Birthday dinner in/near Portsmouth NH

Any recommendations for a birthday dinner in or near Portsmouth NH? We’re heading up for a night away to celebrate an almost-milestone birthday. We prefer seafood and/or Italian over meat-focused menus and are willing to splurge (within reason) on this one. We’re also not wed to Portsmouth proper if there is a better recommendation nearby.

In case it helps, some of our Boston-area faves are Gufo, Bar Mezzana, Kava, Waypoint, and The Longfellow for cocktails.

Thanks in advance!

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Although it was 2018 when we went, we remember dinner at the Black Trumpet, in Portsmouth, as one of the nicest meals of that three week trip to the States. It’s a short menu which majors on seafood.


I’m having dinner at Row 34 in Portsmouth Friday night, and I can report back!


It’s been too long since I’ve been in Portsmouth, and I like hanging out there but, for no good reason, I’m drawn more to Kittery foreside for dining, although Black Trumpet has always appealed to me. I love cozy places. We never do fancy (mind you, for us, “fancy” means anything that is not a pub) places, but I’ve always been intrigued by both The Black Birch (no reservations) and Anneke Jans (does take reservations). You could always hang out at Wallingford Dram while you wait for your table (I think Anju, which is my favorite but probably too casual for your occasion, had this arrangement with the Wallingford).



Jumping Jays is good…the bar is the best if you can grab a spot.
Second Kittery Point and Black Birch. But it’s neither Italian nor seafood focused . In the same area is Festina Lente where we had a wonderful time (precovid).
If I remember correctly, all pasta was home made as was the bread.
Love Portsmouth…great walk around town.


Thank you all! The Black Birch and Black Trumpet both look fantastic and exactly what we’re seeking. I’ll let the birthday guy choose and will, of course, report back!


Chiming in with a recent experience. My husband and I enjoyed a late lunch at Row 34 in Portsmouth last week. We hadn’t been since the pandemic and of course prices are higher these days.

We treated ourselves to impeccably shucked oysters and a beer from their superbly curated selection. Fish sandwich for me and fish tacos for my husband. I crave a fish sandwich at this time of year—Lenten tradition—and this example was my light, crispy ideal.

Interestingly, their lobster roll was absent from the menu. Our server explained that lobster is
especially pricey right now, given lower supply caused by stormy conditions and increased demand from last month’s Lunar New Year celebrations. I checked to see that lobster rolls remain on the menu at Row 34’s Boston and Cambridge locations at $64. Yeah, I’ll be waiting for the price to drop when lobster is in better supply.

Hope this info helps.


We ate there on an earlier trip (2012). My recollection was that it was very seafood focussed and was pretty good (and specifically focussed on “catch of the day” specials). If it’s still getting good reports then it may well be worth considering.


Reporting back from a quick but delightful trip!

We got to Portsmouth mid-afternoon on Saturday and spent a few (very wet!) hours moseying through the shops and studios in Portsmouth. We stopped at the Thirsty Moose for a beer (read: to dry off) and were very pleasantly surprised by the California Wings aka buffalo cauliflower app. We expected good beer but mediocre bar food and this was far, far better - really light breading and spicy sauce. Very solid beer list and a packed house for a day of basketball and hockey viewing - a really fun atmosphere.

For dinner we put our name in a Black Birch and wandered Kittery for a bit while we waited. (Sadly, Wallingford Dram was absolutely packed, so no opportunity to grab a cocktail there.) Our table was ready in less than 45 minutes and we loved our meal. Friendly but not rushed service, a warm, loud-ish ambience, and really great food. Favorites included the smoked octopus (a special that day), the onion bhaji, the hot nashville cauliflower sandwich (yes, we had back to back buffalo cauliflower!) and the sticky toffee pudding. All of our cocktails were excellent. It’s incredible what they can do with a tiny kitchen!

Thank you all for the recommendations! We really enjoyed Portsmouth and are planning a summer trip already (with kids, so probably more lobster rolls than multi-course dinners!)

Side note: interestingly, as we walked by Jumpin Jays, we realized that we’d been there a few years ago but had forgotten the name.