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Portsmouth NH

s
sandwichman Apr 15, 2009 06:29 AM

Looking for great lunch and dinner spots in Portsmouth NH

  1. m
    meghananny Jun 10, 2009 06:07 PM

    Soo - there are lots of choices here but my husband and I are going to celebrate our 10th anniversary and I am trying to find the perfect place. We want a place that is romantic with a nice ambiance and great food. Not stuffy though - like the places filled with antiques in an inn. Someplace fun...any type of food works. Where would you go for a special dinner?

    4 Replies
    1. re: meghananny
      o
      obraustin Jun 11, 2009 05:32 AM

      My pick would be the Black Trumpet. Excellent food with an ever-changing menu based upon local/seasonal ingredients (the chef forages for mushrooms among other things). Some very creative dishes with many influences, notably Spanish. The feel of the restaurant would fit what you're looking for - quite romantic. Great wine list as well. Get's my vote!

      -----
      Black Trumpet Bistro
      29 Ceres Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801

      1. re: obraustin
        b
        bewley Jun 11, 2009 08:28 AM

        Yes, Black Trumpet!

        As an aside I would avoid Mojo's (they don't smoke their meat and are not authentic). I have also heard that Gracie's Diner has some service issues that need to be worked out.

        1. re: bewley
          a
          adiosoven Jun 11, 2009 09:53 AM

          Black Trumpet sounds wonderful, haven't been yet myself - we did go to the Dunaway (at Strawberry Banke) for a belated Valentine's Day dinner a while back...it was like stepping into a romantic, colonial inn - but with very good food and drink. I believe it's changed chefs since we were there but still receiving solid reviews; if it's not over run with summer tourists, it might be another one to add to the list. Anyone have any '09 reviews on this place?

        2. re: obraustin
          srgoodman Jun 11, 2009 10:29 AM

          I'm also a big fan of the Black Trumpet. If you can sit upstairs by the windows, I think that's the best spot in the restaurant. The food is very fresh and creative. Being creative means sometimes they miss the mark, other times it's breathtakingly wonderful. Service is friendly and knowledgeable, but can be a tad slow when they're full (the kitchen is small).

          And if the Pear Tarte Tatin should be on the dessert menu when you go - that's the best dessert I've *ever* had.

      2. m
        midcity May 9, 2009 10:54 AM

        Isis is great for brunch; haven't been for other meals.

        I really like Flatbreads, too, although I like it best on a freezing winter night with the wind howling outside and all the warmth and noise inside. Don't miss the goat cheese salad.

        If you want a traditional boiled lobster dinner, the Stock Pot doesn't often have it on the menu but will generally cook one at your request; just call ahead to make sure.

        I once had a really nice special-event meal at Saunders at Rye Harbor. Good lobster, good drinks.

        The Brewery has great beer but only decent food.

        For a fun evening, the little row of tent restaurants that sprout up next to the water every summer are a good bet.

        Also, people have widely varying opinions of it, but I really love The Friendly Toast. It's totally hipster and kitschy, but they have some really good dishes. Just don't order anything that sounds like someone made up the recipe when they were stoned. The cheese fries with the strawberry habanero dipping sauce are especially good. Whenever I wish I were in Portsmouth, I think about two things: those cheese fries and Bull Moose Music, the shop across the street.

        4 Replies
        1. re: midcity
          f
          fezzig May 10, 2009 08:15 AM

          Unfortunately, the Stockpot is now closed (I for one will miss it, though I know a lot of people don't agree with me). There's a new restaurant going in that space, but I'm not sure when they'll be opening.

          I'm fairly positive Isis is gone, too, and the new Loaf and Ladle is in that space.

          1. re: fezzig
            m
            midcity May 10, 2009 09:02 AM

            Sigh . . . alas! That IS one thing about Portsmouth restaurants. Gosh, the sweet potato homefries at Isis were SO good!

            I'm wondering if the Stockpot's secret boiled lobster dinner means that people can get it served at other places off the menu too, though . . .

            1. re: midcity
              a
              adiosoven Jun 10, 2009 08:10 AM

              I agree w/cheese fries at Friendly Toast - they keep us coming back for more, plus our teenager thinks it's fun. We allow plenty of time for length of service - if you're in a rush, you could be frustrated! Staff has always been kind, even giving us a generous portion of straw./pepper sauce to take home!

              1. re: adiosoven
                m
                midcity Jun 10, 2009 05:58 PM

                Do you think they would ever share the recipe for that sauce? I have thought about asking for it, now that I live 1,000 miles away--I have searched online for similar sauces and have found nothing remotely similar.

        2. d
          Drews182 Apr 24, 2009 05:21 PM

          I had dinner last night at a new restaurant called Four. It opened this past October. There are two menus one is the steak house menu the other a four course $40 pre-fixe. My friend and I went with the steak house menu. I started out with sticky baby back ribs and my friend had pizza. It seemed like a fine dining restaurant so these two Aps seemed out of place, however, the flavor and seasoning were all spot on and great.

          For our second course I had the steak. It was seasoned with thier special plend of seasoning, and came with there signature steak (veal) sauce. The steak was seasoned and cooked perfectly.

          The food and wine list is small like the restaurant. It made for an intimate dinner. The server can also talk about anything on the menu. Overall and A. Go try it!!

          If that wasn't decriptive enough go to The Wellington Room. Another finer dining romantic dinner, Chef Matt is a great chef and really knows his stuff. His wife runs the front of the house and everything from the wine to food is always perfect.

          1. h
            humin Apr 23, 2009 01:28 PM

            I agree regarding MoJo's BBQ.

            I prefer The Gaslight for pizza over Flatbread.

            Popovers is good for lunch, but not dinner.

            Haven't been there yet, but Ri Ra Irish Pub (just opened) is packing them in.

            I was never a huge fan of the Portsmouth Brewery, but I went in last year to try the Kate the Great and was very impressed with the food. I think their food has gotten significantly better.

            My favorite for dinner is Jumpin Jay's Fish Cafe, we just sit at the bar. The mussels appetizer is enough for dinner.

            On a nice day, you can't beat the places on the water. Your going for ambiance here primarily. The Blue Claw, Rusty Hammer, Pocos (food is blah, but with enough margaritas - you won't notice).

            Not in Portsmouth, but Petey's Summertime Seafood on the beach in Rye makes an excellent fish chowder.

            1. BigFatDynamo Apr 18, 2009 09:02 AM

              Not sure about dinner (but the menu looks good), but lunch at Gracie's Diner is pretty darn good. It's off the beaten path too, so you won't feel too crowded on a nice day in P-Mouth.

              The Rusty Hammer has great potato skins.

              Everything at MoJo's BBQ is good, much better than Muddy River, in my humble opinion.

              Popovers is great for a light dinner, but really only if it's a small party (2-3, maybe 4).

              Flatbread is great for a date, and it's actually very kid friendly, as lots of families take their kids there. Do everyone a favor, if you have kids, don't let them run amok while you sip your wine with your friends.

              The Brewery is not as great as it used to be, but I've never had anything there I didn't care for. The beer is fabulous, of course.

              Hope that helps.

              1. Essex County Apr 16, 2009 11:12 AM

                I always seem to end up at the Portsmouth Brewing Co for lunch. The food is solid but not extraordinary. The beer is great. For dinner there are a few options. One of my favorites is Pesce Blue.

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