Best of NH 2018 Pizzerias & Ethnic Food Restaurants

From a healthy poké bowl and shawarma to blueberry pizza (yes, really) and a traditional slice, these international winners will delight your taste buds.

Find the fresh taste of poké at Ohana Kitchen in Portsmouth. Photo by Susan Laughlin

Blueberry Pizza: Next time you’re out exploring the natural beauty of the Great North Woods, refuel at The Burg, a lively Pittsburg spot that often hosts live music. There are many creative options, but don’t pass up the blueberry pizza. Yes, blueberries. On pizza. It’s weird, and it works. Things are always happening here, from live music to special funky pizza combinations (they once made a roasted Jonah crab pizza with avocado, smoked mozzarella and everything bagel spices).

Bouillabaisse: At The Stage in Keene, a wide bowl is heaped with juicy shrimp, silky scallops, calamari and several varieties of fish, enlivened by slices of spicy chorizo. Crusty Tuscan bread waits alongside to catch the last drops of savory tomato-based broth. Dine outside in the summer overlooking the bandstand in Central Square and pretend it’s a sidewalk café on the Riviera.

Chicken Satay: The small Bali Sate House in Somersworth is a great ethnic restaurant run by immigrants from Indonesia. The chicken sate (Indonesian spelling) is grilled, succulent and drizzled with a perfectly spiced peanut sauce. The beef rendang, among other dishes, is authentic, and the restaurant has found a strong following with lovers of this flavorful cuisine.

Fusion Egg Rolls: Lobster Q owner and executive chef Sean Hopkins is constantly refining the menu of seafood and barbecue offerings at his Hampstead restaurant, and his latest appetizer creations are a hit. The Reuben egg rolls are filled with tender black pastrami laced with tangy, crisp sauerkraut and a strip of marble rye bread, which is then rolled and deep-fried. The prime rib egg roll is made with shaved smoked prime rib, roasted onions and American cheese. It gets hand-rolled, fried and served with horseradish aioli.

Fusion Restaurant: The lively Mexican-Latin fusion menu at Revolution Cantina cites culinary influences ranging from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and Dominican, Costa Rica, to Miami, Florida, and Claremont, NH, where the cantina lives in the heart of the city. The aesthetics are hip and spare, the service is friendly and efficient, and the menu is an invitation to explore new tastes.

Gluten-free Gnocchi: Chefs are having a tough time keeping the public happy. We are so fussy, and apparently allergic to one or more ubiquitous ingredients. At XO on Elm in Manchester, the gnocchi is a gluten-free dream. It’s Latin-inspired and made with plantains. Instead of banging their heads on the walk-in freezer door, the team here has come up with a long list of interesting meals for those with dietary restrictions.

International Pizza: The owners of Street 360 recently opened Street’za. This Portsmouth eatery features pizzas that explore Greece with feta and lamb, Korea with bulgogi and kimchi, and India with tikka masala sauce, curry chicken and cilantro. If no country fits the bill, design your own trip with the Create’za — your choice of crusts (NYC-style, gluten-free cauliflower or vegan/gluten-free), sauce, cheese, veggies, meats and more. Bon voyage!

Margarita Tower: If you really like colorful tequila drinks, head to El Colima in the heart of Nashua. Better yet, bring several friends and order up one of their colorful margarita towers. The lighted plastic cylinder holds about 13 margaritas and gives patrons the ease of self-service. The guacamole is fresh and can be made tableside in a molcajete. They really up the fun on Thursday evenings with live mariachi music.

Poké Bowl: Find the fresh taste of poké (pronounced pokay) at Ohana Kitchen in Portsmouth. The fish, ahi tuna or salmon, or even chicken or tofu, can be served on white or brown rice, quinoa or just artisan greens for a low-carb treat. Adding to the flavor profile are a variety of sauces including a tradition ponzu and ginger chili. Add-ons range from apple to seaweed to sweet potatoes to really build the bowl.

Shawarma: Middle Eastern foods are known for exotic flavors, but what makes great shawarma is a subtle blend of spice and texture and creaminess that reveals it to be a perfect comfort food. Little Lebanon To Go in Dover gets the balance down by using a family recipe, fresh ingredients — often local and organic — and by the overall high quality of everything they sell out of their tiny restaurant built into the shell of an old Dover gas station.

Siamese Platter: Next time you want to feed a crowd, order the Siamese Platter from the Chiang Mai Thai Restaurant in Amherst. Enjoy a sampling of chicken and shrimp satay, curry triangles and more. It’s served with an array of peanut sauce, cucumber salad and sweet chili sauce.

Tapas: At Candela Tapas Lounge in Hanover you can sample the essence of Spanish and Caribbean flavors and cultures. Natalia Karaulova’s passion for food is directly translated to the restaurant’s delectable shared appetizers. You can find Natalia and her husband, Jimmy Van Kirk, working alongside their creative culinary staff while you enjoy your setas montaditos.

Categories: Best of NH Winners