12 Unique Restaurants in Vermont: From Historic Mills to Turkish Breakfasts

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Vermont
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Are you on the hunt for quirky restaurants in Vermont? From the lush greenery of the Green Mountains to the historic charm of Burlington, here are some of Vermont’s coolest restaurants.

Ever found yourself scrolling through endless options wondering where to eat in Vermont? I’ve been there, and let me tell you, the Green Mountain State is a goldmine for unique dining experiences.

Imagine eating beside a waterfall or digging into dishes that take you straight to Morocco or Cuba without leaving Vermont. Yes, it’s all here! I’ve stumbled upon some spots that are all about unique vibes and unforgettable flavors.

I’m excited to share twelve of the coolest restaurants in VT. I loved these spots, and I’m sure you will too. Ready for a taste adventure that’s far from the usual? Let’s jump in.

The top restaurants to visit in Vermont right now

Unusual places to eat in VT

Ready to explore Vermont’s best eateries? We’ve got everything from authentic Burmese dishes to the best Thai food on the East Coast. Join me on a tour of the quirkiest places to eat in Vermont.

Ever thought about savoring a meal with a waterfall view or tasting dishes that transport you straight to Morocco or Cuba without leaving Vermont? Vermont’s dining scene has it all, ready for you to discover. Let’s dive into the most unique restaurants in VT.

1. Moonwink

Dropping into Moonwink in Manchester was a game-changer for me. It’s a dive into authentic Burmese cuisine, wrapped up in an incredibly cool space. The walls are adorned with hand-painted scenes from Burma that set the vibe perfectly. Honestly, it’s landed in my top 10 dining experiences ever. The flavors here are next-level.

Trying Burmese food for the first time here was unforgettable. I went for the Nan Gyi Thok, a chicken and rice noodle dish that’s a flavor explosion. Plus, the portions are hearty. You won’t leave hungry, that’s for sure. For me, it’s a must-stop after hitting the slopes in Vermont.

What I admire is their commitment to sustainability, with all biodegradable containers. And if you’re vegan or vegetarian, you’re in for a treat. There are plenty of meatless options here. I highly recommend their Burmese falafel and tofu Burma bowls.

This place is a gem in New England, offering dishes you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. For me, it’s easily one of the best restaurants in Vermont. Seriously, if you’re near Manchester, it would be a crime not to eat at Moonwink.

Moonwink is one of the unique restaurants in Vermont.
Moonwink in Manchester delivers authentic Burmese cuisine in a cool space with hand-painted scenes from Burma.

2. Yalla Vermont

If you’re a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, you’ve got to hit up Yalla Vermont in Brattleboro, one of the top places to live and visit in Vermont. The falafel was the best I’ve tasted on this side of the globe. It’s that good!

The magic doesn’t stop at falafel, though. Every bite, from their pita to hummus and roasted eggplant, was a revelation. It’s the kind of food that makes you pause and appreciate the flavors.

Now, a heads-up: their hours are limited, and there’s often a queue. But believe me, it’s worth organizing your day around a meal here. The vibe inside is vibrant, with fantastic music setting the scene every time.

If you’re looking for fun restaurants in Vermont, make a note to drop by Yalla Vermont. It’s a must-visit for a taste of authentic Middle Eastern dishes that’ll leave you planning your next visit before you’ve even left, adding to the array of things to do in Vermont.

If you're a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, don't miss Yalla Vermont in Brattleboro.
If you’re a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, don’t miss Yalla Vermont in Brattleboro.

3. Simon Pearce

One of the best places to eat in Vermont, snagging a spot at Simon Pearce feels like winning the lottery, especially during the spectacular fall in New England. I managed to book a lunch two months out, but dinner? Forget about it. They’re telling me next year to aim for six months in advance.

So, why the big deal? First up, it’s in Quechee, where the vibe is as chill as it gets. The restaurant is located right by a waterfall. If you snag that corner table in the glass dining room, it’s like dining in a postcard. Let’s not forget the patio, either. It’s got views of a dam and a picturesque covered bridge that are second to none.

You absolutely can’t skip the maple crème brûlée. It’s a game-changer. Plus, catching some glassblowing action next door is pretty cool. They’ve got a store where you can buy everything from bowls to glasses to pumpkins and trees.

Honestly, Simon Pearce is the spot where you get why Vermont is such a hidden gem in the US. Good food, great views, and a bit of local craft on the side. Just make sure to book early. Like, really early. It’s all part of the adventure.

Getting into Simon Pearce feels like winning the lottery, especially during New England's spectacular fall.
Getting into Simon Pearce feels like winning the lottery, especially during New England’s spectacular fall.

4. Saap

Saap in Randolph is a must-visit for Thai food lovers. Honestly, it might just take the crown for the best Thai on the East Coast. The chef, a James Beard award winner in 2022, knows their stuff.

