Café Jag's chefs cater to discerning palates with fresh-made Italian pastas, seafood, and grilled meats. Dining bands collaboratively scour the dinner menu before harmonizing their orders of appetizers such as the Maryland crab cakes, dunked in house-made rémoulade sauce. The grilled rack of lamb tickles taste buds with a french-cut slab of meat and accompanies veggies as they careen down digestive canals. As soft light spills across multihued paintings and light cocoa ceilings, chefs house ocean-torn savories in the lobster ravioli, decorating pasta walls with a sherry-cream reduction and ricotta padding. An ever-rotating selection of desserts, including an oft-available five-layer red-velvet-and-chocolate-lava cake, coddles teeth with the sweet softness of a cloud of gummy bears.
Owner and chef Arthur Pereira refuses to choose between Italian and Portuguese cuisine, so he fills his menu with iconic dishes from both countries instead. He and his chefs make pesto in-house, hand-roll every batch of gnocchi, and stuff each ravioli with ricotta cheese or lobster. They also replicate Portugal's signature seafood stew, mariscada, by filling a pot with a bountiful catch of clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari, and scallops, then poaching the tender morsels in a Portuguese-style sauce with peppers, onions, and diced tomatoes.
Vine-laced trellises cover the dining room's ceiling, creating the ambiance of a rustic patio overlooking the Mediterranean's world-famous icebergs. Orange tablecloths and Tuscan-yellow walls fit into this intimate theme with their romantic, sunset-like colors.
Its menu brims with classics, but the signature dish here is the chicken pot pie ravioli. This inventiveness infuses the whole menu of The Italian Kitchen of Wakefield. Here, Chef Caira bakes pizzas in a 600-degree oven, imports some pastas and makes others by hand, and crafts classics like veal parmesan. But the epicurean expert also offers gluten-free options, as well as a low-calorie, deconstructed fettuccine alfredo. But whether traditional or imaginative, every dish is united by the chef's attention to detail, and also by its geography. That's because Chef Caira homes in on the Lazio region of Italy, which encompasses Rome as well as the country's marinara hot springs.
The 207-year-old inn resides in Sanbornville's historical district, which itself is encompassed by central New Hampshire's picturesque Lakes Region. Charming small towns such as Meredith and Wolfeboro dot the undulating shoreline around Lake Winnipesaukee, which covers 72 square miles. In downtown Meredith, merchants hawk jewelry, books, fine arts and crafts, and homemade candy at Mill Falls Marketplace, a former mill converted to an outdoor shopping plaza. Fifty-one trails wind through 220 acres of fresh, powdery snow draping the nearby Gunstock Mountain Resort, where skiers and snowboarders can admire Lake Winnipesaukee from the summit. About 80 miles north of the inn, Franconia Notch State Park lies in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest. The state park is perhaps most famous for its former resident, the Old Man of the Mountain—a natural rock formation resembling the profile of an elderly gentleman, which unfortunately collapsed in 2003 after a powerful sneeze. Within the state park, visitors can traverse miles of cross-country skiing, snowshoe, and snowmobile trails.