I am a nachos aficionado, and I’m always on the hunt for some really great nachos. This post will outline some of my discoveries in my search for the best nachos in New Hampshire. Nachos come in a fabulous variety of shapes and sizes, with toppings that vary from the wild to the traditional. Some I liked, while some fell short of the excellence that I demand from nachos.
Here are the criteria that I will judge the nachos by:
- Quality of the Chips
- Size: Height vs. Width
- Variety of Toppings
- Distribution of Toppings
- Meltiness of the Cheese
- Visual Impression
In this post you will find my thoughts on the nachos from these fine restaurants:
Panther Pub and Grille
The Village Trestle
New England’s Tap House Grille
El Rincon Zacatecano
Los Primos Mexican Restaurant
The Tuckaway Tavern
Las Olas Tacqueria
The Farm Bar & Grille
CJ’s Great West Grill
Day of the Dead Taqueria
Iguanas Restaurant & Bar
Taquitos y Pastelitos
In Search of Nachos in New Hampshire
Panther Pub & Grille, Plymouth NH
Let’s get right into it. The Panther Pub and Grille always makes the list of WMUR’s annual best nachos list and they usually come in at #1! Based on this accolade, I knew this was a place I had to check out. This is a location that’s nowhere near me, but last summer on a trip up north, I made a detour just so we could visit this little restaurant. It’s a little bar mostly frequented by PSU students but I stopped in with my kids mid afternoon on a weekday so there was hardly anyone there.
The half-order of Panther Nachos is $13.99 + $2.00 for grilled chicken. I have to say that these nachos did not live up to the hype. Maybe the person that makes the REAL nachos was not on shift that day. These have to be an imposter. There’s no way that these were the nachos that were voted #1 by NH voters for several years running. If these are the best nachos that all of New Hampshire has to offer, what are we even doing.
Nacho Judging Criteria
- Quality of the Chips: The chips were decent tortillas. They were firm enough to hold up the melted toppings.
- Size: Height vs. Width: Served on a regular sized dinner plate, these nachos are vertically impressive and piled high. With that said, if you’re gonna go vertical with your nachos, then you have to have layerrrrrrrrrs of melted cheese strata in between, and these do. I found some evidence that these nachos had been built with layers.
- Variety of Toppings: These nachos had cheese, black olives (yum!), jalapenos, and grilled chicken. Sour cream and salsa were served on the side in very small cups. The salsa was not good. I needed a lot more sour cream, because these chips were dry.
- Distribution of Toppings: Abysmal. The melty cheese and toppings were all centered right on top, while the edges of the nachos were basically bare. This is an inherent problem when the nachos are tall vs. wide.
- Meltiness of the Cheese: The cheese was only well melted right in the center on top of the nachos. There, it was pretty good. But check out the perimeter chips. Completely overcooked and dried up.
- Visual Impression It was pretty uniform in color, with lots of beige and yellow.
All in all, I only got a few satisfying bites of nachos where everything was properly coated and melted. The majority of this plate of nachos was just pretty bare or overcooked to the point where whatever cheese had been on it was just toasted to oblivion.
The Village Trestle, Goffstown NH
Everyone in Goffstown raves about the nachos at The Village Trestle, the local bar in the village. On our town Facebook page, there is a post about nachos recommendations, and at least 23 people sing the praises of these nachos. One day, I had to see for myself. Their Nacho Platter is $10.95 and found in the appetizer section. You can also add chicken, beef, or chili for $2.00 more. (As of November 2022, the price has increased just $1 to $11.95)
Nacho Judging Criteria
- Quality of the Chips : These round chips are like Tostitos, straight outta the bag. These are not good chips, and way too salty. Honestly if they just had better chips, this would be one amazing platter of nachos.
- Size: Height vs. Width: The Trestle Nachos are huge and very impressive in their width. This could easily serve at least 4-6 people as an appetizer.
- Variety of Toppings: Excellent variety of toppings, with at least 2 kinds of cheese, tomatoes, diced peppers, onion, ground beef, with the salsa and sour cream served on the side. The salsa was watery and I didn’t care for it, but this is not a dealbreaker for nachos. The sour cream was wonderfully thick.
- Distribution of Toppings: Successful distribution. Every chip was coated. This is a well balanced plate of nachos.
- Meltiness of the Cheese: Meltiness was on point. These nachos were perfectly cooked. The edges were pretty crispy but luckily they saved it just before it got overcooked. Look at that cheese pull!
- Visual Impression Very impressive! They looked great when they came out and definitely have a wow factor from the size of them as well as the rainbow of colors.
I really, really wanted to love these pub grub nachos. I love the Trestle and all of their other food is so good. Their Nacho Platter is so, so close to greatness. But the chips are just Tostitos or something similar and they really hold the whole thing back. I’m eating it, and enjoying the toppings, but I can’t get past the Tostitos. Unfortunately I would not order this again because of the chips. I’d probably stick with the Trestle Burger which is absolutely amazing. I wrote a whole blog post about it.
