Treat Yourself to a Good Meal in the Androscoggin Valley

After living in New Hampshire’s North Country for almost 40 years, we’ve tried most of the restaurants at least once. The Androscoggin Valley communities of Berlin and Gorham are high on our list of favorite destinations, both for the area’s attractions and its variety of dining choices. Here are a few that pop to the top of the list (with help from some friends who also find these restaurants worth a drive). Be sure to check the websites or Facebook pages, as some have shortened winter hours.

A North Country favorite for more than 50 years, Berlin’s Northland Restaurant & Dairy Bar’s inviting dining rooms are bright and spacious, the staff is attentive and friendly, and the menu is extensive and delicious, specializing in good old-fashioned cooking and comfort foods. The Northland is well-known for its fresh seafood, including haddock, shrimp, oysters and clams. Friends of ours love the seafood chowder and the salmon pie with a cream pea sauce, as well as the chicken pot pie. When we took the grandkids and their parents to dinner, everyone found something to their liking, with the toddlers chowing down on hot dogs and fries and the grown-ups on burgers and open-faced turkey sandwiches. The homemade pies and creamy ice cream are worth a stop on their own — the grandkids, of course, opted for ice cream cones for their dessert! Open daily for lunch and dinner. And its location couldn’t be better — right on Route 16, close to the snowmobile and ATV trails at Jericho State Park.

Even though it’s a bit off Berlin’s main thoroughfare, Sinabaldi’s & The Millyard Lounge on East Mason Street is worth seeking out for its family-style dining with classic American and Italian favorites. Entrees feature a nice selection of beef, seafood and chicken favorites, including prime rib, a fisherman’s platter and teriyaki chicken. Pasta dishes include veal or chicken Parmesan, and lasagna or spaghetti with meatballs or sausage. Specialty pizzas, burgers, subs, sandwiches, tacos and lots of other dishes round out the menu. Dine in or take-out.

It’s always fun to have a neighborhood restaurant to patronize, and Valley Creek Eatery on Hillside Avenue Berlin fills that bill, with an unpretentious but colorful dining room and a menu that includes everything from burgers, barbecue, and fried chicken tenders to seafood, pizza, and house-made kettle-style potato chips. And, it’s a great spot for snowmobilers because it’s on the trails.

Head to Mary’s Pizza in Gorham for fresh, made-from-scratch Italian cuisine, like homemade spaghetti, gnocchi, lasagna, ravioli and fettuccine, and an extensive menu of deep dish and thin crust pizzas, including the award-winning Margarita Pizza and Festiva Pizza. Daily lunch specials, appetizers, sandwiches, salads and an array of entrees guarantee you won’t go home hungry. Mary’s has been family-owned and operated since 1947.

What to do with the teenage grandsons when they visited from North Carolina? A round of mini-golf at Moose Meadow Mini Golf in Gorham, followed by mocha lattes at White Mountain Café & Bookstore. The guys declared they were the best lattes they’d ever had! Stop by the cafe for their Fair Trade coffee and fine teas, along with breakfast sandwiches, bagels, panini sandwiches, quiches and soups. All of the baked goods are homemade. Don’t forget to take a stroll around the bookstore, too; it has some great selections. And check out the café’s Karma Board — and pay your good fortune forward!

For a night out with friends, nothing says “special” like a meal at Libby’s Bistro & SAaLT. The menu is seasonal and locally sourced, the dishes beautifully seasoned and presented, and the atmosphere could convince you that a Parisian bistro has been transported to Gorham’s Main Street. Ooh, la, la! The eclectic winter menu features everything from house sausage & Umbrian lentils to a braised beef & frite dish to Middle Eastern fried chicken and Cambodian noodles. Burgers come with house chips and a homemade bun. Or try the cold weather Zupperia take-out menu, featuring soups and focaccia.

Friends have nothing but raves for Gorham’s J’s Corner Restaurant & Lounge, recommending it as a restaurant with a nice atmosphere where everyone is welcoming and the food is good. Try the hamburgers with hand cut fries or the marinated steak tips, or choose from a good selection of sandwiches, seafood, pasta, chicken and beef dishes.

A longtime favorite of many North Country residents, the Yokohama Restaurant in Gorham brings a taste of the Far East to the region with its extensive menu of Oriental dishes, along with a sampling of American fare. The restaurant can accommodate small or large parties of guests, and ordering a variety of items from the menu is a wonderful way to share a meal with friends sampling different dishes.

Everyone has their pizza favorite — some prefer thin crust, others like chewy — and toppings are as varied as our taste buds. Not only does the Gorham House of Pizza make a terrific pie with lots of topping options, but you can also get a variety of other favorite foods here like subs, calzones, pasta dishes, burgers and salads. But, hey, this is a pizza place, so when in Rome….!

The dining room at the Town & Country Inn and Resort in Shelburne (just over the Gorham line) is open to the public daily for breakfast and dinner and lunch on Sundays. It is locally famous for “the best prime rib ever,” and there are many other delicious items on its creative menu, including some wonderful desserts. We’re partial to the house made bread pudding. The inn has direct access to the snowmobile trails with plenty of parking, so there’s no excuse not to try this local favorite after a day on the trails.

Nonna’s Kitchen on Exchange Street in Gorham prepares authentic Italian dishes, from its frutti de mare and pollo e vitello dishes to freshly made pasta and antipasti. Much of the food is locally sourced, and there are several gluten free options, too. Every Thursday through March 29 is Wine Down Thursday when all of the bottled house wines are half-off (regular $24, half price $12).

A diner-type atmosphere and home cooked food make Welch’s Restaurant on Gorham’s Main Street a great place to get breakfast. Bottomless cups of coffee are a nice complement to your bacon and eggs, fluffy omelette or other morning favorite. Homemade soups, burgers, subs, wraps and sandwiches top the lunchtime menu.