If there’s one thing that sets the Upper Valley apart from other rural communities in New England, it’s the variety of dining options.
It took decades for the international flavor of the area to make its mark. Old-timers no doubt recall when a KFC or a Papa Gino’s coming to town seemed like culinary events. Fifty years ago, pizza seemed exotic. A popular restaurant that served flat bread was downright cutting edge.
But those days are long gone. Upper Valley restaurants increasingly serve cuisine from all corners of the globe.
Here’s a sample of what’s out there.
Nestled in behind H & R Block at 96 Main Street in West Lebanon, New Hampshire, Yama serves homestyle Korean fare in a family friendly environment at modest prices. Customers rave about the Lebanon Roll.
Wonder what the Turks eat for breakfast? Find out at the Tuckerbox Restaurant on Main Street in White River Junction, Vermont. Breakfast is served until 2 p.m., and you’ll find items such as Turkish sausage topped with fried eggs on the menu. Dinner options include kabobs, stuffed grape leaves, and earthenware casseroles paired with Turkish wines.
The married couple of Jimmy Van Kirk and Natalia Karaulova brought the small-plate delights of Spanish tapas to the Upper Valley in 2013. Open after 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, at 15 Lebanon Street in Hanover, New Hampshire, the Candela Tapas Lounge is a cozy place to stop in for drinks and shared appetizers with family and friends. Spanish wines predominate on the wine list, and dessert options range from avocado and lemon zest ice cream to caramelized sweet plantains.
Jewel of India has been serving curries and tandoori dinners out of a converted house on Lebanon Street in Hanover, New Hampshire since 1992. Most items on the menu are gluten free. Customers can dine in, carry out, or call for delivery.
There’s no dining in at Taj-E-India, at 13 Lower Hyde Park in White River Junction, Vermont. But the catering and take-out menu is extensive, and includes Chinese fusion dishes as well.
With sushi available in mainstream grocery stores, the idea of eating raw fish has lost a lot of its former novelty. But Sushiya, on South Main Street in Hanover, offers more than just an expansive sushi menu. Seven days a week, they also serve soup, salad, noodles, and bento boxes for lunch.
Gusanoz opened with just eight tables in 2006, but its popularity saw the business quickly expand into additional space at 410 Miracle Mile in West Lebanon, New Hampshire. Lunch specials at this independently owned eatery are priced at $5.99 and dinner entrees cost less than $20.
Margaritas, at Centerra Parkway in Lebanon, New Hampshire, is a national chain restaurant with an extensive and creative menu, tons of seating, and a lively bar scene. Happy Hour runs from 3 to 6 p.m., but there are specials from 9 p.m. to closing, too.
When Salt Hill Pub opened its doors in downtown Lebanon, New Hampshire, it took over a spot where a string of businesses had already come and gone. But Salt Hill not only stayed, it thrived. Now, its winning combination of Guinness, craft beers, great food, and live music can be enjoyed at five locations, all in New Hampshire. The original remains at 2 West Park Street, Lebanon. The others are at 58 Main Street, Newport; 7 Lebanon Street, Hanover; 1407 Route 103, Newbury; and 5 Airport Road, West Lebanon.
Kata Thai Kitchen is the latest addition to Hanover, New Hampshire’s dining scene. They serve noodles, rice, curries, and samosas—a big hit at local farmers markets for years.
Tuk Tuk Thai Cuisine, located in a basement spot down Nugget Alley off Main Street, is another relative newcomer to Hanover. Tuk Tuk is the nickname of owner Pannipa Pace. She grew up making meals with her mother, Pranom Nisang, who is the restaurant’s head chef.
A family from Cambodia started selling Vietnamese fare from a food truck at local farmers markets in 2015. Now they’re in business at the Phnom Penh Sandwich Station at 1 High Street in downtown Lebanon, New Hampshire. They still dish out Vietnamese fare from the truck six days a week on the Hanover green, too.
Melaza Bistro offers fine dining that highlights the flavors of the tropics. Located at 17 Central Street in downtown Woodstock, Vermont, Melaza Bistro promises a dining experience that is both “relaxed and refined.”