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Apr 29, 2011 04:26 AM

Cafe Mediterraneo, Portsmouth, NH

A lot of people I know really love this place, so we finally gave it a try.

An unenthusiastic host (owner?) sat us. Bar was busy, dining room 1/2 empty. Server was very pleasant, but detached. She brought some warm bread with spiced olive oil. The bread was of the frozen baguette kind, not fresh, so already we knew corners are being cut. Salads were just OK, nothing special, no fresh ground pepper was offered. The food runner, was just that, she dropped the food and ran, never asking, "May I get you anything else?" So, let's be gentle and say the place lacks polish.

The food was pretty good, pasta was al-dente, veggies were freshly cooked, veal was of nice quality, but the marinara sauce served with side pasta was pedestrian as was another pasta dish. They offered grated parmigiano and what they brought was a bowl of what looked & tasted like Kraft (Sysco?) grated Parmesan cheese. We were told that none of the desserts are made in house, so we didn't go for that.

Prices were fairly reasonable, but overall, it's another Portsmouth disappointment. It has potential--like a tasty home-baked cake covered with canned frosting.

On another note, Pesce Blue (one place I liked) has closed and another pizza place just opened . .

Pesce Blue
103 Congress Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Cafe Mediterraneo
119 Congress St, Portsmouth, NH 03801

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  1. This is one of the few restaurants I have ever walked away from. The chicken parm that I had was so flavorless, gummy, and loaded with sauce that makes Ragu a winner, that I simply asked for the check, paid, and left. My DC's dinner was scarcely better.

    Pesce Blue was my favorite restaurant as well, divine, restrained and delightful. Now it is closed.

    Pesce Blue
    103 Congress Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801

    1 Reply
    1. re: aadesmd

      And Bella Luna recently closed its doors from what I understand. I guess I am still waiting for a great Italian restaurant in Portsmouth. I don't understand why there has always been an Italian "black hole." Perhaps I'm missing something or have not tried a solid Italian restaurant in the downtown area???

      Bella Luna
      10 Market St, Portsmouth, NH 03801

    2. And people love that place. I don't get it. Granted, I haven't been there in quite a few years.