Portsmouth

Of course you can eat very nicely in York. But for a wide variety of dining, Portsmouth is just wonderful. It seems as if there is a new and creative spot opening every month. Portsmouth is just 15 minutes south of us.   Checkout this lineup.

Here are some of our favorites:

Jumpin’ Jays Fish Cafe 

150 Congress St.     Portsmouth, NH      603.766.FISH (3474)

Jays offers very fresh fish in a lively atmosphere. This eatery is a year round favorite with locals and has consistently offered fish just the way we like it…that is simply…without globs of excess flavors. But here’s the big feature: you get to select from the “catch of the day” and match it with your choice of sauce. Simply inspired. How about Artic Char with “lobster veloute” sauce? The seared sushi grade tuna is quite special. And the apps are great: “tuna tartar”, baked oysters, and the crab cake are among our favorites. Reservations are highly recommended…a very popular place with good reason.

Cava Tapas and Wine Bar

10 Commercial Alley
Portsmouth, NH 03801
603.319.1575

A tiny restaurant. A wine bar upstairs with perhaps 4 tables. A wine bar downstairs (the “Cave”) with 3 tables. If you love a parade of small bites artfully prepared, select the tasting menu. It is outrageously nice. Or just sip, select and nibble the night away. This is one of my favorite tapas experiences ever. The wonderful food and wine is amplified by the warmth of the service. I hope Lulu is still there and you are lucky enough to have her as your server. This place is exceptional.

Agave Mexican Bistro

111 State Street Portsmouth, NH   603.427.5300

I know…you didn’t come all the way to New England to eat Mexican food. But after all, you can’t eat lobster every night (well, some do). And truthfully, Mexican food is not my favorite. But Agave is one of our favorite bistros in the area. The enormous assortment of tequilas is certainly a factor. Check out the shrimp quesadillas and the fish tacos. The atmosphere is very comfortable and inviting…you won’t want to leave.

Ristorante Massimo 

59 Penhallow Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801
603.436.4000  

Are you reading this because you want to spend some serious cash to impress your honey to achieve a romantic coup? Then go to Massimo. Ask for an alcove table. You can snuggle as you are lavished with very special service and some exceptional fine dining. We thought the lamb shank and the duck were excellent and generously portioned. Bring an appetite.Fine wine list. Feel special.

Mombo 

66 Marcy Street  Portsmouth, NH  03801  603-433-2340

Located near Strawbery Banke Museum, you sense the charm of a distant time as you enter. It’s about post and beam, subtle lighting, long gorgeous bar. Mombo offers some eclectic dishes…lot’s of creativity. This restaurant is for foodies who enjoy the adventure. Our server was exceptional. The general manager made himself readily available. There is a very fine energy here. Our appie choice was lobster rangoons (rich and luscious) and our dessert was a pumpkin/chocolate creme brule (magnificent).  Mombo is unique and fun.

Rudi’s

20 High Street Portsmouth, NH 03801   603.430.7834

Enter, look left at one of those old bars that makes you think you have time traveled. As you listen to the guy at the piano play some jazz tune that cracks open some distant romantic memory, belly up and order a martini made the way they were meant to be. I’m sure they have silly fruity tuity drinks, but this place commands me to say: “straight up with olives, please”. Look at the extensive menu. How to choose? Rudi’s is softly lit and comforting in an old timey way. I love it.

Common Man 

96 State Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 334-6225

This is a regional chain, but it sure doesn’t feel like one. Go here for very reasonably priced classic food, nice draft beer. It’s cozy and feels like an old pub. The service is warm and friendly. Enjoy Lobster mac’n’cheese, Prime rib, Haddock Oscar, Pot roast, Escargot, Baked onion soup. You get that comfort food feeling. And it won’t cost a bundle. Very nicely done, indeed.

Surf 

99 Bow St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
603.334.9855 

It’s about a great harbor view, perhaps from a curved booth that faces the water. Energetic bistro atmosphere. Interesting menu. The fish tacos were great.  “Miso-marinated Salmon” or “Moroccan Spiced Scallops” anyone? Many items are “spicy”…not for the faint of tongue. But there is always beer to put the fire out, right? Seafood, Harbor view, nice cocktails…what’s not to like?

Flatbread Company

138 Congress Street Portsmouth, NH   603.436.7888

Sometimes you just don’t want the big fancy meal. The menu here tells you all you need to know. Many times our guests have returned from Portsmouth thrilled with this place. Wood fired, organic, creative, healthy, gluten free option, inexpensive. Fun.