Twenty reasons to get a taste of Vermont -- now
It may feel like spring, but there are still two weeks left in Seven Days’ “Winter Bites ” promotion, and we thought we’d tell you about it one last time.
What is “Winter Bites”? It was conceived as a way to help area eateries beat the annual, post-holiday slow season by encouraging folks to dine out. And dine out again. And again.
In fact, for every visit you make to one of our 70-plus participating restaurants, you’ll get a chance to win our grand prize: a decadent stay at Topnotch Resort , including spa treatments and a special meal prepared by Chef Mark Timms .
To enter, just send in receipts from any of the eateries — located throughout our readership area — by April 7. And don’t forget to include your name and phone number.
To give you a little taste of the delicious meals you could experience in your quest to win, we looked at the online 7 Nights Guide to Restaurants and Bars  to locate some saucy comments written by our readers.
Please note: The comments are minimally edited, and the opinions therein are not endorsed by Seven Days staffers.
Handy’s Lunch 74 Maple Street, Burlington, 864-5963 Rated: 4 stars
On March 10, “Merjean” said: “My husband and I live in New York. We visit Burlington frequently, and Handy’s Lunch is always a must! We love the “Big Daddy” breakfast, the quick service and low prices. For a great breakfast (or lunch ... mmm, Texas chili dogs), Handy’s can’t be beat! P.S. It is also fun to hear all of the ‘chit chat’ around the counter.”
Pulcinella’s  100 Dorset Street, South Burlington, 863-1000 Rated: 4 stars
On March 3, “MonroeLaw” said: “My son is a student at Champlain, which leaves little money in the family budget for dining out. However, whenever we are in town we make it a point to have lunch or dinner at Pulcinella’s. The food is authentic Italian cuisine prepared fresh by a chef whose love of his art comes through in every dish. The service and attention to customer satisfaction is on a par with the quality of the food, providing a well balanced and delightful dining experience.”
Tilley’s Café  161 Church Street, Burlington, 658-4553 Rated: 4 stars
On March 1, “Petesa” said: “Four of us dined before the Capitol Steps show @ The Flynn on 02/22 at 8 p.m. Our reservation was for 6 p.m. We were seated promptly and in about 15 minutes, almost every table was full. We ordered drinks, appetizers and entrées. The timing and presentation were perfect, the waitress handled her tables very well, and we were taken care of to our satisfaction. The food was delicious, priced right, and we had plenty of time to get to our show on time. Thanks, Tilley’s Staff!!”
Asiana Noodle Shop 88 Church Street, Burlington, 862-8828 Rated: 4 stars
On February 28, “Uberlocalvore” said: “Oh, how I’ve been waiting for a noodle house in BTown! How fortunate we are to have the folks from Asiana House heading up this new venture ...We had the ginger tea (YUM!), the fried oysters (YUM!), and I got the kim chee broth with beef and my honey got the tom yum soup with chicken ... Tom yum was perfectly flavored and spicy (just what the doctor ordered!) with wide rice noodles, and the kim chee was just right with the glass noodles and the beef was a perfect fit ... Thank you for a great noodle shop finally — can’t wait to try everything on the menu!”
Vietnam Restaurant II 169 Church Street, Burlington, 859-9998 Rated: 4 stars
On February 23, “Calisto” said: “Near the intersection of Lower Church St. and Main St. is Vietnam Restaurant #2. I have eaten here several times now and have thoroughly enjoyed the food. The tiger roll sampler is my favorite appetizer and the soup I had was wonderful. The young lady who waited on my table was very friendly and attentive to my needs, and made sure I was enjoying my meal. I do highly recommend this restaurant.”
China Express  30 North Street, Burlington, 862-8008 Rated: 3 stars
On February 18, “Dichosa” said: “We ordered a bunch of different dishes and enjoyed everything. We got both vegetarian and meat dinners and I was pleased with everything we had. It was my first time ordering from here and I’ll definitely do it again.”
Junior’s Italian  85 South Park Drive, Colchester, 655-5555 Rated: 4 stars
On February 17, “Weatherlady” said: “We’ve gone to Junior’s several times, and each time the food was really very good. My favorite was a special they had the other night, mussels in a saffron broth. OMG, that broth was sooo good! I hope they have it again. And there is so much food that we usually bring home enough for another meal.”
Toscano Café Bistro  27 Bridge Street, Richmond, 434-3148 Rated: 4 stars
On February 15, “Five Star” said: “I have never had a more enjoyable, pleasant dinner. I really enjoyed my dining experience. The food was absolutely fantastic and the staff was upbeat and a joy to be around. I would give this restaurant six stars if I could.”
T Bones Restaurant and Bar  38 Lower Mountain View Drive, Colchester, 654-8008 Rated: 3 stars
On Febuary 10, “Fairaddict” said: “Where can you go in this area and have a LIVE guy playing organ and singing all the favorites of today and yesterday? AND taking requests to make your special event even more memorable ... He plays Friday and Saturday nights in the restaurant, not the bar, and definitely worth a visit. Makes me feel like I’m in a Montréal piano bar. The food is a tad pricey BUT worth it, and the manager is always walking around with a smile and he loves to chat. Very friendly and helpful ... highly recommend you give it a try.”