The first thing that hits you? The colors. We’re talking vibrant plates that are a feast for the eyes before you even take a bite. My lineup included the shredded mango salad, pad see ew, and panang curry. Each dish popped with bright, complex flavors. Fresh veggies, herbs straight from the chef’s garden – it’s clear there’s a lot of love and care in every dish. The mango salad was my favorite, but the wife was all about that curry.

Lucky for us, we snagged a table for lunch without a reservation, but that was a stroke of luck. It’s one of Vermont’s best restaurants, so make sure you book ahead.

Saap in Randolph is a must for Thai food lovers, potentially the best on the East Coast.
Saap in Randolph is a must for Thai food lovers, potentially the best on the East Coast.

5. El Cortijo Taqueria

I popped into El Cortijo Taqueria in Burlington the other day and, wow, talk about a vibe! It’s tucked into what used to be a 1950s diner, complete with counter seating that adds a cool, nostalgic touch. Plus, they have a top-notch tequila bar.

I started off with their house margarita, and it was spot on – the kind of drink you tell your friends about. And the chips? Warm, crisp, just how you like them, paired with a house-made salsa that’s all kinds of flavorful.

You can’t leave without trying the tacos. Mixing up your choices is the way to go. I got myself a trio – pollo, carnitas, and barbacoa. Each one was delicious, packed in just the right size for a fulfilling bite. The three-taco plate was spot on for variety and satisfaction.

The place has this awesome ’60s diner feel but with a fresh twist. Sitting in a window booth or at the bar, you get that cool mix of retro and modern. El Cortijo is one of the most unique places to eat in VT, boasting fresh farm-to-table bites in a setting that’s hard to beat.

El Cortijo Taqueria is housed in a former 1950s diner, complete with counter seating, and features a top-notch tequila bar.
El Cortijo Taqueria is housed in a former 1950s diner, complete with counter seating, and features a top-notch tequila bar.

6. Black Sheep Bistro

Black Sheep Bistro in Vergennes is where it’s at if you’re after something a bit upscale but still want value for your money. The place isn’t just about good looks (though, seriously, it’s beautiful). It’s dog-friendly too, especially on the outdoor patio, which is a big plus in my book.

I ate here last summer, and the food was nothing short of fantastic. Every entrée comes with both mashed potatoes and fries, accompanied by some downright delicious dipping sauces. It’s the kind of combo you wouldn’t expect but absolutely can’t get enough of once you try it.

Since it’s a cozy spot, calling ahead for a table is a smart move. The vibe is a unique mix, kind of like walking into a chic French bistro, but with a twist. The walls are decked out with all these cool photos that really bring the place to life.

One of the coolest places to eat in Vermont, Black Sheep Bistro delivers an experience that’s as delightful as it is delicious. Next time you’re in Vergennes, don’t miss out on this gem. It’s the perfect mix of great food, inviting atmosphere, and unique touches that make dining here a must.

Black Sheep Bistro in Vergennes offers upscale dining with great value and a dog-friendly outdoor patio.
Black Sheep Bistro in Vergennes offers upscale dining with great value and a dog-friendly outdoor patio.

7. Canteen Creemee Company

Last summer, I dropped by Canteen Creemee Company in Waitsfield and it was a blast. They’re known for their fried chicken and creemies, and wow, do they deliver! The fried chicken banh mi blew my mind. Easily one of the top chicken sandwiches out there.

The vibe inside is all kinds of cool. They play vinyl records, which adds a whole layer of chill to the place. Plus, the walls are covered in Post-it notes from past customers. There’s a real community feel that I totally dug.

Oh, and you can’t leave without trying one of their creemies. I treated myself to a blueberry crumble sundae, and it was as good as it sounds. Picture perfect and tasted like a dream.

Canteen Creemee Company is one of the most unique Vermont restaurants and I can’t recommend it highly enough/ Great food, great tunes, and a spot where you can just be. If you find yourself in Waitsfield, this place is a no-brainer.

At Canteen Creemee Company, you're in for a treat with their renowned fried chicken and creemies.
At Canteen Creemee Company, you’re in for a treat with their renowned fried chicken and creemies.

8. Thompson’s Flour Shop

Thompson’s Flour Shop in Morrisville is a hidden gem for sandwich lovers. Honestly, calling it one of the best sandwich shops in Vermont doesn’t do it justice. They bake their bread right there, and it takes their sandwiches to a whole new level of awesome.

Every sandwich comes with this cute little chocolate chip cookie, chips, and your pick of a drink. I went for the BLT, and it was fantastic. Everything you want in a BLT, plus that fresh-baked bread magic.

What’s even better? The prices won’t break the bank. It’s perfect for those looking for cheap eats in Vermont. Plus, they’ve got this quaint outdoor dining area that’s perfect when the weather’s nice.

A little tip from me: try to beat the lunch rush. They’re so good they often run out of sandwiches. Next time you’re cruising through Morrisville and that sandwich craving hits, Thompson’s Flour Shop is the place. Affordable, delicious, and that little cookie touch? Chef’s kiss.

Thompson's Flour Shop elevates sandwiches with freshly baked bread, making it a hidden gem for sandwich lovers.
Thompson’s Flour Shop elevates sandwiches with freshly baked bread, making it a hidden gem for sandwich lovers.

