22 Best New Hampshire Brunch Spots

A great way to spend a Sunday morning



House-smoked salmon plate and a Bloody Mary at Tek-Nique in Bedford.

Photo by Susan Laughlin

From a casual buffet to an elegant setting to a creative take on modern food, we found the places to get you out of your bathrobe and into a satisfied state Sunday brunch, especially the buffet spread, is getting more difficult to find for the diner and more costly to provide for restaurant owners.

Make the effort to leave the comforts of your easy chair and the Sunday New York Times and find an occasion for this Sunday morning/early afternoon dining ritual. There are plenty of reasons to celebrate: birthdays, anniversaries, bonding time for couples, fine-dining-manners training time for young children — all great excuses to start your day with a feast. Someone even suggested (inelegantly) that it's the perfect place to dump your one-night stand with a little grace and a satisfied appetite.

So, feast away. After all, the cost is lower than an evening on the town and there is still plenty of the day left to burn off any overindulgence should you so desire. But of course, the Bloody Mary is mandatory. And oysters? Ah, let the celebratory party begin.

Fresh oysters are on the buffet at the elegant Wentworth by the Sea hotel in New Castle.
Photo by Susan Laughlin

Bubblicious

Where: Wentworth by the Sea Hotel, 88 Wentworth Rd., New Castle
Contact: (603) 373-6566, wentworth.com
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Wha's offered: Buffet is $44.95 during the Winter Wine Festival from February 1 to March 17 and other special events where higher quality champagne is served, otherwise $34.95

Jazz and plenty of bubbles (read that as unlimited champagne) make this the premier brunch spot in the state. The mimosas keep flowing while you enjoy the gentle clink of glasses and the murmurs of conversation as a two-piece combo plays light jazz in the background. Held in the ballroom, the elegant setting sparkles with fine china, crystal stemware and glistening ice sculpture to complement the bountiful display of edible delights. Find a raw bar with oysters on the half shell and jumbo shrimp cocktail.

This seaside restaurant usually also includes a nice fresh seafood entrée-type item too. One carving station chef always slices up prime rib while another features ham or pork loin or roasted turkey. Get omelets to order with your favorite blend of fresh veggies, meats and fresh eggs. Also find vegetarian pastas, stuffed French toast, imported cheeses and more. Finally, the dessert station gilds the lining of your stomach with modern takes on desserts like sweet shooters plus elegant cakes and pies. Reservations recommended.


Lobster Eggs Benedict and one of many Bloody Mary versions at Epoch.
Photo by Susan Laughlin

Touch of Class

Where: Epoch Restaurant and Bar, Located in the Exeter Inn, 2 Pine St., Exeter
Contact: (603) 778-3762, epochrestaurant.com
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
What's offered: À la carte

You can expect to find just the right touch from Executive Chef Peter Agnostinelli, who is accustomed to pleasing many a wealthy prep school parent. Shown on the opening page, his New England Lobster Benedict ($16) is perched on Boston brown bread and creatively presented with nicely crisped home fries. The Dueling Hash gives you a taste of both corned beef with beets and potatoes and duck confit with pepper and potato. Then there are the perfectly poached eggs. You can always start with a dozen local oysters served with a trio of sauces including a black pepper mignonette. ($15) The "lunchier" items tend toward the usual soup, salads and sandwiches, but then, nothing is usual here, so expect the unexpected with nice presentations and a good dash of class.


See Worthy

Where: The Oar House, 55 Ceres St., Portsmouth
Contact: (603) 436-4025, portsmouthoarhouse.com
When: 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
What's offered: À la carte

This historic location is rich in artifacts from the past. Short selection of breakfast items including Lobster Eggs Benedict ($18) and sandwiches and salad featuring lobster. The Oar House Bloody Mary is a specialty.


