barrel bitters). The drink offerings include 12 draft beers upstairs, 16 downstairs, two cask-conditioned beers, 18 wines, 25 high-end bottled beers, and cider offerings curated by head brewer Matt Gallagher. You’ll also find 10 cocktails and a few mocktails. The bar’s décor includes eclectic art, rolled-steel tabletops, high ceilings, a cupola, a seasonal outdoor beer garden, and a view of the beer-making process. The downstairs Jimmy LaPanza Lounge is a more laid-back affair with velvet nude paintings on the walls, low ceilings, a pool table, and a tabletop shuffleboard game. Try the Thaizenheimer: a wheat ale brewed with ginger, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass. It pairs well with the spicy curried mussels cooked in a broth infused with curry spice, coconut milk, lemongrass, and a touch of spicy chile sauce.
Courtesy of Stoneface Brewing Company
Best Beer: Stoneface’s Hopulization
With an 8.9 percent ABV, Stoneface’s double-dry-hopped beer Hopulization is a certifiable juice bomb. Galaxy and Calypso hops give this medium-bodied beer notes of citrus and pineapple perfect for any IPA fan.
Photo by Vincent P. via Yelp
Best Chinese Restaurant: Golden Tao, Manchester
Crowds flock to this Manchester gem for its well-made Americanized Chinese fare and weekend dim sum brunch. Find more details on Golden Tao here.
Homemade pork dumpling soup, pu pu platters, crispy sesame beef, Sichuan chicken, and beef teriyaki are favorites; and as for the dim sum, you can’t go wrong with barbecue pork buns, custard buns, and turnip cakes.
Best Cupcake: White Mountain Cupcakery, Mount Washington Valley
Selling more than 500 freshly baked cupcakes a day, this family-owned bakery has been making locals’ and tourists’ days a little sweeter since 2009. Their style is simple, as they hope to wow with flavor and presentation. A straightforward variety we think you’ll enjoy is the Sunshine, a flavorful yellow cake topped with homemade buttercream frosting and covered in yellow sprinkles. Click here to read 12 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Make with Betty Crocker Cake Mix.
Best Dive Bar: McGarvey’s, Manchester
McGarvey’s in Manchester actually has some of the finest bar food in New Hampshire. Whether you’re chowing down on their chicken nachos or burgers, you’ll be more than satisfied. But the beer is cheap and plentiful too, with six seasonal selections on tap. If that all isn’t enough to get you in the door, this dive has karaoke every single night.
Photo by hilary c. via Yelp
Best Doughnut: Muriel’s Donuts, Lebanon
Muriel’s is a well-respected mainstay of Lebanon. Everyone here has his or her own childhood memories of visiting this doughnut shop, so make sure you don’t miss out on this tiny, understated store if you’re nearby. The perfectly curated, small collection of doughnuts are all reliably tasty, but we can’t help but name favorites, and for us, the jelly stick wins.
Photo by Joshua G. via Yelp
Best Grocery Store: A Market
Note that the bigger chains like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Market Basket are also very popular here, but A Market takes the cake. As one longtime shopper said, “My family has been shopping here since I was a small child and we're repeat customers because of the terrific selection of very healthy foods: fresh produce, groceries, and vitamins. The shop's open, friendly atmosphere is inviting and they offer free samples.”
Best Italian Restaurant: Tuscan Kitchen, Salem and Portsmouth
With a menu inspired by owner Joe Faro’s travels to Italy, Tuscan Kitchen is bringing some Tuscan sunshine to the Granite State. There are plenty of authentic Italian dishes on the menu, and the house-made pasta is made with imported “double zero” flour. Lobster is the name of the game in this neck of the woods, and here it’s put to good use in ravioli, sauced with lemon butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano — not coincidentally our choice for the best pasta dish in the state.
Best Mexican Restaurant: El Colima, Nashua
A warm and inviting dining room sets the stage for a fresh and authentic Mexican meal at this Nashua stunner. The slightly clubby atmosphere makes this a great place for a couple margaritas, but make sure you sample the Tacos Al Carbon with carne asada (also our choice for best taco in the state). Grilled marinated steak is served with three flour tortillas, pico de gallo, guacamole, and a side of beans.
Most Expensive Restaurant: Hanover Street Chophouse, Manchester
This high-end steakhouse is well-known for its 200-plus-bottle wine list as well as its expense-account menu. Steaks start at $42 for a 16-ounce 28-day-aged bone-in strip, and high rollers can opt for a $58 16-ounce bone-in fillet. Fillet lovers can also choose between six different preparations and two sizes, topping out at $51 for a 12-ounce truffle butter-topped steak. Go ahead and add on an $18 lobster tail while you’re at it.
Yelp/ Nick S.
Best Pizza: Tilton House of Pizza, Tilton
Run by the Katsigiannis family for the last 19 years, this 33-year-old local favorite has been turning out top-notch pies made with fresh dough (made up to four times per day) and fresh vegetables. The old-school, welcoming spot is making thick-crusted pies loaded with cheese, homemade sauce, and a massive variety of toppings ranging from sliced tomato and anchovy to chicken fingers, eggplant, pastrami, and banana peppers. The steak and cheese calzone is also a major winner.
Best Sandwich: Steak Tips & Cheese at Nadeau’s Subs, Manchester
Nadeau’s has been serving high-quality subs since 1969, and today there’s four Manchester locations and one in Exeter. Their Philly cheese steak, barbecue beef, and fried haddock sandwich are all top-notch, but if you go, get their famous steak tip sub, made with USDA Choice sliced sirloin that’s been seasoned with a secret spice blend and seared on the grill with sliced peppers and onions. Go all the way and get it with a few slices of American cheese added.
Brown’s Lobster Pound
Best Seafood Shack: Brown’s Lobster Pound, Seabrook
Family-owned and -operated, Brown’s Lobster Pound has been serving locals what is said to be the state’s best lobster and freshest catch since 1950. Order fried and grilled food at the counter, but if you want your lobster boiled (which we recommend), pick one from the tanks inside. It is BYOB, so make sure to bring a great bottle of white wine to go with your shellfish.
Yelp/ Paul M.
Best Soup: Collins Brothers Chowder, Nashua
A local gem hiding in plain sight for the past 15 years, Collins Brothers offers at least 12 different soups for takeout only. But just because it isn’t a full-service restaurant doesn’t mean it’s not spectacular: Owners Dan Largy and Robert Hughes only use the freshest ingredients, and serve up to 500 customers daily, not including wholesale. The clam chowder is a top seller, but you also can’t go wrong with corn and bacon chowder, meatball and sausage Parmesan soup, or Nantucket seafood chowder.
Facebook/Hanover Street Chophouse
Best Steakhouse: Hanover Street Chophouse, Manchester
Hanover Street Chophouse might just be the swankiest restaurant in the entire state; it’s clubby, elegant, and exactly the type of place where you’ll want to become a regular. Classing up downtown since 2005, an ideal meal there might start with a selection of local cheeses, thick-cut Neuske’s bacon, and a seafood tower, then continue with a dry-aged bone-in rib-eye and one of their six filet mignon preparations, in either 8 or 12 ounces (bacon maple Bourbon jam and blue cheese fondue are always good options). Make sure you accompany it with a wine from their 200-bottle collection. For more states, check out our ultimate guide to the best food and drink in every state for 2018.