​"Villaggio becomes an instant favorite 

If you've already tried the new Italian restaurant in Manchester's North End, you probably have a good idea of what's to come. If you haven't, we're here to tell you that Villaggio is the real deal. 

Our Gourmet 
New Hampshire Union Leader


If you've already tried the new Italian restaurant in Manchester's North End, you probably have a good idea of what's to come. 

If you haven't, we're here to tell you that Villaggio is the real deal. 

Atmosphere 18/20 

Our Gourmet: Settle in to Villaggio's comfy confines and let the rich aromas of garlic, wine, cheese, olive oil, bread, sauce and seafood combine to infuse your senses. Notice the double-cloth table settings, the intimate setting of only 15 tables, the sparkle of glass and silverware, low lighting and subtle candlesconce trim. Then take a quick peek at the meals on fellow diners' plates, and send a signal to your taste buds that this is gonna be good. 9/10 

The Dining Companion: We arrived a little early for a recent Saturday night dinner reservation and were treated to half an hour in Villaggio's well-appointed, intimate cocktail lounge. We were greeted by a super friendly hostess, waitstaff and bartender. 

An early glass of vino selected from a small-butsmart wine list set the mood, and as we perused the menu we noticed our lounge companions had dinner in full swing. Their meals looked superbly delicious, a fast and promising introduction to our new favorite Italian restaurant in the Queen City — in a most unlikely location: a former KFC. 9/10 

Menu 19/20 

OG: If you decide quickly what to eat at Villaggio (Italian for village) you have not read the menu closely. But then, if you read the menu closely, you may never decide, because each dish sounds better than the previous one. So take your time. Have a glass of wine, and start with an authentic Italian appetizer while you re-read the menu. Then make your best choice among seafood, veal, chicken, steak, homemade pasta dishes, warm and cold antipasti, soup and salads. Nearly every dinner entree is under $20, and most are right around $15. On the lunch menu, which offers “classic Italian recipes” until 3 p.m. daily, every entree is under $10 except one, and all come with soup or salad and homemade bread. 

There is no pizza, and OG thinks that is a splendid idea. 10/10 

TDC: Oh my gosh! If reading a menu can make you gain weight, Villaggio will sink you. From the menu: Malanzana Rollatini ($7.95, an appetizer), pan-fried eggplant stuffed with four cheeses, Italian herbs and topped with marinara; appetizer Capesanta alla Griglia ($10.95), grilled marinated scallops served over sauteed spinach; three fine sounding Italian soups (all $3.95), plus a same-price Greek-style egglemon soup with chicken, rice and carrots; pasta dinners with homemade angel hair or fettuccine ($13.95) with your choice of one of seven mouthwatering sauces; all kinds of parmigiana; manicotti; gnocchi; pork tenderloin; 12- or 24-ounce ribeye steaks; and seven specialty seafood dinners with seemingly endless combinations of fish and sauces and accompaniments. Like I said, OMG! 9/10 

Appetizer 18/20 

OG: We knew we'd be here for awhile, and we knew we'd be full afterward, so we shared what I thought would be a standard plate of cold Italian antipasto. Wrong. It was superb. Delectably prepared and thoughtfully presented, with bread and herb-infused olive oil, of course, the Antipasto Italiano ($10.95 for two; $13.95 for four) was easily the best I have ever had at a Manchester area Italian restaurant. Prosciutto di parma, salami sopressata, asiago and provolone cheese, homemade mozzarella, grilled and marinated eggplant and homemade stuffed mozzarella. There was just enough for two. 

The only items missing were pepperoncini and an olive or two, but who cares when there is such deli­cately rolled meat, expertly sliced triangular wedges of cheese, flat rolled stuffed mozzarella, a small heap of super-thin marinated eggplant .... I could go on. All of it delicious! 18/20 

Entrees 17/20 

OG: Choosing from Villaggio's menu is like winning a spectacular football game — whoever has the ball last is going to win. So when it was ordering time my last affection from the printed menu became my dinner: Linguine ai Frutti di Mare ($23.95), a hearty plate of seafood, surrounding a hefty helping of steaming hot linguine sauteed in garlic, white wine and marinara. Next time I might ask the kitchen to skip the marinara, but the mussels go so well with marinara, and the calamari, too ... but the clams, scallops, shrimp and half-lobster tail would be fine without the red sauce ... but it was delicious with it, too. See what I mean? 8/10 

TDC: Ravioli all Aragosta ($17.95) is a simple dish but, oh, so rich and delicious! Homemade ravioli filled with lobster meat and cheeses, topped with sundried tomato cream sauce and a half-lobster tail. Plenty of sauce to cover a filling meal of three large ravioli and a good-sized, in-theshell lobster tail, lightly sprinkled with parmesan cheese and Italian herbs. I shared a bite with OG — just one, and reluctantly. 