New England’s Tap House Grill, Hooksett NH
I’ve always enjoyed everything that I ordered in the few times that I’ve been to the Tap House Grill over the years. The nachos on the menu caught my eye. The Tap House Nachos start at $9.50 for the personal size and can be customized with additional proteins.
Note: as of November 2022, it looks like they no longer offer two sizes, and the price is $11.75. You can add a protein for $4.50-$5.00.
These personal nachos are served piping hot in a little cast iron skillet. Nice presentation! The chips are artfully arranged in the skillet with the toppings piled up in the center. A Cabot cheese sauce is drizzled over the chips, and pooled in the bottom of the skillet. How does it stack up?
Nacho Judging Criteria
- Quality of the Chips: The corn chips were nice and sturdy. No complaints.
- Size: Height vs. Width This is a cute personal sized skillet, and the chips are arranged upright rather than flat.
- Variety of Toppings All very fresh and colorful: melted queso sauce, pico de gallo, jalapenos, and sour cream.
- Distribution of Toppings: The chips were arranged upright to fit into the skillet. It is a fun presentation, but does not allow for good coverage of the toppings. They were piled up in the center, and it was hard to reach the cheese sauce at the bottom of the pan.
- Meltiness of the Cheese: I love the use of the queso sauce, which has a wonderful taste that is different from just plain melted cheese. But inexplicably, the cheese sauce on these nachos was cold. I supposed they just didn’t heat it up long enough, but that was pretty disappointing. Game over.
- Visual Impression These are very beautiful nachos, as you can see! I was seated by the window so they looked great in the natural light. The shape of the skillet and the golden chips piled with red, green, and white all looked beautiful to the eye.
These nachos have a lot of potential, and if the cheese had been hot, it could have been great. If I went back I might try these again to see if they were improved.
El Rincon Zacatecano, Manchester NH
Welcome to my absolute favorite nachos in New Hampshire! El Rincon Zacatecano is just the loveliest little taqueria in Manchester. It’s no surprise that the best nachos come from an actual Mexican restaurant, as the quality of the tortilla chips is so much better than other places. The Nachos El Rincon start at $11.00 and are worth every penny. For a very small upcharge you can add shredded chicken, chicken chipotle, carne asada, carnitas, pastor, grilled veggies, or chorizo for $1-$2 extra.
Nacho Judging Criteria
- Quality of the Chips The freshly made fried corn tortillas are the real standouts in these nachos. These are not the same chips as the ones that come free with salsa at the start of your meal. There is no substitution for these incredible, freshly made chips.
- Size: Height vs. Width The Rincon Nachos are very large and wide, and fill up an entire oval dinner platter. They are arranged flat to support all the wonderful toppings, and I love the care they take in making the points of the chips face outwards almost like a star.
- Variety of Toppings There are so many fantastic toppings here. Refried beans, shredded chicken, tomatoes, onions, avocado, jalapenos, melted cheese, sour cream, and a sprinkle of cotija cheese.
- Distribution of Toppings El Rincon’s beans are so creamy and delicious and they are spread throughout as a base layer. The other ingredients are evenly distributed for maximum enjoyment. One of my favorite parts is the liberal use of sour cream drizzled over the whole thing, not just a blob in the middle. I love crema, so the more the merrier.
- Meltiness of the Cheese: Excellent cheese melting. The whole thing is a warm, soft hug.
- Visual Impression So stunning. These nachos look as good as they taste. I love the bright color of the plate, the star shaped presentation, and all the gorgeous colors of the toppings. The stripes of crema are really exciting, and that dusting of cotija cheese is just ::chef’s kiss::.
Every single bite of these nachos is a fiesta made with love. This is honestly just the most delicious, comforting thing I can think of. The fried corn tortilla chips are second to none. You will need a fork to eat these. After a while, the chips start getting soft and that just makes it even more delicious, like some good chilaquiles.
Los Primos, Merrimack NH
Los Primos is a cute little Mexican restaurant in Merrimack well deserving of a nachos visit. The nachos are found in the appetizer section, as you would expect, and they are $12.50 with a choice of ground beef or shredded chicken. I found out that you can upgrade to grilled chicken for just $1.75 more, for a total of $14.25. Worth it!!
- Quality of the Chips They have amazing tortilla chips! They are freshly fried and these homemade chips just sing throughout the nachos. Warm, crunchy, and flavorful.
- Size: Height vs. Width They are nice and wide and served on a square dish.
- Variety of Toppings The nachos are topped with refried beans followed by a coating of creamy, warm queso dip, a little shredded cheese, grilled chicken, diced tomatoes, lettuce, and sour cream. The grilled chicken and the beans had a really wonderful meaty flavor that was so delicious.
- Distribution of Toppings Everything was spread beautifully including the layer of beans. Every chip I plucked out had a beautiful bite on it.
- Meltiness of the Cheese Queso dip is absolutely the way to go. This gorgeous sauce enrobes the chips in flavor and warmth.
- Visual Impression They are just very pretty. There is a nice combination of colors with the golden chips, green lettuce, red tomatoes, and white queso and sour cream. These textures all come together for a very appealing presentation.
