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Help! Seafood dinner for 9 on the NH seacoast....

My in-laws are coming into town and we're all going out to eat - 9 people total. They're from upstate NY so I know they're going to want seafood while they're out here. I don't want the dinner to be super expensive, but I want it to be good. Any suggestions????

Sorry! Yes - I'm in NH. We can do the Portsmouth, Southern ME areas.

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  1. Where on the seacoast?

    1 Reply
    1. re: rosieg

      I was thinking the same thing.... The NE Seacoast is quite long and covers every state except Vermont!

    2. The 'seacoast' is a pretty broad area, can you be more specific?

      1 Reply
      1. re: treb

        her profile says she is in New Hampshire.

      2. If you don't mind a very casual lobster shack type place and driving a distance, try Fisherman's Catch in Wells.Picnic tables, rolls of paper towels hanging over the tables. Lobsters, lots of fried seafood- fish, clams, calamari, shrimp. Chowder, some pasta. Very inexpensive.

        For a slightly upscale but casual place, try Barnicle Billy's etc. in Ogunquit- sit down- lobsters, steamers, fried things etc.

        For a bit of a touristy place but nice innovative menu in a place closer to NH, go to Robert's Maine Grill in Kittery in the area of the shopping mall. It is owned by Bob's Clam Hut, a great takeout picnic table place for fried clams etc. Roberts has a full bar, lobsters, steamers, lots of fish, lobster preparations such as lobster cobb salad, lobster salad, etc. They also have raw bar and shrimp cocktail. It is a bit noisey and a family place but a nice choice that is not outrageously expensive and has a wide choice of seafood (also has chicken and meat dishes). They also have a selection of souvenirs (pjs' with lobsters, etc). I really think this would fit the bill all around.

        1. Warren's is the fall-back place: http://www.lobsterhouse.com/

          A bit more upscale: http://www.wentworth.com/dining/latit...

          1 Reply
          1. re: whs

            If cost is a concern in situations like that, I tend to host the dinner at home myself. Yes, going out to eat is great, but if you can set aside an afternoon for preparation and buy local ingredients from good sources, I find it makes for an equally enjoyable experience of not more enjoyable than going out.

            I live in the seacoast area myself. I had a bunch of family visit two weeks ago and they all wanted to go out for a great lobster roll lunch. I like to go out to eat as much or more than the next guy, but when dealing with a bit larger of a crowd, I've always created a much more memorable day/experience by being the chef for all. So, I bought the lobster, great rolls, nice wine and we stayed in.

            my 2 cents

            as for inexpensive seafood joints, you get what you pay for. Bob's grill is okay, but I find my money more well spent at the Bob's hut. Perhaps it's because in that environment my expectations are lower.

          2. Based on your stated needs, Kittery Point's Chauncey Creek would seem to be a good fit for all of your requirements. They have the unfortunate pleasure (?) of being "Phantom Approved". Do not let that deterr you. The prices may seem a bit higher than surrounding Pounds but that's balanced by a cheerfully BYOB policy. Hel,l you can lug in an 80 qt. cooler of beer, wine & cognac if you like. The menu covers just about any "normal" seafood option that you'd care to mention. Their unique location on the Creek feels very secluded and yet is close at hand. If they're into shopping, also handy to The Kittery Outlets as well. Here's the link;http://www.chaunceycreek.com/

            Harp

            9 Replies
            1. re: Harp00n

              Harp,

              I'm heading up to Maine at the end of the month (August) and I'll give this one a try for sure. So glad to see you back. Pleaseeeeeee don't leave us again!

              1. re: othervoice

                Dear othervoice,
                Pleaseeeeeee stop feeding my ego. It's unjustifiable and, besides, DW says I'm insufferable as it is. I took some time off to help build our 2000+ person family tree on Geni, fwiw.

                Warmest regards,
                Harp

              2. re: Harp00n

                Chauncy Creek is fun, but what do they have for seafood besides steamers and lobster?? Certainly not any normal seafood option??? Maybe the menu changed since I've been?

                1. re: emilief

                  I thought my wording was pretty clear, especially since I'd included a link to their site. But here goes, they serve a wide variety of the seafood specialties that you would "normally" expect to find in a lobster pound setting, Sheesh,here must be something in the air these last couple of days regards Portsmouth area posting!