A Touch of Italian

Where: Radici, 142-144 Congress St., Portsmouth
Contact: (603) 373-6464, radicirestaurant.com
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
What's offered: À la carte

Breakfast with an Italian twist in a small bistro setting. Six different frittatas, including one with prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes and basil ($10). Options also include antipasti for two ($10/$15) and pappardelle with meatballs ($14). Make your own Bloody Mary Bar has at least 20 different fixings to customize your pint glass with a shot of vodka. Add your choice of rolled meats, 20 hot sauces, green beans, gorgonzola cheese and use the house mix or Clamato or tomato juice. ($7.50) Their other popular drink is called the 142. Its a refreshing combination of Processo, Grand Marnier, orange vodka and triple sec. ($10)


Worldly

Where: Street 360, 801 Islington St., Portsmouth
Contact: (603) 436-0860, streetfood360.com
When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
What's offered: À la carte

Here's your chance to sample breakfast flavors from around the world in a hip, happening spot. The house specialty is the Breakfast Purrito, pita pocket filled with rosti potatoes, local eggs and plenty of cheese with your choice of veggies or sausage ($8).


Literary Libations

Where: The Library Restaurant, 401 State St., Portsmouth
Contact: (603) 431-5202, libraryrestaurant.com
When: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
What's offered: À la carte

You may want to skip the Bloody Mary in favor of a Vodka Martini. They offer more that 120 vodkas from all over the world and have a list of 96 martinis. No oysters here, but you can savor the sea via their New Orleans BBQ Shrimp with grilled sourdough or get a taste of steakhouse fare with a Kobe Beef burger.


Continental Divide

Where: Bontá, 287 Exeter Rd., Hampton
Contact: (603) 929-7972, bonta.net
When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
What's offered: À la carte or three-course tasting menu for $21.95

You have to try all three courses for the full experience at Bontá. The antipasto course offers a simple yogurt Napoleon with fresh mint sauce ($7) to an antipasto plate with shaved prosciutto, hard boiled eggs and grilled ciabatta ($7). Moving on t0 the Primi Piatte, Chef Kevin Riley offers a Crab Benedict with Maltaise sauce ($13), a pan-roasted salmon with a polenta log ($15) and braised veal with wild mushrooms ($15). The Dolce course ($7) is a perfect sweet ending, beautifully plated. Try the milk chocolate budino with milk chocolate mousse topped with a Heath bar crunch. The interior space and the presentations here are really a cut above.


Friendly Favorite

Where: The Old Salt, 490 Lafayette Rd., Hampton
Contact: (603) 926-8322, oldsaltnh.com
When: 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
What's offered: Buffet $16.99 for adults, $10.99 for children 6 to 12

Fresh fruits, imported and domestic cheeses, fruit-filled pancake, croissants, maple sausage, Eggs Benedict, green salad, pasta and smoked salmon. Then there are classic New England entrée selections including stuffed chicken, carved turkey, roast beef plus omelet stations and waffles made to order. If you have room, there is a table filled with dessert and showcased with a 36-inch-tall chocolate fountain bubbling with dark Belgian chocolate. Enjoy the sounds of George Blodgett on the piano. Wow. Perennial Best of New Hampshire readers' pick.


Lovely

Where: Michelle's on Market Square, 10 Market St., Portsmouth
Contact: (603) 427-8253, michellesonmarketsquare.com
When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Saturday also)
What's offered: À la carte

Traditional breakfast offerings with an upscale touch; roasted fingerling potatoes, butter poached brioche bread, lump crab in the omelet, fresh berry crêpes. "Your omelet with three eggs and your choice includes lobster or lump crab." Get a taste of a dinner entrée with the Provencal Sea Scallops ($18).


