Portsmouth, NH Oct 27-30 Thurs-Sun
My husband and I are planning a long weekend at Wentworth by The Sea. We need 3 dinners, possibly Sunday brunch and a few casual lunches. We like seafood, Italian, fusion, electic, and farm to table. Money is no object although we are not wasters. We are willing to pay for a great meal in a great atmosphere. A good wine list is a must.
Update: We had dinner at Black Trumpet on Thursday; very cozy with great service and an eclectic menu. Everyone raves about the fried almonds; my husband ordered them I was not impressed but the truffle oil that comes with this dish is delicious. I had octopus with arugula salad - definitely a farm to table- very fresh tasting salad. The rabbit angnolotti was delicious - it is a medium dish which is just the right size - homemade pasta - The cassoleut was a bit salty
We had lunch the The River House- their clam chowder is the best I have ever tasted. Fresh chunky clams in a moderately creamy sauce
Dinner at Jumpin Jay's was excellent. I started with the radicchio pear salad. This salad was a surprise- a good one at that - two pear halves with balsamic vinegar and a "scoop" of radicchio, blue cheese and nuts. Very rich and a good match with the seafood antipasto platter that I chose for dinner. Shrimp cocktail was outstanding. Mussels were Ok. I had to substitute for oysters due to an allergy. Cherrystone clams were good. This dish comes with a scoop of real crab salad and an Asian type cold squid salad over seaweed salad. A nice contrast with the raw fish
Sunday brunch at the Wentworth was a disappointment and definitely not worth the money. I had fruit, hake stuffed with crabmeat, roasted vegetables, pork, risotto and a selection from the dessert table which was set up for Halloween. the desserts tasted pre-made. The price ($35/pp) includes juice, coffee, bloody marys and mimosa's. If you go the waffles were pretty good. But like I said, this was a huge disappointment.
I was in Portsmouth last weekend. Arrived on Saturday night and downtown was a zoo so we headed over to Kittery (warning Rt 1 bridge is closed - use bypass). Contrary to many reviews I wanted to try Warren's Lobster House but it was absolutely mobbed. We ended up at Bob's Clam Hut by the outlets and I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't the best seafood shack I have eaten at but it was far from the worst and I thought the prices were reasonable, especially the kid's meals.
For your brunch meal I would highly recommend The River House. We didn't plan on having brunch there but we arrived at 1 PM and they were still serving off of the brunch menu. I had the short rib hash and can honestly say it was the best hash I have ever had. Different, but very good. My wife's spinach salad came with a fantastic avocado ranch dressing. Daughter got seafood chowder that was superb (though very thick) as was the lobster artichoke dip. The kids loved the tater tots (yes they are lowbrow). They serve them in a fancy cone-shaped cup with a tasty smoked ketchup. We were so satisfied that we didn't feel hungry until after 8PM. Grabbed a few slices of pizza at The Upper Crust on Congress street. They are a small Boston chain that is expanding but I thought it was among the best thin crust pizzas I have eaten. It was quiet there on a Sunday night but the staff was cheerful and friendly. Kid's also loved it. Grabbed two cupcakes at the Portsmouth Baking Company down the street afterwards. The place was exceptionally clean, the cupcakes very good, and even though she was ready to close the woman who took care of us was very nice.
Monday lunch was at Geno's Chowder and Sandwich Shop on Mechanic Street. For me this was probably the best meal of the trip. The place is not fancy but it is right on the water in an out of they way spot and the chowders (all three) were top notch. Daughter had clam chowder, wife had lobster (stew actually) and I had fish. It was tied for the best fish chowder I have ever tasted (the other being the Boothbay Fire Department's at the Fall Festival in Boothbay 2008.) Wife's lobster roll was very good. You can ask for it to be served with butter or mayo. My crab roll was good but not extraordinary. Once again the staff (all family I believe) were very friendly. All of the desserts are made in house and were good, especially the whoopie pie. For dinner we went to The Portsmouth Brewery. Again, a great meal. Monday they serve a vegetarian moussaka that I loved. Had it with a pumpkin ale that was almost as good as the Shipyard pumpkin I had at The River House the day before. Wife had stellar crab cakes. Had the flat bread appetizer (toppings change daily). Don't remember what the kid's had but we all left very happy. My only complaint is that the place is somewhat noisy.
Wow! I apologize for rambling on but Portsmouth was the best food destination I have visited in quite some time. I almost forgot, we had ice cream at Annabelle's on Ceres St. Sorry to sound like a recording but it was also excellent. Come to think of it we were not disappointed with anything we ate or the service the entire trip. For me that is quite unusual. Can't wait to get back to Portsmouth.
56 Market St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Bob's Clam Hut
RR 1, Kittery, ME 03904
Warren's Lobster House
11 Water St, Kittery, ME 03904
My suggestions -
My wife and I rarely sit a table, our preference is to eat at the bar.
Farm to Table/fusion: Black Trumpet http://www.blacktrumpetbistro.com/
We've eaten here many times, so from personal experience I'd suggest Jumpin Jay's http://www.jumpinjays.com/
I have yet to eat here, but it's getting rave reviews from people on this board. Surf. http://www.surfseafood.com/portsmouth.html
Not sure how to categorize this one other than excellent - Anneke Jans in Kittery, ME (just over the river, can't walk there but a very short drive). http://www.annekejans.net/
A very Portsmouth dining experience is Mombo. It's in a post and beam constructed home in Strawberry Bank. They have a large bar, where a section of the bar allows patrons to watch the kitchen, even interact with the cooking staff. You can have a few cocktails and watch what's coming out of the kitchen before making your meal selection. http://www.momborestaurant.com/
In my opinion, there are no Italian restaurants in Portsmouth that are worthy of a recommendation. When I want Italian I go to Ron Jillians in Hampton. Very casual, basic/American classic Italian. Their gravy is exceptional. It's kind of a towny place, almost always packed. Ron Jillians is NOT fine dining, it's good food (lots of it) at a reasonable price.
This is the kind of place that you might see on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
Casual / lunch recommendations:.
Flatbread Pizza on Congress Street (about 3 doors down from Jumpin Jays). All organic. Flatbreads originally started in NH and is now growing across New England and even a store in Hawaii (me thinks tax write-off for the owner). Get the house salad with goat cheese, best bleeping dinner salad in Portsmouth. Pizza is great too, atmosphere is......noisy. We always sit at the bar here. http://www.flatbreadcompany.com/
River House, on Bow Street, near Surf and Black Trumpet. This is primarily a soup place. Good lunch,full bar, fantastic view of the waterfront. http://www.riverhouse53bow.com/
Freshest seafood of any restaurant period. Sea side shack atmosphere (in the bar), best seafood chowder I've ever had in a restaurant. Extremely casual - paper plates, baked dishes come out in a foil pan....but worth trying for the chowder if nothing else - Petey's Summertime Seafood on Rt1A, Rye Beach. Seafood chowder, not the clam chowder.
60 Wallingford Sq., Kittery, ME 03904
Petey's Summertime Seafood
1323 Ocean Blvd, Rye, NH 03870
822 Lafayette Rd Ste 4, Hampton, NH 03842