These beautiful nachos from Los Primos hit a couple of my very favorite things which are homemade tortilla chips plus warm, creamy queso dip poured over them.
The Tuckaway Tavern, Raymond NH
If you’ve been to the Tuckaway Tavern, in Raymond NH, then you know everything is a bit extra there. They’ve been on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and The Phantom Gourmet. A little over the top. The nachos are no exception, and they call them “Bring Back the Nachos” and they are $12.50. There’s a little twist: they don’t use tortilla chips! (As of November 2022, they are now $14.50)
Nacho Judging Criteria
- Quality of the Chips At the Tuckaway, they don’t use actual tortilla chips. They use fried pita chips dusted in cajun spices, and they are super thick and crunchy. These bad boys will hold up any kind of toppings. That said, did I love them? No. They’re actually too heavy and you get full way too fast.
- Size: Height vs. Width These nachos fill up an entire dinner plate, but they’re also mounded with some height. There are lots of layers built into the center. You could feed a tableful of people (possibly an army) as an appetizer with these.
- Variety of Toppings There are so many toppings on these nachos that it would be easier to ask: What is not on these nachos? They’re loaded with their roadhouse chili which has bison, kielbasa, and pork belly along with roasted vegetables, cheddar and verde sauce. Add to that some street corn, bacon, lettuce, scallion, chipotle aioli, and peppadew and you’ve got a huuuuuuge pile of food.
- Distribution of Toppings Amazing. I actually had to dig around to find some chips to pluck out. It’s thoroughly coated from one edge of the plate to the other.
- Meltiness of the Cheese The cheese was perfectly melted and had even coverage amongst all the many other ingredients.
- Visual Impression This is a hot, steamy, huge pile of food! There are lots of colors to catch your eye and the first thing you notice is the large cuts of green onions and bright red peppadews on the top. I have to say it was SUPER dark in the restaurant where I was seated and I actually had to turn on the flashlight on my phone to read the menu. So it was a little hard to even see what I was eating.
In terms of construction, there was actually nothing wrong with these nachos. They are very well put together, nice balance of height vs. width, proper distribution and tons of toppings. So why didn’t I love it? After a few bites really all I could taste was the cajun spice powder and I was picking up something with sticky sweetness. Kinda tasted like overly sweet BBQ sauce but I’m not sure if there was any of that in the nachos.
I wanted to like it. I heard so many people rave about it. For me it came down to the chips (as usual). I’m just not into the pita chips as a substitution for tortilla chips. I also don’t love corn on nachos. And the Cajun dust didn’t help anything.
Am I too picky? Are nachos really just an ingredient dump? Or are they a carefully curated work of art, with each topping considered for its flavor, weight, and overall contribution?
Las Olas Taqueria, Hampton NH
Stopping at Las Olas Taqueria in a Rite Aid plaza in Hampton NH was a complete accident, and a pleasant discovery. I needed a place to stop for supper after shooting a wedding, and of course something with the name “taqueria” had my attention. This little restaurant slings tacos, burritos and such and they add any toppings you like as you go down the line cafeteria-style. The nachos are served in a paper basket and are about $9.74 depending on which protein you chose. I got chicken.
Nacho Judging Criteria
- Quality of the Chips When I saw the pre-made baskets of chips stacked up on the counter, I thought “this can’t be good.” However, I was pleasantly surprised when the server slammed a huge fistful of shredded cheese onto the chips and placed the whole thing in the oven for a couple of minutes. The menu says the chips are “homemade corn tortilla chips” and they were actually pretty good and sturdy. At least they weren’t Tostitos.
- Size: Height vs. Width They were served in a little paper basket that was quite perfect for nachos. It was wide enough to spread out the chips at the bottom a bit, and the toppings piled up in the center.
- Variety of Toppings This little restaurant has just about anything you could want for toppings, and it’s all up to you. I chose grilled chicken, pico de gallo, black beans, sour cream, chopped cilantro (a handful!!), spicy aioli and guacamole.
- Distribution of Toppings I have to say the staff does a great job at slinging tacos and burritos at top speed. Even though it’s fast paced, they pile on the toppings in generous amounts and I thought it all distributed itself quite well, even if sort of by accident.
- Meltiness of the Cheese Since the shredded cheese was freshly melted in the oven, it was very nicely done.
- Visual Impression They looked good! Considering the speed with which these nachos were put together, they still came out beautifully.
I was very happy with the chips, the quality of the individual toppings, and the way it all settled nicely in the little basket. This was a very delicious, filling, happy little serving of nachos. It was quite a lot of food for under $10. You’ll have to forgive my terrible cell phone photo. I wasn’t planning on taking a picture, or even eating there at all, but I’m glad I did.
The Farm Bar & Grille, Manchester NH
The Farm is a pretty popular restaurant and bar on Elm St in Manchester. I kept hearing that they have good pub grub and that their nachos are great, so I stopped in on a quiet Tuesday at lunchtime. The BBQ Nachos are on the Starters menu, and are $10.95 for the personal size, and $15.95 for the shareable. I got the personal size, and to add guacamole and sour cream was a total of $3 more.
