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Purple Finch Cafe. Courtesy photo.




50 Favorite Meals
Your picks for breakfast, lunch and dinner - plus coffee and dessert

07/07/16



Best breakfast

Whether you’re looking for a weekend morning feast or a quick bite to get you into the work day, these area restaurants offer tasty meals of all sizes. Many of the places on this list make breakfast (and lunch) their focus.
 
1. Tucker’s (1328 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 206-5757, tuckersnh.com. Hours: daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.) 
When you’re in the mood for: Organic, local and gluten-free options
On the menu: Small and simple breakfast items like parfaits, oatmeal and banana nut bread; classic French toast, waffles and pancakes; six kinds of eggs Benedict made with two poached farm-fresh eggs, grilled English muffin and house hollandaise sauce; omelets made with three farm-fresh eggs; skillets and scramblers made with three farm-fresh eggs; breakfast sandwiches; and specialties like Tucker’s Rancheros. 
Sample dish: Tuckito’s Breakfast Queso (from the specialty selections), fresh eggs, cheddar and jack cheese, grilled flour tortilla, peppers, onions, black beans, and piquante peppers, served with house pico sauce. 
In your glass: Try one of Tucker’s all-natural fresh fruit smoothies like the Pineapple Paradise or the Carrot Orange Medley. 
2016 “Best” titles: Best of the Best Breakfast, Best of Manchester Waiter/Waitress (Jessica Flynn), Best of the Best Restaurant for Kids 
 
2. Purple Finch Cafe (Woodbury Court, 124 S. River Road, Bedford, 232-1953, purplefinchcafe.com. Hours: daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: Local, all-natural and organic options 
On the menu: A wide selection of omelets, eggs Benedict and egg sandwiches, including a create-your-own omelet option; a health-conscious menu with things like egg whites, oatmeal topped with fruit and a parfait with low-fat yogurt and organic granola; traditional and specialty French toast, pancakes and waffles. 
Sample dish: Glazed and Confused, the cafe’s signature glazed sweet potato donuts paired with two eggs any style and a choice of bacon, sausage or ham. 
In your glass: Try one of their New England Coffees.
2016 “Best” title: Best of Manchester Breakfast
 
3. MaryAnn’s Diner (29 E. Broadway, Derry, 434-5785, maryannsdiner.com. Hours: Monday through Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.) 
When you’re in the mood for: A rich, hearty breakfast 
On the menu: A wide selection of omelets, pancakes, French toast and waffles; all kinds of combo plates; and comfort food breakfasts like chicken fried steak topped with eggs and country gravy, or sausage and gravy on grilled biscuit topped with two eggs. 
Sample dish: Black raspberry BBQ steak tips and eggs with home fries and toast. 
In your glass: Try some strawberry or chocolate milk 
 
4. Red Arrow Diner (61 Lowell St., Manchester, 626-1118, redarrowdiner.com. Hours: open 24/7)
When you’re in the mood for: Breakfast any time, even after-hours 
On the menu: Specialty omelets and all kinds of eggs Benedict; pancakes, waffles and French toast with six topping options; famous hash brown specials; Moe & Dinah’s Selections; jumbo breakfast combos that take up two plates; and over 20 sides, from the standard bacon or toast to a slice of pork pie or corned beef hash.
Sample dish: Arrow’s Breakfast Sandwich (from the Moe & Dinah’s Selections), one egg, cheese, and choice of ham, bacon, sausage or hash on choice of an English muffin, bagel or croissant with choice of pan fries, hash browns, beans or grits. 
In your glass: Mug O’ Bacon, a coffee mug filled with 20 slices of the diner’s crispy maple-cured bacon. You can even keep the mug. 
2016 “Best” title: Best of the Best Diner 
 
5. The Riverhouse Cafe (123 Union Square, Milford, 249-5556, theriverhousecafe.com. Hours: daily  from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.) 
When you’re in the mood for: Comfort food 
On the menu: Pancakes and French toast; eggs, egg sandwiches and build-your-own three-egg omelets; Riverhouse signature creations like the Fire Pit spicy hash browns and the Compost Heap veggie hash brown plate; mini plates for kids; and house favorites like the homemade corned beef hash and the Riverhouse eggs Benedict. 
Sample dish: The Hangover Helper breakfast sandwich with pepper jack and cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, jalapenos and home fries, scrambled up with three eggs and piled on a grilled brioche bun. 
In your glass: Choose from their wide selection of coffees. 
2016 “Best” title: Best of Nashua Breakfast
 
6. Chez Vachon (136 Kelley St., Manchester, 625-9660, chezvachon.com. Hours: Monday through Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.) 
When you’re in the mood for: French-Canadian eats 
On the menu: Eggs, eggs Benedict and breakfast sandwiches; oven-baked omelets, including a create-your-own option; pancakes, French toast, waffles and combo plates; crepes with over 35 fillings to choose from, including various fruits, meats and cheeses; and specialties like pork pie and eggs, chicken and waffles and the breakfast burger. 
Sample dish: Breakfast poutine (from the specialities selections), home fries topped with two eggs, Canadian curd cheese and poutine gravy. 
In your glass: Never go thirsty with a bottomless lemonade. 
 
7. Janie’s Uncommon Cafe (123 Nashua Road, Londonderry, 432-3100, janiescafe.com. Hours: Monday through Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.) 
When you’re in the mood for: American cuisine in a warm, friendly setting
On the menu: Breakfast sandwiches and nine different kinds of breakfast wraps; “Lite” selections with smaller portion sizes; a wide variety of omelets and eggs Benedict; pancakes, waffles and French toast; and specialties like steak and eggs and eggs in a basket. 
Sample dish: The Uncommon Bennie (from the eggs Benedict selections), two poached eggs and cherry bacon on the cafe’s signature Idaho potato hash (grilled with sauteed peppers and onions) topped with hollandaise sauce.
In your glass: Try the herbal tea.
 
