Burlington is well-worth a trip in it's own right, and there are plenty of good places to eat when you get there. I haven't even come close to trying all of the places on my list, but here's what I recommend so far. If you're in Burlington, there should be plenty for you to do to occupy your time in between meals (isn't that how everyone spends their vacations?), ranging from countless brewery tours and tap rooms to spending time by Lake Champlain to window shopping along Church Street.
For A Cafè Experience: August First
August First is a local bakery and cafe in Burlington serving up breakfast and lunch treats like no other. You can enjoy anything from pastries to breakfast sandwiches to salads and soups. We stopped for lunch on a cold December day and I loved my first-ever grain bowl with chickpeas and herbs. My mint hot chocolate was rich and homemade. I like that they have a no-screens policy, which keeps this cafe nostalgic, pre-internet and laptops and Pokemon Go. Everyone needs a go-to quick stop for breakfast or lunch in a big city, and August First is your place in Burlington.
For Pizza: Pizzeria Veritá
I worked at a Neapolitan pizzeria throughout high school and into college, and Pizzeria Veritá definitely impressed me. I went with the classic Margherita, to let the ingredients shine through - the doughy but blistered crust, the acidic and sweet tang of the tomato sauce, and the creamy mozzarella with fresh basil. I could tell - these were high quality ingredients and the oven was no joke - it came out in minutes, perfectly cooked and reminiscent of Italy. They have salads, antipasti, and a beautiful array of specialty pizzas. I also enjoyed a specialty holiday cocktail which was also delightful. Hint: They also offer Gluten Free pizza crust! They do take reservations.
For Italian: Trattoria Delia
I have high standards for homemade pasta, and Trattoria Delia made the cut. Stepping into this restaurant literally feels like stepping back in time - like you've walked into a grandma's kitchen in Tuscany 50 years ago. A friend and I shared the massive fried calamari appetizer and we each got half portions of the pasta Amatriciana (with homemade fresh spaghetti), a dish that is native to Rome and reminded me of my time studying abroad there. I loved that you were able to order half portions of the pasta dishes since my half portion was more than enough food for me. It would also allow you to order two half portions of something and try out two different pastas. We enjoyed a gorgeous beet salad on the side, which they also split into two plates for us (great service!). Definitely the place to go for a traditional Italian meal with homemade pasta. They do accept reservations.
For BBQ: Bluebird Barbecue
After a day of touring the many breweries of Burlington, we were in dire need of lunch and Bluebird Barbecue saved the day. I had wanted to try it for a while and was really looking forward to sharing a platter of multiple meats and side dishes. Four of us split a platter "for two" and could barely get through it - the portions were HUGE. We enjoyed ribs, pulled pork, and brisket which all had slightly different barbecue sauces but were all tender and tasty. I was impressed by the sides, which can sometimes fall by the wayside when the focus is often on the meat, but each side we chose could have been the star of the show on its own - Fat Tire toast, mac and cheese, mashed sweet potatoes, and B&B pickles. They have an early bird special every day between 4:30 and 5:30 where you can get the BBQ for two (or, in our case, it fed four) for $30 (it's normally $40). They also have local beers, including the famous Heady Topper. Pro-tip: Beer + BBQ = winning combination.
Bonus: Second Location of Hen of the Wood
For Acclaimed Food from an Acclaimed Chef: Hen of the Wood
This is the second location of the Waterbury star Hen of the Wood, which you can read more about on my Where to Eat in Vermont Page.