A couple weeks ago, my husband and I discovered a wonderful new café in downtown Manchester. As we were on our way to watch our 13 year old son at a wrestling tournament, we didn’t have time for more than coffee and pastries. However, we told ourselves that we would return in the near future, which we did with two of our children. As we had two budding foodies in our midst, it seemed most appropriate to write this review as a group. So, in addition to myself, you will learn about our wonderful dining experience from my husband (TK), our 13 year old son (JP), and our 11 year old daughter (Sam).
Me: What were your first impressions of REPUBLIC?
JP: It seemed European, based on what I’ve read about cafés there. (TK agreed with him.)
Sam: When I entered, the first things I noticed were the baked goods, which looked and smelled delicious in the countertop case.
TK: It felt clean and inviting.
Me: What was your initial impression of the service there?
Sam: The service was very nice. When we entered, we were seated immediately and given water.
JP: The water came in an artistic decanter, which I thought was a nice touch. The staff seemed to be quite efficient.
TK: It actually was a Patron bottle that they keep refrigerated, which keeps the water cold.
Me: As I was part of this group, I know that we started with a round of appetizers. We had a set of 3 cold antipasti: Whipped fresh spicy feta, Broccoli rabe, and North African spiced pickled vegetables and 1 order of Hand cut frites.
Sam: The frites were delectable. They were thinly sliced with a nice, crunchy outside and a moist, soft inside.
JP: Also, there were deep-fried capers and deep-fried parsley that finished it off with an earthy, salty tone.
TK: I thought the pickled vegetables were kick-butt, a nice combination of spicy and sour. The other thing that really sticks in my mind were the capers; it’s not something that I would do in my own cooking. It was unique.
Me: I really liked the broccoli rabe, which was served ricotta salata. It was light yet flavorful.
JP: Also, the feta was good. It was well whipped, but it wasn’t spicy like it says.
TK: The order of feta was huge. In fact, after the bread that accompanied it was gone, there was more left that I ate using bread from my meal.
Me: We weren’t done sampling the menu yet, so we each ordered a lunch dish. TK ordered Grilled lamb marquez sausage flat bread, JP ordered the Tuna and egg panini, I ordered the Brie panini, and Sam ordered another round of the Hand cut frites.
Sam: I, for one not having a very wide palate, thought that some of the meals were a bit too far-out for people with a finicky appetite, so I doubled up on the frites because they were delicious. They were even better than before!
JP: At first, I was curious as to how the egg would be served on the tuna. I was a little surprised to find it was hard-boiled, but it was delicious! The whole sandwich was nicely warmed with tuna that was flavorful and flaky. There was an herb mayonnaise that really complimented the sandwich.
TK: If there was an area of the meal that I was disappointed in, it was the flat bread. It was short on toppings; I would have liked more toppings. Compared to Michael Timothy’s (which in my opinion is the A + of flat breads in southern NH), the dough felt more like an open-faced sandwich and less like a flat bread pizza.
Me: My brie panini was amazing. The combination of melted brie, onion jam, and watercress was heavenly. For me, the bread was a bit thick for such delicate flavors; I would have preferred a panini made with half that amount of bread. (Please note, the bread used in this sandwich was tasty, just in too great a quantity for me.) The side salad of mixed greens was a nice, light side to balance the heartiness of the panini.
Me: With full stomachs from this culinary adventure, what are your remaining thoughts about this restaurant?
TK: The combination of atmosphere, culinary creativity, service, and value makes REPUBLIC an obvious choice to add to our normal cycle of establishments to which we’ll return.
JP: The mixture of casual yet elegant atmosphere, adventurous and very tasty food (especially the antipasti), and stylish decor made the restaurant excellent. I would love to see outdoor seating in the summer.
Sam: When we were walking out the door, my mom pointed out the freshly baked danishes. Unfortunately for me, I was too stuffed to try one. The next time I go there, I will try the chocolate twist bread.
Me: I can’t wait to return. Having sampled only a fraction of their menu, I am excited to return and try more dishes!