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Lakehouse Grille Sunday brunch offers live music in a very pleasant setting on Lake Winnipesaukee
Photo by Susan Laughlin

Budget Friendly

Where: Lakehouse Grille, 821 Daniel Webster Hwy., Church Landing, Meredith
Contact: (603) 279-5221, thecman.com
When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
What's offered: Buffet ($17.95)

You can find just about everything you need at this bountiful spread at the Lakehouse Grille in Meredith. The room is comfortable, beautifully designed and many tables offer a sweeping view of Lake Winnipesaukee. Every Sunday a two-piece combo plays light jazz at just the right volume, helping to create a very pleasant experience all around.

Chefs are on hand to whip up an omelet and even just a quarter of a section of a Belgium waffle. Then head to the topping section for syrups, sauces and fresh fruit garnish. A carving station offers a roasted pork or ham selection. An attractive seafood display offers cocktail shrimp and house-cured salmon with assorted mustards.

Push on to a number of hot entrées, including roasted potatoes, Eggs Benedict and thick apple-smoked bacon. A wealth of desserts includes a popular chocolate chip bread pudding. You can head back to the waffle station and garnish that with more chocolate and whipped cream. Yes! Mimosas and Bloody Marys can be ordered too, and if you like their spicy Bloody you can purchase a bottle of the mix on the way out.


Subterrannean

Where: Bailiwicks, 111 Main St., Littleton
Contact: (603) 444-7717, bailiwicksfinerestaurant.com
When: 11 a.m to 2 p.m.
What's offered: À la Carte

This cozy restaurant is located underneath the Historic Thayer Inn on Littleton's Main Street. You may not see the sun but you'll find the locals gathered for crème brûlée French toast served with a side of maple gingersnap gelato ($9) or a blackened rib eye with three eggs and a frosty glass of milk. Can't decide which? Then go directly to the Hang Over. It's Bailiwicks' hand-crafted Bloody Mary that includes a stomach-lining meal of biscuits and gravy, eggs and Canadian bacon served with their chef's potato. ($13)


The Mountain View Grand Resort.
Photo by Susan Laughlin

Viewer Friendly

Where: Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa, Mountain View Rd., Whitefield
Contact: (855) 837-2100, mountainviewgrand.com
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
What's offered: Buffet $15 for resort guest, $25 for non-guests

Find a bountiful feast with fabulous views to the south as the sun warms the room and your spirits. A grand selection of entrées fills a parade of chafing dishes with dishes ranging from Eggs Benedict to Scottish salmon. Highlights include pasta dishes, antipasto, a ham carving station, classic breads, fresh fruit, cheese platters, pastries and more. Of course, there is a plenitude of desserts. Executive Chef Adam Parker, an ice carver extraordinare, makes sure there is a sparkling ice sculpture to complete your proper hotel brunch experience.


Nice Touch

Where: Tek-Nique, 170 Rte. 101, Bedford
Contact: (603) 488-5629, restaurantteknique.com
When: Brunch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
What's offered: À la carte

There is a nice selection of brunch items across the board at this friendly fine dining restaurant. The interior is swathed in rich textures offset with simple modern lines. Chef Matthew Trottier and his wife Kristine have double teamed to bring their culinary and interior design experience to the forefront. You can find oysters ($14) and shrimp cocktail ($8) here along with their house applewood-smoked salmon plate with apricot mustard and all the traditional accompaniments. Then the big decision — an egg dish or a creative take on French toast or pancakes. Classic breakfast items are present in a memorable manner. Cinnamon bun pancakes ($10) have a cream cheese frosting; the omelet is charmed with smoked cheddar and apple ($10). For the more daring there is braised rabbit pasta with wild mushrooms or a duck confit leg with pumpkin risotto. The menu changes fairly frequently so expect the unexpected.


One for All

Where: The Comman Man in Concord (25 Water St.) and Windham (88 Range Rd.)
Contact: Concord: (603) 228-3463, thecman.com; Windham: (603) 898-0088, thecman.com
When: Windham 10:30 a.m to 2:30 p.m.; Concord 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
What's offered: Concord buffet is $13.99 for adults and $7.99 for children; In Windham $13.99 for adults and $6.99 for children.

