There are so many things to see and do in Vermont that we often put these things on our bucket list, but there is much more than foliage, skiing, hikes and maple syrup here. People all over the Green Mountain State have embraced the “Farm to Table” philosophy and create mouth watering dishes that use local products and the freshest ingredients available, creating some of the tastiest and imaginative dishes you’ll find anywhere. Some of the select menu items here are simply too good to be missed, and therefore a bucket list of restaurants is needed to enjoy them all!
15. Black Sheep Bistro – 253 Main St., Vergennes
This outstanding restaurant is the #1 choice restaurant in Addison County and the town of Vergennes. The meals are consistently mouth-watering great, and the garlic mashed potatoes, served family-style, are to die for.
14. Hen of The Wood – 92 Stowe Street, Waterbury
Reservations are highly recommended at this favorite of both travelers and locals alike. The service is consistently impeccable and the staff is always attentive to your needs. Everything, and I mean everything is wonderful here, so if you can’t decide, try about 6 of the small plates (mind you the portions are generous) and enjoy as your taste buds explode in an exploration of flavor and freshness. Pictured is the steak tartar with a farm fresh egg, and a side of house made chips!
13. Jessica’s at Swift House Inn Restaurant – 25 Stewart Lane, Middlebury
Get here early to enjoy a vino at the bar before being seated at Jessica’s. The menu is exciting but it’s the wine list that shines here. For wine lovers, this selection is a dream. Jessica’s has a beautiful location, gorgeous dining room, great crab cakes as well as engaging bartenders.
12. Mojo Café – 106 Main Street, Ludlow
No matter what you try – the catfish taco, lobster taco, shrimp taco - they are all fantastic! Best chicken burrito around and awesome slaw on the side. Just look how they do chips and guacamole!
11. Simon Pearce (The Mill at Quechee) – 1760 Main Street, Quechee
Enjoy watching the artisans blow and create glass objects of beauty in this charming New England setting next to a stunning waterfall. The starters are all excellent with the prosciutto earning an honorable mention. Beautiful plating makes the food as stunning as the art. Enjoy imaginative cocktails such as the caper berry martini and finish your meal with a classic dessert such as their wonderful crème brulee.
10. Silver fork – 4201 Main St. (Route 7A), Manchester
The owners, Melody and Mark (the chef), are famous not only for their food, but their welcoming atmosphere as they are always on hand with helpful suggestions. Prepare yourself for wonderful food, a nice wine selection, creative cocktails, attentive service and a lovely ambiance. With only 26 seats, the menu is extensive and varied, reflecting the chef's culinary experience in Baltimore, Germany and Puerto Rico. Who wouldn’t enjoy a goat cheese soufflé with fig jam followed by the osso bucco and a portabello mushroom stuffed with lobster? Reservations here are a must.
9. Peter Havens Restaurant – 32 Elliot St., Brattleboro
The staff are always friendly and willing to describe every amazing dish in detail. The hickory smoked salmon over a bed of risotto gets rave reviews and it just may be the best salmon you’ll ever eat... anywhere!
8. The Farmhouse Tap & Grill -
A delicious farm to table restaurant in a casual setting at this gem. Farm fresh, homemade items, great beer and wine selections round out your dining experience. There's usually a wait, but it's worth it!
7. Blue Paddle - 316 US Route 2, South Hero
The charm of the Blue Paddle Bistro is both inside and out! Wonderful service, presentation and creative menu with fresh ingredients. A must when visiting the islands!
6. The Free Range - 90 the Common, Chester
The Free Range burger just may be the best you'll ever have. There are great vegetarian options here as well including some of the tastiest guacamole and chic pea burgers available. Definitely save room for dessert and be sure to order the Happy Camper, which is a giant s'more.
5. Cask & Kiln - 4 North Main Street, Corner of RT 9 and RT 100, Wilmington
You can't go wrong with the relaxed bar upstairs which has a smaller menu in addition to everything that is available in the dining room. The service is wonderful and the venison stew is delectable, not to mention the duck fried rice.
4. The Castle - 2940 Rte 103, Cavendish
Once you've soaked in the atmosphere, relax and prepare yourself for a mouth watering meal. The popular favorite here is the beef wellington, which is cooked to perfection and cleverly prepared so the flavors burst in your mouth. Enjoy castle life with modern amenities. It's the perfect place for a special occasion.
3. Leunigs Bistro
Located on the bustling Church Street Marketplace, this bistro will not disappoint. The foie gras and duck appetizers are perfection and perfectly paired with a fantastic wine selection which is also budget friendly.
2. Solo - 95 Middletown Road, South Londonderry
The farmhouse atmosphere and welcoming service makes you feel like you're part of the family. Start off with something light, such as the endive salad, or something meatier like the spanish octopus or sea scallop/hamachi carpaccio. All entrees are scrumptious, with a special nod to the farm pheasant.
1. Downtown Grocery - 41 Depot St., Ludlow
The Downtown Grocery tops our bucket list for dining in Vermont. You'll never know what to expect as the menu changes every day with wonderfully thought out dishes using the freshest ingredients possible. The specialty drinks are perfectly paired with every meal. This is a place you will definitely return to for many years.
Be sure to let us know your favorite Vermont restaurants that will impress even the most discerning of foodies in the comments below.