Recent feedback wanted -- Portsmouth NH spots
Hi folks. Mrs. bachslunch and I are planning a visit to Portsmouth, NH over the next few weeks. I've done some searching here on local restaurants and was wondering if fellow 'hounds had some more recent thoughts on the following wide spectrum of spots:
Muddy River Smokehouse
The older feedback I'm seeing on Jumping Jay's and the Portsmouth Brewery suggest less attractive options. Other good chowish suggestions within reasonable walking distance of downtown are welcome and encouraged. Thanks!
Thanks all for the suggestions! A quick report back on our experiences:
1. Pesce Blue: excellent lunch plate of linguine with pancetta, smoked branzino, and brussels sprouts in a light cream sauce. Very flavorful, pasta cooked perfectly al dente, sauce not too rich, nice balance to the dissimilar ingredients. Service OK, a little slow.
2. Muddy River Smokehouse: not very good except for the ribs, which were cooked excellently and had decent smoke flavor. Sides of beans and cole slaw were ordinary, appetizer of fried pickles had nice tart pickles drowned in a thick and dull breading. Poor mixed seafood casserole, which was returned almost uneaten and was taken off the bill. Service was friendly and very accomodating.
3. Popovers: good, strong but flavorful coffee and excellent chocolate mousse dessert.
4. Black Trumpet: wonderful! Tasty, succulent duck confit on a pleasingly bracing bed of bean salad. Also a deliciously rich escargot and mushroom dish in a cream and madiera sauce. Probably the best food all trip. Top notch service, too.
5. Gilley's: wonderfully evocative old-time lunch wagon with good and amazingly cheap hot dogs.
6. Stockpot: had a vegetarian bean and lentil soup. Quite good food, service is prompt, view is pleasant, but the place smells horribly of mold.
7. Friendly Toast: loved this place! Looks like the rummage sale to end them all, and extra points for playing everything from the scherzo to Ravel's String Quartet to "Jackie Is a Punk" by the Ramones as background music. Excellent breakfast food: fruit pancakes, omelette with everything but the kitchen sink, home fries, all first-rate. Pleasant, if swamped service.
I did jumpin jays recently and loved it, also did a fabulous dinner at Dunaway (if you search you 'll find my recent longish review) - loved it, the only tinyish negative was the price to quantity of food (wish one more scallop, wish alittle more of this or that) - otherwise PERFECT!!!!
If it's a trip to Portsmouth, you're taking, right next door to it is a small town called Kittery, in Maine. The best lobster in the world is at a restaurant on the water there called Capn' Simeon's, Route 103, 207-439-3655 www.capnsimeons.com. The staff is pleasant and the lobster is the best I've ever had. It's a bit unassuming, and maybe understated, but aren't all the best places? Had a wedding reception there several years ago, and people still say it was the best!
re: HRH princess
I just have to let you all know that I LOVE Cap'n Simeons. That was one of two places my family would go to eat when my brother and I were young. I have no idea what food we'd get, but we always loved to eat Oyster crackers before we were seated, and to have tapioca pudding after dinner. We probably had hamburgers or something. A few years ago we took my boyfriend there and we all had lobster. NOM!
Lindbergh's, now know as the "Black Trumpet," has the same staff and chef (just a change of owners as the chef bought the place) is really the best of the lot overall. The most celebrated spot is the Dunaway Restaurant at Strawbery Banke (now a new chef though), though I think the Black Trumpet is better . . .
You may also wish to consider Anneke Jans in Kittery.
Sorry to reply again. If you like Italian subs you should check out Moe's (which I guess is a chain but I never knew that growing up!) which is right near Breaking New Grounds, which is the best coffee ever. Bagel Works (now called The Works) has great bagels, and they use a lot of natural ingredients. My parents absolutely love Flatbread. There is an okay Indian restaurant over near the parking garage...typical indian with excellent service (in my experience). The Friendly Toast is okay, good for a greasy breakfast, and they have awesome omelet combos. I esp. like the Guy Scramble with veggie bacon. (Guy, who it's named after, lives in my old house!) Me and Ollie's has great sandwiches for lunch.
The Portsmouth Brewery is awesome awesome awesome -- because their beer is so freaking fabulous. My boyfriend and I got an amazing tour of the facilities last summer, and the brewmaster himself gave the tour. Their food is all right -- I like their spinach salad -- but the beer makes it great.
Muddy River is nothing special, neither is Blue Mermaid. Molly's is good for a burger or Sunday Brunch.
Lindbergh's (new name now--can't think of it) and Pesce Blue are the best options, but not cheap--ooh, there is a special on Pesce Blue on Sundays for dinner--I think it's $20 for two courses or $30 for three courses.
I haven't been to Jumpin Jay's in a while, but I've always enjoyed it.
Brewpub is nothing special, but not a bad spot for lunch. Beer is mediocre.
Gilley's is a landmark, especially for late night.
The ground floor of The Gaslight is very good. The basement is pizza only and I haven't been there in a while.
Fat Belly's has very good burgers, chili cheese fries, etc.
Flatbread's has the best pizza (order it extra crispy), good beer, and it' just a cool place.