Best of NH 2011 American and Seafood Restaurants and Food

Here you'll find the place to go for a juicy hamburger, finger-licking barbecue, the freshest seafood, mac 'n cheese, romantic dining spots and much more.

*Editor's Picks
Readers' Poll Winners

Barbecue: Find huge “pladdas” of smoky meats at KC’s Rib Shack in Manchester where you slather on as much sauce as you like.

*Carpaccio: After a nine-hole round of golf try the thin-sliced carpaccio dressed with just enough parsley-caper sauce and whole grain mustard aioli. This seared beef treat is a special experience at the Brookstone Grille in Derry. Thank you, Chef Kevin Riley!

Chicken Fingers: Fans of the Puritan Backroom in Manchester love their succulent fingers with a slightly sweet coating.

Children’s Menu: The ’50s-style Airport Diner in Manchester delights kids with its aeronautical theme and menu options like the Baby Mac and Finger Lickin’ Chicken.

Children’s Menu (Local Chain): T-BONES offers kids-eat-free days and created a website —, exclusively for children.

Children’s Menu (National Chain): Friendly’s is the classic children’s favorite for ice cream, but they also have an extensive kids’ menu.

Chili: Find a great balance of beans and flavor at Shorty’s Mexican Roadhouse in Manchester and Nashua.

Chili (National Chain): It must be good, and a good value, at Wendy’s restaurants — they win every year.

Clam Chowder: Made with local creaBest of Webm, this thick chowder at The Old Salt at Lamie’s Inn in Hampton is a classic N.E. favorite.

Clam Chowder (Regional Chain): Readers enjoy the thick and creamy chowder at Newick’s Lobster House in Dover on the water or at the Concord location.

Crab Cakes: The lump crabmeat makes these tasty morsels at Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Café in Portmouth a standout.

Crab Cakes (Local Chain): What can we say? People just love the crab cakes at the The Common Man Family of Restaurants across the state.

Diner: With diners in Manchester and Milford and new locations possible, the popularity of The Red Arrow 24 Hr Diner grows and grows.

Fine Dining Restaurant: The Bedford Village Inn is a 10-year Best of NH winner for its upscale cuisine served in luxurious country inn style.

French Fries: It must be the extra seasoning that makes Caesario’s Pizza & Subs in Manchester a consistent winner.

French Fries (Local Chain): At T-BONES Great American Eatery their sweet potato fries are tossed in a house dressing.

French Fries (Regional Chain): Find country fair fries from hand-cut Maine potatoes with skins left on at Wild Willy’s Burgers in Rochester.

French Fries (National Chain): Big Idaho potatoes, sliced fresh, make for great munching at Five Guys Burgers & Fries in Nashua and Manchester.

Fried Clams: Right on the water the clams at Petey's Summertime Seafood & Bar in Rye is the right place to enjoy fried clams.

Fried Clams (Regional Chain): Find crispy clams in Dover and Concord at Newick's Lobster House.

Hamburger: The Rusty Hammer in Portsmouth has been serving up their “Wimpy” burgers for more than 30 years. The locals still love them.

Hamburger (Local Chain): Have your 8-ounce burger cooked to order at any of T-BONES Great American Eatery’s five locations — but on the deck in Laconia is the best view.

Hamburger (National Chain): The price is right at Five Guys Burgers & Fries in Manchester and Nashua for a flavorful burger that even Obama loves.

Hot Dog: Readers love Portsmouth’s Gilley’s PM Lunch for the back-alley atmosphere and the steamed dogs with kraut or chili, especially for late, late night dining.

Hotel Restaurant: The dining room at the historic Wentworth by the Sea Marriott Hotel & Spa in New Castle features the original fresco ceiling, harbor views, upscale regional favorite dishes and glowing fireplaces.

Lobster Roll: It's big and plump with a soft roll at the Beach Plum Ice Cream Stand in North Hampton and Portsmouth.

*Local sausage: If you are worried about what is in your hot dogs and brats, worry no more. Chef John “Popper” Medlin makes his links from local pigs and beef. Right now you have to order online through Popper’s Sausage Kitchen website with a pick up in Dover. Later this summer Medlin hopes to have his retail space on Main Street in Dover open and offering fresh links in the deli case and eat-in options with dogs served with all his made-from-scratch fixings.

New Restaurant (Open within the last 12 months): Wings Your Way has been winning Best of NH awards since 2006 (when it opened) and doesn’t show any sign of stopping. Their new location is on Elm St. in Manchester.

NH Chef: With multiple Best of NH wins for NH Chef and a slew of other Best of NH awards for MT’s, Buckley’s and Surf, Michael Buckley is a true Best of NH favorite.

*Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf: Now located in both Laconia and downtown Concord, O Steaks and Seafood has taken an old standby and made it new again. The Kobe beef and shiitake mushroom meatloaf is an upscale dish that still manages to retain that comfort food feeling you love.

Onion Rings: Enjoy your tasty rings on the deck with a view of the ocean at Markey’s Lobster Pound in Seabrook. (603) 474-2851

Onion Rings (Regional Chain): Pa’s famous onion rings are still prepared the same way 40 years later at the Weathervane Seafood Restaurants in Bedford and five other locations in New Hampshire.

Outdoor Dining (Local Chain): The Common Man Inn and Restaurant in Claremont offers diners a large deck perched on the edge of the Sugar River.

Restaurant With Best Beer List: Pilsner, porter and pale ale are just a few of the many beer choices at the Strange Brew Tavern in Manchester.

Restaurant With Best Wine List: If you’re looking for more than the usual wines, Unwine’d in Manchester is the place to go.

Romantic Restaurant: The Bedford Village Inn, originally built as a working farm in 1810, has witnessed countless proposals, Valentine’s Day dinners, weddings and receptions.

Seafood Restaurant: Fresh seafood is prepared elegantly at Jumpin' Jays Fise Cafe in Portsmouth.

Steakhouse: Hanover Street Chophouse offers fine steaks in a setting you might think is NYC but is right in downtown Manchester.

Steakhouse (National Chain): Enjoy an affordable, and tender, meal at LongHorn Steakhouse with locations in Nashua, Amherst, Concord and Manchester.

*To-Go Macaroni and Cheese: In a hurry to satisfy a comfort food craving? Call up Mr. Mac’s Macaroni and Cheese in Manchester to order skillets of piping hot, gooey mac ’n cheese goodness that they’ll deliver right to your door. You can also order to go and dine in, but macaroni and cheese by delivery has to be one of the best ideas to come out of the fast-food scene in a very long time.

*Upscale Diner: Take the classic diner experience up a notch (or two) by visiting the Roundabout Diner and Lounge in the Portsmouth traffic circle. The lively (and spacious) interior puts everyone at ease. Their Eggs Benedict is becoming a local legend and the menu features all the griddle treats you might imagine but a closer look reveals locally sourced veggies and cage-free eggs. The intimate lounge area has a great list of house drinks. (Try a root beer float martini!)

Wings: Crispy wings tossed in the sauce of your choice keeps bringing ’em back to Wings Your Way in North Hampton and a new location in Manchester.

Categories: Best of NH Winners