Vermont’s restaurant scene represents a panoply of regional and international flavors. It’s possible to take a tour of the world without leaving the state. To help you embark, we have gathered, in the next few pages, a small taste to whet your appetite.
Leunig’s Bistro & Café — 115 Church St., on the Church Street Marketplace, Burlington. Experience Leunig’s and you’ll believe its motto: “The panache of Paris and the value of Vermont, right in the center of downtown Burlington.” It has charming decor, creative food, and a well-appointed bar, plus an art deco lounge upstairs and live music for dinner. The sidewalk patio at the corner of Church and College streets offers a prime spot for downtown people-watching (or for being seen). Serving lunch, dinner, and Saturday and Sunday brunch (first-come, first-served), when the restaurant’s special-blend coffee and fresh orange juice make a great start. (802) 863-3759. www.leunigsbistro.com.
The Windjammer — 1076 Williston Road, South Burlington. Locally owned and operated since 1977, The Windjammer describes itself as Burlington’s original steak and seafood restaurant. In addition to classic American fare, the menu offers vegetarian and gluten-free options, and an extensive salad bar. Creative cocktails, craft beers, and a Wine Spectator wine list complement both the restaurant and pub menus. The restaurant has supported Vermont farms, producers, and businesses since 1978. (802) 862-6585. www.WindjammerRestaurant.com.
The Upper Deck Pub — South Burlington. Located above the Windjammer Restaurant is a family-friendly, sports-themed pub that offers its own, extensive menu featuring steak and seafood plus a great selection of burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers. Complementing the menu are the Upper Deck’s broad wine list, creative cocktail menu, and a variety of microbrews on draft. (802) 862-6585.
Pauline’s Café and Restaurant — 1834 Shelburne Road, South Burlington. Chef David Hoene is the creative energy behind one of the area’s best-known chef-owned restaurants. Pauline’s has been serving locals and tourists alike for over 30 years. Whether you’re seeking an intimate dinner for two or entertaining large groups of family, friends, or clients, the restaurant offers a fine-dining experience in a casual, comfortable environment. Menus feature many locally raised or foraged edibles from the Lake Champlain basin. Famous for its Maine crab cakes, Pauline’s also offers local free-range chicken, organic American beef, and farm-fresh vegetables in season. The wine list is carefully chosen to complement the food and features many biodynamic and organically produced wines from around the world. Dining options include a casual café; relaxed, elegant upstairs dining rooms; two private party rooms; an outdoor patio in season; and a cozy bar. All dining venues are wheelchair accessible. Reservations are recommended. (802) 862-1081; www.paulinescafe.com.
Toscano Café/Bistro — 27 Bridge St., Richmond. Opened in 2003 by Chef Jon Fath and his wife, Lucie Bolduc-Fath, this cozy little bistro offers Old World charm in downtown Richmond, a short, 20-minute drive from Burlington. Lace curtains, fresh flowers, and the soft glow of candlelight create a romantic ambience. Toscano’s Rustic Mediterranean menu features fresh seafood, local and imported cheeses, made-in-house desserts, fine Italian wines, and Vermont microbrews. Enjoy favorite appetizers like crispy artichoke hearts with lemon aioli or chilled beef carpaccio with baby arugula. Dinner entrées include the house-made sweet Italian sausage with roasted peppers, and vegetarian options such as handmade ricotta gnocci with Vermont chèvre. Open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday; dinner Tuesday through Sunday; brunch Sundays. Call for reservations and info: (802) 434-3148. www.toscanocafe.com
The South End Kitchen — 716 Pine St., Burlington. The South End Kitchen at Lake Champlain Chocolates is a café, education kitchen, and home to micro-batch Blue Bandana Chocolate. Open daily, the café features breakfast, lunch, dinner, weekend brunch, Lake Champlain Chocolates’ ice cream, milkshakes, sundaes, and an extensive list of coffees, specialty iced drinks, and house-made doughnuts. Abundant seating and a covered patio make the café an easy place to gather with friends or meet business associates. The adjacent education kitchen offers cooking classes and community events and can host private gatherings. (802) 864-0505 www.southendkitchenvt.com
Healthy Living Café — The roots of the Café at Healthy Living Market were planted almost 30 years ago, when the owner put a Crock Pot of homemade chili on a counter. Today, housed in the market’s airy, beautiful space, the Café serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week, including a Sunday brunch featuring live music. The menu changes daily and boasts something for everyone from meat eaters to vegans: a broad range of ethnic foods, gluten-free options, soups, salads, and custom sandwiches. The Bake Shop is renowned for its beautiful pastries, pies, and crusty breads. There’s also a full-service espresso and juice bar. A newly launched catering service offers delicious options. Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily; hot bar lunch/dinner 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday brunch 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (802) 863-2569; www.healthylivingmarket.com.