                  1. re: Harp00n

                    sheesh, sorry. You said the menu covers about any "normal" seafood option. Not really, yes for lobster pounds ( you didn;t say normal for lobster pounds) but not for a seafood restaurant that the OP is seeking. Very limited menu there. I am not big on touristy places but Roberts Maine Grill has a variety of broiled baked and fried sefood dishes, boullliabaise, lobster salads, fried clams, pastas,raw bar etc. and the last time we went there by default because all the restaurants in York were closed on a Saturday night due to a power failure, the food and service were quite good despite the fact that they were slammed.

                    1. re: emilief

                      You are drawing inferences from the OP that I don't see present at all. Nor do I think that most other Hounds would either. Her guests are coming from land-locked upstate NY and they want a "seafood dinner" that must be good but not super-expensive.

                      Are steamers, oysters, mussels, crab and, of course, lobster no longer considered seafood? Or is that status now only reserved for bouilliabase, parchment baked salmon & crabmeat stuffed Dover Sole? IMO, any form of seafood, cooked by any method is Chowish if done properly.

                      My guess is they're going to be more interested in the former rather than the latter. But that's why it's nice that there's a breadth of options offered in this post. BTW, I've been to Robert's and found it to be a more than acceptable alternative as well. :-0)

                      Harp

                      1. re: Harp00n

                        I agree with you Harp. I bring my parents there all the time. Yes, it's not fine dining. You take a nice bottle of wine and any other snacks to munch on while you wait for the steamers, oysters and clams on the half shell. Skip the chowder etc. Order 2+pounders all around. Hopefully snag a table by the water. In good weather it's pretty. My parents love it there. ( Sometimes combined with some outlet shopping and perhaps a walk at the nearby fort afterwards.) I think the op's people would love it too.

                2. re: Harp00n

                  I may have hit the place on a bad day, but I'd still PO'd about the day I drove all the way up there for lunch (from RI!) and got poorly cooked lobsters. Overcooked & rubbery....we each got a small one (me, mom and niece).....2 of us had chowder if I recall.....maybe an order of fries, sodas to drink....and I think it came to $80? Grrr. I would NEVER rec Chauncey Creek to anyone.

                  1. re: JaneRI

                    I was wondering if you'd weigh-in JaneRi.
                    Because I remember your post of the time and didn't comment on it. The prices are the prices for all to see on their website, other than lobster. So know before you go is not a mantra, it's a fact.

                    You're very knowledgeable on the R.I. scene and I've followed your recs many times and was a very happy camper indeed . But there have been times following your and others recs for a consensus good dining experience that it's come up short to my expectations, after schlepping 50 miles. In some instances I've shrugged it off and tried them again.when next in the area and many times had much better results. I would submit that you've done the same thing, at times, in the R.I. area in the past.

                    You've been to Chauncey but once whilst I've been there many times, I like my chances that I've experienced the norm and you've experienced the, proverbial, "off day". To paraphrase the great Yogi Berra; "It's so crowded at Chauncey's that nobody goes there anymore."

                    All the best,
                    Harp

                3. You could not do better than Robert's Grill. Very fairly priced food in a lovely envirorment. Other choices includes Al's Seafood on Rt. 1 in N. Hampton, Petey's on Ocean Blvd in Rye, and Chauncy Creek.

                  More expensive would be Pesce Blue, the best restaurant of any kind on the Seacoast.

                  Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: aadesmd

                    I ventured into pesce blue two weeks ago and was severely underwhelmed. While the halibut was nice and fresh, it was under-seasoned and bland, as were the pasta dishes others in my party chose. While I wouldn't call it terrible, it was no better than mediocre. Sort of the New Hampshire version of Italian. Considering the high prices, I really expected better.

                  2. The thing about Chauncey Creek is the place itself. Its right on a beautiful river. If the weather is nice go for it. Your guests will be impressed. Since u can bring in your own drinks u will save in that department and I have seen people bring in cakes for birthdays, so bring in your deserts too and celebrate someones birthday. Just drinks alone for 9 people could run high at a regular restaurant. Also take the crew to Flo's for hotdogs, and Big Daddys for icecream. Oh Maine, I miss you, Florida is 95 degrees today.

                    1. Who knew a simple post about seafood restaurants could spark such controversy :)~ Thank you so much for all the suggestions! I'll post with wherever we end up going.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: pastryprncess

                        We Hounds are a feisty & passionate lot in our opinions!
                        Wherever you go with that crowd of out-laws we hope you have good fun & food.
                        and yes, please do give us a post.

                        Harp

                        1. re: Harp00n

                          Yes, and isn't the passion and "feistiness" a major reason we tune in day after day? Say hi to the DW and be sure she knows how lucky she is.

                          All the best,
                          O

                          PS Pastryprncess, please be sure to let us know, I can't wait to hear where you ended up.