Bountiful displays of food from crispy bacon to buttered brussels sprouts to a waffle station rife with fresh berries and whipped cream are sure to tempt even the most fussy eater. Children get their own favorite selections — chicken fingers and tater tots. Also find interesting entrée items like roast pork, steamed mussels, chickpea salad and stuffed portobello mushrooms, hot wings and burrito bites. One of the highlights of a Common Man brunch is the Bloody Mary bar where you can make one yourself to your liking with a variety of spices, fresh lemons and garnishes. Use tomato juice, V8 or the Common Man's own spicy bottled Bloody Mary mix. When you are ready for dessert there is carrot cake and an appealing assortment of pies and cookies. Concord has separate rooms for large families that want to gather for a brunch.


Community Players

Where: Home Hill Country Inn & Restaurant, 703 River Rd., Plainfield
Contact: (603) 675-6165, homehillinn.com
When: 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
What's offered: À la Carte

This gracious inn is surrounded with vital farms that are sourced for local produce, eggs and meat. The Hollandaise for the Benedict is a nice yellow from the organic eggs and rich with clarifed butter and a touch of truffle oil. Executive Chef Peter Varkonyi has a Jewish background, so the gravlax board is rich with house-cured salmon, other fish and sausages. Chef has a duck prosciutto that is dry cured for a delicate and not overly salty finish. The Bloody Mary here has a Cajun influence with an Old Bay dipped rim, pickled okra and a boiled shrimp. Fresh oysters ($2.50 per) are brought in three times a week from New England and Canada.


Full House

Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel, 2 Somerset Parkway, Nashua
Contact: (603) 886-1200, cpnashua.com
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
What's offered: Buffet is $19.95 for adults and $9.95 for children

Start with a flute of champagne at this classic hotel brunch with peel-and-eat shrimp, smoked salmon mousse canapes and assorted salads. Head to the chafing dishes filled with Eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs, corned beef hash and home fries or stick with made-to- order selections from omelets, Belgian waffles and pancakes. Top it all at the carving stations of ham and steamship round of beef. The dessert selection is very nice if you have the room.


In Session

Where: The Old Court House, 30 Main St., Newport
Contact: (603) 863-8360, eatatthecourthouse.com
When: 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
What's offered: Buffet is $15.95 for adults and $6.95 for children under 12.

Mostly traditional breakfast items here with a New England turn, cooked-to-order omelet station and North Country Smokehouse applewood smoked ham. Potato cakes, scones, pastries, New England baked beans, Belgian waffles with berries and cream and made-to-order French toast. The room is elegant with light flooding in from tall windows in what was a historic court house.


Several Shades of Gray

Where: Market Table, 44 South Main St., Hanover
Contact: (603) 676-7996, markettablenh.com
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
What's offered: À la carte

Get your fill of locally sourced food finished with a creative touch at this urban-chic bistro designed in shades of silver and gray. Nothing here is the usual. The Bloody Mary is flavored with pickled okra juice and pretty spicy. If you prefer a Mimosa, the Prosecco is laced with fresh orange juice for full flavor.

The poached eggs are local and the Benedict is layered with Berkshire ham perched atop bread from Tribeca Bakery in NYC. (It's the best they could find.) Other more-local items are highlighted in the omelet — Robie Farms sausage and local cheese — maybe even mushrooms from a forager in season. The bacon is the best around and very local — North Country Smokehouse applewood infused.

After brunch you may not need dessert, so take home a slice or two of the flourless chocolate cake with red currant sauce for your Valentine. Chef/owner Nicky Barraclough also owns Alléchante, an artisanal bakery, just over the river in Norwich, Vt.