Mexicali Grill & Cantina — On the green at Maple Tree Place, Williston. The price is right at this popular casual restaurant two doors down from the Majestic 10 movie theater. You’ll find all of the tangy flavors of Mexico, including the basics, daily specials, and interesting variations on a long list of classics plus house specialties such as chipotle chicken, chorizo Santa Fe, jalapeño poppers, chiles rellenos, and signature buffalo nachos. Tortilla chips are homemade and served with unlimited, seasonal salsas, with zing ranging from mild to XXX at the one-of-a-kind salsa bar. Among the offerings at the bar are cool margaritas and sangria or Mexican beer. Open Monday and Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 9 p.m. (802) 879-9492. www.mexicalivt.net.
Morgan’s Tavern — Middlebury Inn on the Town Green. This historic inn, which dates back to the early 1800s, has an exceptional dining room open to the public for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu in this Vermont-style public house features food prepared from fresh, locally sourced ingredients from small farmers, artisan cheese-makers, and specialty meat suppliers in the Vermont Fresh Network Partnership. For example, dinner might find Vermont Chicken Cordon Bleu, or try an Angus beef burger from Fryslan Farm in Vergennes. Serving breakfast daily, 7 to 10 a.m.; lunch Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; afternoon tea daily, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.; and dinner Wednesday through Sunday, 5:30 to 9 p.m. Available for private dining, meetings, weddings, and events. (802) 842-4666; www.middleburyinn.com.
Ramunto’s Brick Oven Pizza — 18 Taft Corners Shopping Plaza, Williston. Aficionados of genuine New York pizza need to check out Ramunto’s. The Williston location is a small, but flavor-packed source of from-scratch pizzas and calzones (including the 5-pound Cal-Mungo), hot and cold subs, intricate salads, and local micro-brews. The dough, made fresh every morning, is hand-tossed only when you order it. Pizzas are available in 16-inch traditional New York pies, The Sicilian, The Stuffed, The Pesto Pie (nut-free), and The Garlic Knot; slices are cut from larger 20-inch pies. A long list of specialty pies and a topping lineup can satisfy every taste. Open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 9 p.m. (802) 879-1000; www.ramuntos.com.
Leonardo’s Pizza — 83 Pearl St., Burlington; 1160 Williston Road, South Burlington. Leonardo’s Pizza is a local, family-owned and -operated company established in 1990. It has been voted “Best Pizza Delivery” by Seven Days’ readers. Leonardo’s offers a pizza with whole wheat crust made daily with King Arthur organic flour. A member of Local First Vermont, Leonardo’s offers traditional, gourmet, and vegetarian pizzas; salads; bread sticks; and six flavors of chicken wings. Free delivery, business charge accounts, and online ordering at www.leonardosonline.com. Open seven days a week: Burlington, (802) 862-7700; South Burlington and Winooski, (802) 951-9000.
Joyce’s Noodle House — 5 Carmichael St., Essex Junction. For dining in or takeout, Joyce Fong, the chef-owner of Joyce’s Noodle House, creates lip-smackingly authentic Chinese dishes generous with vegetables. Joyce’s will make any menu item a vegetarian one on request. Specialties are dim sum Mandarin-style, Cantonese meat, spicy Szechuan and Hunan dishes, and noodles — soft, crispy, fried, in soups — delicious noodles. The menu includes several Thai dishes, and combination dinners are served all day. Full bar. No MSG is used, and Joyce’s cooks with only 100% vegetable oil. Prices are reasonable, and credit cards are accepted. (802) 288-9828. www.joycesnoodlehouse.com.
• To make your restaurant part of the next Dining Out, call (802) 862-4109.