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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Blue Bandana Chocolate Maker. 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
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.
The Windjammer — 1076 Williston Road, South Burlington. Locally owned and operated for over 37 years, The Windjammer titles 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.
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. There’s a long list of specialty pies and a topping lineup to 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.
Domino’s — 10 Park St., Essex Junction; 485 Colchester Ave. and 1548 North Ave., Burlington; 10 Farrell St., South Burlington; and 322 North Main St., Barre. When you think of buying local, remember that local providers of national brands are often your neighbors. That’s the case with Domino’s Pizza’s five locations in Vermont owned by Steve Litwhiler, whose roots as a Vermont businessperson go back four decades to when he opened the first Domino’s outside of Michigan. Another reason to order takeout from Domino’s: your choice of crusts, from handmade pan to crunchy thin or Brooklyn style, or try Artisan Pizzas — ready for a hearty party. Order by phone or online at www.dominos.com or with the mobile app, Dom, and follow your order with the cool “pizza tracker.” Essex Junction, (802) 878-1111; Burlington, (802) 658-3333, (802) 658-6558; South Burlington, (802) 658-5667, or Barre, (802) 479-2222.
Leunig’s Bistro & Café — 115 Church St., on the Church Street Marketplace, Burlington. Experience Leunig’s and you’ll believe its motto: “The spirit of an Old World café in the heart of downtown Burlington.” It has charming decor, creative food, and a well-appointed bar. At the corner of Church and College streets, Leunig’s offers a prime spot for downtown people-watching (or for being seen). Leunig’s special-blend coffee and fresh orange juice make a great start for Saturday or Sunday. Serving lunch, dinner, and brunch. Open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (802) 863-3759. www.leunigsbistro.com.
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.
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–dough 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.
Natural Provisions Market and Deli — 329 Harvest Lane, Suite 100, Williston. There might be no better way to enjoy a nutritious and tasty lunch than sitting at a café table suffused with daylight at Natural Provisions market. Natural Provisions is a health food store, owned and operated by Vermonters, whose goal is to be large enough to satisfy all, yet small enough to know the customers by name. The café is a place to sit and chat with friends over a cup of coffee or tea, a sandwich, or a bowl of homemade soup. Every Friday in summer, rain or shine, there’s a lunchtime outdoor barbecue serving vegans and meat-lovers alike. Or pick up food for dinner at the deli, which prepares family-style dinner entrées. The market also offers catering packages or will customize a menu for your special event. (802) 876-1400; www.naturalprovisions.com • To make your restaurant part of the next Dining Out, call (802) 862-4109.