Hampton Beach or other beaches with good eats in NE?
- pancake Jul 31, 2007 10:00 PM
After spending a couple days in Boston, I want to spend one day and night near the ocean. The daytime will be set aside for fun in the sun/water. However, at night it would be nice to have stuff to do and of course, eat.
From my research I am getting the impression that there are alot of good food shops on the Hampton Beach Boardwalk....is this so?
Are there any better beach/nightimefood combo destinations in the NE area? Nice beach recs are well appreciated as all I am relying on right now are my internet searches.
Thanks fellow chows.
I haven't been to Hampton Beach in many years, so I might be WAY off base....but I'd say that Hampton Beach boardwalk and good food don't belong in the same sentence. If that is not correct, hopefully someone will weigh in and set me straight.
I'd suggest Newport RI. Unlimited good food and nightlife. If you don't want to go that far....Westport MA (Horseneck Beach - two good restaurants and a great winery). Or Newburyport/Plum Island?
I'm with you- Hampton Beach and good find do NOT belong in the same sentence. Hampton Beach is very close to Portsmouth, which has some lovely restaurants. Black Trumpet Bistro, Jumpin' Jay's and The Friendly Toast are my faves there. If you were to go to a beach closer to Portsmouth, in Rye rather than Hampton, you'd be a 20 minutes from Porstmouth and the car ride is quite beautiful along the shore.
Newport is one of the great resorts towns of the entire US.....honestly, it'd be a shame to be so close & miss it. I recall your other thread about the LB house in Fall River (that was you, right?)....seems this would fit perfectly into your plans.
There isn't a Boardwalk per se....but the entire downtown/harbor area is full of restaurants & bars. If you decide to go, come back and post again and we can get more specific.
Ogunquit Maine will fit the bill. Only 1 1/2 hours from Boston. Beautfiul beach, good places to eat. MC Perkins Cove - upscale, great views, delicious views. Barnicle Billy's for lobster steamers and chowder, sit out on the deck and have a rum punch; Barnicle Billy's etc next door - sit down not order at the window- with adition of fried food etc.
Or Ogunquit Lobster Pound- touristy but the lobsters are excellent. Charlies on the beach for a pcinic on the beach - yuummy fries.
Since your thinking of going to Ogunquit I'll give you one of my super-secret spots but not a word to anyone else about Frankie & Johnny's okay? Not a word ....sshhhhh!
Fyi, byob & cash only
Frankie & Johnny's Natural
1594 US Route 1, Cape Neddick, ME 03902
What have I been missing all these years??? Have driven by this place on 1 for countless years ... always doubtful about it due to their appearance. It's a rather odd looking spot.
I know, I know, don't judge a book by it's cover.
Of course I'd walk right into some divey bar with a the blink of an eye..;-)
Yes the trolley will take you to all of those places. You can catch the trolley at the main Beach and various locations up and down Route One and Shore Road. Parking at the main beach is very expensive so you want to park either at the lot on Beach Street on the right side heading away from the center and towards the beach, the large lot on Shore Road just before entering Perkins Cove or the "all day parking" - take Beach street from the center and a left just before the bridge onto River Road -all day is just on the left.You can walk down to thebeach to catch the trolley from there.
When you take the exit off the highway (last exit before the Maine Turnpike, Exit 7) to Ogunquit, just after the Ogunquit Playhouse on your right is the Chamber of Commerce - small building. Stop in there and get a trolley map and an Ogunquit brochure which will list all restaurants, businesses etc.
One place I did not mention is Cafe Prego on shore Road- good Panninis and excellent pizza as well as coffee etc.
Thanks chows....back from my stint in Boston. Spent one night and two days in Ogunquit. What a gorgeous place. I took your recs and headed to Barnicle Billy's, curious about the rum punch. It was refreshing but quite strong. I enjoyed the fried shrimp and onion rings. They make a decent slaw. The portions are plenty and the setting gorgeous. I must also mention the candy shop on main street. I picked up a nice amount of fudge. Sinfully delicious.
Thanks for the help.
Hampton Beach itself is has three good to great restaurants. As Harpoon said, Ron's Landing is very good, also the Ocean Wok is in IMHO one of the top 5 Chinese restaurants north of Boston. Further down the beach(at what we call North Beach), but still in Hampton is a place called 931 Ocean. These guys are giving Ron's a run for their money. The Lobster Mac and Cheese appetizer is killer. 931 Ocean is very South Beach-esq.