Boston's North End has nothing on Villaggio. 9/10 

All the Rest; 18/20 

OG: Did we mention the specials? No. The veal or chicken dishes? Hardly. The soups? Yes, but not the Minestrone, Pasta e Fagioli or Italian Wedding Soup. The Bruschetta? No (OK, it's in the same hemisphere as pizza). 

The Cannolis, Tiramisu, Baklava, homemade sausages, Greek salad, caesar salad or spinach salad? No. There is not enough space on this page. Go to the North End (Manchester's) and “discover” Villaggio on your own. And tell them we sent you. 9/10 

TDC: Our hostess and server were about the friendliest we've yet encountered on a review excursion. Our hostess charmingly described all of her favorite dishes from the lunch and dinner menus, and had we not been otherwise enthralled we probably would have tried one. Next time. Or the time after that, perhaps. Life is too short not to partake of simple, but significant pleasures. Villaggio is one of those pleasures, and we're lucky to have it right here in the Queen City. A very good value, too. Our bill came to under $60, excluding wine and gratuity. All in all, Villaggio puts a delightful new spin on the rollicking phrase, “Everybody Mangia!” 9/10 

Total 90/100 "

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"Granite State Ambassador Blog: 

http://asknh.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-north-end-reaches-manchester-nh.html#!/2012/10/the-north-end-reaches-manchester-nh.html 

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"Best Italian I have ever had.


For the money, you get a good amount of food: bread, salad, and main course, and the great service I received will keep me coming back for more.
The Villagio is set in a strip mall, where a KFC used to be. You would not know this from the interior. The interior was quite decadent, with masterly crafted tables - the silverware and table clothes were perfectly set - and the atmosphere is what you would expect from any higher-end Italian restaurant: opera playing, smells of wine, oil, and bread, and Renaissance paintings hanging on the wall. The only thing, I found, to offset the ambiance, was the standard office-looking drop ceiling tiles.

Our server, a seemingly average woman, was a very well-trained, experienced server who knew everything about the menu. She knew how each meal was made, and knew how to sell it to us. Every main course sounded more and more appetizing as she described each one in disturbing detail. Her knowledge, charm, and overall competence as a waitress really helped make this one of my favorite restaurants.

The pre-course bread with the garlic-based sauce was quite good - not the best I've had - but good enough for us to request more.

The Caesar salad that I got with my meal was amazing, some of the best Caesar dressing I have ever tasted. Seriously, best dressing, ever. I was a little disappointed that I had to pay extra for a seemingly, more-plain salad (meals come with a mixed vege-salad).

The main course was, quite simply, some of the best food I've ever had. It was well presented, and I could tell the chef had taken great care in all the details of the dish. I ordered the Chicken stuffed with spinach, and it was to-die-for. My only complaint might be, I wish there were more vegetables! Even the vegetables were carefully crafted in an amazing, sweet & savory sauce that was like nothing I've tasted before. The potatoes that came with the meal were amazing, a magically crafted cross between regular mashed and sweet potato. Of course, the chicken, stuffed with cheese and spinach, was amazing, my stomach suffered while I continued to shove down every delicious bite.

Our server kept up with our water throughout the meal and was respectfully distant. I never felt rushed, even though the restaurant only has ~15 tables (granted, the place was empty on a Saturday afternoon).

After our main course, when I was already stuffed to the point of releasing said meal onto my shoes, we ordered desert. Holy Jesus, Mother of God; the desert. Amazing. Spectacular. Our knowledgeable waitress displayed the deserts, all on a platter, for me to meander over and try to find my favorite. Once again, the waitress knew how every desert was crafted, and did a terrific job of selling me into getting 3 of them. We ended up ordering: the chocolate cake, tiramisu, and lemon cheesecake. Each one was wonderfully awesome in it's own way. The prices - very reasonable. 

The chocolate cake was insanely rich, perfect if you want to die of diabetes that very day; an absolute, artery clogging catastrophe - awesome. The tiramisu was also rich, but not nearly as much. For most people, the tiramisu will be the perfect end to a meal: rich, creamy, and oh-so satisfying. The lemon cheesecake was also good, but by the point I tried that, I was about ready to die of a heart attack.

If you are looking for some good Italian food, Villagio is where to go. Expect to pay at least $80 (total) for two people if you're out for dinner. For anniversaries, date-nights, and birthdays, it is an amazing place to treat your dried-out, wasted taste buds. 

5 stars."


