Best of NH 2013 Pizzerias and Ethnic Food Restaurants

Try something new! With winners from cuisines around the world, from Korean and Greek to German and Italian, there's bound to be something you've never tried before.
Croissant at Le Rendez Vous Bakery.
Photo by susan laughlin.

Readers' Poll Winners
*Editor's Picks

*Bruschetta: This isn’t your ordinary bruschetta — Nicola’s Trattoria in Keene makes it with cannellini beans slowly braised in spices and vegetable stock mixed in with fresh peppers and onions and topped with olive oil, lemon zest and mint. Magnifico.

Caesar Salad
Lui Lui
West Lebanon and Nashua

Caesar Salad (Local Chain)
Fratello’s Italian Grille
Manchester and Laconia

*Charcuterie: Chef/owner John “Popper” Medlin knows how to use an animal from tail to snout. At his Popper’s at the Mill in Newmarket, Medlin serves up the best selection of hand-crafted charcuterie around. Using humanely raised animals that are fed organically, he makes sausages in a range of flavors, cures meats and blends pâtés, all served with the perfect accompaniment, house-made pickles and mustards along with artisan breads.

Chinese Restaurant
Lilac Blossom

*Croissant Experience: If you find yourself perdu in Colebrook, don’t despair. Le Rendez Vous Bakery is run by a French couple who bake the best croissants. Even better is the setting; either outside on the sunny patio or inside the cozy shop. The high ceilings, tall windows, antiques and soft, comfortable seating make you feel like you are in gay Paree.

*Fried Oyster Maki: Surf Sushi is the latest extension of Surf Seafood, both on Bow Street in Portsmouth. Chefs Michael Buckley and Justin Lyonnais know their fish and bring a fresh and creative take on Asian maki — using the roll to mix an array of flavors and takes on textures. Oysters are succulent and a tempura fry adds crunch to the savory mix.

Fried Oyster Maki from Surf Sushi.
Photo by Susan Laughlin.

German Restaurant
Bavaria German Restaurant

Greek Restaurant
Cafe Nostimo

*Gryos: A taste of authentic Greek street food can be found at the Gyro Spot in downtown Manchester. Whether you choose one of the two meat offerings (chicken and pork are stacked, roasted and shaved right behind the counter) or just plain veggies, we challenge you to eat one and not immediately crave more. Housemade “G Sauce” (has a pleasant spicy kick) or tzatziki (traditional yogurt sauce) and seasoned fries top off this excellent portable meal.

A Gyro from the Gyro Spot.
Photo by Travis Ernst Photography.

*Homemade Italian: Mangia in Manchester is easy to overlook. This cozy bring-your-own booze (wine, champagne and beer only) restaurant is at the south end of Elm Street, well away from the center of downtown. Chef and owner Angelo Bruno whips up Italian favorites in the tiny kitchen, including an impressive daily specials menu. If nothing speaks to you — and if he has the ingredients on hand — Chef Bruno will make whatever your stomach desires.

Homemade Pasta: Valicenti Organico is a fancy word for pasta made with love from the best ingredients. Owners source from their Hollis garden or local farms to flavor the variety of grains used in their flat or filled pastas. Find essence of lemon, truffle or wild garlic scape among the array. Or go dark with squid ink spaghettini. It’s all good and can be purchased online, at local co-op stores and Harvest Markets.

Indian Restaurant
Shalimar India Restaurant

Indian Restaurant (Regional Chain)
India Palace
Nashua, Manchester and Chelmsford, Mass.

Irish Pub
Holy Grail

*Italian Food with Celtic Music: Not only can you get great Italian food in a beautiful setting (an 18th-century Georgian Colonial farmhouse in Dublin), you can hear music from the Ould Sod at Delrossi's Trattoria at Wednesday night Celtic jams with fiddles, guitars, mandolins and more.

The bar at the Tuscan Kitchen.
Photo by Susan Laughlin.

Italian Restaurant
Tuscan Kitchen

Japanese Restaurant

Korean Cuisine: Whether you’re new to Korean dishes or just can’t get enough of authentic kimchi (included with every meal here), Shira Kiku in Nashua should be your next stop. If the dishes seem unfamiliar don’t worry — this family-owned and-run restaurant is a friendly, non-pretentious place to ask questions as you explore something new.