There is also one that I personally have never eaten at, but I have recently heard a good review from someone - The Purple Urchin. The Portsmouth Herald reviewed the Purple Urchin last Friday and gave it 3-stars (out of 5) - which makes me somewhat question the wisdom of the person who recommended it? I also used to like Mama Leone's, but they seem to have gone downhill, haven't been there in at least 3 years. If you do go there, their Chicken Dijon was my favorite dish.
Hampton Beach has the Casino Ballroom (www.casinoballroom.com), which may or may not have a show you want to see on the dates your considering. There is the half shell, across from the Casino that has free live entertainment every evening (last night it was a Beatles cover band called Help). Sitting outside at the Boardwalk Cafe and people watching is always entertainment, as are the teenagers who cruise the beach loop in their cars.
The boardwalk is full of beachy junk food. Pizza, fried dough, ice cream, etc... none of which is worth going out of your way for - with the possible exception of Blinks Fry Dough, however I've had my once a year fix of Blinks this year. The other restaurants on the boardwalk - La Bec Rouge, Sea Ketch, Boardwalk Cafe, Cascade, Whales Tail...are all bad food fast.
If your not hell bent on staying at Hampton Beach for the evening - in Hampton proper is Ron Jillians an Italian restaurant. This is the same Ron that started Ronaldo's of North Hampton fame. Portions are huge. Pizza is good, but to much cheese for my taste. Serve a good cocktail. (I'm a regular there).
Atlantic Grill (corner of Rt27 and Rt1/kiddy corner to the Old Salt) is an excellent restaurant. High end seafood. Old Salt - in a word SUCKS
Bonta (on Rt27 above Rt101, near I-95), is the classiest place in the Hampton area. They have many many excellent dishes on the menu, fantastic atmosphere, service etc.. for fine dining on the NH seacoast I'd put Bonta up against any place.
Petey's seafood on the beach in Rye(about 10 miles or so up Rt1A from HB, you go by Dan Brown's house on the way, I'll let you guess which one it is). Somehow I just expect to see Jimmy Buffet in Petey's. Get the seafood chowder - most excellent. I highly recommend Petey's.
Then there all the restaurants in Portsmouth which someone else suggested. Jumpin Jay's is probably my favorite restaurant in Portsmouth. Pizza at the Gas Light, can't be beat.
I'm a Hampton local, I'll also toss out there that HB is sorta white trashish. I personally call it the white trash Riviera, however there are some diamonds in there if you know where to look. Right now the ocean water is pretty warm, even I swim in it this year.
"white trash Riviera" Love it! That pretty well describes it. Had my first trip up this year just a couple weeks ago and it was a hoot. Don't know many other places where you'll find as many shirt-less guys sitting (notice sitting, not riding) on motorcycles in denim cut-offs and flip-flops.
Thanks for food overview. Whenever I head that way I pretty much plan to make a white trash day of it up there and head to Brown's in Seabrook with a couple six-paks. Perhaps I'll try something new next trip.
"White Trash Riviera" is a little harsh. I prefer "a little bit of Jersey, right here in New England."
Hampton is best enjoyed with a healthy dose of irony. It is what it is. You don't go to the
South End expecting fried dough, shaved ice and an airbrushed t-shirt. Likewise, you will not find Foi Gras on the boardwalk.
Although, the "luxury condos" have migrated north, stopping in Eastie, Revere and Lynn along the way -- Hampton Beach is slowly becoming gentrified.
So, enjoy these places for their authenticity and lack of "Best of Boston" certificates while you can.
1.) Brown's (in seabrook) - no frills dining on a pier overlooking the Nuclear Plant. Plastic utensils. Bib. Wet Naps, etc. etc.
2.) L Street Tavern - good steak. great fish chowder. keno while you dine.
3.) La Bec Rouge - sounds nice, huh? about as nice as Guido Murphy's.
4.) Guido Murphy's - Enjoy the wet t-shirt contest over a wing ding flinger.
5.) Ashworth Hotel - good brunch. Hampton Institution.
6.) Mamma Leone's - Low overhead (literally) and they pass the savings onto you. Italian food served by Russian and Czech girls.
7.) Blink's Fry Dough. I like the cinnamon AND sugar.
