HOME > Chowhound > All New England Archive >


Best restaurants in Portsmouth NH?

  • v

What restaurants have foodies raving about these days in Portsmouth NH? I'm interested in both special anniversary-night-out places and lower-key funky/casual spots. Thanks in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I really like the portsmouth brewery. GOOD BEER! the food is pretty good too. It's kind of trendy. You'll probably either love it or hate it. But the beer is really good.

    3 Replies
    1. re: eaf

      Went to Portsmouth Brewery, had the mussels for an app. and they were perfect. Had the Salmon sandwich for entree, near perfect as well. If you are in Portsmouth, seafood is a must!

      Went to a little place on Bow St., Poco's, and ate on the deck yesterday. Pretty hopping place even for lunch.

      1. re: eaf

        I like the Brewery but find that the food can be hit or miss. Tends to be more miss when they're slow. Black Bean Dip, salads and specials are ace. Beer is not to be missed.

        The tin ceilings, while adding some old-timey atmosphere, make for a rather loud dining experience.

        1. re: killerzephyr

          Hey Killer,
          This OP was started over four years ago.

          I still love the Pub grub at the Brewery, but alot has changed.

          Pesce Blue, Dolphin Striker, and the Oar House on the deck, just in case you are interested. ; )

      2. My favorite place is the outdoor patio at the Oar House. Especially on a quiet weekday afternoon. They truly make the best Bloody Mary I have ever had! Try one with the Triple 8 olive flavor vodka!

        1. Took my wife last week for her birthday to Lindbergh's Crossing. She loved it, and so did I. Interesting menu, nice atmosphere, very good food!

          Link: http://www.lindberghscrossing.com/

          1. I went to Jumpin' Jays Fish Cafe when it first opened (about 3 1/2 years ago-God, how time flies!) and remember it being pretty good. Although I can't recall what I had to eat, the place itself had a great lively atmosphere in a small space. It's casual but has an urban feel to it. More recently (last October), I had a pretty decent meal at Pesce Blue before a show at the Music Hall. This is more of a special-occasion place, though it's by no means superformal. We started with a grilled octopus appetizer-perfectly grilled with some lemon to taste. Simple yet divine. I had a homemade pasta dish with shrimp, which was around $12. The pasta was delicious, but there were only 3 medium shrimp in the dish. Service was excellent.

            I used to live in that area and loved Cafe Mirabelle (cozy, homey French, perfect for a date) and the grimy deliciousness of The Friendly Toast (huge portions, cheap prices). I also remember having a great scallop dish at The Metro. There have been a ton of new places that opened since I left and it has become quite a dining epicenter on the seacoast. Check out www.portsmouthnh.com for a list of area restaurants and the links to their Web sites. Good luck and happy eating!

            Link: http://www.portsmouthnh.com

            1. Oh boy....

              Just had a 2.5 hour meal at Pesce Blue, a week ago.. I love that place... Yellowfin tuna tartar with peppercorn and avocado app... amazing.. I get it everytime i go there... Overall the food and service is fantastic specializing in Italian/Mediteranean inspired seafood... the whole fish selection is wonderful.. I really cant say enough about this place... it has outdoor eating as well... and a Vin Santo on the wine list.. yummy.... this place is in a newer building and kind of hip...


              Our other fav is Lindbergs Crossing... completely different atmosphere... great wine list... the food temds to be a bit french inspired with a regional twist... it is in a 200 yr old building with views of the tugboats... we always eat upstairs in the wine bar area... specials are fantastic (had the Kobe beef about a month ago.... carpaccio/seared-tuna style.. blew me away!!!)..


              you will NOT be disappointed with either of these... I love Jumpin Jays as well, but I thinks these 2 are a notch above... well, maybe, maybe not.. Jays has a great raw bar and larger selection of fish, generally simply prepared with the choice of 4 or 5 sauces/rubs.. really, really good, a few bucks cheaper.. but for the special nite out I guess I prefer the other two.. although the 'Lindburger' doesnt require a special nite (awesome hamburger served at the bar at Lindbergs..
              A new place, Green Monkey, is quite funky with great martinis and inventive fusion cuisine.. we went a couple time during the first 2-3 months it opened and had a great time...


              by the way... We moved to area about 1 year ago and still havent hit all the great looking restaurants in town... it is so hard when you find some you love, to go out to others... definietely want to hit Victory and Anthony Albertos.... I could go on and gush over another 6-7 great spots in town, but the above mentioned are our favs (thus far)....

              have fun!