8. Airport Diner (2280 Brown Ave., Manchester, 623-5040, thecman.com. Hours: daily, 5 a.m. to midnight. Breakfast all day.) 
When you’re in the mood for: Breakfast on the fly 
On the menu: Omelets, griddle cakes and waffles and breakfast classics like country fried steak and eggs and biscuits and gravy. 
Sample dish: Dinermites (from the breakfast classics selections), one egg over hard with choice of bacon, sausage or Canadian bacon with cheese on a toasted English muffin or bagel, served with choice of home fries or baked beans. 
In your glass: Common Man Joe fair trade coffee.
2016 “Best” title: Best of Manchester Diner 
 
9. City Room Cafe (105 W Pearl St., Nashua, 882-5016, find them on Facebook. Hours: Monday through Saturday, from 6:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: Classic breakfast dishes with a twist 
On the menu: Breakfast classics like pancakes, French toast, eggs; six varieties of sweet and savory crepes; a large selection of omelets, from the simple three-cheese omelet to more creative options like the sausage, apple and cheddar omelet. 
Sample dish: The Florentine crepe made with spinach, mushrooms, tomato, olives and feta, served with home fries. 
In your glass: Try one of their specialty coffees like a chai latte or a mocha. 
 
10. Parker’s Maple Barn (1316 Brookline Road, Mason, 878-2308, parkersmaplebarn.com. Hours: Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.) 
When you’re in the mood for: Maple. Lots and lots of maple.  
On the menu: Three-egg omelettes, 6-inch pancakes, sides like maple cream and maple baked beans; and famous favorites, including stuffed French toast and maple baby back ribs with eggs. 
Sample dish: The Parker’s Special (from the famous favorites selections) two eggs, two pancakes or one French toast, two bacon, two sausage and ham, or ham hash in place of all the meats, served with home fries or beans and toast. If that’s too much food for you, the Mini Parker’s Special is the same plate, but with half the portion size. 
In your glass: Try the maple coffee or the maple frappe. 
 
11. Belmont Hall Restaurant (718 Grove St., Manchester, 625-8540, belmontrestaurant.com. Hours: Sunday through Thursday, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday and Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: A simple but tasty breakfast
On the menu: Eggs and three-egg omelets; pancakes, French toast and crepes; specialties like the Belmont breakfast sandwich and the pork pie special; and customer favorites like the crab cake Benedict and the cranberry walnut pancakes. 
Sample dish: Belgian waffle (from the customer favorites selections) with choice of apple, strawberry, banana, blueberry or maple cream. 
In your glass: The Belmont Bellini, made with Champagne, orange juice and peach schnapps. 
 
12. The Schoolhouse Cafe (787 Route 103 E., Warner, 746-3850, find them on Facebook. Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., takeout and oven-ready meals available from 2 to 6 p.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: A homestyle meal and atmosphere
On the menu: Eggs-to-order and omelets; French toast and pancakes, including blueberry, raspberry, apple, banana, chocolate chip and walnut
Sample dish: Deep-fried stuffed French toast, filled with sweet cream cheese filling and served with syrup or jam.
In your glass: Fresh brewed iced tea.
 
13. The Newell Post Restaurant (125 Fisherville Road, Concord, 228-0522, newellpostrestaurant.com. Hours: Monday through Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: A classic breakfast and fresh baked pastries 
On the menu: Pancakes, waffles and French toast; three-egg omelets and eggs Benedict; and breakfast classics like the meat-lover’s scramble and hash and eggs. There’s homemade white, wheat, sourdough, pumpernickel and cinnamon raisin breads prepared fresh daily in the restaurant’s in-house bakery, as well as cinnamon rolls, danishes, coffee cakes, muffins and scones. 
Sample dish: Veggie scramble (from the breakfast classics selections), scrambled eggs with tomatoes, onions, peppers and mushrooms, served with home fries and toast. 
In your glass: Try their coffee.
 
14. CitySide Grille (25 Manchester St., Concord, 227-0884, citysidegrille.com. Hours: daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.) 
When you’re in the mood for: Traditional breakfast in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere 
On the menu: Omelettes, pancakes, waffles and French toast; cinnamon rolls and homemade muffins; and breakfast plates like sausage gravy and biscuit and prime rib and eggs. 
Sample dish: Eggs Benedict (from the breakfast plate selections), two English muffin halves topped with choice of Canadian bacon, spinach or broccoli, two poached eggs, smothered with homemade hollandaise sauce, served with home fries.  
In your glass: Make it an iced coffee.
 
Best sandwich
If you’re thinking about lunch, there’s a good chance you’ll have sandwiches on your mind. Every year, we ask readers not just which restaurants have the best sandwiches but to name one sandwich in particular that stands out. Here are the top seven sandwiches readers picked as their favorites. All but one can be enjoyed throughout the work week at lunchtime.
 
1. Steak tip and cheese sub, Bob Nadeau’s Subs (776 Mast Road, Manchester, 623-9315, nadeaussubs.com. Hours: Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.) 
The sandwich: The original steak tip and cheese sub is Nadeau’s signature sub and is made with USDA choice sirloin and seasoned with a secret recipe.
Also on the menu: Various hot subs including Philly steak, barbecue beef and veal parmesan; and spicy Italian, chicken salad and lobster roll; fish and chicken tender meals and meal combos, wraps, hamburgers, salads and kids selections. 
2016 “Best” titles: Best of the Best Sandwich (steak tip and cheese sub), Best of the Best Subs 
 
2. Steak and cheese sub, Sub Station (1292 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 625-1800, substationhooksett.com. Hours: Monday through Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. 
The sandwich: The Sub Station’s steak and cheese sub is made with a custom blended shaved steak and a choice of melted American or provolone cheese, and an addition of teriyaki or barbecue sauce. 
Also on the menu: Hot grilled subs like the Torpedo, BLT and pulled pork; cold subs including tuna, chicken caesar and Greek veggie; toasted subs like chicken parmesan or hot turkey club; salads and kids’ meals. 
2016 “Best” titles: Best of Manchester Sandwich (steak and cheese sub), Best of Manchester Subs 
 
3. Roast beef, Beefside (106 Manchester St., Concord, 228-0208, beefsidenh.com. Hours: Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
The sandwich: Beefside’s tender roast beef sandwich is served warm on a grilled roll. It comes in three sizes: junior, which is 3 ounces, regular, which is 4 ounces., and giant, which is 6 ounces. Make it a super and add lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and cheese.  
Also on the menu: Specialty sandwiches, smoked and barbecue sandwiches, burgers, soups and salads, seafood selections and entrees like the steak tip pasta and prime rib dinner. 
2016 “Best” title: Best of Concord Sandwich (Famous roast beef sandwich)
 