8.) No name hole-in-the wall Gyro place on B Street. Literally a hole in a wall. No door. No sign. Just a hole.
9.) Via Via - a (relatively) newcomer with decent brick oven pizza.
10.) Whale's Tale - in the casino. classic diner fare. a really bad cup of coffee can taste great after a night at Guido Murphy's.
Hearin' ya humin,
931 Ocean you say? Giving Ron's a run for the money you say? Great lobster mac 'n cheese app you say? The best I've ever had is at The Loft in N. Andover, Ma. where it's a "permanent" entree on their menu. I say I gotta check it out! Bonta also needs investigating as well, so thanks hummin. Since you've moseyed off the beach with Ron Jillian's, I'll add both The Galley Hatch and The Widow Fletcher's. Neither are haute cuisine but both are very good for what they are.
I agree with you on Jumpin' Jay's. I'm not sure it's the top resto in Portsmouth but it sure is my favorite and a fun place as well. Pesce Blue and The Black Trumpet are very good as well. The Toast is The Toast, you either get it or you don't. I've said it often before and I'll stand by it; the best restaurant in Portsmouth is Kittery, Maine's Anneke Jans, IMO.
60 Wallingford Sq., Kittery, ME 03904
103 Congress Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801
287 Exeter Road, Hampton, NH 03842
Ashworth By The Sea
295 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH 03842
Petey's Summertime Seafood
1323 Ocean Blvd, Rye, NH 03870
822 Lafayette Rd, Hampton, NH 03842
Galley Hatch Restaurant
325 Lafayette Rd, Hampton, NH 03842
Widow Fletcher's Tavern
401 Lafayette Rd, Hampton, NH 03842
931 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH 03842
Purple Urchin Restaurant
167 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH 03842
7 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH 03842
Black Trumpet Bistro
29 Ceres Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Jumpin' Jay's Fish Cafe
150 Congress Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801
The Friendly Toast
121 Congress St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Pancake....I beg of you....go to Newport and not Hampton Beach!!! All of these lengthy posts listing where to go in HB are fine, but they seem to say "if you have to go to Hampton, here's where to eat".
The problem with the Newport rec is that they fail to mention that you will pay at least 3 to 4 times as much for anything. Hampton Beach is a beach that's fun by day, has free, did I say FREE entertainment and good food can be had, I believe that's what you requested. It's really a matter of personal preference. Newport is a beautiful place but you pay for every bit of it.
Really? I don't find Newport that pricey - I think they have something for everyone, in every price range. Even lodging - I believe the Motel 6 (5 minutes from downtown, perfectly nice, clean place) still has rooms under $100/nt in high season. You can get $3 hotdogs or ice cream cones, they often have free concerts or fireworks on the beach, I'm pretty sure non-residents still pay under $20 for a days beach parking......you don't have to live like a Vanderbilt to enjoy Newport. It's stunning, beautiful and world famous....Hampton Beach is pretty much down at the heels.
Pancake, Ogunquit is beautiful....I still think Newport blows it away....but it's a great place.
I was intrigued by this topic, since I also love NE beaches and seaside towns. I'd mostly agree with those that suggested that Hampton is not exactly a chow-worthy destinations, but I am definitely going to try 931 Ocean (http://www.931ocean.com/) soon. I have high hopes and like the fact that it's open year-round, since I love to walk on the beach any time of year.
In any case, I normally would head to Portsmouth after a day at Hampton. Take the ride up Rt 1A and open up sunroof. It's a beautiful, relaxing ride in the early evening. In addition to the Portsmouth area recommendations so far, I'd add the Green Monkey. I enjoyed the espresso roasted filet mignon and grilled romaine for a starter.
I'll also throw out one of my other favorite beach/dining combos. I go to Crane Beach for the day, then shower/change there (the outdoor showers are cold!), then head up to Newburyport. I like Blue Water, Agave (though I've only been there in the off-season) , David's and would like to try Mission Oak.
I tend to like "summer shacks" in summer and go for the more interesting cuisines when I'm forced to eat inside. My summer list includes The Old Ferry Landing (Portsmouth) -- a chowhond would order exclusively from the specials menu, Michael's (NBPT) -- order seafood and eat outside, Jackie's (Perkins Cove) and several others...
Fwiw, my parents have a place in Hampton and are also regulars at Ronjillians (which I have been to also). I sometimes have to remind them that there are many, many other great places in that area. A chowhound's work is never done...