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"Truly a hidden gem. My first visit to this new restaurant. Classy without being fancy or pretentious. The wine, appetizers and entrees were all excellent. Even the homemade bleu cheese on the house salad was delicious. And the warm bread was fantastic. The wait staff was ever-present without being overbearing. All in all, this is worth seeking out for a fantastic dinner at very reasonable prices. " 

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"I stopped by at the last minute on a Wednesday night and was pleasantly surprised. The food was very good. I tried the veal and it was served to perfection. The service was prompt and attentive. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for good Italian. " 
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" Delicious dinner last night. The Haddock Special was tremendous. Thanks for making it super special with lemon and capers for me! I took some awesome photos! Cant wait to try the Eggplant Parmesan next time!"
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​" Delicious dinner last night. The Haddock Special was tremendous. Thanks for making it super special with lemon and capers for me! I took some awesome photos! Cant wait to try the Eggplant Parmesan next time!"
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" Stopped in tonight for the first time with my husband. Excellent food, awesome waitstaff, amazing atmosphere. May become a regular place to stop."
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" Thank you so much for a wonderful business lunch today - I will definately be back for more!"
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"My husband and I came to eat on a Friday night. It was busy and we didn’t have any reservations, so we went to the bar and had a few drinks until we were seated. The waitress came over and was very professional. I ended up ordering the pork tenderloin topped with a mixed mushroom marsala demi glaze. It was soo good! It was very flavorful and really went well with the pork. My husband ordered the classic choice of veal parmesan, it was the best he ever had. 
Real veal and a delicious marinara with an homemade angel hair pasta.
I would love to come back to this little restaurant. The atmosphere was adorable.
The people friendly service top notch.
I recommend giving this place a try if you’re in the area! "
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"Cute place that was very good.  Wonderful appetizer and meal was above average.   Would definitely go again." ​
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" This place is great, totally recommend it!"
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"Had to be in the Manchester, NH area and found this place on-line and I am soo glad we did. This is the best Italian I've had in some time and my bar is set pretty high. With so many mediocre Italian dining choices this one if first rate. Food was spectacular, room is excellentand every detail was outstanding. Kim waited on us and she was as good as it gets..,.attentive, fun and nice to talk with. Simply put, this place was a huge surprise....we live 40 minutes away but we plan to return and bring some people with us. How refreshing to find a new place that's worth the trip.....by the way, it was a good value as well." 
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"Great place to eat. Service was fantastic, the food was great and there was plenty of it on my plate.  This was my first time in this place and I am sure it won't be my last. A must have is a cannoli for dessert.  Some people have said the service was slow.  Well, if you want fast food, Burger King is down the street.  If you want a great meal, this place makes it fresh, thus it takes longer.  Had our food in 30 minutes." 
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"We have dined in the North End of Boston and in little Italy in NYC great food just a long drive, well no more.  We found a little jewel in Villaggio's Ristorante in the North End of Manchester NH.  I knew it was going to be great when we entered and was warmly greeted by one of the owners sisters. 
My wife had the eggplant and veal and said the veal was so tender you could cut it with your fork.  I have tried Eggplant Parmesan in almost every Italian restaurant looking for one that might be close to my Italian Mother in Laws.  Well I can stop looking I had it last night.  The sauce was delightful with little pieces of tomatoes in it.  The eggplant was light, tender almost delicate in the taste.  My daughter had spaghetti and meatballs and said they were "Just like Nona's" enough said.  The boyfriend had veal parmesan and loved it.
The atmosphere was perfect.  Our waitress Jamie was funny, efficient and a super waitress.  I would request her next time she was that pleasant.  The wine she suggested was out of this world.
Three of the four of us went home with Doggie Bag.
Parking was fine, alot easier then Boston.  Atmosphere was warm and cozy. 
If the rating had an 11 I would give it to Villaggio's.  Great food, super service, good value."
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"We first went there shortly after the Union Leader's "Traveling Gormet" gave it good ratings.  The restaurant was very busy and all tables were full.  The service was very good and so were our meals.  We each ordered an appetizer which were also very good but left us unable to finish our entrees.  We have subsequently returned two more times but now split an appetizer.  All of our visits to  this restaurant have been very enjoyable both in terms of the service provided and the food served.  In our opinion this is a nice addition to the restaurant choices available in the Manchester area." 
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"We had a wonderful meal last night. I had the Haddock with shrimp and a side of pasta. Generous portions, great sauce which was also added to my pasta. Had the house red which went well.  My wife had the salmon, also  delicious and generous. Highly recommend.  Also our waitress Brittany gave us excellent service along with her pleasing personality." 
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"Great food, great atmosphere, FANTASTIC service! 
Best risotto I ever had!
Portions are not too big but decent. 
Great tasting food and desserts and appetizers were very good as well!
We'll be back and recommend!"

Testimonials