Restaurants with a view attract diners from across New England.By Lenore Cullen Barnes | Pictured above: Garwoods Restaurant & Pub
As much fun as it is to say “Lake Winnipesaukee,” it’s even more enjoyable to visit. New Hampshire’s largest lake is also one of New England’s great playgrounds, replete with recreational pleasures, peaceful settings and an intact version of small-town Americana. Encompassing 21 miles, the lake is home to eight communities, with Wolfeboro, incorporated in 1770, being known as “America’s Oldest Summer Resort.”
Summer vacationers have traveled to the region for more than a century to savor the cool breezes and outdoor activities. Wolfeboro is the definition of New England charm, with lakeside parks, concerts in the gazebo, a lively arts scene and restaurants offering spectacular views and tasty fare.
The Wolfeboro Inn, located near the center of town, overlooks the lake and the Belknap Mountains. Enjoy the view from the deck or grab seat in the bar at Wolfe’s Tavern, where the welcoming fireplace references the inn’s early 19th-century origins as a private home. The menu incorporates fresh regional produce, herbs, cheese and bacon to offer comfort foods with flair. Sirloin tips are marinated and char-grilled with the tavern’s signature steak sauce. The filet with short ribs and brie top a pair of filet medallions and a braised short rib ragout, yielding a delicious blend of flavors. Maine salmon is prepared differently each day and is influenced by seasonal ingredients. You can add grilled chicken, shrimp or beef tips to the already flavorful wild mushroom ravioli. Pizza, sandwiches, soups and burgers round out the menu.
The mugs hanging from the ceiling belong to members of the Mug Club, loyal customers who have hit the 100-beer mark. You can have fun earning admission while sampling the extensive list of local, domestic and imported beers available, from Paulaner Hefe-Weizen to American and imported lagers, stout, English ales, Belgian ales and India pale ales. There is literally something for every beer drinker’s palette.
Garwoods Restaurant & Pub occupies another stellar location in the center of town. Boaters are invited to tie up at the pub’s dock and enjoy a crock of New England clam chowder, fried calamari or a steak-and-cheese sub. The hefty Fisherman’s Platter includes a hearty mix of fried cod, scallops and shrimp. Baked cod piccata is a little lighter but equally flavorful with lemon, capers, white wine and panko bread crumbs. Steaks are served with your choice of Garwoods Steak Sauce, blue cheese sauce or compound butter. You can dine on the deck or sit by the indoor fireplace. Wherever you’re seated, the full bar and the eight beers on tap, including local microbrews like Henniker‘s Amber Apparition and Resonation by Great Rhythm Brewing Company, provide a perfect toast to the experience.
The slogan for The Upper Deck at Jo Greens is “a California café with Yankee ingenuity.” Occupying the second and third levels of this waterfront building, The Upper Deck Pub & Game Rooms includes a pool table on the street side and dining and drinks overlooking the lake. Full meals are served on the second floor; the third floor is mainly for drinks and appetizers. With views from just above the town docks, the scene is lively and the vibe is relaxed. The menu includes a broad list of pub fare, from burgers, salads and sandwiches to Mexican, pizza and pasta. Specialties include Thai curry scallops, baby back ribs and pesto chicken.
Hop on the town trolley (or opt for a healthy walk) to reach the Wolfetrap Grill & Rawbar, located a short distance from North Main Street. This beachy establishment offers fresh seafood and a waterfront setting away from the main drag. Owners Jimmy and Amy McDevitt, (who owned the former Jimmy’s Café in Wellesley, Massachusetts) focus on healthy seafood dishes, sandwiches, soups and burgers. The lobster roll gets rave reviews, along with the swordfish tacos. The Wolfetrap bouillabaisse Provencal-style is a mouthwatering take on the French fish stew. Begin the meal with peel-and-eat shrimp, oysters or littleneck clams from the raw bar, washed down with a draft beer or one of the Wolfetrap’s specialty drinks, like the rum-and-vodka Tropical Trap Martini.
Wolfeboro may be America’s oldest resort, but the region’s allure and dynamic restaurant scene is as contemporary as it is timeless.
90 North Main Street
6 North Main Street
The Upper Deck Pub & Game Rooms at Jo Greens
33 Dockside Street
19 Bay Street