Topic: Vermont

Vermont Dining 2009

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Best Renaissance Downtown:
NEWPORT, Newport
Vermont’s northernmost city has shed its aging lumber port and turns a fresh face toward beautiful Lake Memphremagog. Stroll the boardwalk to the new Steamboat Wharf; then enjoy a meal at the lakeside BoatHouse Grill, lunch at laid-back Montgomery’s Café, or open-kitchen Italian style at Lago Trattoria. BoatHouse Grill, 100 Main St. 802-334-6405; theboathousegrill.com. Entrées: from $17.95. Montgomery’s Cafe, 194 Main St. 802-334-2626; newportnaturalfoods.com. Lunches: from $5.95. Lago Trattoria, 95 Main St. 802-334-8222; lagotrattoria.com. Entrées: from $16.

Best Thai Restaurant:
THAI HOUSE, St. Albans
Basil and lemongrass perfume the air as Thai dining comes to Rail City, with classics such as tom kah (coconut milk) soup, red and green curries, “Paradise” (deep-fried whole) fish, and of course pad thai. Entrées: from $8.95. 359 Lake St.; 802-524-0999

Best Sweets:
Only the finest French and Belgian chocolate–along with goodies such as fresh raspberries and macadamia nuts–go into Tom and Sally’s line of scrumptious confections. Call or visit the Web site for factory tour schedules. 485 West River Road. 800-827-0800, 802-254-4200; tomandsallys.com

Best Breakfast:
LITTLE ROOSTER CAFE, Manchester Center
The corned-beef hash alone hauls in patrons from near and far (including Food Network chowhound Rachael Ray), but the hash browns with Vermont cheddar and the buttermilk pancakes are no slouches, either. Entrées: from $6. Route 7A South; 802-362-3496

Best Classic Eatery:
The “locavore” movement finds a home in this handsome 1946 diner. More than half of the breakfast and lunch items come from small-scale local producers–everything from organic yogurt to pasture eggs served up with hash and potatoes. Entrées: from $6.95. Route 4. 802-295-4600; farmersdiner.com

Best Chinese Restaurant:
No ordering by number at this temple of sophisticated Asian cuisine, tucked into a cozy renovated house just off Church Street Marketplace. Lazy-susan-topped tables encourage sharing dishes. Entrées: from $12.50. 133-135 Bank St. 802-865-5200; asinglepebble.com

Best Lunch Stop:
Central Vermont’s favorite artisanal bakers offer ham-and-cheese croissants, sticky buns, homemade soups, and sandwiches. Local musicians play on summer Sundays. 961B Route 2. 802-223-5200; redhenbaking.com

Best New Italian Restaurant:
FIREWORKS, Brattleboro
James Beard Award winner Matthew Blau’s year-old eatery brings upscale pizza (white clam, fig and prosciutto) and homemade pasta to the state’s southern portal. Entrées: from $10. 73 Main St. 802-254-2073; fireworksrestaurant.net

Best Community Concept:
CLAIRE’S, Hardwick
Townspeople banded together to raise the funds to open Claire’s (named after local artist Claire Fern, whose work is displayed). The menu includes meats and fresh produce from local growers. Entrées: from $12. 41 South Main St. 802-472-7053; clairesvt.com


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