Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

September 26, 2017

VERMONT TRAVEL GUIDE: Burlington's Best Restaurants.

     It's been five and a half months now (!!) since I moved to Vermont, so I figured it was about time that I started on some travel guide posts about my new city and state! I've gotten some requests from y'all for recommendations about things to do in the Burlington area and beyond, and since I know that October is a very popular time to travel to Vermont with peak foliage season quickly approaching, I hope that this post and some more that I have coming up might be of help to you or anyone you know traveling to Vermont this season! 

      I thought I fun place to start would be with my favorite restaurants and eateries in the Chittenden Country area (the county Burlington is in)! I mean, who doesn't love to eat, especially when traveling?! Something I will say first that I've had to get used to after moving to Vermont is the lack of chain restaurants and fast food here... especially compared to the South! Vermonters are very big on their foods being organic/local, and their restaurants being authentic and locally owned. Each town here pretty much has just a McDonald's/Dunkin Donuts for fast food, and the county has a couple scattered locations of Starbucks/Panera/Moe's (THANK GOODNESS for Moe's haha- y'all know my obsession is real!), but that about sums it up. I will say, not eating Chick Fil A breakfast anymore has been good for my budget!

     I don't eat out nearly as often as I used to in Charlotte... rent, gas, and overall living costs are a lot more expensive here, and with a (very) entry level salary and high school payments this year, other things take priority over eating out often. The not-so-fun side of adulting, right?! But- I have still managed to find some local restaurants that I do like in Burlington and beyond since I moved here! (I always look forward now to when my mom or dad come up because it means a few days of eating out is ahead!)

Standard / Local Cuisine:
     The Skinny Pancake (60 Lake Street, Burlington): This is my favorite casual restaurant in Vermont! I first read about this place on Southern Curls and Pearls, in one of Caitlin's Vermont travel guides. The Skinny Pancake is primarily a French style creperie, but they use a ton of local Vermont ingredients and also have some local dishes on the menu, as well as a full coffee/tea bar. One of my favorite Charlotte restaurants was a creperie, so I knew I had to try this place when I came to Vermont to apartment hunt with my mom back in March. It did not disappoint, and now it's my favorite place to bring guests to when I've had company in Vermont. The Skinny Pancake also has a mini location in the Burlington airport, and a few others throughout Vermont and Northern New Hampshire!
     I recommend trying: The "Pure and Simple" crepe!

     The Farmhouse (160 Bank Street, Burlington): This restaurant is right in downtown Burlington, just a block away from being in the Church Street Marketplace walking district. The Farmhouse specializes in classic favorites (think burgers, mac and cheese, and other comfort foods) with a local Vermont twist, and most of their menu and drinks as well are local! Since they use a lot of Vermont ingredients, the prices here are a bit high. Personally, even though the food is good, I do think it's a little expensive for what it is (honest opinion), but with that said I've had some great meals here.
     I recommend trying: Their mac and cheese- it's a large portion so you definitely have some to take home!

     Vermont Tap House (22 Merchants Row, Williston): My dad and I discovered this pizza place the week I moved to Vermont, and we've enjoyed eating there on his visits since! The Vermont Tap House is a pretty nice sit-down pizza restaurant, and they have some delicious house speciality pizzas on the menu. It's located in Williston, which is a more rural suburb of Burlington, and one of the only strip mall shopping areas in Vermont.
     I recommend trying: The Sweet Goat Pizza

     Penny Cluse Cafe (169 Cherry Street, Burlington): I had no idea about this adorable little breakfast and lunch spot until I met a new friend there for breakfast before work a couple weeks ago! This is a favorite apparently with both locals and tourists, and it's a small place, so I heard from my friend to go early on weekends! I ordered a French toast that was the special of the day, but it was absolutely divine! If you're visiting Vermont and staying right in downtown Burlington, this and the Skinny Pancake would both be walkable breakfast options!
     I recommend trying: The Mexican Hot Chocolate

     Food trucks at ArtsRiot (400 Pine Street, Burlington): If you're looking for food trucks in Vermont, you can find them at an interesting spot in Burlington's South End. (Ironically, the South End neighborhood in Charlotte also had food trucks frequently!) ArtsRiot is a very unique place that I don't quite know how to describe- it's like a bar, restaurant, art space, community center... and more, all in one. A very funky, very "Vermont" type space, ha! I've actually never eaten or drank in the ArtsRiot restaurant itself, but on Friday evenings in the warm months of the year (I want to say May-October?) they host food trucks behind the building! There are quite a few trucks that come out, and this can be a great time to try some specialty local cuisines, and fun ethnic foods too. I went twice this summer- once with my photographer Melissa and her friends, and once with fellow Vermont blogger Nicholle and her boyfriend. It's a good place to be outdoors on a Friday night and meet-up with people!
      I recommend trying: The maple ice cream cookie sandwiches from the local ice cream truck- I can't remember the name of the food truck!