4. “Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck,” Cask and Vine (1½ E. Broadway, Derry, 965-3454, caskandvine.com. Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, from 4 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, from 1 p.m. to midnight.)
The sandwich: Cask and Vine’s Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck sandwich is made with smoked duck, duck bacon, duck confit and Dowie Farm duck egg cooked over-easy with Jarlsberg cheese.  
Also on the menu: Other sandwiches like smoked trout and pan-fried chickpea falafel; small plates including “Pigs in Blankets” and “Skip’s Meatloaf Slider”; entrees like vegetarian risotto and maple-brined pork tenderloin; and soups and salads. 
2016 “Best” titles: Best of Manchester Restaurant Wine List, Best of the Best Chef (George Craft) 
 
5. “The Garden,” The Nashua Garden (121 Main St., Nashua, 886-7363, facebook.com/thenashuagarden603. Hours: Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Sunday, from noon to 1 p.m.) 
The sandwich: “The Garden” is a veggie sandwich with romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, pickle, peppers, roasted red peppers, sprouts and olives. 
Also on the menu: A variety of sandwiches, including other veggie sandwiches like “The Doc Ellis” (marinated portobello mushrooms, provolone cheese and all veggies), and sandwiches with barbecue chicken, roast beef, pastrami, turkey and more. 
2016 “Best” title: Best of Nashua Sandwich (“The Garden”) 
 
6. Korean pork burrito, Wellington’s Marketplace (124 N. Main St., Concord, 715-1191, wellingtonsmarketplace.com. Hours: Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) 
The sandwich: Wellington’s Korean pork burrito has marinated pork tenderloin, savoy cabbage, lime, scallion, cilantro and Sriracha sauce served in a warm tortilla. 
Also on the menu: Other sandwiches like the classic Italian, chicken salad and “Oooey gooey melty grilled cheese”; soups and salads; cheese plates, wine and craft beer. 
 
7. Gyro, The Gyro Spot, (1073 Elm St., Manchester, 218-3869, thegyrospot.com. Hours: Monday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) 
The sandwich: The Gyro Spot has five kinds of gyros: beef/lamb, traditional pork, chicken, veggie and nutritious choice. All gyros have onions, tomatoes and parsley, and all but the chicken gyro have tzatziki sauce (the chicken has a secret sauce called G-sauce). Gyros are wrapped in a warm wheat or white flatbread. 
Also on the menu: Soups, salads, specialty fries, spreads with pita bread, desserts and Greek favorites like spanakopita (spinach wrapped in warm phyllo dough) and dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with white rice and spices)
 
Best salads
Maybe you can win friends with salad. These nine reader favorites go way beyond iceberg and a wedge of tomato to offer flavorful salad creations fit for a meal at lunch or any time.
 
1. Live Juice (5 S. Main St., Concord, 226-3024, livejuicenh.com. Hours: Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.) 
The salads: Live Juice offers cobb, Caesar, Greek, steak, chicken-walnut and Asian salads, plus a build-your-own option. 
Sample dish: Cobb salad has chicken, avocado, tomato, bacon, egg and blue cheese tossed with choice of blue cheese or honey Dijon dressing.
Try it with: A specialty juice or smoothie, such as the “Funky Monkey” (smoothie with kale, banana, organic unsweetened coconut) or the “Sweet Potato Pie” (juice with sweet potato, carrot, pear, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves). 
2016 “Best” title: Best of the Best Salads
 
2. The Puritan Backroom (245 Hooksett Road, Manchester, 669-6890, puritanbackroom.com. Hours: Sunday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to midnight. Takeout opens at 8 a.m.)
The salads: The Puritan Backroom offers tossed, Greek, julienne and Caesar salads. You can enhance your salad with extras like cottage cheese, coconut tenders and grilled swordfish. 
Sample dish: The tossed salad includes iceberg lettuce, spring mix, baby spinach, cucumbers, grape tomatoes and sliced onions. 
Try it with: A Chaz Special pizza, loaded with green pepper, onion, mushroom, hamburger and pepperoni. 
2016 “Best” titles: Best of Manchester Salads, Best of the Best Cocktail (Mudslide), Best of the Best Menu Item (chicken tenders), Best of Manchester Ice Cream
 
3. Giovanni’s Manchester (379 S. Willow St., Manchester, 644-5757, giovannis.biz. Hours: Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.) 
The salads: Giovanni’s Manchester has traditional salads including garden, Greek, tuna, turkey, seafood, chef, buffalo chicken and chicken salad, as well as kabob-style salads, which include steak, chicken, combo, Caesar, buffalo grilled chicken, grilled shrimp and combo Caesar. 
Sample dish: The chicken salad salad, with provolone cheese, carrots, peppers, olives, red cabbage, cucumber, tomatoes, pita, lettuce, pepperoni, mortadella, salami, hot ham and ham and house dressing. 
Try it with: A six-cheese-blend calzone with marinara, mozzarella, ricotta, feta, provolone, American and cheddar. 
 
4. Bridge Street Cafe (1117 Elm St., Manchester, 647-9991, thebridgecafe.net. Hours: daily from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
The salads: The caprese, classic Caesar, mixed greens, the “Titanic,” “Strawberry Fields,” “Mandarin Miri,” traditional Greek and goat cheese salads. 
Sample dish: The “Mandarin Miri” has grilled chicken, cucumbers, carrots, mandarin orange slices, red bell peppers, romaine lettuce, field greens, crunchy lo mein noodles and crushed peanuts with a homemade sesame ginger vinaigrette. 
Try it with: A chipotle turkey panini with bacon, tomato, oven-roasted turkey, Monterey Jack cheese and chipotle mayonnaise on a choice of white, wheat, rye, pumpernickel, multi-grain, or rosemary focaccia. 
 
