Fine Dining

Best Vermont Restaurants for Special Occasions

One of my favorite Facebook messages to receive is this: “Erin, it’s our {enter special occasion here}. We need your recommendation for the best Vermont restaurants to celebrate!” This happens frequently. I always throw out ideas for my favorite Vermont restaurants for special occasions across the state. Some restaurants are well-known and others are off the beaten path. But all of them are splurge-worthy restaurants to celebrate with delicious food and an inviting ambiance… Engagements, anniversaries, birthdays, promotions, Valentine’s Day… Whatever life event encourages you to stop, slow down, and truly enjoy one another, these Vermont restaurants will fit the bill.

This year, my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. It just so happened to be the day before my 32 birthday. My sister and her husband came to Vermont from Boston to celebrate. We wanted a low-key, intimate dinner with memorable food in a memorable space. After all, 40 years is a serious accomplishment. For this celebration, I knew immediately where to make the reservation… the home to the best meal I’ve had in Vermont: Michael’s on the Hill in Waterbury. And that’s where we went. And we had a phenomenal meal. But throughout the state, there are so many Vermont restaurants to try if you’re looking for a special meal. Here are my top selections for splurge-worthy Vermont restaurants for your next special occasion.

What are you favorite Vermont restaurants for a special occasion? Share in the comments below to keep the conversation going!

Best Restaurants in Vermont for Special Occasions

Michael’s on the Hill, Waterbury Center, Vermont

Michael’s on the Hill is my most recommended restaurant in Vermont. It’s within a few miles of Stowe and Waterbury in Waterbury Center and set on a hill in an 1820’s farmhouse. The food is inspired by European comfort food, focusing on sustainable food with the best Vermont ingredients. The menu changes seasonally. Michael’s on the Hill also offers tasting menus (Gold or Platinum), which boasts tremendous value and exceptional dishes… Request a table on the porch for a more intimate setting and to take in the expansive mountain views to the west.

Hen of the Wood, Waterbury, Vermont or Burlington, Vermont

Hen of the Wood is probably the most well-known fine dining restaurant in Vermont. There are two locations: one in Waterbury and a second in downtown Burlington, next to Hotel Vermont. Hen is the epitome of excellent food and service. The waitstaff is beyond knowledgable, not only about the menu items, but the farms and providers of the ingredients in them. The menu changes nightly. And you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. It’s all perfectly crafted, every single time. Enjoy oysters at the bar at Hen of the Wood in Burlington and Heady Topper on draught. Or, if you have a big party, request the sunken center of the grist mill in Waterbury.

275 Main, The Pitcher Inn, Warren, Vermont

275 Main, located within The Pitcher Inn in Warren, is the hidden gem of fine dining in Vermont. The Pitcher Inn is my favorite getaway location in Vermont for special occasions. The dishes crated by Chef Sue Shickler match the quality of the Inn as a Relais & Chateaux property. Additionally, her meals are stunning and taste absurdly good. The ambiance of 275 Main is classic Vermont… You feel as if you’re in the dining room of a stately country home. Come as you are… Even though The Pitcher Inn is a premiere inn in Vermont, there’s no need for a suit and tie. In the warmer months, enjoy dinner out on the patio. Or, if you’re looking for a digestif and some games (pool, shuffleboard, etc.) after dinner, head down into the rustic basement level to Tracks for a quintessential Vermont end to your special occasion.

The Mill at Simon Pearce, Quechee, Vermont

The glassware isn’t the only thing that’s stunning at Simon Pearce in Quechee, Vermont. The ambiance and food combined at the Mill at Simon Pearce lead to a special meal for a celebration. Voted one of “America’s Most Romantic Restaurants” by Travel and Leisure, the Mill hangs over the Ottauquechee River and has a waterfall and covered bridge as a scenic backdrop. Request a table on the porch to take in the beautiful views of the river and covered bridge in any season. The menu is not huge and changes regularly. But every dish on the menu is well-crafted and artfully presented.

Starry Night Cafe, Ferrisburgh, Vermont

When I was in college, Starry Night was always the place I would want to go when my parents came to visit. I continue to love frequenting Starry Night for their innovative meals, friendly staff, and killer cocktails. The menu at Starry Night is diverse yet everyone I dine with always loves what they order. Some favorites include their Cornmeal-Crusted Calamari with a coconut dipping sauce, Seared Salmon with mashed and wilted greens, and their Beef Tenderloin, served with a cheddar gratin and herbed bone marrow butter. In the summer months, ask to be seated in their enclosed patio or in their circular back room for your special occasion meal.

Peasant, Waitsfield, Vermont

If a celebration to you is rooted in unpretentious, quality comfort food, Peasant in Waitsfield is a must. The family-run restaurant boasts some of the best food in the Mad River Valley and is prepared with nothing but love. The menu is Italian with everything made from scratch – sauces, pastas, meats. Additionally, the restaurant is small and cozy – classic rustic Vermont charm. Don’t miss the Escargot in Garlic and Herb Butter, Vermont Pork Bolognese, or the Pan-Roasted Salmon with Maple-Balsamic Reduction. Their cocktails are also outstanding.

Tourterelle, New Haven, Vermont

Located just outside of Middlebury in New Haven, Tourterelle (French for turtle dove) is a phenomenal location for a special French-inspired meal (or your wedding). Owners Christine, who runs the front of house, and Bill, who leads the kitchen, are sweet as can be. Their pride for what they do is evident in every meal they serve. Oysters on the half shell or a seasonal crêpe is a great start to the meal. A large bowl of Chef Bill’s famous Bouillabaise is always my go to, although his specials and steaks are always noteworthy. And don’t miss the housemade desserts… especially the crème brûlée. In a chilly night, ask to sit in the fireplace room, or if you have a larger party for your celebration, ask for the porch room for a more private area.

What are you favorite Vermont restaurants for a special occasion? Share in the comments below to keep the conversation going!

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