Fresh variety at The Manisses

The first thing that strikes you when you walk up to the front door of the Manisses Restaurant is the garden. In fact, dining is available in the garden set along flower-lined paths accented with a musical fountain. Inside you can choose the elegant, high-ceilinged Gazebo Room or the more casual Gatsby Room for dinner, and then walk upstairs to the parlor for special desserts and flaming coffees.

The Manisses’ menu continues the experience — fresh and natural — under the skillful management of Executive Chef Brian Hartman. There are two New England favorites that Hartman says “will always be on the menu” — grilled swordfish with lobster mashed potatoes and the clams casino appetizer. But most items are changed frequently to give guests the variety and quality they are seeking.

“So many people travel widely today. Their expectations for good food are high,” says Hartman. Because of his own extensive travels (“30 countries so far”), he has the experience and creativity to make each meal memorable. In his free time, Hartman has searched out great food all over the world — street food, pub food, restaurants large and small, professional chefs and home cooks. “Travel has definitely inspired the Manisses menu,” he says.

Also inspiring is Abrams’ Farm, just next door. Quantities of fresh vegetables go straight from what is locally called “Justin’s Garden” to the Manisses Restaurant’s tables. “Each spring Justin asks me what I need for the summer,” says Hartman. “What a dream,” he adds.

The featured Lobster Raviolo is a perfect example of the style Hartman achieves. The colorful squid ink raviolo (meaning large ravioli) are stuffed with lobster and five cheeses and topped with an heirloom tomato Caprese salad — and more lobster. The tastes are varied and vibrant. Half orders are an option for any item, but we recommend you choose this whole dish… and a bottle of a very cold chardonnay.

Watch for tapas and sushi nights in the fall. — Becky Ballard

Contact The Manisses at 466-2421 or visit at

Order this… is a weekly column celebrating the delicious food and drink that can be found at restaurants, pubs and hotels on Block Island. If you have a recommendation that you’d like to share with our readers, call us at 466-2222.

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