The Bee’s Knees  82 Lower Main Street, Morrisville, 888-7889 Rated: 4 stars
On February 9, “DTP123” said: “This is what a community-based bistro should be! Well-prepared and seasoned food in a casual, fun atmosphere. It is very approachable without any pretense. My only wish is that I lived closer so I could go more often.”
The Skinny Pancake  60 Lake Street, Burlington, 540-0188 Rated: 3 stars
On January 30, “Gastrononmical-delight” said: “The menu of the week features Poutine .... an inexpensive French-Canadian dish. I am an expert and have to say that the folks at the Skinny served an upscale version which is among the best I’ve had the pleasure to eat. Much applause. Thank You! I’ll be back for more.”
Café Mediterrano 17 Park Street, Essex Junction, 878-9333 Rated: 4 stars
On January 28, “Vermont08” said: “A total fan, awesome lunch location. Try the stuffed grape leaves or the falafel ... mmmm! The staff are great and are willing to cater to unique requests ... it is a great restaurant for everyone!”
The Daily Planet  15 Center Street, Burlington, 862-9647 Rated: 4 stars
On January 28, “BTVfoodie” said: “I am a longtime patron of the Planet, mostly for drinks and light fare in the bar and a handful of times in the dining room. It was a very comfortable place, but the expectations were never very high, service was usually slow, food so-so, wine list mediocre at best. However, I recently brought my parents and sister for dinner and was very pleasantly surprised. TOTALLY new wine list with some great offerings at very reasonable prices. I had the lamb lollipops and the duck confit crepe. Both excellent. It was nice to get lamb cooked the way it should be, not overcooked. Everyone else at the table was very pleased as well. Keep it up, Planet! I’ll be back much more frequently.”
Windjammer Restaurant & Upper Deck Pub 1076 Williston Road, South Burlington, 862-6585 Rated: 4 stars
On January 27, “CharlieBarley” said: “I love the Jammer. Consistently good food, though a little pricey. Pleasant servers, and the last time I went the hostess was hilarious and lovely, a perfect intro to a good meal. The salad bar never disappoints, and the house dressing is amazing!”
Sakura Sushi & Kitchen  19 Taft Corners Shopping Center, Williston, 288-8052 Rated: 3 stars
On January 25, “BigSlim77” said: “Great authentic Japanese food and down-to-earth, relaxed atmosphere. We have been there several times and never been disappointed.”
Big Fatty’s BBQ  55 Main Street, Burlington, 864-5513 Rated: 3 stars
On January 24, “Ken of South Burlington” said: “My wife and I were recently in Alabama in the Gulf Coast region. We had dinner at a highly touted seafood restaurant. Fried okra was one of their specialties. NOT! I’ve had good quality fried okra and it’s right here in Burlington. Big Fatty’s fried okra is second to none. NO fancy spicy sauces required. Fatty’s okra is a palate pleaser all on its own. So come on, folks, add a new veggie to your list. BIG Fatty’s Fabulous Fried Okra.”
Magnolia Bistro  1 Lawson Lane, Suite 10, Burlington, 846-7446 Rated: 4 stars
On January 19, “Totenkopf” said: “I’ve been in Magnolia many times and have always been very satisfied with the food and service. When we needed a place to hold our wedding rehearsal dinner, they immediately came to mind...
We worked with them a bit on the menu ... and everything came together wonderfully. The proprietors worked all night to ensure everything went well ... They used lots of local and organic ingredients, had ample staff on hand, and the food was excellent ... I’m not sure when I’ll next need to have a catered dinner, but I have no doubt I’ll have it at Magnolia.”
Avenue Bistro  1127 North Avenue, Burlington, 652-9999 Rated: 4 stars
On January 14, “Tillzen” said: “I’m a foodie, so at the end of the day, this matters most. The Avenue Bistro is ALL about the food. It is inspired cooking, at a very fair price. We felt cared for, and in each visit we have NEVER been disappointed. The owner is always around (WAY cute, too!), and you just get a feeling that you are family every time you enter. In a tough economy, this is all I require on a night out. Great food, real value, and a local place where you feel taken care of. Yum!”
Restaurant Phoebe  52 State Street, Montpelier, 262-3500 Rated: 4 stars
On January 9, “Uhmfood” said: “I have eaten at Phoebe a few times now and this place stands out as one of the top restaurants in Vermont. I like the atmosphere, the food is amazing, and the friendliness of the owners shows through with the great folks that work there as well.”
Leunig’s Bistro & Café 115 Church Street, Burlington, 863-3759 Rated: 4 stars
On January 3, “LSC_Coffee” said: “My BF and I were on Church Street on New Year’s Eve and decided to stop for dinner around 9 p.m. ... We passed by Leunig’s and saw the $30 bistro menu outside. I convinced him to go inside, where we had one of the best meals ever. The only comparable restaurants in terms of quality were both in Québec City. I had the house soup and boeuf bourguignon, and he had the house salad and cavatappi carbonara. The meal was absolutely amazing, as was our waitress, Bonnie. Even though the restaurant was packed, we got our food quickly, but were not rushed. We will definitely be back.”