Manchester Bites | March 3

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BLT panzanella at Unity Cafe
BLT panzanella at Unity Cafe

MANCHESTER, NH – Heads up – tickets for NH Restaurant Week’s VIP sneak peek and grand tasting are now on sale. The sneak peek includes a tasting menu  from Restaurant Week chefs, plus wine from Robert Mondavi and Woodford Reserves and craft beers from Woodstock Brewery and signature beverages from Horizon Beverages.  Tickets are $25 each and there are a limited amount, so don’t wait. Details are below.

Check back next week for more information on NH Restaurant Week and St. Patrick’s Day menus.

New breakfast and lunch spot Unity Café, the latest restaurant from Tidewater Catering Group, is set to open today. Located at 3 Sundial Avenue, the eatery will feature breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday. The breakfast menu includes Bananas Foster French toast ($7), and a bacon hash brown quesadilla ($7), plus a selection of omelets ($6-$7) and breakfast sandwiches ($6-$8). At lunch, look for soups, salads, sandwiches ($7-$10), burgers ($10-$11) and fusion noodle bowls. Check out the Falafel ($9), oyster Po’ Boy ($11), and crab cake sliders ($11).

Open face PLT (pork belly) at Unity Cafe

Hottest ticket in town NH Restaurant Week starts March 18, but on March 17 there is a VIP sneak peek and grand tasting event to be held at The Foundry. The ticket price is $25 and there tickets are limited. Contact Margaret Joyce (603) 228-9585 or email to get tickets.

The tradition of Italian food continues Portofino in Merrimack is now open. Located in the former Florence’s location on DW Highway, it is owned by the husband and wife team of Pastamore in Amherst. The menu is classic Italian and ranges in dishes like four cheese ravioli ($14.75) and veal parmigiana ($19.25) to mascarpone pear ravioli ($17.99) and veal braciola ($21.99). There is also a lunch menu that includes some of the classics, plus paninis ($9.25-$10.99).

Mayor Ted Gatsas joins Saigon Asian Market owners Thanh Ho and Oanh Nguyen (to the mayor’s right) along with family members, bankers, and project developers, for a ceremonial ribbon cutting Feb. 29.

Welcome back! The popular Saigon Market, once located on South Maple Street, will re-open on March 7 at the corner of Union and Manchester Streets. Read the full story here.

Star power The NH Food Bank’s Steel Chef Challenge has sold out, but there is a waiting list for the March 14 event with celebrity chef Robert Irvine, Stuart Cameron from Hanover Street Chophouse, David Crinieri from Tuscan Market and Julie Cutting from CURE Restaurant . Tickets are $125 per person. To get on the waiting list, call (603) 669-9725.

Everyone’s Irish on March 17 Bedford Village Inn is ready for St. Patrick’s Day. This year turn up in The Tavern with potato and Guinness soup topped with crispy Brussel sprouts and bacon ($8), stout braised corned beef and all the fixins’ ($18) and bangers and mash ($17.)

Susan Ware FlowerSusan Ware Flower writes about the local food scene for Manchester Ink Link. She has years of experience reporting for The Boston Globe and other regional publications, including reporting on the Manchester food scene for Hippo Press. When not writing for the MIL, she does PR and creates compelling content for the web while hanging out with her New Hampshire-made Golden Retriever.