We’re heading to Portsmouth NH in a couple of weeks for a rare (okay, first ever) overnight getaway without the sprouts to celebrate a milestone anniversary. Why, yes, you may ask: tenth. We’ll be staying at Victoria House Bed and Breakfast just up the road from the Wall, which we hope to surf endlessly to work up an appetite. Please, wave gods be with us. For dinner, I’d like somewhere with great food. Obviously. Ideally it should be somewhere you’d never, ever take kids to. Seafood is our favorite, but we eat everything. I have eaten at Black Trumpet once and had a really nice meal. That’s a leading contender. Other thoughts include Moxy or Ristorante Massimo (although their website makes the food look a bit fussy and possibly overpriced). I’d be eager to hear any experiences or other suggestions. I’m not considering Row 34 because we just ate at Island Creek here in Boston and want to try something new. We’ll also need lunch on our way out the following day. I’ve actually never explored the boardwalk in Hampton, so if there’s any food there worth eating that’s a possibility. Thanks!
We never seem to end up in Portsmouth these days because the dining scene just a bridge away in Kittery is so bustling. Anju (the only one of this list we’ve tried), Black Birch, Wallingford Dram (which TimTamGirl, a trusted source, loves), Tulsi. Or do what we would do…brown-bag it with some cold wine/beer, cheese and wine, and lobster rolls and sit on a favorite beach and watch the sun go down. We’ve done that with spring onion/cipollini on Rachel Carson when he was really young. Can’t do that now but it’s what we would do. Restaurants pale in comparison.
Row 34 is sufficiently different from ICOB that I would recommend you not rule it out - that is if you haven’t been to the Fort Point Row 34.
Does anybody remember Blue Strawberry in Portsmouth?
If seafood is the priority, try Jumpin Jays. Very fresh, well executed and a fun atmosphere.
We prefer the bar.
Or Cava for small plates and good wine. We’ve always enjoyed the food there.
If you can get to Dover (20 minutes by car, 40 by bus), Even Hennessey at “Stages at One Washington” catered my wedding because he was the only place I could find willing to do sous vide. It’s a bit like Somerville’s Tasting Counter. He’s since become a James Beard semi-finalist.
I’ve actually only been mildly pleased with ICOB on two visits. Some poor execution of specials and injudicious use of flavors (IMHO) on our visit a few weeks ago makes me less than eager to go to Row 34 for a very special night. Also, the whole “working man’s oyster bar” thing kind of rubs me the wrong way.
Menu looks good, but we’re kind of looking for a Special Occasion restaurant- would this fit the bill?
Can’t say I disagree about the “working man’s” conceit - it’s only a “working man’s oyster bar” if you work at Goldman Sachs. That said, we much prefer it to ICOB.
No, it is kind of casual…
The Library is a pretty classic steak house, but I’ve never been wowed by the seafood selection.
I’ve always enjoyed Rudis, had some of the best linguine with clams there a while back. White table clothes, piano, old school feel to it.
You might want to look at Mombo. I’ve never eaten there but have a couple of friends that rave about it.
I remember the Blue Strawberry. My grandparents lived in Portsmouth and my parents took me there when I was in college, long, long ago. My mother loved that place. It was the first place I had seen that did not have salt and pepper on the table - the food was assumed to be seasoned perfectly. Another thing I remember is a simple dessert my mother replicated often, and is still good today: whole strawberries with a side of sour cream and another of dark brown sugar. You dip the berries in the sour cream, then in the sugar. Fantastically simple and delicious.
I vaguely recall some balsamic vinegar with the strawberries - or was that from some other distant memory?
Looks great; closed Sunday. Should have mentioned it will be a Sunday night.
I made a reservation at Moxy- unless anyone chimes in elsewise, we’re going to give it a try. Will report back.
If you like quality chocolate, stop into the Bryne And Carlson shop near the old part of Portsmouth. Great stuff.
Just wanted to update- we had an absolutely fabulous dinner at Moxy in Portsmouth. This place is seriously a hidden gem. I also talked to the bartender who mentioned that Guy Fieri had been in to film a DDD segment a few weeks ago, so once it airs it may not be quite as under-the-radar. It did strike me as being a little outside Poochie’s purview, what with the upscale atmosphere and appropriateness for an anniversary celebration. For now though, no one we talked with had heard of it including the bed and breakfast proprietor or our hip surf instructor.
I happened to be at Alden and Harlow in Harvard Square last night, which I also love, but I must admit, especially when price was taken into account, I would have to give my meal at Moxy a slight edge. And that’s high praise.
Also a quick shout out to Breaking Beans coffee- a mile and a half away from the Wall, also known as North Beach in Hampton and totally worth a quick detour. Excellent coffee and super friendly staff.