5. Downtown Cheers Grille & Bar (17 Depot St., Concord, 228-0180, cheersnh.com. Hours: Open daily 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.)
The salads: Cheers has Caesar, garden, bistro, southern fried chicken, Thai chicken, Cheers favorite, Mediterranean and Cheers big salad. Salad extras include grilled shrimp, grilled salmon, steak tips, seared tuna, grilled chicken, Cajun chicken, chicken lips and hot lips. Choose from honey dill, blue cheese, creamy feta, sweet Vidalia onion, ranch, Italian, balsamic vinaigrette, honey mustard and lemon vinaigrette dressings. There’s also a soup and salad option, which is a choice of a garden salad or petite Caesar salad paired with Cheers’ homemade soup of the day. 
Sample dish: The Cheers favorite salad, with roasted turkey, Gruyere cheese, artichoke hearts, bacon bits, sliced almonds and homemade croutons over mixed greens. 
Try it with: Cheers famous wings, fried crispy with choice of buffalo or Cajun lemon pepper. 
2016 “Best” titles: Best of Concord Salads, Best of Concord Bar with an Outdoor Deck
 
6. Giovanni’s Londonderry (207 Rockingham Road, Londonderry, 434-9021, giovannis.biz. Hours: Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.) 
The salads: Giovanni’s Londonderry has traditional salads including garden, Greek, tuna, turkey, seafood, chef and buffalo chicken, as well as kabob-style salads, which include steak, chicken, combo and Caesar. 
Sample dish: The combo kabob salad has steak, chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, red cabbage, pita, olives, peppers and carrots with house dressing. 
Try it with: The combo broccoli pasta, with steak, chicken and broccoli, served with a side of garlic bread. 
 
7. 900 Degrees Pizzeria (50 Dow St., Manchester, 641-0900, 900degrees.com. Hours: Sunday through Thursday, from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
The salads: 900 Degrees’ gourmet salads include Caesar, chicken walnut cranberry, garden, caprese, 900 signature and toscana. Add marinated chicken breast or wood-roasted tiger shrimp. 
Sample dish: Toscana salad, which has hearts of romaine with a light garlic and oregano vinaigrette and cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, bermuda onions and pepperoncini, served with freshly baked pita bread.
Try it with: The 900 Degrees house pizza, made with house tomato sauce, fresh garlic, oregano, grana padano, fresh mozzarella, sweet Italian fennel sausage, pepperoni and provolone. 
2016 “Best” title: Best of the Best Dine-in Pizza 
 
8. Tucker’s (1328 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 206-5757, tuckersnh.com. Hours: daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.) 
The salads: Tucker’s salads are Sicilian steak, Tuckito’s southwest, Asian, toasted berry, Tuscan caesar, house and the “Greek Goddess.” All salads are served with fresh bread. 
Sample dish: The toasted berry salad has baby spinach and mixed greens, topped with fresh blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries, toasted almonds, cucumbers, tomatoes, havarti dill cheese and house-made chicken salad, served with cranberry vinaigrette. 
Try it with: The Asian chicken wrap, which includes teriyaki grilled chicken, sautéed peppers and onions, melted cheddar, chow mein noodles, mandarin oranges, sesame seeds, crisp romaine, honey ginger dressing on a choice of a white, whole wheat or sun-dried tomato wrap, served with choice of chips or an apple and a pickle.
2016 “Best” titles: Best of the Best Breakfast, Best of Manchester Waiter/Waitress (Jessica Flynn), Best of the Best Restaurant for Kids 
 
9. Pressed Cafe (108 Spit Brook Road, Nashua, 718-1250, pressedcafe.com. Hours: Sunday through Wednesday, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.) 
The salads: Pressed Cafe salad selections are caprese, Mediterranean kale, Asian mandarin miri, “Strawberry Fields,” “Beet it,” goat cheese and fig, bistro greens, traditional Greek, cobb, classic caesar and chicken, spinach and goat cheese.  
Sample dish: Mediterranean kale salad includes freshly chopped kale, roma tomato, crunchy cucumbers, hard boiled egg, tuna salad and spicy feta with a preserved lemon olive oil dressing. 
Try it with: A fresh, house-made soup like the roasted red pepper tomato bisque or the roasted butternut squash, served with a fresh baguette. 
2016 “Best” title: Best of Nashua Salads 
 
Restaurant overall 
When we ask voters for their favorite restaurant in the “Best Restaurant Overall” category, we get  responses that include restaurants featuring cuisines from all over the world and ranging from high-end white tablecloth dining to satisfying comfort food. Here are the top 20 vote-getters, with all but one serving dinner and many offering a midday as well as evening meal. Where should you go to dinner tonight? Here are a bunch of ideas.
 
1. Republic (1069 Elm St., Manchester, 666-3723, republiccafe.com. Hours: The kitchen is open Sunday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Cocktails are available Sunday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: Farm-to-table Mediterranean cuisine
On the menu: Mezze selections like red lentil cake and field mushroom Bolognese; cold antipasti such as salt wrinkled potatoes and North African spiced pickled vegetables; flatbreads including balsamic pear and Great Hill blue and garlic broccoli and herbed ricotta; salads like the roasted beet salad and the tartine; paninis such as grilled zucchini and banana and Nutella; and entree plates including Turkish chicken and Moroccan red lentil stew. 
Sample dish: Chicken confit (from the entree plate selections) with Peter Allen Farm chicken leg and thigh, aromatic spices, haricot verts and herbed potatoes.
In your glass: Republic has a large wine list that includes two house wines on tap: the Ca’Momi Rosso di Napa Red Blend and the Stival Chardonnay (Veneto). 
2016 “Best” titles: Best of the Best Restaurant Overall, Best of Manchester Cocktail (Moroccan old-fashioned), Best of Manchester French Fries, Best of Manchester Chef (Ed Aloise). 
 
2. The Puritan Backroom (245 Hooksett Road, Manchester, 669-6890, puritanbackroom.com. Hours: Sunday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to midnight. Takeout opens at 8 a.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: Classic American dishes with Greek and Italian influences. 
On the menu: Appetizers like scallops wrapped in bacon and broccoli and cheese puffs; entrees including the popular fried chicken tenders, charbroiled pork chops and Greek macaroni and cheese; seafood selections such as lobster pie and baked stuffed haddock; classic sandwiches, pizzas, salads and soups; desserts like grapenut custard pudding and strawberry shortcake a la mode; a kids’ menu and a take-out menu. The street-side take-out pick-up location also serves the Puritan’s house-made ice cream, lowfat hard yogurt, pre-packed ice cream and ice cream sandwiches. 
Sample dish: Guinness steak tips (from the beef entree selections), sirloin tips with a Guinness marinade, pan-seared with bell pepper and onion and served over brown rice. 
In your glass: Original Backroom mudslide 
2016 “Best” titles: Best of Manchester Salads, Best of the Best Cocktail (Mudslide), Best of the Best Menu Item (chicken tenders), Best of Manchester Ice Cream
 
