My parents recently moved to the Portsmouth area and we are taking my father out this weekend for his 60th birthday (at which time we will present him with sox tickets). We want to take him somewhere special, with really good food. It can be in Maine or New Hampshire as long as it's within about 40 minutes of Portsmouth. Maybe something on the water would be nice. He doesn't need fancy, just good food!
It depends on what you're looking for. Anthony Alberto's on Penhallow Street in Portsmouth has very formal, tableside service. The food there is quite good if you stick to their basics like beef tenderloin and the veal chop. The Blue Mermaid at High and Hanover Streets, also in Portsmouth, has a courtyard deck and also a very nice dining room. Examples of the type of fare they serve are the lobster quesadilla and grilled pizza.
Someplace special - I'd probably go to On the Marsh in Kennebunkport (technically in Kennebunk, just south of Kennbunkport on Rt9) - which is on the edge of your 40 minute radius. http://www.onthemarsh.com/indexa.html
Arrows in Ogunquit would also fit the someplace special. The view will be of the garden, which is spectacular. Arrows will be VERY $$$$$ though, plan on $100+/head. http://www.arrowsrestaurant.com/
In Portsmouth, I'm very partial to Jumpin Jays Fish Cafe, seafood only though. No view, not a very special location, but IMHO great food. http://www.jumpinjays.com/
In Hampton, Ron's Landing at Rocky Bend could fit your requirement. Ocean view, excellent food, reasonable price. If you go there, someone in your group should order the Seafood Porto Fino.
Ron's has an HD TV in the bar that they show the Red Sox games on - they have the high def signal to go with it, the picture is unbelievable.
My honest opinion would be the following excellent restaurants:
On the Marsh in Kennebunkport
Anthony Alberto's in Portsmouth
Ogunquit Lobster Pound in Ogunquit
98 Provence in Ogunquit
Lindbergs Crossing in Portsmouth
Pesce Blue in Portsmouth
Just thought i would chip in with a place to try. You mentioned the bar with the hd tv. You should try Vinny's East Coast Grill on Rt.1 in Ogunquit. They have a great salad with the house dressing which I feel is outstanding. They have a huge tv in the bar. Where they watch all the Red Sox games. Not special like Arrows but its hommy and the food has alway been excelent. Try it you might like it. Earle