Renowned for breathtaking mountain and woodland beauty above a 200-year-old village, Stowe, Vermont evokes the ambiance and holiday feel of many European mountain resorts. Here are Stowe’s 10 unmissable restaurants.
Plate is a feat of architectural prowess as well as gastronomical skill. Having been featured in Spain’s Voyeur Design magazine as well as the International Restaurant and Bar Design Awards, the award-winning space designed by architect and designer Tania Kratt is worthy of a visit in itself. The incredible light fixtures hanging at varying heights bring a contemporary feel that is upheld throughout the restaurant. Booths and benches bring an at once rustic and contemporary vibe felt in the abundance of brushed oak and slate gray coloring that really brings the restaurant up to date. Every lunch or dinner can be prepared to suit a range of requirements – from vegan to gluten-free. Enjoy grilled calamari with pinenuts and vanilla or a small, starter size portion of perfectly steamed mussels followed by grilled cauliflower steak with quinoa and roasted vegetables or half of a roasted chicken with summer succotash.
Bar, Bistro, Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
Having opened in December 2012, the Bistro at Ten Acres was met with immediate critical acclaim. The dining room itself is separated into three spaces, each with its own bespoke view over the beautiful Vermont countryside. Each of these three connects to a Fireside Lounge, giving a real feel of cohesion to the dining space. The custom bar is befitting of such a restaurant, offering a selection of handpicked wines, craft micro beers and warming scotches and bourbons, as well as a recently added collection of cocktails. Start the evening with Vietnamese grilled shrimp with hoisin followed by a pan-seared lobster or fragrant, lemon parmesan chicken – all served in the simple yet effective bistro style.
At Crop Vermont Bistro and Brewery, emphasis is on the brilliance of flavor extractable from the freshest, most seasonal and predominantly local ingredients. To that end, everything from the meat and fish, to cheese, ale and wine is locally sourced when possible in an attempt to foster excellent relations between farmer, chef and table. Begin with a refreshing gazpacho with an abundance of fresh, colorful tomatoes and cucumber corn salsa, or a fried avocado with seaweed salad and pineapple soy. Move from this onto classic beer-battered fish and chips with coleslaw and tartar sauce, Hawaiian shutome swordfish with edamame, pan-fried noodles and miso emulsion or simple parmesan cheese gnocchi with foraged mushrooms and spinach pistachio pesto. Sit by the impressive stone fire pit in the spacious dining room with a glass of chilled wine or partake in a bespoke cocktail against the floodlit wine cabinets for a truly relaxing evening.
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Green Goddess Café founders Athena and Tim resist being boxed into a particular cuisine and instead enjoy the freedom of playing with varying tastes and flavors. The relaxed, convivial ambiance in the cafe provides the perfect backdrop to a sumptuous breakfast or lunch. Enjoy the Goddess breakfast sandwich with eggs, feta, mushrooms and spinach on a wheat or English muffin alongside a punchy dose of caffeine. Or, opt for something more decadent such as thick buttermilk pancakes served with pure Vermont maple syrup. If stopping in for lunch, choose a pork carnitas wrap with Cabot cheddar, arugula, fresh cilantro and lime juice with garlic aioli. Alternatively, pick a typical, fresh and colorful caprese wrap to be enjoyed, perhaps, with a raw juice of carrot, kale, beetroot and ginger.
The family-owned Hob Knob at Stowe Vermont Inn offers delicious cuisine in the sloping, characterful restaurant space nestled in Stowe’s first ski lodge. The hand hewn beams and ceiling-high windows frame the huge, fieldstone fireplace to create a truly intimate and cozy feel. Choose French onion soup or an artisan cheese platter for two with olives and baguette followed by a delicious certified Angus steak, hand-cut and seasoned in herbs and spices before being grilled to perfection. For a lighter choice, opt for ginger rubbed Atlantic salmon finished with a balsamic drizzle.
Solstice is the signature restaurant and jewel in the crown of Stowe Mountain Lodge. Having achieved the AAA four diamond distinction, Solstice promises an evening to remember with food prepared to the very highest standard. As the name suggests, the venue is incredibly attentive to the changing seasons, always ready to embark on a journey of new flavors, textures and tastes. Fresh farm produce and excellent local craftsmanship combine on the plate to create dishes such as braised rabbit Charlotte with local cheddar, watercress and blackberries, followed by a boneless loin of veal served with pan-seared sweetbreads, truffled cauliflower puree, Swiss chard and lemon glacage. Finish the meal with a selection of incredible artisan cheeses. Pick a trio of Danby Raw Goat’s cheese, a Bayley Hazen Blue from Jasper Hill farm and a Panniolo from Willow Hill Farm.
The self-professed movie set location offered by Stowehof Lodge, overlooking snow-capped mountains and thick, verdant woodland from within an Austrian-esque structure, immediately evokes something truly special. Amid the rustic wood beams of Coslin’s Pub, enjoy a tipple before indulging in baked brie with strawberry preserve and toasted walnuts wrapped in puff pastry and baked until golden brown. It’s a real winter warmer if you have made the trek down the mountain. Follow this indulgence with a fresh, pan-seared brook trout from Idaho, perfectly smothered with melted herb butter. Or perhaps choose a marinated duck breast smoked in-house with apple wood, and a confit of duck leg, served with lingonberry demi with roasted fingerling potatoes and chef’s vegetables.
The Colonial Café at Golden Eagle Resort offers stunning views across the rambling, rural plains and a feeling of dining alfresco, even in inclement months, thanks to the wall of windows allowing light to stream across the tables. Enjoy a hearty Vermont breakfast with varying classic and predominantly locally sourced ingredients, such as The Smuggler. This comprises French toast with a flurry of powdered sugar and Vermont maple syrup alongside crunchy bacon or soft slices of ham. Or perhaps attempt the Summit: a petite breakfast steak crowned with a sunny egg, home fries, toast and a warm cup of tea or coffee. All coffee is supplied by the Vermont Coffee Company, meaning every cup offers a smooth, well-rounded body and incredible, wake-me-up aroma.
Nestled in 2,500 acres of Stowe countryside, the Trapp Family Lodge is a mountain resort designed in the European style by the Von Trapp family on which the famous and much-loved ‘Sound of Music’ was based. Austrian-inspired architecture meets superb mountain views and old-world comforts to create a special experience. The wood-paneled dining room with breathtaking views over the mountains promises a candlelit, intimate dining experience accompanied by award-winning wines presented by impeccably trained in-house sommeliers. Begin with blistered farmer’s tomatoes with local burrata cheese, grilled bread, olive oil and Maine sea salt. Then move to wiener schnitzel with sauteed veal cutlet, spatzle, lingonberry jam and mushrooms or an indulgent butter-poached Maine lobster with herb butter, sun gold tomatoes, fingerling coins, garden broccoli and tarragon.
The colorful, festive family atmosphere at Trattoria La Festa is infectious. The cheerful restaurant space with its neat wooden tables, dark wood wall panelling, gingham features, merry art by New England artists and twinkly fairy lights brings a truly celebratory feel to the evening. This family-run Italian endeavor contains not only the indoor restaurant space, but also a porch and garden for summer dining. Begin with the typical, tomato-garlicky crunch of bruschetta or perhaps tuna carpaccio with onions and capers before progressing to a delicious, traditional puttanesca pasta or veal scaloppini with shallots, marsala wine, veal demi glaze and soft mushrooms. Save room for the homemade desserts by Patty. Choose a limoncello pie with whipped cream or a vanilla gelato ball with a decadent chocolate centre rolled in crushed cookie crumbs.