About Downtown Bistro & Grill

Burlington Bistro

Herve Mahe plating food at Bistro de Margot - COURTESY OF HERVE MAHEClick to enlarge

  • courtesy of Herve Mahe
  • Herve Mahe plating food at Bistro de Margot

This past summer, L'Amante fans were devastated to learn that the downtown Burlington Italian restaurant would close in August after 12 years in business. But when owners Kevin and Kathi Cleary passed the torch to Herve Mahe, the French chef kept most of the L'Amante staff family together to open in its space.

That in-house staff eased the new chef's transition from his most recent position as chef at the Hilton Burlington's After minor renovations — Mahe reworked the lighting and painted, giving the space a clean, modern feel — the restaurant opened last week, serving unfettered bistro classics such as pork terrine with cornichon, onion compote and Dijon; Burgundy escargots in herbed butter; pan-roasted quail; and steak frites.

"I really feel like we are the only true French restaurant in town, " Mahe says. That said, he's lightened the fare and added modern twists — for instance, citrus meringue crowns the chocolate mousse — and he uses local ingredients rather than imported ones.

On the drinks menu, several beers and a handful of craft cocktails join wines from the chef's native France — 10 or so by the glass and a full page of bottles, representing virtually all of France's wine-producing regions.

What about those sad L'Amante devotees? Many are eating their tears, Mahe says. "We had tons of great feedback from the L'Amante regulars; some of them have come back several times already. So that's phenomenal."

— H.P.E.

Winooski residents may have noticed an abrupt recent shake-up in the dining scene. On September 10, Thanh Pham and Bishnu Gurung unceremoniously closed their Dharshan Namaste Asian Deli at 212 Main Street. The pair say they're currently expanding their popular restaurant in Burlington's New North End into the other Winooski Main Street space that until recently was their Namaste Asian Market.

But 212 Main didn't remain empty for long. Alyssa Vigneault and Sudershan Adhikari opened the there on Wednesday, September 16. While their opening menu includes some holdover favorites from Dharshan Namaste, it's more squarely focused on food from Nepal, Burma and Adhikari's native Bhutan.

The new restaurateurs met when Adhikari moved to Vermont in 2012 from the Nepali refugee camp he had called home for two decades. Vigneault was working at the time as an employment counselor for the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program.

At Spice Traders' Kitchen, the pair makes momos from scratch, along with potato-and-veggie-filled samosas. Curries are central to the entrée list. The Nepali tasting platter known as dal bhat includes a choice of curry with fried mixed veggies, dal, homemade yogurt and house pickles — all for $12.

Though Vigneault says desserts aren't popular in that part of the world, she's using Asian ingredients to flavor western sweets, including saffron-lemon pound cake and chai-infused chocolate truffles.

— A.L.

Hannah Palmer Egan

Hannah Palmer Egan is a food and drink writer at Seven Days.

Alice Levitt

AAN award-winning food writer Alice Levitt is a fan of the exotic, the excellent and automats. She wrote for 2007-2015.

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What are the best cities to live in Vermont for young adults? - Quora

Burlington is a wonderful city for a young person to live in. In the main city, nearly all amenities are within walking distance. Those which are not, are usually accessible via bus. Downtown is packed with bars and pubs of all types. Like live music? Try Nectar’s. Prefer trivia? Check out RiRa’s. Want an unusual cocktail? Go to Daily Planet.
There is a co-op grocery store downtown with fresh and local food. For more affordable options, a bus ride out to South Burlington brings you to Shaw’s and Price Chopper. You’ll find every type of restaurant—nearly none of the typical chain places.

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