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Leunig's Bistro has served this charming college town for nearly 40 years

Leunig's Bistro has served this charming college town for nearly 40 years

When you think of the cozy burgh of Burlington, Vt., you might think of liberally minded people walking the University of Vermont campus while enjoying pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. But this gorgeous city on the eastern banks of Lake Champlain offers so much more, especially when it comes to eating. Burlington has an array of classic restaurants from which to choose, including the seasonal farm-to-table Inn at Shelburne Farms and the Vermont Pub & Brewery, but we wanted to hone in on one in particular if you're visiting this New England city.

burlington leunigs bistro 1While a bit pricier than many of the other restaurants in town, Leunig's Bistro & Café has been open since 1980. It is now co-owned by Bob Conlon and chef Donnell Collins, and it is a must hit for anyone looking for proper, yet approachable French bistro cuisine in a gorgeous Art Deco-like setting on the Church Street Marketplace. With classics like steak frites (which the restaurant reportedly goes through about 100 a night in summer), beef bourguignon, foie gras terrine, French onion soup and salade niçoise—alongside vegetarian-friendly dishes like its kohlrabi alfredo pasta or the baby bella mushroom "mock" escargot—Leunig's should sit atop any dining list for visitors and locals. Visit Tuesdays and Wednesdays for live jazz during dinner.

Its adjacent café, Leunig's Petite Bijou, features fresh pastries, coffees, pate, salads, baguettes, beignets and more. Diners looking for a taste of Leunig's without breaking the bank should consider its "bistro dinner." Served between 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and again from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., this $20 two-course special lets people choose between two appetizer options and seven entrees like cavatappi carbonara with roasted Vermont chicken, smoked bacon and sweet peas in a creamy parmesan sauce; pan-seared salmon topped with ruby red grapefruit marmalade served alongside roasted garlic mashed potatoes; and the steak frites. You can add a glass of chardonnay or merlot of $2.50 (5 ounces) or $7.50 (9 ounces). Not a bad deal to taste some of the best fare Burlington has to offer.

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