Nacho Judging Criteria
- Quality of the Chips The quality of the chips was ok. I literally measure everything against, “were they Tostitos??” and these were not, so they were ok.
- Size: Height vs. Width These nachos were mostly piled up pretty high on a regular sized plate rather than spread around on a wide platter. In terms of size, I am an absolute PIG and the personal size was more than I could finish. I cannot imagine how big the shareable size would be.
- Variety of Toppings I purchased the additional toppings of guacamole and sour cream, and they really delivered. I’m pretty sure the $3 they charged me probably didn’t cover the cost of the great amount they gave me. You can also add on jalapenos for an upcharge if you like. Additionally, these nachos have cheddar, pulled pork, pico de gallo, and BBQ sauce. But let me discuss the BBQ sauce and pork: it was so sweet and sugary that it kind of overtook the entire thing.
- Distribution of Toppings The toppings were mostly in the middle of the nachos, including most of the cheese. In fact, I started to wonder if there was any cheese at all until I realized that it was all underneath the sour cream and guacamole. But it was definitely there and not spread to all the edges of the nachos. A lot of the other toppings did not really extend to the edges of the nachos, so there were quite a few dry ones that had been overtoasted.
- Meltiness of the Cheese The cheese was mostly centered in the middle of the nachos, and I never even got to it until I ate through all the sour cream and guacamole. So it was there, and it was definitely melted, but it was so buried by the cold ingredients that by the time I got to it it was kind of congealed and no longer hot. Would it have been better if the guac and sour cream were served on the side? Maybe. I’m thinking that might be a good way to do it so you can also enjoy the cheese while it’s still melted and warm.
- Visual Impression Overall they looked nice. The biggest wow factor was the two scoops of guac and sour cream. I could smell the bbq sauce as soon as it arrived.
Other than the candied pulled pork, this is a pretty decent plate of nachos.
CJ’s Great West Grill
A rebranding a few years ago changed the name of CJ’s Great West Grill, but to me it will always be Cactus Jack’s. I’ve been eating there for 20 years and have always loved it. It’s one of my family’s favorites. But in all this time, have I ever had their nachos? I don’t think I have, and I decided to change that….. for research. The CJ’s Trail Nachos are on the appetizer menu, and they are $14.99 which puts them at the higher end of all the nachos in this article so far. You have a choice of chicken or ground beef at no additional charge.
Nacho Judging Criteria
- Quality of the Chips CJ’s have their own chips that they use in a variety of their dishes, and they are quite good. They are a mixture of white and red tortilla chips, and lightly coated in their own signature house blend of spices. They’re a bit thinner than your usual Mexican corn chips, but they still hold up well and have a lovely crunch.
- Size: Height vs. Width The nachos are served on one of CJ’s oval dinner plates which have more surface area than the circle plates. So these nachos are wider than they are tall.
- Variety of Toppings CJ’s Trail Nachos come with tortilla chips, melted cheese, shredded chicken, pico de gallo, jalapeno, lettuce, and sour cream. There were also a few leaves of cilantro and a sprinkle of green onions. I had to look pretty hard for the pico de gallo. I don’t know how I feel about the lettuce since it was put into the oven and toasted…..thankfully there wasn’t much of it.
- Distribution of Toppings I was absolutely delighted to discover that there is an entire second layer under the tortilla chips! That is a wonderful sign of attention to detail. The ingredients were thickly layered in the center of the nachos, but dropped off a bit towards the edges and there were some dry chips. This is not entirely a bad thing, because sometimes you need some empty chips for all that stuff in the middle.
- Meltiness of the Cheese Overall the cheese was perfect on the nachos. All of the shredded cheese looked melted and had a smooth texture. It got a little over toasted around the edges but I think it was saved just in time.
- Visual Impression These were not the prettiest nachos I’ve ever seen, just being a little on the sloppy side. They made up for their lack of looks with a great taste, but usually CJ’s does a nice job with presentation.
At first impression I was a little skeptical about them having the right distribution but after I dug around a bit they were actually very good. I have a pretty decent amount of trust in CJ’s Great West Grill because of being a loyal customer for 20 years. They are always consistent so I had faith in these.
Day of the Dead Taqueria | Litchfield, NH
The Day of the Dead Taqueria in Litchfield NH is a super fun, colorful place that is relatively new. It’s actually located in Spookyworld/Nightmare New England and Mel’s Funway Park. It’s easy to spot right between the bumper boats and the mini golf. And the best part is that it’s open all year round, not just when the park is in operation. The DOTD Nachos are $12.25 with your choice of seasoned grilled chicken or beef.
Nacho Judging Criteria
- Quality of the Chips The chips are nice and thick and crunchy. They are the same ones that come with the free salsa at the beginning of the meal.
- Size: Height vs. Width They’re served on a large round dinner plate and they are a perfect size. The nachos fill the whole space of the plate with a nice mound of toppings at the middle.
- Variety of Toppings In addition to chicken or beef, these are served with cheese, refried beans, lettuce, tomato, guacamole and sour cream, and jalapenos. I actually took the lime wedge from my Corona and squeezed it over the nachos for a bright addition of citrus and it was wonderful. The combination of hot and cold toppings was really nice.
