Best of NH 2013 American and Seafood Restaurants

In this section you'll find finger-licking BBQ, the juiciest hamburgers, traditional clam chowder, the best seafood spot and much more.
Photo by Bill Lee Imaging.

*Editor's Pick
Readers' Poll

*$10 Diner: Meat loaf, baked haddock, shepherd’s pie — just a few of the entrées the Wildcat Inn & Tavern in Jackson offers as its wintertime “blue plate specials.” They’re accompanied by French fries, a veggie and cole slaw. And all for just ten bucks! OK, you have to go early to get it (from 4 p.m.–6 p.m.) but that’s not a bad thing in the dark days of winter.

KC’s Rib Shack

*BBQ and Brews: Go for the beer and stay for the BBQ (or vice versa) at Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery in North Conway. It’s all made right there, from the finger-licking sauce and brisket to the refreshing beers found on tap.

The Wine'ing Butcher in Gilford is a consistent reader favorite.

*Braised Beef Short Ribs: Talk about finger-licking good, the ribs at Inn at Crystal Lake in Eaton give the phrase new definition. Marinated in rosemary and garlic, and slow cooked for two to three hours, the ribs fall apart in your hands. Delish. Order from either the pub or dining room.

Butcher Shop
Wine’ing Butcher

Butcher Shop (Regional Chain)
McKinnon’s Market & Super Butcher Shop
Multiple Locations

Butcher Shop (National Chain)
The Meat House
Multiple Locations

Chicken Fingers
The Puritan Backroom

The Hanover Street Chop House in Manchester was once again your favorite steakhouse.
Photo by Susan Laughlin.

*Chicken Salad Sandwich: You might think you’ve had good chicken salad sandwiches, but have you ever had one smoked? The Yankee Smokehouse in West Ossipee uses a bit of smokehouse alchemy, turning the common into uncommonly good.

Children’s Menu
Airport Diner

Children’s Menu (National Chain)
Multiple Locations

Clam Chowder
Petey’s Summertime Seafood and Bar

Clam Chowder (Regional Chain)
Newick’s Lobster House
Dover, Concord and South Portland, Maine

Crab Cake
Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Café

Crab Cake (Local Chain)
The Common Man Family of Restaurants
Multiple Locations

See if you can handle the "Crazy Burger" at Papa Joe’s Humble Kitchen in Milford.

*Crazy Burgers: It might be called Humble Kitchen, but there’s nothing humble about the hamburgers at Papa Joe’s Humble Kitchen in Milford. They demand your attention with what Papa Joe’s calls their “crazy” combinations of ingredients that top the burgers — wasabi and Chinese noodles, jalapenos and creole mayo, and salsa and sour cream, to name just a few.

Fine Dining Restaurant
Bedford Village Inn

French Fries
Boardwalk French Fries
(603) 926-6325

French Fries (National Chain)
Five Guys Burgers & Fries
Multiple Locations

Fried clams from Petey’s Summertime Seafood and Bar in Rye.

Fried Clams
Petey’s Summertime Seafood and Bar

Fried Clams (Regional Chain)
Newick’s Lobster House
Dover, Concord and S. Portland, Maine

Gourmet to Go
Angela’s Pasta and Cheese Shop

*Granola Flavor: This wholesome breakfast staple produced by Courser Farm Kitchen in Warner has updated the ’70s classic with a nice balance of nuts, fruits and grains and not too much oil. The Cashew Chai has the rich nut and spice blend like your favorite chai tea. It’s the perfect breakfast pick-me-up to get you out the door and singing a happy tune.

Woodstock Inn Station and Brewery
North Woodstock

Hamburger (Local Chain)
Multiple Locations

Hamburger (Regional Chain)
99 Restaurants
Multiple Locations

Hamburger (National Chain)
Five Guys Burgers & Fries
Multiple Locations

From Gilley’s PM Lunch in Portsmouth.

