Lunch in Portsmouth NH
We'll be driving from Boston to York Harbor, ME and plan on spending the morning visiting Portsmouth. Can you recommend a good lunch spot? Nothing too upscale is necessary and we plan on having lobster for dinner. Maybe some great chowder? Even a good burger and salads may work. We'll be having lots of Italian food in Boston, so I'll probably be burnt out on that, too. Help!
The waterfront deck of the Oar House. A little expensive because of the view. Some of the lunch menu is pretty upscale but you can also get salads, soups, and burgers.
The Portsmouth Brewery. On Market Street just before Market Square. Typical brew-pub menu. Reliable.
If you want something that won't exist in southern Maine, the Shalimar just beyond the parking garage on Hanover Street has good Indian food. Sake on Congress Street has good Japanese/sushi.
My go-to lunch spot when I lived in Portsmouth was Ceres Bakery. Very casual counter service place that can get a little mobbed around lunchtime during the week. Good soups and flatbreads, and the daily specials are usually pretty awesome. They can be hit-or miss sometimes, though.
Highly recommend the chicken pot pie if it's on the menu, any sandwiches, soups, and the cookies. Ahhh. Brownies too for that matter.
The Portsmouth Brewery also has good pub food, and if you're looking to unwind, the beer selection is also tasy. If you want beer, though, I recommend a factory tour of the Redhook Brewery, which comes with lots of good samples for a dollar. The food in the pub is ok, nothing special. The salmon sandwich on pita is pretty tasty.
Any on the waterfront dining options are great for the view. I haven't been in a little while but the food at the Stockpot is kind of ok, but they have a great deck.
Jumpin' Jay's Fish Cafe is tasty, but I'm not sure if they're open for lunch or not.
What to suggest for lunch depends on the type of food you like. Avoiding things "too upscale" is easy, as most upscale places are usually only open at night. I think the best food can be found in and around Market Square in the heart of downtown Portsmouth:
Thai - Chengmai Restaurant, on Pennhallow Street (across the street from the Post Office near the corner of Bow Street) has interesting lunch specials and good Thai/Southeast Asian cuisine.
BBQ - Muddy River Smokehouse on Congress Street in Market Sqare (across from the recently renovated Old North Church) has a great selection of ribs, burgers, sandwiches, and other Southwestern BBQ cuisine with what is probably Portsmouth's largest selection of draft beers.
Classic American - The Stockpot (on Bow Street, across the street from the Post Office parking lot) has a great lunch menu with burgers and sandwiches and reasonable prices.
Cafe style - Me and Ollie's Cafe (on Market Street, next to the Old North Church and in the same building as a Stonewall Kitchen) has a very reasonable cafe-style (order at the counter) selection of sandwiches, soups, coffee, and ice cream.
Cafe style - Popovers on the Square - A recent arrival on Market Square, right next to the Old North Church on Congress Street, has an eclectic selection of soups, salads, sandwiches, crab cakes (to die for!), a pretty nice bar (for a cafe!), and free wireless Internet for those that need to read Chowhound 24/7.