- Distribution of Toppings Perfect! The nachos were well covered.
- Meltiness of the Cheese The cheese was wonderful. I am not sure if it was just plain melted cheese, or if it was a cheese sauce. It was super creamy and delicious.
- Visual Impression Such a nice combination of colors! I think, if they wanted to, they could style the presentation a little bit and make a much neater visual impression that would be so gorgeous.
I’m very glad that I tried the nachos at the Day of the Dead Taqueria. These make a wonderful addition to my list of nachos in New Hampshire. They get a very strong positive review from me!
California Burritos, Manchester NH
Despite its name, California Burritos is a local restaurant with just four locations around southern New Hampshire. It’s kind of like Mexican fast food and it’s so good. They specialize in grilled marinated steak that is chopped fresh for each and every order. And of course, they have nachos on the menu! Don’t look up at the main menu above the counter; you have to look down along the countertop where they have a few “house specialty” items listed such as the California burrito, Carne Asada Fries, and of course the Steak Nachos, and they’re only $10.50.
Nacho Judging Criteria
- Quality of the Chips The chips are freshly fried tortillas, and you can actually see them being fried right behind the counter.
- Size: Height vs. Width The nachos are nice and wide, and served on the little red plastic trays for dining in.
- Variety of Toppings The steak nachos, if you get them with everything that’s listed in the description, comes with melted cheese, freshly chopped grilled marinated steak, pinto beans, salsa verde, pico de gallo, guacamole, and sour cream. The salsa verde is a liquid that they ladle over the top, and when it soaks into the chips it’s just magical. The pico de gallo was also very generous and delicious with bits of cilantro in it that is absolutely necessary in my opinion.
- Distribution of Toppings Great job! Everything was spread over the nachos in a nice thick layer.
- Meltiness of the Cheese When you order the nachos, they put shredded cheese on the tortillas and then take it to the back to toast it. There wasn’t enough cheese for my preference, but the other toppings were so good that I hardly missed it.
- Visual Impression Very nice looking nachos! The sour cream squeezed in stripes over the top is my favorite.
The Steak Nachos from California Burritos are an absolute winner if you want something fast, cheap, and fantastic. For the quality of chips and toppings, you absolutely cannot beat that $11 price, and it’s served up fast.
Smokehaus, Amherst NH
Smokehaus is a barbecue restaurant in Amherst, NH that specializes in all kinds of smoked meats and delicious bbq sides, along with many delicious homemade sauces. Their meats are in high demand, and they often sell out which is why they’re open until the meat is gone or they close, whichever comes first.
They don’t normally have nachos on the menu, but this week they had Brisket Nachos on the specials board so I had to give it a try. They are a perfect little personal portion and they were $10.99.
Nacho Judging Criteria
- Quality of the Chips The chips were freshly made and had a nice crispiness to them. By the time I got to the bottom, they started getting pretty soft and I needed a fork. I actually like when that happens because you get such a range of textures.
- Size: Height vs. Width These were served in a little foil takeout pan which was the perfect size for a personal portion.
- Variety of Toppings These nachos are constructed with freshly made corn chips, beef brisket, melted cheese sauce, diced tomatoes, jalapeno, scallion, and lime aioli. There was also salsa served in a cup on the side but I really didn’t like it so I’m glad it wasn’t included on the nachos. The brisket, as you might expect from a barbecue place, was the highlight. It had great flavor and gave a meaty and smoky flavor to the nachos.
- Distribution of Toppings Perfect! Creating the nachos in a little container makes it easy to just pile everything in.
- Meltiness of the Cheese They used a cheese sauce which I believe was a mornay. Which you know I love. It was smooth and creamy and very enjoyable.
- Visual Impression Very pretty! These happy little nachos have lots of colors and textures and look very nice in their little round “boat.”
All in all these were very nice nachos. They were warm and creamy and comforting although they didn’t have a ton of flavor other than the brisket. Still, I enjoyed them very much and I thought it was a very nice addition to their specials menu.
Iguanas Restaurant & Bar
Iguanas is located on Maple St. in Manchester in a plaza just next to Gill Stadium. It’s a kind of new-ish Mexican restaurant that also features some Honduran food. I popped in on a very quiet late Tuesday afternoon. Their Nachos are almost hard to find on the menu, way down at the bottom of a page. They have Bean Nachos ($9) listed in the appetizer section, and I think the entrée Nachos are just the same thing with the addition of either chicken or carne asada. They are $13.
Nacho Judging Criteria
- Quality of the Chips The tortilla chips were homemade (I’m pretty sure) and they started out crunchy and got progressively softer as I went on, which I don’t mind. But they didn’t have as good a flavor as some other places. They weren’t bad at all, just kind of lacking.
- Size: Height vs. Width These nachos are the size of a large round dinner plate and are mostly flat.
- Variety of Toppings Iguanas’ nachos come with cheese, black beans, pico de gallo, diced carne asada, sour cream, and lettuce. Sooooo much lettuce. The pico de gallo had a really nice flavor and the steak was also very good.