9. Tuckerbox

Tuckerbox in White River Junction is this amazing spot right on the edge of VT and NH. It’s a Turkish place that nails it every time. Ever had a full Turkish breakfast? Me neither, until I hit this place. Pair that with their knockout Turkish coffee, and it’s a morning win.

They’re all about authentic flavors here, mixing up their own spice blends and seasonings. It’s all fresh, all homemade. From menemen to kebabs and mezze, the menu’s a journey through Turkey without leaving your seat.

Without a doubt, Tuckerbox is one of my favorite restaurants in VT. It’s cozy, it’s authentic, and it’s got that vibe that makes you want to stay longer than you planned. A heads up though: it’s a bit of a hidden gem, so you might want to book ahead.

Tuckerbox nails Turkish cuisine, offering an amazing Turkish breakfast and knockout Turkish coffee on the VT-NH border.
Tuckerbox nails Turkish cuisine, offering an amazing Turkish breakfast and knockout Turkish coffee on the VT-NH border.

10. Namaste Garden

Namaste Garden in Essex Junction is a spot you’ve got to try. It’s an Indian spot that’s all kinds of awesome. Run by four brothers, the place has a vibe that makes you feel right at home.

Their veggie samosas are legendary. They’re using their dad’s recipe, and it shows. Make sure to dive into that spicy chutney they serve on the side; it kicks things up a notch.

I couldn’t get enough of the samosas and the matar paneer. The paneer is ridiculously creamy and just melts in your mouth. Another cool thing is their menu – it’s fully vegetarian and loaded with vegan options too.

If you’re ever in Essex Junction and craving some heartwarming, vegetarian or vegan Indian food, Namaste Garden should be on your radar.

Namaste Garden, run by four brothers, offers an awesome Indian dining experience with a welcoming vibe.
Namaste Garden, run by four brothers, offers an awesome Indian dining experience with a welcoming vibe. | Image Source: https://www.yelp.com/

11. Little Morocco Cafe

Authentic Moroccan cuisine can be hard to find in the US. Fear not – there’s a gem in Burlington called Little Morocco Cafe where you can eat to your heart’s content. The interior is stunning, with Moroccan/Arabic tunes playing in the background.

You absolutely have to dive into the chakchouka when you’re there. It’s a dish that’ll wake up all your taste buds. And the hummus is so smooth, you’ll want to spread it on everything. For the mains, the chicken tagine and lamb shanks are where it’s at.

After you’re done, Burlington’s waterfront is the perfect spot to wander. The views are stunning, and it’s just the place to relax after a delicious meal. Little Morocco Cafe is the beginning of a great day out in one of Vermont’s most beautiful places.

Burlington's Little Morocco Cafe offers authentic Moroccan cuisine in a stunning setting with Arabic tunes.
Burlington’s Little Morocco Cafe offers authentic Moroccan cuisine in a stunning setting with Arabic tunes. | Image Source: https://www.rakevt.org/

12. Santiago’s Cuban Cuisine

Santiago’s Cuban Cuisine in Burlington really sets the bar high among unique restaurants in VT. Having experienced Cuba firsthand, I can tell you this spot gets it right. The mojitos are a dream, the Cuban sandwich will make you swoon, and that tres leches cake? Divine.

The place itself is a burst of color and energy, with Latin music that keeps the atmosphere just as lively as the food. And if you’re into cocktails, you’re in for a treat – their selection is top-notch.

It’s a popular place, so booking ahead is a smart move. You don’t want to miss out on this authentic Cuban experience right in the heart of Burlington.

Santiago's Cuban Cuisine is one of the unique restaurants in Vermont.
Santiago’s Cuban Cuisine: authentic flavors, dreamy mojitos, swoon-worthy sandwiches, divine cake. | Image Source: https://www.santiagosvt.com/

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the quirkiest restaurants in Vermont

Are you searching for more information about where to eat in Vermont? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about Vermont’s most unique restaurants.

What food is famous in Vermont?

Maple syrup is Vermont’s claim to fame, and it’s a staple in kitchens across the state, making it a delightful addition to your stay in Vermont.

What is a typical breakfast in Vermont?

A typical breakfast in Vermont often features pancakes or waffles drenched in local maple syrup, accompanied by farm-fresh eggs and applewood-smoked bacon. Don’t forget a slice of sharp Vermont cheddar for a true local twist.

Waffles with maple syrup, eggs, and bacon.
Waffles with maple syrup, eggs, and bacon.

What’s a fun fact about Vermont?

Did you know Vermont has more cows than people? It’s true! This dairy-rich state is proud of its farming heritage, which is why you’ll find some of the best cheese around here.

Which city in VT is best for foodies?

For food lovers, Burlington steals the spotlight. My personal favorite for its eclectic mix of eateries, from cozy cafes to innovative farm-to-table spots. There’s a taste of everything, and it’s a must-visit for any food enthusiast.

The top restaurants in Vermont for all types of travelers
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