              1. My favorite Portsmouth restaurant is the Blue Mermaid. Creative contemporary dishes with lots of Southwestern and Caribbean influences, cooked on a wood grill. Good seafood selection. The grilled scallops are outstanding, and the wood fired salsa is addictive. A link to their website is below.

                Link: http://www.bluemermaid.com/home.asp

                1. I haven't been at Chowhound for a while, but check out this attached thread; it should be basically still useful today.

                  Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                  1. bad experience at Blue Mermaid...walked in, the place smelled like stale beer (instant flashback to college houses I've lived in). Sat down, waited for a while, ordered mojito's- they weren't very good, no fresh lime, tasted like lots of rose's lime juice. 10 minutes later, brought some tortilla chips (must have been the end of the bag as the chips was basically a pile of broken up chips smaller than a m&m). Then to the main course, paella, almost broke my teeth on the rice, most of the rice was hard as a rock (microwaved?)....overall a very disappointing experience.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: bringinitback

                      I've been interested in going to the Dunaway Restuarant @ Strawberry Banke ever since I read an article about it in Food and Wine magazine a couple of years ago.. Does anybody have any info on it?

                      1. re: pamplemouse

                        The chef featured in Food and Wine magazine is no longer at the Dunaway. They don't mention it, so we found out the hard way when we went there on Labor Day weekend. The service was awful, and the food was mediocre at best. We chose the fixed price sampler meal. The waiter didn't bother to describe the meals, never refilled our wine glasses and two courses arrived cold. We would have complained but couldn't find anyone. And it wasn't like the place was busy, either! Sent an email to the owner and the chef and never got a response. Not worth the money.

                      2. re: bringinitback

                        I second your pan of Blue Mermaid. We went with a group of friends for a sunday brunch on the porch, possibly not their shining hour, but they do advertise the brunch all over Portsmouth, anyway, the service was slow, and the food was consistently AWFUL. But the nadir was when the last dish to be served came out, one of our party had odered the "Fresh fruit with yogurt and granola", she got canned fruit cocktail strewn over stale granola with watery yogurt. This was in August, when there is NO excuse for not serving fresh fruit.

                        1. re: qianning

                          Have never had a good meal at the BM. Miss the days they were the Codfish

                          1. re: aadesmd

                            I remember those days, used to get their pizza, which they made on an old metal school lunch tray, it was excellent.

                        2. re: bringinitback

                          I have to pile on regarding Blue Mermaid. We've done all of the "good" restaurants in Portsmouth, and we had a coupon so we figured we'd save some cash and give Blue Mermaid a shot. It was a terrible experience from start to finish. It was way early and they were already out of the fish we wanted. So we changed our orders and then they came out all wrong. Wrong sauce on wrong fish, wrong sides on the plate. Just terrible. The server knew they were wrong as she placed them in front of us. She just said, "I'll get another plate and you can straighten it out." So there we were trying to move around (gross) mashed potatoes, and scrape sauces off and swapping them. I know I could have just sent it back, but at this point I just wanted to get out of there. Overall, awful experience, if you want to do cheap, there are plenty of other good alternatives.

                        3. Portsmouth is mainly populated by tourist traps, so it can be very difficult to find a good restaurant. We have always found Lindbergh's Crossing and The Oar House to be consistently good.
                          Stay away from Jumpin Jays and The Blue Mermaid, however. Both try to pass off frozen fish as fresh. Strictly for the tourist crowd.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: terrystu

                            Lindbergh's Crossing closed. I think it the Lindbergh's chef bought it. It is now the Black Trumpet.

                            1. re: Bluebird

                              Thanks, bluebird, I'll hafta try it again, see if its just as good. They always had great soft shell crabs in season. (May-June)

                          2. Green Monkey is nice, Library also both for a special dinner. On the more casual side, Rosies for Italian, Molly Malones for Guiness and stew, Celebrity Sandwich, haven't been for a while but was always good, Rusty Hammer for a good burger, Muddy River for BBQ, Friendly Toast for breakfast.

                            1. Had dinner at the Green Monkey and loved it. Food was excellent, service better then some other Ports. restaurants. Also, our meal was delicious at Dunaway but service was lagging. Oar House has been consistently great for over 10 years now. Jumpin Jaes- service bordered flat out rude, non existant.