- Distribution of Toppings Everything was very nicely spaced out and there was good coverage. The overabundance of lettuce, however, made me feel like I was actually eating a salad. There was a lot more lettuce underneath that you can’t see in the photos.
- Meltiness of the Cheese The cheese was warm and melty and made everything stick together.
- Visual Impression Nice presentation and balance of colors. The white sour cream drizzle is always a nice touch, and I noticed right away all the great looking steak. These nachos are also very green from all the lettuce.
My favorite parts of these nachos were the steak and the flavorful pico de gallo. Both of those items were really good! Other than that, it was too much lettuce and the chips had great texture but kind of lacked in flavor. Overall they were okay.
Taquitos y Pastelitos | Manchester NH
Taquitos y Pastelitos To Go is a little Mexican take-out restaurant on Valley Street in Manchester. It’s a little yellow building where you pick up your food by ringing a doorbell, and they pass your order out to you through a little steel cabinet door in the exterior wall. There is no indoor dining at all, and in fact you can’t even step foot in there. Their House Nachos are in the Lunch & Dinner section of the menu, and they are $14.
- Quality of the Chips The chips were great as you would expect from a Mexican restaurant. They were all different shapes and sizes, so you could tell they were cut from actual tortillas.
- Size: Height vs. Width These nachos come in a standard entree-sized styrofoam container, and they fill the whole space being both wide and piled up layers.
- Variety of Toppings The house nachos come with mozzarella cheese, pinto beans, pico de gallo, guacamole and a meat of your choice. I wasn’t sure what the options were on the online ordering system, so I just wrote “chicken please” in the comments section and they delivered a really nice seasoned chicken. Sour cream and a wonderful salsa verde come in separate containers. The guacamole was not exactly appetizing as it was pretty brown, but it had a lot of lime in it which really tasted good and the acid serves to slow down the browning process. Maybe that’s why there was so much lime in it.
- Distribution of Toppings Everything was nicely coated and there was a good amount of toppings to offset the chips.
- Meltiness of the Cheese Really nice! I don’t often see mozzarella used in a Mexican restaurant but it melts nicely and has a neutral flavor.
- Visual Impression Well, it was kind of a hot mess. It’s really hard to have a good experience with takeout food, especially with something like nachos that needs a good presentation. Nothing is really that good when it’s in a box and travels in a car. The guacamole was brown and didn’t look great, and it was kind of squashed by the lid (I fluffed it up with a fork for the photo).
These are definitely not the best nachos in New Hampshire. Picking up the food is a bit like trying to access a speakeasy, and the actual vehicle of takeout containers never bodes well for much of anything. The guacamole was a brown mess and not very appetizing.
Consuelo’s Taqueria | Manchester NH
Consuelo’s is a staple of downtown Manchester and has been there for many years. It’s a convenient spot for people working downtown to grab lunch. They have Nachos on the menu in the “Y Mas” section, and they are $7.00, or $8.25 with chicken or beef.
- Quality of the Chips The chips weren’t super fresh and crisp. It seemed like they had been out for a while.
- Size: Height vs. Width For such a low price point, I thought the portion size would be tiny but it’s not as small as you might think. It’s served on a little plastic tray, and they are spread out to the edges of the tray.
- Variety of Toppings These nachos are served with Monterey jack and cheddar cheese, sour cream, guacamole, jalapenos, and fresh salsa. The fresh salsa seemed like little more than diced tomatoes and a smidge of onion. I liked the scoop of guacamole covered in cilantro. I ordered the chicken for the nachos, and it was just plain roasted chicken with no seasonings.
- Distribution of Toppings While the toppings were distributed nicely, there was a notably small of cheese and therefore there was nothing to hold it all together.
- Meltiness of the Cheese On the few chips that had cheese, it was melted nicely. Unfortunately there just was not nearly enough of it and these nachos were overall pretty dry.
- Visual Impression They looked very nice, and had lots of pretty colors. At first glance you notice that there doesn’t seem to be much cheese.
Sadly, these nachos just never stood a chance with such a lack of cheese. That, along with missing flavor from any seasonings, leaves these nachos near the bottom of my rankings.
Riverside Grille | New Boston NH
Riverside Grille is the newest restaurant in the Goffstown/New Boston area, and they offer Nachos on the appetizer menu. They are $13, and to add on a protein is an upcharge of $4-5. We went with chicken, which was a total of $18.
Nacho Judging Criteria:
- Quality of the Chips These chips were actually very good! The tortilla chips are a trio of white, red, and blue corn and they tasted very freshly made.
- Size: Height vs. Width The nachos come on a little tray lined with paper, and they extend almost to the edges. These could work either as a shareable or a personal entrée.
- Variety of Toppings The Riverside Grille nachos are layered with cheese, raw peppers, red onions, jalapenos, and diced tomatoes. Salsa and sour cream come on the side. We also added chicken to these which comes chopped. I don’t think the chicken was seasoned much.