Hot Dog
Gilley’s PM Lunch

Hotel Restaurant
Wentworth by the Sea Hotel and Spa
New Castle

*Lobster Mac and Cheese: Elevating the quintessential American comfort food with lobster isn’t exactly new, but we still haven’t found one that beats the version by O Steaks and Seafood in Laconia and Concord. The dish comes in three sizes: with a quarter, half or whole pound of lobster meat mixed into the cheesy, soul-warming classic.

Lobster Roll
Beach Plum
North Hampton and Portsmouth

From the Beach Plum in North Hampton and Portsmouth.

Lobster Roll (Regional Chain)
Newick’s Lobster House
Dover, Concord and South Portland, Maine

Local Cheesemaker
The Sandwich Creamery
North Sandwich

Locally Sourced Menu

*Make-Your-Own Burgers: Pick your base — the Black Cap 8-ounce beef, the Northeast Family Farms all-natural beef, the turkey burger or the house-made veggie burger and then let your imagination run wild. The Black Cap Grille in North Conway lets you be the chef as you choose from a large selection of creative toppings from a fried eggs and truffle aioli to tomato salsa and Sriracha mayo.

New Restaurant
The Tuckaway Tavern

Onion Rings
Brown’s Lobster Pound

Onion Rings (Regional Chain)
Weathervane Seafood Restaurants
Multiple Locations

Enjoy the lake views at Town Docks in Meredith.

Outdoor Dining
Town Docks

Outdoor Dining (Local Chain)
The Common Man

*Outdoor Dining: The Waterhouse Restaurant and Bar in Peterborough offers an upscale yet approachable menu that ranges from flatbread pizzas to duck two ways. In the warm months enhance your dining experience by eating in their excellent outdoor space that offers wonderful views of the Contoocook River.

*Restaurant Makeover: The Hanover Inn has given its historic character a jolt of java. The new dining room adds a contemporary touch to a space that was formerly a bit dowdy. The new room now fronts the beautiful Dartmouth College common, offers patio space and sparkles with a designer touch. The menu has been upgraded with inspiration from Boston chef Michael Schlow of Radius.

*Reuben: If you’re tired of Reubens with chewy corned beef slopped with dressing, take heart. There’s a restaurant in Milford —Yankee Chef — that does them to perfection. Corned beef from a (very tender) New York brisket is topped with a (mild) Swiss, (fresh, sweet) sauerkraut and (just enough) Thousand Island dressing. It's piled (but not too high) on grilled rye bread.

*Roast Beef Sub: The old-style family-owned Joe’s Meat Shoppe in Hampton also boasts a fantastic full-service deli. Stop in for lunch and give the roast beef sub a try. The meat (served rare) is roasted on site, creating a sublime sandwich experience.

Romantic Restaurant
Bedford Village Inn

*Seafood Experience: The new bluAqua Restaurant and Bar in Amherst is a welcome addition to the Salzburg Square shop complex. Though the menu is creative and extensive, you can enjoy an interesting seafood experience by sitting at the bar, which just so happens to feature a 350-gallon saltwater aquarium, and ordering from the "Aqua" portion of the menu that offers dishes such as the fresh catch of the day, the Seafood Bowl, Tuna Mignon, Scallop Risotto and Shrimp Creole.

Seafood Restaurant
Nashua and Portsmouth

Seafood Restaurant (Regional Chain)
Newick’s Lobster House
Dover, Concord and South Portland, Maine

The seasoned fries at the Waterworks Café in Manchester.
Photo by Susan Laughlin.

*Seasoned Fries: Lunch just got a little more interesting if you find yourself in the Waumbec Mill in Manchester. The new Waterworks Café is tucked in back and can be a challenge to find, but well worth the effort for the creative take on burgers, sandwiches and more. Luck has it, they come with the best seasoned fries around— crunchy and savory.

Steakhouse (National Chain)
LongHorn Steakhouse
Multiple Locations

Hanover Street Chophouse


Wings (National Chain)
Buffalo Wild Wings
Concord, Newington and Rochester

Categories: Best of NH Winners