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A fall view of a New England skyline, including a large brick building along a river.
Manchester, New Hampshire
Kelly Jackson/Flickr (Creative Commons)

10 Excellent Places to Dine and Drink in Manchester, New Hampshire

Momos, goulash, Mayan hot chocolate, and lots more

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Manchester, New Hampshire
| Kelly Jackson/Flickr (Creative Commons)

For one week every four years, Manchester, New Hampshire, transforms from a bustling urban center and college city into the political circus that is the first-in-the-nation United States presidential primaries. For this occasion, thousands of people descend upon the city to observe, report, or campaign for one of many candidates.

While the primaries may be Manchester’s loudest claim to fame, every year the city draws many students and tourists for academics, culture, and enjoyment of New Hampshire’s outdoor beauty. The city more than delivers an excellent array of restaurants and pubs to tantalize tourists, locals, and political wonks alike, and Bostonians would do well to keep Manchester in mind as an easy road trip destination; it’s merely an hour north of Boston.

From killer vegetable momos to Hungarian stuffed cabbage, here are ten of Manchester’s best places to eat, drink, and relax.

See also: Food-Filled New England Day Trips Outside of Boston

Ariela’s reporting for this story was supported by the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. Dan McCarthy and John Loftus were integral to the investigation process.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

Dancing Lion Chocolate

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A visit to the award-winning Dancing Lion bring a smile thanks to the cafe’s funky decor and beautiful displays of handmade and painted chocolates, which all make for exemplary gifts. The cafe serves traditional Mayan hot chocolate, rare loose teas, and — on a weekly and monthly basis respectively — irresistible bread and croissants.

Overhead view of two boxes of fancy chocolates, painted with brightly colored and metallic accents
Chocolates from Dancing Lion
Dancing Lion/Official Site

The Shaskeen Pub and Restaurant

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With an enviable spot in downtown Manchester and live music on weekends, the Shaskeen is an Irish-style pub with good food and hospitality. Fan favorites are cider-braised crispy wings, proper Scotch eggs, and house-made tomato bisque. A traditional watering hole and ground zero for journalists covering the primaries, the Shaskeen also hosts comedy nights, community events, and the odd live taping of Michael Moore’s Rumble podcast with guest stars Chapo Trap House

Restoration Cafe

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Popular with Pete Buttigieg and Andrew Yang campaign staffers during the 2020 primaries, Restoration Cafe is a solid lunch place, serving healthy options with a dash of comfort food tossed in for good measure. There are breakfast and lunch grain bowls, salads, sandwiches, juices, smoothies, and more, with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options galore.

Hanover Street Chophouse

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An elegant steakhouse, Hanover Street Chophouse offers a fine-dining experience in a salon-like setting framed by murals of Manchester created by Brooklyn-based artist Wynne Evans. If there were ever a place for a candidate to wine and dine major donors, this is it. For those preferring a more relaxed experience, the Grade is a recent addition to the Chophouse and serves traditional pub food and tasty cocktails in an old-fashioned parlor-style bar.

A thick steak on the bone sits on a white plate. There’s a white tablecloth on the table, and side dishes are visible.
Steak at Hanover Street Chophouse
Hanover Street Chophouse/Official Site

Lala's Hungarian Pastry

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This family-owned diner with eclectic decor serves classic Hungarian fare, including beef goulash, stuffed cabbage, zucchini and meatballs, and chicken schnitzel. Customers should be sure to save room for dessert, specifically the dobos torte: eight layers of roasted almond sponge cake with chocolate buttercream and caramel.

Cafe Momo

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This small, family-owned Nepalese restaurant offers a cozy atmosphere, great service, and delicious food. Popular menu items are the Kathmandu chicken, vegetable momo appetizer, lentil soup, jerk chicken appetizer, and flatbread. There are lunch specials available, as well as vegan options.

The Foundry

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Nestled on the Merrimack River, the Foundry is New Hampshire’s largest certified farm-to-table restaurant; yes, New Hampshire actually has a farm-to-table certification system. This dedication to local sourcing is reflected in the Foundry’s seasonal menu changes and extensive local cheese and brewery offerings. This spot is best known for its Sunday brunch, which offers a smorgasbord of options, including seafood and wonderful river views. Vegan and gluten-free options are available.

A wooden board, sitting on a wooden table, is coming toward the foreground of the photo at an angle. It is covered with cheese and charcuterie.
Local cheese and charcuterie board from the Foundry
The Foundry/Official Site

Great North Aleworks

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Great North Aleworks is a fun craft brewery with an extensive and appealing beer list and personable staff. Upon request, individuals and groups can tour the brewing facility, located in back, and sample the various beers at the tasting area in the front, which has plenty of tables, a bar, and intimate lighting. Aleworks offers a solid, if limited, food menu to accompany the beer tastings.

Kathmandu Spice

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Featuring both traditional Indian and Nepalese cuisine, Kathmandu Spice is a popular Manchester spot that serves dinner and a lunch buffet seven days a week. While the chicken tikka masala, chicken pakora, and saag paneer are favorites, don’t miss the Nepalese vegetable momos and the buff jhol momos. The restaurant also has ample vegan and gluten-free options available.