- Distribution of Toppings For the most part, the toppings were spread out beautifully. The cheese, however, was mostly in the middle which left a lot of the nachos kind of dry, with the other toppings not sticking to anything and just rolling off.
- Meltiness of the Cheese The cheese in the middle was nicely melted and delicious. However, around the outer nachos you can see where the cheese was, but it was not thick enough so it vaporized in the oven.
- Visual Impression These are gorgeous! How can you not love the vibrant reds, yellows, greens, and reds? The colors are amazing, and the presentation on the tray with black and white paper is really nice. This is a great looking platter of nachos.
Overall, these are some of the prettiest nachos I’ve seen in New Hampshire, but they fail a bit in the construction and flavor. They were overall kind of dry and toppings rolled off because they didn’t stick much where the cheese wasn’t thick enough. Also they just didn’t have a ton of flavor due to the unseasoned chicken, plain vegetables, (the salsa on the side helped, but there wasn’t much of it). It’s probably fine as an appetizer to share with drinks, but I wouldn’t get it again as an entrée. Sometimes I don’t mind paying $18 for nachos, but they need to be amazing and these weren’t it.
B’s Tacos | Manchester NH
B’s Tacos is a wonderful little Tex-Mex place on the West Side of Manchester. They also have a very popular food truck in the summer months. I have always loved their crispy tacos (the shells are incredible), and so when I heard they now offer nachos, I was excited and I hoped that the tortilla chips would be the same shells. These nachos are $10.99 with your choice of ground beef, chicken, pork carnitas, etc.
Nacho Judging Criteria:
- Quality of the Chips The first time I had their crispy taco shells at their food truck in Londonderry, I fell in love. They were incredible. Since then, I’ve eaten at the Manchester location a couple of times and haven’t quite had the same taste. They’re always good, but it hasn’t been the life changing experience from before. So these tortilla chips are very nice but not epic. They were also pretty salty.
- Size: Height vs. Width Size? These are absolutely massive. They come on a foil wrapped sheet pan! They are arranged to cover the whole pan.
- Variety of Toppings The nachos have raw green peppers, onions, tomatoes, and black beans, plus tons of cheese. There is also a whole lot of pork carnitas. Red salsa, green salsa, and sour cream come in little cups on the side.
- Distribution of Toppings Everything was beautifully spread out, and all the chips were covered with toppings and cheese. That said, for some reason the toppings didn’t stick to the chips. I had a hard time getting a good bite with everything on it, because things kept falling off (I made a huge mess, which I cleaned up) and leaving me with a dry chip. You definitely need the help of a fork.
- Meltiness of the Cheese The massive amount of cheese was beautifully melted, and I can tell it was carefully watched because it was not over-toasted in a single place.
- Visual Impression Wow! They look great. The platter is huge, the amount of cheese is staggering, and all the toppings are very colorful.
Overall, these nachos were good but not the best on this list. My favorite parts were the carnitas, and the green salsa. I wish the toppings had stuck to the chips better.
Taco Beyondo | Hillsboro NH
Taco Beyondo is a beloved Hillsborough institution. They had carnitas nachos on special one week and they were $12.99.
- Quality of the Chips Nope. I saw the stacks of bags of chips behind the counter. These were pre-packaged and not freshly made. I wish I had known that before I made the 40 minute drive. The round shape is a dead giveaway. Looks just like Tostitos.
- Size: Height vs. Width The nachos were served in an entree sized styrofoam takeout container, so they were fairly large.
- Variety of Toppings The Taco Beyondo nachos were topped with melted cheddar jack cheese, pork carnitas, super sweet bbq sauce drizzle, queso sauce and pico de gallo. The sour cream, salsa, and guacamole were served on the side in little cups. There was a little pile of shredded iceberg lettuce in the corner so you can add that yourself.
- Distribution of Toppings The takeout box was piled high with toppings, and everything was poured over nicely. Pretty good distribution, and there was enough of each ingredient so you can prepare a good bite with each chip.
- Meltiness of the Cheese The shredded cheese was nicely melted, but the addition of the queso sauce was what really did it for me. Always queso. It elevates nachos from plain melted cheese to something much greater.
- Visual Impression It was okay. This was only a weekly special item, so it’s not like they serve nachos all the time. From a visual perspective, the round pre-packaged chips were a dead giveaway that this probably wasn’t going to score high for me. Other than that, the large chunks of carnitas were very nice to look at, and also the smooth queso poured over the top was very exciting.
Sadly, there were two things that really brought these nachos down: inferior chips and the super sweet bbq sauce. It was just so sugary and overwhelming. I really couldn’t get over how overpowering that sauce was. It was like pouring syrup all over the nachos and not even the queso could save it. Honestly I love their tacos so I was a little surprised at how the nachos turned out. Not what I expected.
Hermanos Cocina Mexicana
Hermanos Cocina Mexicana, or just “Hermanos” to the locals, is a longtime Concord Mexican food institution. They have some very well-loved nachos there that everyone swears by, and these are the Famous Garlic Chicken Nachos. They often appear on any “Best of NH Nachos” list that you might find. I have had them before, but it had been a while, so I recently took a trip back to refresh my memory about them. They are offered in half size ($10) and full size ($18).