Ethnic Cuisine: 
     Pascolo Ristorante (83 Church Street, Burlington): Out of all of the places on this list, this one screams "date night" the most I think! So if you're looking for a romantic atmosphere, this is your place. This is a fine Italian restaurant that's located in the heart of the Church Street Marketplace, Burlington's pedestrian shopping district. My mom and I ate here for my birthday dinner this year and both had delicious meals. Online it says that reservations are recommended and I'm sure that they are for weekends, however my birthday was a Wednesday this year and we were able to walk in at dinnertime without issues. Unfortunately I wasn't feeling very well on my birthday this year so I didn't enjoy dinner too much, but I did bring home my food and it was still delicious the day after! I learned writing this blog post that this restaurant is owned by the same restaurant group that owns The Farmhouse, and the next restaurant on this list as well.
     I recommend trying: The Hand Rolled Gnocchi Sorrentina

     El Cortijo (189 Bank Street, Burlington): This is the third restaurant on my list owned by the Farmhouse Restaurants group, so I guess all of their places are good! I'll start off by saying that Vermont is not the state to go for Mexican food. Charlotte had a fair amount of good Mexican places, and my favorite Mexican restaurant in the world is in my hometown in Maine, so it was kind of dismal to me when I first moved here and found so few of them! (Even one of the Moe's locations here is kind of sketch...) Anyways, El Cortijo is my favorite Mexican restaurant that I've found so far! Like most of the other Burlington restaurants on the list, it's located very close to the Church Street Marketplace. Their margaritas are very strong and tasty as well.
      I recommend trying: The queso, and the chorizo tacos!

      China Garden (8-10 Main Street, Essex Junction): You might think it's a bit odd that I'm putting a no-frills, Chinese takeout restaurant on my "Burlington's Best Restaurants" list.... but hear me out. I love most Asian foods, and typically Asian restaurants are my favorite places to eat out at. I've had my fair share of good and bad of all types of Asian cuisine over the years, and it always saddened me that as much as I loved Charlotte restaurants, I NEVER found a Chinese restaurant that I liked in four years of living there!! Imagine my surprise when a tiny takeout place near my work had what I'm pretty sure are the best egg rolls on earth. I repeat- best egg rolls! Again- this is a very no frills restaurant (takeout only), but their prices are very cheap, and so far I haven't had a bad meal! On weeks when I have to cover radio shifts for my coworkers and work double shifts, I usually treat myself to lunch there.
      I recommend trying: The egg rolls and the wonton soup. Simple favorites that are amazing from this restaurant!

      Tiny Thai (24 Main Street, Winooski): Similarly to Chinese food, I know good Thai food when I see it! Although I don't come here too often, Tiny Thai is a fantastic Thai restaurant. Just about everyone in Vermont knows this... so this place can get very busy! I was last there on a Monday evening at 5:30 pm... and the whole dinner process still took about two hours as the restaurant got busy so quickly! Be prepared to wait a bit here for a table if you don't show up super early for dinner, as it is a hot spot. But well worth it! Their food is absolutely delicious. And while I haven't taken advantage of this myself, I've been told the restaurant is BYOB! Pro tip: parking can be rough in Winooski (a tiny but congested Burlington suburb), and it's hard to find free parking in the town at all, which is probably the main reason I don't eat here that often!
      I recommend trying: The Massaman Curry

     Pho Dang (Two Locations: 215 Main Street, Winooski and 9 Park Street, Essex Junction): And I saved the best for last!! This is my favorite restaurant in Vermont! 😊 It was also the very first one that I discovered as a Vermont resident. My best friend Jules from Maine came to visit to help me finish moving in right before I started my job in April, and we both love Vietnamese food, so we were so excited to find this place while driving around. Now it's the restaurant that I visit most frequently! Like most other Asian cuisines, I also love good Vietnamese food. I find it to be especially good comfort food- seriously, nothing beats a warm bowl of pho on a rainy day! Pho Dang has two locations- I eat at both but prefer their Essex Junction location for a nicer sit-down experience. Although I love pho, I think their noodle dishes steal the show! And the prices are affordable. Truly my favorite place to eat in Vermont!
     I reccommend trying: "Bun Ga Nuang Cha Gio" (I think it's number 19 on the menu!) This is a delicious Vietnamese noodle bowl and salad with chicken, egg rolls, and sauce.

      Have you been to Vermont before, and if so, what were your favorite eateries? I'm still hoping to try more new local restaurants during the rest of my year(s) here! As always- feel free to email me with any local Vermont questions if you're planning to travel to this area soon! Since I am living here, I'm happy to try and be a resource if possible!!

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on-air!)



  1. I've told my husband several times that we should plan a trip to Vermont in the Fall to see the pretty leaves and explore a different area of the country-maybe if I tempt him with your list of yummy restaurants, he'll be enticed to visit!

    xoxo, SS

    Southern and Style

  2. I love Vermont!! These are great choices

  3. All of these places sound so yummy! I totally want to go to Vermont. It looks so pretty in the fall.

  4. I have never been to Vermont but I think I would LOVE it! Our family has a cottage in Canada not too far from the Vermont border. Everything you tasted sounds amazing!

  5. I've never been to Vermont, but I need to plan a trip there asap!

  6. Eating out is one of my favourite travel activities. I am always researching places to try before I go. I need to get to Vermont!

  7. Vermont Tap House is one of Kyle & my faves! So good!!

  8. One of my coworkers lives in Burlington! (We all work remotely.) It sounds like such a fun little community, but I don't know if I could handle the cold!

  9. I love that there's a good Chinese food place near you. It's, in my humble opinion, the best food ever haha

  10. Ah I love to try new foods and Vermont seems like the place to be!

    Ash |

  11. I love Burlington! Its such a cute place and I especially love their restaurants!

    xo Courtney Drew

  12. I need to check out Burlington! I'm always looking for new places to go!

  13. When I was in college, I literally went "leaf peeping" with my parents through the East coast. We absolutely LOVED Vermont.
    Tori || Victori Media

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