New Hampshire uses its wee 18 miles of coastline well, with easy access to state beaches, summer playgrounds, bike paths, and plenty of ocean-sprayed hiking. When it comes to a remarkable meal that meets the view head-on, then the marina-side Latitudes Waterfront Dining at the historic Wentworth by the Sea hotel is just the spot.
The vista from the restaurant’s tall windows or teak deck includes New Castle Island (one of our nation’s oldest settlements) and the endless sea. The menu uses local ingredients in a variety of disciplines that all get along well.
In season, stone fruits are lightly grilled and served with a flavorful Southern Massachusetts blue cheese; a trio of gazpachos offer a bright taste of summer; fresh-from-the-ocean squid is deep-fried and presented with an Asian twist of tangled hot peppers, pea tendrils, peanuts, and soy sauce; and pan-seared halibut is paired with crunchy bok choy and a citrusy risotto.
588 Wentworth Road, New Castle, NH. 603-422-7322; wentworth.com/dining/latitudes-waterfront-dining.aspx
This restaurant/tavern’s lobster mac-and-cheese and hand-cut steaks are stiff competition for the soothing view of Lake Winnipesaukee. Be forewarned: The hand-cut chips with blue-cheese sauce are frighteningly addictive.
232 Whittier Highway (Route 25), Center Harbor, NH. 603-253-4762; magicfoodsrestaurantgroup.com/canoe
Although far from their native Maryland, the crab cakes here are just that: sumptuous crabmeat with very little else as filler holding it together. Two make a great meal. The calming view of the Contoocook River keeps everything at a gentle and peaceful pace.
Main St., Henniker, NH. 603-428-7621; danielsofhenniker.com
LAGO COSTA CUCINA
Big steaks Italian style, as well as delicate pasta dishes and terrific seafood options, right on Meredith Bay (part of Lake Winnipesaukee) at The Inn at Bay Point.
Jct. Routes 3 & 25, Meredith, NH. 603-279-2253; millfalls.com/dining.htm, thecman.com/restaurants/lago
RAINBOW GRILLE & TAVERN
Built in 1946 and close to the Canadian border, Tall Timber Lodge has long been a haven for people who love the outdoors. The dining room looks out on Back Lake, and the kitchen knows how to prepare fresh rainbow trout and salmon.
609 Beach Road (off Route 3), Pittsburg, NH. 800-835-6343, 603-538-9556; talltimber.com
SAUNDERS AT RYE HARBOR
Lobsters–big (2 pounds), small, boiled, stuffed, en casserole, Newburg, or sauteed–you name it, this kitchen can likely prepare it. Saturday nights there’s a piano player. Who needs more?
175 Harbor Road (off Route 1A), Rye, NH. 603-964-6466; saundersatryeharbor.com
NEWICK’S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Most people come to this joint on the Piscataqua River for lobsters and its commanding view down to Portsmouth Harbor. We’re also partial to the creamy chowders and clam rolls.
431 Dover Point Road, Dover, NH. 800-533-9027, 603-742-3205; newicks.com
THE OAR HOUSE
A seat on the deck looking out to Portsmouth Harbor, with a bowl of corn- and bacon-studded clam chowder (and maybe a lobster spring roll with hoisin dipping sauce), means an afternoon or evening well spent.
55 Ceres St., Portsmouth, NH. 603-436-4025; portsmouthnh.com/oarhouse