Shio won for sushi and Japanese restaurant.

Mediterranean Restaurant
Café Mediterraneo

Mexican Restaurant
Agave Mexican Bistro Dos

Mexican Restaurant (Local Chain)
La Carreta
Derry, Nashua and Manchester

Mexican Restaurant (Regional Chain)
Margaritas Mexican Restaurant
Multiple Locations

Tasty shrimp treats from Hermanos at the 2010 Best of NH Party.
Photo by Wendy Wood

Cocina Mexicana

Nachos (Local Chain)
La Carreta
Derry, Nashua and Manchester

Nachos (Regional Chain)
Margaritas Mexican Restaurant
Multiple Locations

*New Mexican Restaurant: Mixteca Taqueria Y Cantina (603-397-5971) is located in the college town of Durham and is the sister restaurant to Zapoteca Restaurante Y Tequileria in foodie central Portland, Maine. The classic Mexican favorites are served up with a well-rounded list of tequilas.

*Nori Rolls: Merchants often put irresistible treats at the cash register to encourage your indulgence in an empty-calorie experience. At the Local Grocer in North Conway, on the way out with your organic produce and raw cheese, you’ll find a glass container of nori rolls made in-house with toasted seaweed and a mixture of cashews, pumpkin seeds, spices and herbs with all the nutrition intact. So indulge without guilt.

Portsmouth Gas Light

Pizzeria (Regional Chain)
Sal’s Pizza
Multiple Locations

Pizzeria (National Chain)
Papa Gino’s
Multiple Locations

The deck at 900 Degrees is a welcoming warm weather dining spot.

900 Degrees

Pizzeria-Gourmet (Regional Chain)
Flatbread Company
Portsmouth and North Conway

*Pretzles: If you’re picky about your pretzels, German John’s Bakery in Hillsborough is the place to get them. The baked-from-scratch southern German-style pretzels are not only just-right soft and salty, they come in different shapes — regular, sandwich, laugenweck (rolls) and even snakes and lizards (for kids).

*Red Sauce: Not much is more satisfying than a good red sauce atop a pile of steaming hot pasta. At the eponymous Red Sauce in Manchester’s historic River Walk Mill find a passionate chef featuring traditional Italian family recipes and a puttanesca and bolognese sauce worth the savor.

Ravioli from the Tuscan Kitchen.
Photo by Susan Laughlin.

*Rockin' Ravioli: The chefs at the Tuscan Kitchen in Salem are pasta masters — it was their main business before opening the restaurant. Now their fabulous mushroom ravioli sautéed before your eyes at the pasta bar is available in the new 10,000-square-foot Tuscan Market located behind the restaurant. There you’ll find everything else Italian you need to finish the meal. Ciao!


Take-and-Bake Pizza: When you’re at the point of not knowing what to do for dinner but don’t want your average takeout, order a pizza from Little Zoe’s Take and Bake in Keene. All the work is done for you, save popping it in the oven. Pick it up in the afternoon and fire up the oven when you’re ready to eat. Instructions on how to bake it — from proofing to temperature — can be found online.

Tamales: Those in the know keep an eye on the specials board at Consuelo’s Taqueria in Manchester. Whenever the tamales pop up, we strongly suggest you ignore the rest of the menu and order them posthaste. Fresh, delicious and served up by a friendly staff. What else could you want? Maybe an ice cold Jarritos.


Las Olas Taqueria
Exeter and Hampton

*Taste of the Caribbean: Spicy food lovers will be right at home at the Blue Mermaid Island Grill in Portsmouth. This Caribbean-inspired restaurant offers diners a trip to the Islands via Jamaican jerk chicken or short ribs braised in a guava-soy reduction. Entertainment is offered most nights with the Green Lion Reggae DJ crew (with no cover) on Thursdays. Many gluten-free and vegetarian dishes are also available.

Thai Restaurant
Siam Orchid/Muse Thai Bistro

Categories: Best of NH Winners