Mangia!: The Manchester Union-Leader reviews Hanover’s Murphy’s on the Green. The menu is, as the review notes, eclectic but, I think, to the point of hazy promiscuity. From the meals I’ve eaten there, nothing seems mastered, and little rises above the quality of prepared gourmet foods–take-out from the Co-op, say. In sum, Murphy’s is expensive, approaching $10 for a burger, the food is mediocre, the bar service is slow (and is quick to cut off revelous patrons), and the atmosphere isn’t exactly ‘Everybody knows your name,” but, instead, surly with a smile. Can you get a good meal there? Yes, sometimes. Will it be a culinary experience? Of course not. And is it worth the price? Doubtful.

For similar food, lower prices, and friendlier service, Molly’s, right down Main Street, is a good choice. The menu may not be so exotic, but–be honest–in terms of taste, is an emu-burger really so different?

Of course, the ultimate dining in Hanover is to be had at Cafe Buon Gustaio, and, yes, “good eats” is apropos. Specializing in Northern Italian cuisine, Cafe BG is marginally expensive (though, hardly more than Murphy’s unless you hit the extensive wine list) but worth every penny. Particularly recommended are the house-made mozarella (served with basil and amazingly always-fresh tomatos), the white asparagus in truffle oil, and the ravioli in a wild mushroom and cream sauce. Recommendations, though, are hard to make, as the menu’s constantly in flux.

(Some boorish few contend that Hanover’s best can be found in the Hanover Inn. I respond thus: Dartmouth Dining Services. Sure, the ingrediants are better and the dishes more ambitious, but the overall result is little improved over the fare to be had elsewhere on campus. Breakfast in the Daniel Webster room, however, is a treat–slabs of french toast swimming in syrup, a silver pot of steaming breakfast tea, and the Wall Street Journal all had in that huge, quiet, and airy room make starting the day so much easier. Regarding Zins, the Hanover Inn’s casual, wine-centric restaurant, that place’s food is an insult to the community: vegetables steamed to mush, pastas burnt and crunchy, and sauces that would make Ragu think twice. The wine list isn’t bad–order a flight of cabernets, perhaps–but, for God’s sake, don’t eat there!)

Finally, when they’re not eating or aren’t concerned about what they might be ingesting, Hanoverians journey to 5 Olde Nuggett Alley, the mileu of which can be described simply: dungeon. That said, everything’s cheap, the staff and patrons (including a smattering of locals) are ingratiating (especially Gordon, the bartender), and the food is…well, the less said about that, the better. For late nights in town, though, there really is no alternative.