Copper Door

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Copper Door is technically located in Bedford, but its steaks are well worth the 10-minute drive from Manchester. The restaurant’s rustic farmhouse decor and open kitchen create an ultra-chic cozy environment in which to enjoy the five-onion gratinee, a New York strip steak sourced from the Midwest, or a cedar-plank salmon (brought in daily from Boston). There are vegan options, too. And bourbon lovers, take note: There’s quite a selection.

Seared scallops sit atop a pile of asparagus on a white plate
A scallop dish at Copper Door
Copper Door/Official Site

Dancing Lion Chocolate

A visit to the award-winning Dancing Lion bring a smile thanks to the cafe’s funky decor and beautiful displays of handmade and painted chocolates, which all make for exemplary gifts. The cafe serves traditional Mayan hot chocolate, rare loose teas, and — on a weekly and monthly basis respectively — irresistible bread and croissants.

Overhead view of two boxes of fancy chocolates, painted with brightly colored and metallic accents
Chocolates from Dancing Lion
Dancing Lion/Official Site

The Shaskeen Pub and Restaurant

With an enviable spot in downtown Manchester and live music on weekends, the Shaskeen is an Irish-style pub with good food and hospitality. Fan favorites are cider-braised crispy wings, proper Scotch eggs, and house-made tomato bisque. A traditional watering hole and ground zero for journalists covering the primaries, the Shaskeen also hosts comedy nights, community events, and the odd live taping of Michael Moore’s Rumble podcast with guest stars Chapo Trap House

Restoration Cafe

Popular with Pete Buttigieg and Andrew Yang campaign staffers during the 2020 primaries, Restoration Cafe is a solid lunch place, serving healthy options with a dash of comfort food tossed in for good measure. There are breakfast and lunch grain bowls, salads, sandwiches, juices, smoothies, and more, with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options galore.

Hanover Street Chophouse

An elegant steakhouse, Hanover Street Chophouse offers a fine-dining experience in a salon-like setting framed by murals of Manchester created by Brooklyn-based artist Wynne Evans. If there were ever a place for a candidate to wine and dine major donors, this is it. For those preferring a more relaxed experience, the Grade is a recent addition to the Chophouse and serves traditional pub food and tasty cocktails in an old-fashioned parlor-style bar.

A thick steak on the bone sits on a white plate. There’s a white tablecloth on the table, and side dishes are visible.
Steak at Hanover Street Chophouse
Hanover Street Chophouse/Official Site

Lala's Hungarian Pastry

This family-owned diner with eclectic decor serves classic Hungarian fare, including beef goulash, stuffed cabbage, zucchini and meatballs, and chicken schnitzel. Customers should be sure to save room for dessert, specifically the dobos torte: eight layers of roasted almond sponge cake with chocolate buttercream and caramel.

Cafe Momo

This small, family-owned Nepalese restaurant offers a cozy atmosphere, great service, and delicious food. Popular menu items are the Kathmandu chicken, vegetable momo appetizer, lentil soup, jerk chicken appetizer, and flatbread. There are lunch specials available, as well as vegan options.

The Foundry

Nestled on the Merrimack River, the Foundry is New Hampshire’s largest certified farm-to-table restaurant; yes, New Hampshire actually has a farm-to-table certification system. This dedication to local sourcing is reflected in the Foundry’s seasonal menu changes and extensive local cheese and brewery offerings. This spot is best known for its Sunday brunch, which offers a smorgasbord of options, including seafood and wonderful river views. Vegan and gluten-free options are available.

A wooden board, sitting on a wooden table, is coming toward the foreground of the photo at an angle. It is covered with cheese and charcuterie.
Local cheese and charcuterie board from the Foundry
The Foundry/Official Site

Great North Aleworks

Great North Aleworks is a fun craft brewery with an extensive and appealing beer list and personable staff. Upon request, individuals and groups can tour the brewing facility, located in back, and sample the various beers at the tasting area in the front, which has plenty of tables, a bar, and intimate lighting. Aleworks offers a solid, if limited, food menu to accompany the beer tastings.

Kathmandu Spice

Featuring both traditional Indian and Nepalese cuisine, Kathmandu Spice is a popular Manchester spot that serves dinner and a lunch buffet seven days a week. While the chicken tikka masala, chicken pakora, and saag paneer are favorites, don’t miss the Nepalese vegetable momos and the buff jhol momos. The restaurant also has ample vegan and gluten-free options available.

Copper Door

Copper Door is technically located in Bedford, but its steaks are well worth the 10-minute drive from Manchester. The restaurant’s rustic farmhouse decor and open kitchen create an ultra-chic cozy environment in which to enjoy the five-onion gratinee, a New York strip steak sourced from the Midwest, or a cedar-plank salmon (brought in daily from Boston). There are vegan options, too. And bourbon lovers, take note: There’s quite a selection.

Seared scallops sit atop a pile of asparagus on a white plate
A scallop dish at Copper Door
Copper Door/Official Site

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