- Quality of the Chips The yellow corn tortilla chips were great as you would expect at a Mexican restaurant. The menu states that they are fried fresh daily, and I definitely tasted that.
- Size: Height vs. Width The half size takes up a full square shaped dinner plate. Low and flat!
- Variety of Toppings The cheese is a blend of Cabot monterey jack and cheddar, topped with chicken, garlic dressing, and jalapenos. Mild and spicy salsas are served on the side. The mild salsa was little more than raw diced tomatoes and a few onions. The spicy salsa however was pretty neat! It was pickled jalapenos which gave a lovely bright acidic taste.
- Distribution of Toppings These nachos were very well covered by all the ingredients. Actually there was so much topping that I ran out of chips! I ended up dumping both containers of the mild and spicy “salsas” over the top to add more color and flavor, which helped.
- Meltiness of the Cheese The cheese was pretty darn perfect. It was the right thickness, the right spread over all the chips, and I loved the way the garlic dressing melted right into the cheese for a super garlicy glaze over everything.
- Visual Impression The visual impression is one of BEIGE. There are no colors to these nachos whatsoever, except for maybe some green jalapenos peeking out under the cheese.
While these nachos were definitely not bad, they were a little bland with so few ingredients. But that’s okay because these are simply Garlic & Chicken nachos and they are neither more nor less than that. They are exactly what they claim to be. But what is impressive and notable is that $10 price point! You just can’t get a huge plate of warm cheesy comfort food for 10 bucks anymore.
AAAAAND NOW. . . . OUTSIDE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
Savannah Tequila Co. | Savannah, GA
I know this is a post about nachos in New Hampshire, but sometimes in my travels I run across something really great to share with you. I found these incredible nachos at the Savannah Tequila Company in the Plant Riverside complex on River Street in Savannah, GA. They were amazing! These are called the Chicken Tinga Nachos, found in the Starters section of the menu, and they are a whopping $18!! These are what I would call fancy nachos.
Nacho Judging Criteria
- Quality of the Chips The chips were great! They were actually very thin and light. If you’ve ever had Xochitl chips, they are a lot like that. The whole thing was stylish in design, from the chips to the dish it was plated on.
- Size: Height vs. Width These nachos were both wide and stacked up, but not too tall. It was just right.
- Variety of Toppings Wow! There was a lot going on here. These nachos had: Chicken Tinga, Queso Blanco, Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, Black Beans, Poblana Crema, and Jalapeños.
- Distribution of Toppings Really amazing. These were some seriously well built nachos. I actually ran out of chips before I ran out of toppings.
- Meltiness of the Cheese Here’s the amazing part! There was queso blanco sauce instead of melted shredded cheese. It was poured so luxuriously over the chips, and around the toppings. Wow, wow, wow!!
- Visual Impression These nachos were so gorgeous and I regret that my photo didn’t fully do it justice. The toppings were actually artful in their consideration of colors and textures. There was a sweet little sprig of cilantro on top that offered a pretty flair, and the swirls of dripping queso were so beautiful.
I sure did enjoy this nacho & margarita meal. Do we have any place in New Hampshire that makes nachos like this? I’m still on a mission to find out.
Guy Fieri’s Tequila Cocina | Boston, MA
So, what have I learned after eating sooooo many different nachos around the state of New Hampshire? Here are a few things that come to mind since becoming a self-proclaimed expert.
- Just because a bunch of people say it’s good doesn’t mean it is. I’ve been very confused over some highly rated and recommended nachos.
- The chips make or break a plate of nachos. If the chips aren’t good, it’s game over.
- Lettuce, for me, is only good on nachos when it’s iceberg. Iceberg is cold and crisp while adding texture but little flavor. When other types of lettuce are used, it becomes too robust and feels more like salad. Of course good lettuce is imperative in other dishes, but for me, on nachos it needs to be iceberg.
- Cheese sauce/Queso is superior over melted shredded cheese, and I would argue that it’s absolutely necessary to elevate the nachos from pub grub to something amazing. It is highly unlikely that you find this in places other than Mexican restaurants.
- Sour cream, crema, or some kind of aioli is absolutely necessary. And it needs to be ON the nachos, not in a little plastic cup on the side. I call them little cups of sadness. Sour cream is such an incredible ingredient and does not deserve to be isolated in plastic like that.
- Beans, if used, are great because they add a meatiness to the flavor, but they need to be mashed up a bit or refried, and applied as a spread. Whole beans just roll around and don’t stick to anything.
This post will be continuously updated as I sample more nachos throughout the area. Do you have any recommendations? Which nachos are your favorite? What makes a perfect nacho?
New Hampshire Food Photography
Erika Follansbee is a published Goffstown, NH food photographer whose job is to make food look amazing. She is available for hire to help small restaurants and cafes to create beautiful images of their dishes to use for marketing, websites, and social media. Magazine-quality food images are the best form of advertisement.
Erika is also a wedding photographer. Visit www.erikafollansbee.com for more information.