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Dec 26, 2008 03:39 PM

New restaurants, Portsmouth, NH

Has anyone tried Agave or Fore or Ciento? I'm curious to hear if they're worth it. Thanks!

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  1. I haven't heard anything 'outstanding' about any of the three you mention.

    I can say that there is a lot of buzz about a new tapas bar "Cava" that has just opened. Here's their website:

    2 Replies
    1. re: bewley

      Have you eaten at any of them? Including Cava?

      1. re: pastryprncess

        I heard that Cava is fantastic- I was a big fan of the cafe that was in the same building some years ago, so I should drag myself back and see how the same space suits the new style. I've walked by early in the day and they have been closed, but I can't wait to come by sometime soon.

    2. Recently, I have been taking advantage of the special menus at Black Trumpet and Pesce Blue.

      $19 for three courses at Black Trumpet pp changes daily, and $25 at Pecse Blue for three courses, changes weekly. Both are an excellent value, but overall I think Black Trumpet can't be beat with regards to price and quality of food.

      1. With specific regards to Ciento, I'm of the understanding that they are cooking out of the same kitchen as Poco's, so I wouldn't waste my time.

        4 Replies
        1. re: bewley

          There is no Ciento.... that was a resto started by the Lindberghs folks a number of years ago... the place next to Pocos (and using the same kitchen, I believe) is 2 Ceres.... Modern, hip martini/cocktail bar... good drinks, nice setting with fireplace and maybe a dozen things on their menu- apps/tapas and desserts...havent eaten there, but have enjoyed the space and drinks...

          The new Tapas bar, Cava, is pretty good... complete transformation of the space- wow... 2 drinking bars (upstairs and down) and one bar in front of the chef.... nice place... not Spanish/Basque prices for tapas, rather US/modernized tapas and the associated prioces... good stuff tho, peruse the menu... inventive plates from Spain and Mid East inspirations....nice wine list... will be back... i tried a tapas crawl in psmouth the other night and this fit in well....

          Four Restaurant.... um, wow. period. OK, esp for one particular entree... the delmonico was mind blowing. Have had great kobe, dry aged, etc steaks all around, but for some reason this one absolutely blew me away. The salt/pep/spce rub, the perfect crisp/charred exterior, awesome marbleing, med rare perfection- was fantastic. Still dreaming of it. Nice homemade steak sauce which i only used on one bite, cus, well, the steak was freakin perfect on its own... cant even remeber the sides, doesnt matter, the steak was awesome. Cant wait to go back.... did go the first week they were opened as well, had the crab cake which was dissapointing, the mussels in curry (i think) was good.... my second visit was the steak..........

          Agave- go for the extensive list of tequillas and well prepared margs.... chips/salsa good... entrees, eh....mixed results each time i have been there... the one in nbryport seems more consistent, tho i only go for there for Mon/Tues 2-3 dollar tacos (carnitas, shrimp, carne, chix tica, etc) which are awesome, tho they dont have that deal in psmouth....

          1. re: cepaulsen

            Thank you cepaulsen!

            Yes! Ceres....I had Ciento in my brain for some reason. Doesn't scare me that they share a kitchen with Poco's. I honestly don't get the bad wrap. I've been over a dozen times and it's good. Not earth shattering, but good. Sometimes you just want nachos. Nothing wrong with that.

            Good to hear about Four. Steak places really don't get me going, but their wood fired grill interests me.

            I wholeheartedly agree about Black Trumpet. It's my favorite. I think Portsmouth is lucky to have such a place. I just hope the economic downturn doesn't force a dumbing down of the food. That would be heart breaking.

            1. re: pastryprncess

              I miss Ciento! Best tapas place this region has seen, but I guess it had arrived before its time -- back then when you said "tapas bar" people usually heard it as "topless bar."

              That said, Cava is a fun local dining option and has it over the new tapas place in nearby Ogunquit, Tapas and Tinis. Cava makes a good stab at authentic Spanish flavors (with the Middle Eastern plate thrown in). We recently enjoyed several of the small bites, especially the stuffed dates. The patatas bravas were good, too -- thin and crispy and the sea salt was the perfect touch. We ordered the Serrano ham with shaved Manchego cheese, but were served the ham and cheese croquettes instead. Beets weren't bad but needed more cheese or even salt to add flavor. The dark chocolate, sea salt and pistachio oil "bocadillo" didn't have much to do with a traditional bocadillo, which is more like a sandwich, but was a fair attempt at making things interesting. The paella was a little on the salty side, prepared more like a risotto. I love paella, so was disappointed, but there are plenty of other menu options that we'd go back to try, especially the grilled sirloin and the lamb (the latter also inspired by Middle Eastern flavors with hummus, a garbanzo bean and lemon salad, yogurt and olives). We split and enjoyed the churros con chocolate.

              One of the owners was our bartender. He was distracted and it was hard to get his attention to order, although he was a nice guy. The rest of the staff was very professional and attentive. The atmosphere was warm and modern upstairs, a bit dark and basement-like downstairs, but there's a TV if you want to watch a game.

              Go for the 3:30-5:30 afternoon bites (most just $1) and $3 wine tastings. It's a fun way to try several things out and it's the best deal relative to the quality of the food. Wine list is interesting and worth exploring.

              If you want Mexican, skip Agave and Poco's and head across the river to Loco Coco's Tacos in Kittery. It's more down-home, but also more authentic. The enchiladas con mole and fish tacos are great. So's the jalapeno margarita.

              1. re: chilipwdr

                I liked Loco Coco's and had the fish taco as well. It was ok....I wasn't blown away at all. Maybe it was just the day I was there.

        2. I actually like the Agave in Portsmouth better than N'port. I like how the restaurant has lots of different nooks and crannies to sit in. The guacamole is made at your table which I thought, at first, was a bit gimmicky until I tried it -- great! Their take on Mexican food is just a bit more healthy (if you can call Mexican food healthy) than any other place around. They have a very lovely salad with shrimp and avocado and I love their soups too.

          Also, had a nice dinner at the bar at Four. I think we tried every side dish! Loved the onion soup and the steak was very good, not amazing. We definitely do need a steak place around Portsmouth, so this is probably the best you can find. I had a hard time with the wine list, though.