3. The Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery (58 Route 27, Raymond, 244-2431, thetuckaway.com. Hours: Kitchen open Sunday through Thursday, from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Tavern open daily from 11:30 a.m. to midnight; Butchery open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: Traditional American pub food with a modern twist 
On the menu: Starters like poutine, brew-stewed mussels and “Nach-Yo Normal Nachos”; salads such as the cider spinach salad and the farmers’ cobb; soups like the lobster chowder and steakhouse onion soup; burgers including the “Two Pigs & a Cow” (with pulled barbecue pork, bacon and cheddar) and the “Whole Tuckin’ Farm” (Angus cow burger, fried chicken, smoky bacon, Tuck sauce and cheddar cheese); oven entrees such as chicken pot pie, macaroni and cheese (with choice of classic, lobster, steak bomb, barbecue pork, buffalo chicken or chili), and bruschetta portobello; grilled entrees like the pork and beans and house-marinated baby tenderloin; a variety of sandwiches and fried plates; and desserts like the s’more sundae and the “Bloo Balls” (fried blueberry cheesecake, Gifford’s blueberry ice cream, blueberry jam sauce and whipped cream).
Sample dish: Signature Texas meatloaf (from the oven entree selections) includes meatloaf steak, Beasley’s New Hampshire-made barbecue sauce, coleslaw, cheddar cheese and fried onion.
In your glass: Try something from their large selection of cellared beers.
2016 “Best” titles: Best of Manchester Steakhouse, Best of the Best Butcher Shop, Best of Manchester Burgers, Best of Manchester Mac and Cheese 
 
4. Mint Bistro (1105 Elm St., Manchester, 625-6468, mintbistronh.com. Hours: Sunday through Thursday, from 4 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, from 4 to 11 p.m.) 
When you’re in the mood for: A contemporary fusion menu and sushi bar.
On the menu: Main menu dishes include maple-glazed sea scallops, coconut vegetable curry, herb-baked haddock filet and more; tapas like truffled Parmesan french fries, Maine lobster rangoons, sweet and spicy pork belly and chicken satay; salads such as herb-roasted salmon salad and roasted wild mushrooms salad; and an extensive sushi menu. 
Sample dish: Asian short rib nachos (from the tapas selections), tender braised beef short ribs, smoked cheddar cheese, roasted corn, scallions, red onion, Thai bird chili, napa cabbage, sesame mushrooms, homemade crispy wontons, spicy sour cream and sweet soy. Vegetarian option with crispy tofu also available. 
In your glass: Mint has a wide selection of wines, cocktails, sake and beer. Try a sake martini or sake mojito, or one of the five seasonal beers on draft. 
2016 “Best” title: Best of the Best Date Place 
 
5. Copper Door Restaurant (15 Leavy Drive, Bedford, 488-2677, copperdoorrestaurant.com. Hours: daily from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.) 
When you’re in the mood for: New American and upscale comfort food. 
On the menu: Snacks like barbecue “porky” tots, chicken rangoon, calamari and crispy Tuscan meatballs; soups like five-onion gratinee and rustic tomato basil; salads such as bosc pear, sesame-ginger and citrus berry; seafood selections including wasabi crusted tuna, wood-roasted New England haddock and cedar-planked salmon; butcher cuts including rib-eye, New York strip, filet mignon and Korean-style steak; and Copper classics like lemon thyme brick chicken, shrimp scampi and short rib manicotti. 
Sample dish: Duke bourbon bacon beef tips (from the Copper classics selections), grilled fingerling and sweet potato, broccolini and Duke bourbon BBQ. 
In your glass: The Copper Door has 140 different wines plus a variety of beers including eight on tap, sipping bourbons and whiskeys, martinis and other cocktails. 
 
6. The Barley House (132 N. Main St., Concord, 228-6363, thebarleyhouse.com. Hours: Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: Upscale American pub cuisine and craft beer.
On the menu: Dinner menu includes small plates like blarney puffs (cheddar, scallion and potato fried dumplings with Guinness cheese sauce), fried Brussels sprouts, buffalo tenders and fried coconut shrimp; house soups and salads like the roasted squash salad and the apple, craisin and spiced walnuts salad; entree plates including Irish whiskey steak and crispy brick pressed maple chicken; favorites like Guinness beef stew and chicken pot pie; burgers including the vegetarian black bean burger, barbecue bison burger, the Korean barbecue burger and “the Hangover Burger” (peppercorn charred, potato cake, house bacon, cheddar, fried egg and buffalo sauce); sandwiches like the lobster BLT and the Cuban; and tavern pizzas such as roasted veggie and chorizo sausage. 
Sample dish: Banh mi (from the sandwich selections), shaved beef brisket, garlic ginger soy sauce, julienne carrots, cucumber and peppers on French bread. 
In your glass: The Barley House has a large selection of on-tap and bottled beer, wine and cocktails, as well as a number of select whiskey choices.
2016 “Best” titles: Best of Concord Restaurant Overall, Best of Concord Pub, Best of Concord Beer Selection at a Bar or Restaurant, Best of the Best Burgers, Best of Concord French Fries, Best of Concord Bartender (Corey Garland), Best of Concord Pub Trivia Night 
 
7. Hanover Street Chophouse (149 Hanover St., Manchester, 644-2467, hanoverstreetchophouse.com. Hours: Monday through Thursday from 5 to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m.; bar open Monday through Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to close, and Sunday from 4 p.m. to close.)
When you’re in the mood for: A fine dining steakhouse with an urban and elegant atmosphere
On the menu: Starters like calamari and roasted asparagus; steaks and chops including dry-aged bone-in rib-eye, veal chop and rack of lamb; filet mignon and house specialties including cedar-planked salmon, seared sea scallops and chicken Parmesan. There’s also a dessert menu with cherry almond cheesecake, vanilla bean creme brulee and more. 
Sample dish: Togarashi crusted ahi tuna (from the house specialties selections), sesame
kale, spring slaw and citrus ponzu sauce. 
In your glass: The Chophouse offers wines, whiskeys, martinis and cocktails. Try the Asian pear martini or Chambord bellini. 
2016 “Best” titles: Best of the Best Fine Dining, Best of the Best Steakhouse 
 
8. Cotton Restaurant (75 Arms St., Manchester, 622-5488, cottonfood.com. Hours: Open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m; open for lighter fare Monday through Friday from 2:30 to 5 p.m.; open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: Eclectic American comfort food in a casual yet upscale atmosphere
On the menu: Dinner menu includes starters like crab cakes, Asian potstickers, Rhode Island-style calamari and a variety of salads; entrees like almond-crusted turkey schnitzel, butternut squash ravioli and grilled lamb steak. Lunch menu also includes burgers and sandwiches. 
Sample dish: Cotton’s bistro steak, Brandt all-natural 10-ounce flat iron steak with choice of red wine demi-glace, bacon bleu cheese butter, port wine mushroom sauce, lemon herb butter or horseradish crème, served with mashed potatoes and chef’s fresh seasonal vegetable. 
In your glass: Cotton has over 40 wines available by the glass as well as an extensive menu of creative cocktails like the espresso martini and blueberry basil mojito.
 
