You will be able to find the typical roster of family chains and fast food
restaurants in New Hampshire just about wherever you happen to find yourself
in the state. But you will also find that dining in New Hampshire provides you
with a surprisingly rich number of choices. Many of the better New Hampshire
hotels have restaurants providing fine gourmet cuisine. This is not true only
of the larger cities, like Concord
and Manchester. Virtually
the entire state is a year round vacation destination, so you will find these
excellent world-class New Hampshire restaurants in very small towns and secluded
in pristine wilderness areas. You can sample fine New Hampshire seafood all
over he state, but it pays to visit the coast around Portsmouth
to experience the freshest.
It’s also rewarding to seek out restaurants in New Hampshire that might, at first glance, appear to be of the “hole in the wall” variety. These offer plain home cooking and an opportunity to get the true flavor of a region. If you’re off the beaten path in a small town and see locals in an establishment with a sign bearing nothing much more than the owner’s first name, drop in for a bite to eat. It’s probably the best food in town. The quintessential “hole in the wall” is on the Kangcamangus Scenic Byway, one of the most beautiful spots for hiking in the White Mountains. Here is the original Road Kill Café, that is now world famous and on the itinerary of any New Hampshire vacations that take this route.
Of all the six New England states, only Vermont is without a seacoast. This means that you will find wonderful New Hampshire seafood everywhere in the state. Along the beaches from the Maine border to the Massachusetts border are New Hampshire restaurants serving bounty from the ocean. This brings new meaning to picking your New England lobster from a sterile tank. You can hang out at the main fishing piers in Rye or Portsmouth, and choose your lobster as it comes off the boat. This is excellent if you’re camping on the beaches or staying in beachfront cabins. Lobster is the chief ingredient for a good old-fashioned New England clambake. First, dig a big hole in the sand and light a layer of charcoal spread on the bottom. Then sandwich fresh clams in the shell, corn on the cob, and whole live lobsters between layers of seaweed. Have fun in the sand and waves for a few hours, melt some butter, and enjoy. Some of the best restaurants in New Hampshire have a hole in the sand for an “oven.” You can enjoy traditional clambake fare even if you’re in California, as there are companies that will pack the entire menu in dry ice and ship it to you overnight. New Hampshire seafood is served at fine restaurants and at food stands in resorts and on the beaches. Look for a few trademark dishes, including lobster rolls, fried clams, and famous New England clam chowder.
The state’s European history dates to the sixteenth century. You can find historic New Hampshire restaurants located in charming bed and breakfast inns scattered across the state. These are often modest old mansions in towns or lovely farms in the countryside. There are also old taverns, including the haunted Country Tavern in Nashua, built as a roadhouse in 1741.
Dining in New Hampshire can also provide you with opportunities to join the burgeoning “slow food” movement that advocates buying the freshest local items. In addition to seafood, the state is known for its apple orchards, berries (including cranberry bogs), maple syrup, cheese and dairy products. Many working farms and orchards allow people to come in and pick their own fresh produce. Numerous winter events include sleigh rides to maple forests, tree tapping, and the making of syrup and maple candies.