MANCHESTER – Authentic handmade ravioli and slow simmered sauces. Fluffy housemade focaccia and dishes that will make you dream of the old country. Impeccable charcuterie boards sliced right in the dining room. There are just so many reasons why you must go to Campo.
Located on Elm Street in Manchester, New Hampshire, Campo Enoteca is a modern Roman restaurant modeled after the wine bars you find throughout Italy, according to Director of Operations, Peter Macone.
“Enoteca is very popular if you travel around Italy. They’re all around and it’s a very popular sort of hang out spot, casual wine bar. Kind of an open all the time, European feel.”
That is just what you will get at this warm inviting spot with a comfortable dining room, a small but spirited bar, and patio seating for the nice weather. The menu is lined with all of your favorite Italian dishes, made with locally sourced ingredients and housemade pastas.
“Every day, any pasta that you get is made right here, in-house, that morning,” Peter said. “The idea was to promote this traditional recipes and traditional ingredients.”
There is foccacia always being baked, while charcuterie is sliced up right in the dining room.
Back in the kitchen, you will find a steady stream of sauté pans preparing it all. To kick your meal off, there are fresh mussels flambéed with Sambuca, and crispy calamari that’s so good, no sauce is required.
“We don’t serve it with a red sauce. You can get it if you’d like, but we recommend you try it before you dip it in anything because it’s going to melt in your mouth,” explained Peter.
While most Italian places offer meatballs in marinara, at Campo, they do it a little bit differently, presenting them in a mushroom cream sauce seasoned with Aleppo pepper.
“People are always sort of taken aback by it. It’s a slight spice but a nice smoke too. You have the three polpetti [meatballs] in there, and then you have the cream sauce with some mushrooms,” Peter described. “It’s outstanding.”
Since the pastas are made in house, they are a must try. There is phenomenal Chicken Marsala over thick cut tagliatelle, which sucks up all of that sauce, and a Carbonara that cannot be matched.
“Unbelievable rich flavor. You’ll never have another carbonara again,” Peter declared. “A funny thing about the carbonara here is I get people that come in and get it, and then they’re stuck on it and they don’t explore the rest of our menu.”
There are traditional dishes you will not find on a lot of menus, like whole Branzino served with roasted rosemary potatoes and authentic Chingiale over radiatori.
“The Cinghiale is a very traditional Tuscan dish. We bring in the wild boar; we braise it overnight. A little bit of mushroom, red sauce and then some of the stock from the braising,” listed Peter. “It gets tossed with a house made Radiatori pasta. You have a big heaping dish.”
And of course, what would Sundays be without bracciole.
“We call it Sunday bracciole because we do it like your grandmother did it on Sunday. It’s slow-cooked in the red sauce. What we use is a local flank steak. We pound it really thin, Parmesan, breadcrumbs and basil,” described Peter. “When people see that on the menu, they go, ‘Oh my God, I haven’t seen that since I was in Italy.’ Or ‘I haven’t had that since my grandmother made it.’”
For something lighter, you could opt for pizza, like one topped with prosciutto and arugula, or Peter’s favorite, the Porketta Panino.
“It’s an open face. We do a sun-dried tomato pesto. We shave the porketta to order. The porketta goes on top, real thin slice. Shaved Asiago on top of that, which melts on to that porketta. Throw a sunny side local egg on top. It’s amazing. We give you a knife with it, you cut right through, the yolk runs. It’s beautiful.”
When dessert rolls around, you can opt for the towering Chocolate Aleppo Cake, or go with one of Campo’s Lemon Ricotta Cannoli.
“We fill it to order. We dip it in chocolate chips, a little presentation of chocolate chips on top with a little more filling. It’s really good.”
From fresh baked breads to perfect pastas and authentic eats, the tastes of Italy have never been closer than at Campo Enoteca. You can find it at 969 Elm Street in Manchester, New Hampshire, and online at campoenoteca.com.
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