9. Tucker’s (1328 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 206-5757, tuckersnh.com. Hours: daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.) 
When you’re in the mood for: Organic, local and gluten-free options
On the menu: Lunch menu includes sandwiches like the Reuben, pastrami melt, Cajun chicken panini, chicken salad croissant and more; wraps such as the Asian chicken, grilled veggie and Tuscan caeser; grilled cheese, chili, daily soups and salads. See Tucker’s in the Best Salads section for more information about their salads, and in the Best Breakfast section for more information on their breakfast menu. 
Sample dish: Cape cranberry chicken sandwich, made with marinated chicken breast on grilled focaccia with hardwood-smoked bacon, green leaf lettuce, melted Vermont cheddar, tomatoes and cranberry aioli, served with choice of chips or an apple and a pickle.
In your glass: Try one of their specialty smoothies, juices, coffees or teas. 
2016 “Best” titles: Best of the Best Breakfast, Best of Manchester Waiter/Waitress (Jessica Flynn), Best of the Best Restaurant for Kids 
 
10. Surf Restaurant (207 Main St., Nashua, 595-9293, surfseafood.com. Hours: Open Tuesday through Thursday from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 4:30 to 10 p.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: Fresh and creatively prepared seafood. 
On the menu: Seafood soups and salads, small plates like Parmesan-fried calamari and fried Ipswich sweet clams; Surf style sandwiches and tacos; healthy lifestyle selections like bamboo steamed salmon and lemon haddock; a raw bar and Surf specialties like panko baked cod, Tuscan seafood spaghetti, shrimp vindaloo and Parmesan flounder. There is also a sushi menu and a dessert menu. 
Sample dish: Portabella-stuffed flounder (from the Surf specialties selections), flounder stuffed with marinated, roasted mushrooms and cream cheese, served on artichoke risotto cakes with baby shrimp and tomatoes in a white wine pan sauce. 
In your glass: Keep with the seafood theme and go with the shrimp cocktail.
2016 “Best” titles: Best of Nashua Restaurant Overall, Best of the Best Seafood Restaurant
 
11. New England’s Tap House Grille (1292 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 782-5137, taphousenh.com. Hours: Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight, Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: Classic American grill cuisine with local, fresh ingredients 
On the menu: Appetizers like poutine and jalapeno poppers; soups and salads; flatbreads like barbecue pulled pork and chicken alfredo; entrees including seasonal vegetarian ravioli, pan-seared scallops, New York steak and shrimp scampi; burgers, wraps and classic sandwiches. There’s also a kids menu and an extensive gluten-sensitive menu. 
Sample dish: Tap House tater (from the entree selections), extra large baked russet potato loaded with a choice of chili, pulled pork, or grilled chicken and topped with queso cheese, bacon, green onions and sour cream. 
In your glass: The Tap House has 48 unique beers on tap with new beers featured each week, plus four nitro-poured brews and in-house beer aging. 
2016 “Best” title: Best of the Best Beer Selection at a Bar or Restaurant
 
12. Fratello’s Italian Grille (155 Dow St., Manchester, 624-2022, fratellos.com. Hours: open for lunch daily from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; open for dinner daily starting at 4 p.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: Italian-American favorites, pizza, steaks and seafood.
On the menu: Dinner menu includes a wide selection of antipasti, including carpaccio, baked escargot and eggplant ricotta; soups and salads; seafood dishes including lobster macaroni and cheese and seafood fettuccine; a variety of pastas and pasta sauces; chicken, veal and steak meals; sandwiches and pizzas including calamari, chicken bacon ranch and short rib, as well as a create-your-own pizza option. There’s also a lunch menu and a kids menu. 
Sample dish: Fire-roasted vegetable primavera (from the pasta selections), fresh asparagus, diced tomato, zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, red and green peppers, roasted garlic and onions, tossed with olive oil and vegetable- and cheese-filled agnolotti.
In your glass: Try something from their wine selections. 
2016 “Best” title: Best of Manchester Italian Restaurant 
 
13. Campo Enoteca (969 Elm St., Manchester, 625-0256, campoenoteca.com. Hours: Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: Contemporary Italian cuisine with a focus on modern Rome.
On the menu: Charcuterie, salads, antipasti like Sicilian cauliflower and polenta frites; paninis and grilled pizzas including the Tuscan artichoke panini and fried eggplant pizza; classic pasta dishes; and Italian entrees like chicken Marsala and shrimp scampi. 
Sample dish: Branzino, whole roasted Mediterranean sea bass with rosemary roasted potatoes and lemon-olive oil vinaigrette. 
In your glass: Campo has a full bar and large selection of Italian wines. 
 
14. Firefly American Bistro & Bar (22 Concord St., Manchester, 935-9740, fireflynh.com. Hours: Open for lunch Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m.; Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday dinner from 3 to 10 p.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: Inspired American fare in a warm, inviting atmosphere.
On the menu: Dinner menu includes starters like seared ahi and beef short rib taquitos; classic soups, salads and pastas; “land” dishes such as bacon-wrapped bistro steak and five spice pork tenderloin; and “sea” dishes such as grilled Atlantic salmon and pan-seared scallops; and classics including the Firefly burger, chicken piccata and grilled steak tips. Firefly also has brunch, lunch, dessert and gluten-sensitive menus. 
Sample dish: Cast iron roasted duck breast (from the “land” selections), over kale, pancetta, and Parmesan ravioli, with duck confit, fresh sage velouté, and butternut squash and bird’s-eye chili coulis. 
In your glass: Firefly has a wide selection of wines, specialty beers and creative cocktails. Try the signature Elderflower martini or the Aztec chocolate margarita. 
2016 “Best” title: Best of Manchester Menu Item (Go-go bread) 
 
15. O Steaks & Seafood (11 S. Main St., Concord, 856-7925, magicfoodsrestaurantgroup.com. Hours: Open for lunch Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., open for dinner nightly at 5 p.m.; tap room open Monday through Saturday at 2:30 p.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: A classic steakhouse with a modern twist 
On the menu: Dinner menu includes starters, salads, entrees and house specials like kobe and shiitake mushroom meatloaf and New Hampshire porter braised beef short ribs; and various kinds of steaks, racks, chops and fowl. 
Sample dish: Scallops and risotto (from the entrees and house specialties selections), pan-seared jumbo scallops, shrimp, lobster and crab risotto and sweet corn puree. 
In your glass: O Steaks & Seafood offers over 20 wines by the glass, including chardonnay, merlot, pinot noir, malbec/zinfandel, riesling and more.
2016 “Best” titles: Best of Concord Fine Dining, Best of Concord Steakhouse, Best of Concord Restaurant Wine List, Best of Concord Mac and Cheese
 
16. Buckley’s Great Steaks (438 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, 424-0995, buckleysgreatsteaks.com. Hours: Tuesday through Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 4 to 9 p.m.; Tavern opens at 4 p.m., daily)
When you’re in the mood for: Wood-grilled cuisine in a polished yet comfortable setting. 
On the menu: Dinner menu includes appetizers like oven-baked oysters and orange sesame tenderloin tips; salads, classic steaks and house specialties such as lobster curry, tavern meatloaf and Buckley’s great burger. 
Sample dish: Cowboy steak, a 26-ounce bone-in rib-eye steak marinated for 24 hours in signature house marinade and served with red wine demi-glace. 
In your glass: Stop by Buckley’s tavern, called Riddle’s Tavern, for a microbrew or warm bourbon and lighter fare. 
2016 “Best” titles: Best of Nashua Fine Dining, Best of Nashua Steakhouse 
 
17. Hermanos Cocina Mexicana (11 Hills Ave., Concord, 224-5669, hermanosmexican.com. Hours: restaurant open Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; lounge open Sunday through Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m.; open for takeout Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 8 to 10 p.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: Authentic Mexican cuisine.
On the menu: Appetizers like taquitos, baby quesadillas and mini Mexican pizza; a variety of traditional and specialty nacho plates; soups and salads, burritos, chimichangas, enchiladas, quesadillas, pizzas, tacos, tostados, combo plates; and house specials like stuffed green chili with eggs and the veggie burger burrito. 
Sample dish: Alex’s burrito (from the house specials selections), a spicy combination of black bean veggie burger, refried beans, tomatoes, scallions, green chilies and cheese rolled in a whole wheat tortilla and topped with red chile sauce and cilantro. 
In your glass: Hermanos has a variety of margaritas, martinis and cocktails. Try the “Our Dirty Little Secret” martini, Bombay Sapphire gin with a jalapeno-stuffed olive and a splash of olive juice. 
2016 “Best” titles: Best of Concord Mexican/Latin Restaurant, Best of Concord Cocktail (margarita), Best of Concord Burritos, Best of Concord Menu Item (chicken and garlic nachos), Best of Concord Waiter/Waitress (Jonna Gaskell)
 
18. Angelina’s Ristorante Italiano (11 Depot St., Concord, 228-3313, angelinasrestaurant.com. Hours: Open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: Classic Italian cuisine.
On the menu: Dinner menu features antipasti, salads, vegetarian selections, pasta specialties like linguine fruitti di mare and chicken tetrazzini;  chicken and veal dishes, grilled dishes and desserts. 
Sample dish: Veal vercelli (from the veal selections), scallopine of veal sauteed with shrimp, scallops and lobster, topped with alfredo sauce.  
In your glass: Angelina’s has an extensive wine list including special Italian reserve wines. 
2016 “Best” titles: Best of the Best Italian Restaurant, Best of Concord Date Place 
 
19. Restaurant Tek-Nique (170 Route 101, Bedford, 488-5629, restaurantteknique.com. Hours: Tuesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to close; Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
When you’re in the mood for: Casual fine dining with contemporary American and French cuisine. 
On the menu: Salads, appetizers, grilled pizzas, seafood entrees like free-form seafood lasagna; and meat entrees like herb-crusted lamb T-bone and house pulled pork sandwich. The dessert menu includes maple cheesecake and molten chocolate truffle cake. 
Sample dish: Pecan-crusted boneless short ribs, made with whole-grain mustard, buttery mashers, roasted carrots and fried shallot. 
In your glass: Tek-Nique’s wine list offers an array of red and white wines served by the glass or bottle.
2016 “Best” title: Best of the Best Waiter/Waitress (Zach Sotiriou)
 
20. MT’s Local Kitchen & Wine Bar (212 Main St., Nashua, 595-9334, mtslocal.com. Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m.; pizzas available for a half hour after close.)
When you’re in the mood for: Creative American fare in a casual dining environment 
On the menu: Starters like white cheddar dusted french fries and warm spinach and artichoke dip; salads, wood-grilled pizzas, sandwiches and entrees such as caramelized sea scallops and vegetable stuffed zucchini. Dessert menu includes white chocolate creme brulee, wild blueberry crisp and more. 
Sample dish: General Tso lobster, crispy fried lobster tossed in a stick tangy garlic chili hoisin sauce with broccoli and shiitake mushrooms over Chinese noodles. 
In your glass: MT’s offers local, national and international wines, plus weekly wine flights. 
2016 “Best” title: Best of Nashua Restaurant Wine List, Best of Nashua Chef (Michael Buckley) 
 
Best cup of coffee
Whether it comes after a big dinner or at the start of your day, coffee is often the component that makes the meal complete. Here are the five top vote getters in the “Best Cup of Coffee” category. Find the top 15 spots to get a cup of joe in our annual magazine, 151 Cool Things About New Hampshire, The magazine is on stands now at Shaw’s, local restaurants and most places you can find the Hippo. (The listings here are excerpted from the magazine.)
 
1. True Brew Barista
Best of the Best
3 Bicentennial Square, Concord, 225-2776, truebrewbarista.com
The Robert James and the Dirty Irish Mexican are two drink favorites you’ll find on True Brew’s menu. The first is a white chocolate and butterscotch flavor combination perfect for a cup of coffee, latte or coffee smoothie, and the second is espresso, spiced chocolate and Irish cream. True Brew gets its coffee from A&E Coffee Roastery, switching out the small-batch direct-trade options regularly, though at any given time you’ll find four different espresso origins. Since opening in 2007, True Brew has added to its coffee concept with breakfast and lunch options and popular protein snack “barista balls.” At this originals-only venue, an all-ages open mike is held every Thursday with local bands playing Fridays and Saturdays. A second location, True Brew Cafe, is in Gibson’s Bookstore on Concord’s Main Street.
 
2. The Grind Rail Trail Cafe
Best of Manchester
5 W. Broadway, Derry, 247-4506, facebook.com/thegrindnh
Just steps away from the Derry Rail Trail, The Grind is a community-first cafe that gives locals a place to hang out and enjoy a cup of coffee. They use A&E coffee to create drink specialties like the sea turtle and beach day latte, a blended latte with coconut and a “Caribbean vibe” to it. The menu features bagels, pastries, soups and sandwiches with locally sourced ingredients like sausage and in-house smoked bacon from Tuckaway Tavern in Raymond, and milk and eggs from Contoocook Creamery. Adding a patio to the cafe this month, The Grind will serve cold treats like ice cream sandwiches, coffee floats and cold-brewed iced coffee from a keg. They’ll also open the walk-up window so trail goers can grab a bite without leaving the sunshine.
 
3. A&E Coffee Roastery & Tea 
Best of Nashua
135 Route 101A, Amherst, 578-3338, aeroastery.com
A&E Coffee Roastery gets its beans from all over the world. Owner and licensed Q grader Emeran Langmaid seeks out a variety of certified organic, shade-grown, fair-trade coffees to bring to the Granite State. A&E’s Amherst cafe regularly features coffee drink specials like Ginger Thyme Nitro Cooler, their own ginger-thyme syrup blended with lemon seltzer, single-origin cold brew and nitro cold brew, all on the menu in May. Customers are invited to join a cupping (a tasting to assess coffee), held every Monday at 11 a.m., or visit the pop-up pour-over bar in the Amherst cafe’s parking lot Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
 
4. Schoodac’s Cafe
Best of Concord
1 E. Main St., Warner, 456-3400, facebook.com/schoodacs
Cozy interior seating, a spacious front porch and a sprawling front yard make Schoodac’s an ideal spot for community events. An acoustic brunch with local musicians on Sundays, a pumpkin carving and lighting in the fall and featured local storytellers are a few examples. They work with Stockton Graham in Raleigh, North Carolina, for their coffee along with Woodshed Roasters in Laconia and Java Tree Roasters in Manchester. Maple is a popular drink flavor, whether it be a hot or cold latte or frappe, and croissants from Tarte Cafe & Bakery are crowd-pleasers as well. For tea drinkers, Schoodac’s has 46 varieties to choose from. 
 
5. Union Coffee Co.
42 South St., Milford, unioncoffee.co
Known for its salted maple latte made with maple syrup from Sammy’s Sugar Shack in Milford, Union Coffee sources from Flight Coffee Co. in Bedford to serve a selection of coffee drinks along with tea, smoothies, baked goods, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, beer and wine. The coffee house hosts an open mike every Friday as well as other monthly events.
 
Best desserts
As an extra treat, why not dessert? Here are five of readers’ favorite spots for getting something a little sweet. Find the top 15 favorites of dessert-loving readers in our magazine, 151 Cool Things About New Hampshire (from which the following is an excerpt). The magazine is on stands now at Shaw’s, local restaurants and most places you can find the Hippo. 
 
1. Finesse Pastries
Best of the Best
968 Elm St., Manchester, 232-6592, finessepastries.com
Enjoy a taste of Paris in downtown Manchester at this gourmet French patisserie serving made-from-scratch palmiers, eclairs, madeleines and an array of gateaux — French cakes — such as absolute, opera, success, and the popular coffee & cognac, made with mousseline, almond dacquoise and meringue sticks. Finesse offers baking and cooking classes so folks can learn the art of making French macarons, breads, puff pastry, croissants and brioche from classically French-trained pastry chef and owner Chelsey Erickson and her staff.
 
2. Bread & Chocolate
Best of Concord
29 S. Main St., Concord, 228-3330
A staple for many in downtown Concord, Bread & Chocolate offers an array of croissants, eclairs, cream puffs, loaves of bread, brownies, bars and cakes such as carrot, vanilla lemon and chocolate raspberry. Sticky buns are one of the shop’s most popular items, along with its classic fruit tart, made with custard, fresh fruit and glaze.
 
3. The Black Forest Cafe
Best of Nashua
212 Route 101, Amherst, 672-0500, theblackforestcafe.com
Whether you’re in the mood for Dutch apple pie, old-fashioned coconut cake, shortbread cookies or coffee cakes, the Black Forest Cafe has something for every sweet tooth. Along with their cookies and sweet bites (find cookies, cupcakes, bars and whoopie pies) and cakes, tarts and pies (find fruit tarts, cheesecake, fruit and chocolate pies), they serve lunch and dinner, Sunday breakfast and craft cocktails.
 
4. Frederick’s Pastries
109 Route 101A, Amherst, 882-7725, pastry.net
Serving classic tortes, cheesecakes and plenty of pastry from three locations, Frederick’s Pastries has earned a reputation as one of the region’s premier cake specialty shops. The cake menu features a wide selection of flavors such as mocha Kahlua, Black Forest, chambord, strawberry mousse, M&M mania, vanilla coconut cream, German chocolate and its signature purple velvet. The purple velvet torte has three layers of purple pound cake, filled with cream cheese frosting, frosted with buttercream and topped with white chocolate curls.
 
5. Carina’s Cakes
Best of Manchester
37 Crystal Ave., No. 8 (Plaza One), Derry, 425-9620, facebook.com/Carinas.Cakes
Specialty cakes are the main focus for Carina’s, with Oreo, peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie dough as the current popular flavors. You’ll also find whoopies pies and cupcakes made twice a week with flavors such as strawberry, toasted coconut, Rolo, and triple chocolate. 





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