The Restaurant at Burdick Chocolate in Walpole.
Photo by Susan Laughlin

C'est Cheese

Where: The Restaurant at Burdick Chocolate, 47 Main St., Walpole
Contact: (800) 229-2419, burdickchocolate.com
When: Brunch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
What's offered: À la carte

You can find a nice mix of breakfast and lunch plus a taste of dinner at The Restaurant at Burdick Chocolate. The front window lets sunshine flood in and the cheery yellow walls help brighten the mood too. The sophisticated menu offers impeccably fresh oysters ($2.50 each) on the half shell, smoked salmon or a plate of artisanal cheeses from New England for starters. Go light with a bountiful salad or satisfy with Eggs Benedict on Serrano ham on toasted brioche bread ($13). All the entrée-type meals include a small salad too. Reservations suggested.


From the five-course fixed-price meal at Pickity Place in Mason.
Photo by Susan Laughlin

Through the woods

Where: Pickety Place, 248 Nutting Hill Rd., Mason
Contact: (603) 878-1151, pickityplace.com
When: 11:30 a.m., 12:45 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
What's offered: Fixed-price five-course meal for $21.95; Other options for kids 12 and younger.

The daytime offering here is really a five-course luncheon inspired by the herbs grown on the grounds. If you can live with only the lunch part of brunch, it is a nice outing. Each month the chef creates a new menu based on the seasons. This is the perfect place to take visitors and impress them with our New England mystique or have a quiet chat with the girls. Reservations necessary.


Fam Damily

Where: Red Fox Bar and Grille, 49 Rte. 16, Jackson
Contact: (603) 383-4949, redfoxpub.com
When: 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
What's offered: Breakfast buffet $7.95

A real bargain at $7.95 this family-friendly spot serves up breakfast in a buffet with traditional offerings of omelets, baked ham, French toast, fresh fruit and more. The Red Fox Bar and Grille is expected to be open after extension renovations by the end of January.


From the Top

Where: Ledges Dining Room at the White Mountain Hotel, 2560 West Side Rd., Hale's Location
Contact: (603) 356-7100, whitemountainhotel.com
When: Brunch 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
What's offered: Buffet for $18

White table linens, piano and a breathtaking view of the North Conway Ledges through the panoramic windows makes Sunday all the more sumptuous. The brunch features chef-attended omelet and carving stations, maple sausage, homemade corned beef hash, home fries, Belgian waffles with a variety of fresh fruit toppings you can pile high with whipped cream and drown in homemade maple butter. Also find entrée specials, homemade soups and Eggs Benedict made to order. Yes, because this is one dish that suffers from service out of a chafing dish. Top that all off with a selection of cakes, pastries and cookies from the dessert table.


The Common Man's Bloody Mary Bar found at the Concord and Windham locations.
Photo by Susan Laughlin

The Perfect Bloody Mary

This classic drink is simple enough to prepare, but with its complex mix of ingredients it can be difficult to master. There needs to be a balance of sweet, salty, sour and savory.

Serve it as soon as it is prepared. Ice is important; it keeps the acids stable. If you use a mix, at least use fresh lemon and/or lime juice.

The "authentic" version as prepared in Harry's New York Bar in Paris in the ’20s goes like this: In shaker or directly in large tumbler: ice, 6 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce, 3 dashes of Tabasco, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 2 ounces of vodka, fill remainder of glass with top-quality tomato juice, and above all no celery salt.

Purists add no horseradish either, and the pepper should be fine and not coarsely ground. This keeps the texture more silky. But the concoction invites variations and you can find recipes using gin or tequila, lime juice, Sambal Oelek hot sauce, horseradish, aged balsamic vinegar, pickle juice, olive brine, V8 juice, Clamato and beef jus.

What's right is a matter of taste. Quality will depend largely on your choice of tomato juice. The brand of vodka is a moot point for most people since any flavor is overwhelmed by the spices. Mixes are available, including the Common Man's mix and the Tabasco mix that is a classic blend. The key to a great drink though is freshness, so fresh-squeezed lemon and or lime are essential.

Classic garnish is a lemon wedge and celery stick, but chefs have been adding pickled vegetables, olives, cheese cubes and more.

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