Best of NH 2017 Pizzerias and Ethnic Food Restaurants

Editor's Pick for rustic northern Italian dining, Louie's. Photo by Susan Laughlin

Paella: A cozy café in Wilton is the surprising home base for native Peruvian Jorge Arrunategui. His steaming, fragrant paella gained fame at the Concord Arts Market and the Milford Pumpkin Festival, where he would serve it from a huge pan. Now you can get this colorful and healthy dish any time at his friendly Sky Bridge Café.

Fusion Dish: The Cuban egg roll’s crunchy shell is filled with roasted pork, smoked ham, Swiss cheese and dill pickle with a mustard dip on the side. This delectable dish is just one of the inventive small plates available at Gale Motor Co. Eatery in Manchester. Chef/owner David Spagnuolo has mastered the art of making downsized versions of popular dishes. Think duck confit dumplings with luxardo cherry demi-glace or a petite osso buco that won’t break the bank or your belt.

Upscale Thai: It’s not that Chang Thai Café in Littleton skips out on the traditional dishes that you love, but those dishes (think pad Thai or drunken noodles) are created with just a dash of contemporary flair. The menu — a nice mix of classic favorites done right with a few unexpected items — keeps things interesting. Start the meal with fried calamari, crispy tofu or classic spring rolls and then get a little adventurous with entrées such as the Thai basil softshell crab or tamarind duck. If it’s curry you crave, then there are 10 varieties from the usual green and red to massaman avocado curry with black tiger shrimp.

Rustic Northern Italian Dining: Just about everything is perfect at Louie’s in Portsmouth, from the subdued lighting to the attentive and knowledgeable service to the balance of flavor in each and every dish. Find a perfect charcuterie plate with rich pâtés and imported cheeses, and, for appetizers, their deep-fried cauliflower is legendary and the duck minestrone is deeply flavored. You’ll know after just one bite. Promise.

Turkish Cuisine: Until late last year, Hillsborough’s Mediterrano was the state’s only dedicated Turkish restaurant. Omar Yasin expanded our Ottoman appetites in November when, just three months after moving here from Turkey, he opened Matbah Mediterranean Cuisine. The authentic Middle Eastern menu at this downtown Manchester spot is full of small dishes that combine into flavorful feasts, from green-tinted falafel and grilled octopus to kebabs and even baklava.

Jamaican Cuisine: The banks of the Connecticut River are feeling a lot more like the shores of the Caribbean, thanks to Sunshine Cook Shop in Claremont. The teensy Pleasant Street spot serves up all kinds of Jamaican goodies, from oxtail to fried plantains, but the real star is the jerk chicken. Grab some of the 15-month-old eatery’s artfully seasoned creations for wings that are infinitely more intriguing than your standard sports bar fare.

Bánh Mì: Though they call theirs the “Phnom Penh sandwich,” the signature dish at Phnom Penh Sandwich Station is a classic and delicious example of this Southeast Asian sammy. The Lebanon food-truck-turned-restaurant stuffs their fresh-baked bread with all the standard toppings and then lets you choose your filling. The six options include lemongrass beef, ginger garlic pork and grilled tofu with spicy soy and sesame sauce.

Nepali Marketplace: Sure, you could pick up some frozen tikka masala from your neighborhood Market Basket — but we’d recommend making your next international night a little more authentic. Concord’s Katmandu Bazaar offers groceries from all over Africa and Asia, from their produce aisle stocked with yucca and Indian long squash to their stores of international junk food and pantry staples like brown rice and palm oil. Nepali fare forms the backbone of the business, though a full-service restaurant in the back of the shop supplements the flavors of the Indian subcontinent available on shelves.

Taco Tuesday: Jonny Boston’s International in Newmarket is beloved for its fusion street food with international flavors, from a báhn mì and souvlaki to burgers and burritos. An especially tasty deal takes place every week on Taco Tuesday, where you can get great food at a great price — three tacos (chicken, pork or black bean) for $7.

Shawarma Pizza: WOW Fried Chicken & Subs on Depot Street in Concord is most famous for their crisp and tasty fried chicken, but owner Maher Abbas takes pride in his traditional versions of some Middle Eastern specialties like lamb and rice. For a unique cross-cultural treat, try the shawarma pizza, an Iraqi comfort food that’s not well-known in the US, but is savory and satisfying with a layer of richly seasoned ground beef on a thin chewy crust.

Rodizio Night: At rodizio night at The Little Grille in Littleton, the prime item is primo Brazilian barbecue, gorgeous cuts of steak, pork and marinated chicken served straight off the skewer. Take a moment to appreciate the astonishing new murals that cover the walls, all painted by local (but internationally renowned) artist Rick Hunt.

Empanadas: The baked empanadas at Cáceres Argentinian Grill & Poncho Pub in Hillsborough are the perfect bite to start a meal. If you are really lucky, Chef Roy Cáceres, a member of the folk group Los 4Rumbus in Argentina before he landed in Hillsborough, will offer a song, especially if a tango group milonga is planned.

More Best of NH winners to check out

2018 Best of NH Readers' Poll winners

View a list of the 2018 Best of NH winners as voted on by our readers.

Best of NH 2017 This & That

Sometimes cool things defy categorization. Here are our favorite odds and ends from spicy ketchup to a very quirky small town event.

Best of NH 2017 Fun & Adventure

It's time to get out of the house! Take an art class, catch a show, stroll through a gorgeous garden or go on a mysterious treasure hunt.

Best of NH 2017 Arts & Culture

Expand your mind (and have some fun at the same time) with local musicians, art galleries, theatres, music stores, concert halls and festivals.

Best of NH 2017 Shops & Services

Whether you're an antique hunter, need to find the perfect gift or just want to relax with a little retail therapy, we've got the place for you.

Best of NH 2017 Food Odds & Ends

Looking for the best vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free options? Want to find a top-notch local mustard? Need to take the kids out to a family-friendly restaurant? Here's where to find all of those answers and more.

Best of NH 2017 Favorite Restaurants

Here are your favorite restaurants - as determined by the Readers' Poll - in all regions of the state.
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. New Hampshire Summer Camp Memories
    Do you love bug juice, ghost stories, toasted marshmallows and Color Wars? Then thank the Granite...
  2. Our Favorite Ways to Stay "Cool"
    Have fun and be cool — literally and figuratively — in New Hampshire this summer.
  3. Discovering Newbury
    Find peaceful reflection in Newbury.
  4. Destination Dover
    Perfect for summer retail therapy.
  5. Nine Not-To-Miss Museums to Visit This Summer
    This summer, we think you should learn a thing or two.
  6. Tunneling to the Great Bay by Bike
    The Rockingham Recreational Trail isn't the fastest way there, but it's worth the ride.
  7. Homemade Cutting Boards by Matt Carstens
    Preserving nature with the kindest cut.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags