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19 Restaurants Worth the Drive to Portsmouth, NH

Turns out there's more than just cheap liquor in the Granite State.

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This quaint coastal town is much like Portland, in that its historical cobblestoned streets are home to a booming restaurant scene. Whether you're looking for a fall day trip (combine it with a visit to neighboring Kittery to get the most foodie bang for your buck) or for a pit stop on your way north to visit Vacationland, Portsmouth is worth a visit. Here are 19 places to relax and refuel once you get there. Note: map points are in alphabetical order.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Black Trumpet Bistro

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29 Ceres St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 431-0887
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This cozy, waterfront bistro uses locally-sourced produce and meat, and menu items feature housemade condiments and preserves. A James Beard Award semi-finalist, chef Evan Mallett purchases whole animals to butcher in-house and recently opened Stock + Spice next door, selling Black Trumpet spices and blends.

2. Block Six - The Restaurant at 3S

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319 Vaughan St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 294-9060
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3S, a gallery and performance space, is also home to a modern lounge in which you can relax on comfy couches and chairs while you sip drinks. The menu offers small plates for sharing or larger bites like buttermilk fried chicken and steak frites.

3. Blue Mermaid

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409 The Hill
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 427-2583
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Enjoy tropical cocktails and island-inspired fare like jerk chicken and fish tacos on the deck of this long-running Portsmouth restaurant. The owners regularly donate proceeds to local organizations dedicated to ending hunger, so you can feel good about ordering another drink...for charity, of course.

4. Caffe Kilim

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163 Islington St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 436-7330
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This coffee shop has been in business for over twenty years in Portsmouth and has a loyal following. Enjoy the shop's Middle Eastern vibe with Turkish coffee, cookies, and music piped in overhead.

5. Cava Tapas and Wine Bar

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10 Commercial Alley
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 319-1575
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You'll be transported to the Mediterranean when you dine at Cava, where the Old World atmosphere and wine list complement the menu of traditional tapas, like patatas bravas and char-grilled baby octopus.

6. Ceres Bakery

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51 Penhallow St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 436-6518
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Ceres Bakery, while named for the street of its original location, also honors the Roman goddess of agriculture. Bakers turn the fruits of Ceres' harvest into breads, cookies, and pastries, and also offer daily selections of soup, salads, and sandwiches.

7. Cure Restaurant

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189 State St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 427-8258
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This small, intimate restaurant is led by Julie Cutting, one of the few female chefs in town. Try the liver pate to start and don't miss the espresso-stout braised short ribs, a fan favorite.

8. Earth Eagle Brewings

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165 High St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 502-2244
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Head down a small alley to find this cheery brewery's tasting room, which serves unusual beer styles with a focus on gruit, the name for brews that feature a bevy of botanicals in place of hops. The food menu is equally eclectic with pub fare like spicy pickled eggs and alligator jambalaya.

9. La Maison Navarre

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121 Congress St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 373-8401
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This new French bakery already has visitors raving about the authentic fare like croissants, macarons, and crepes. Enjoy savory selections on housemade baguettes or crepes, as well as a wine list and charcuterie plate specials offered Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights.

10. Louie's

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86 Pleasant St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 294-0989
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From the owners of Gigi's in York Beach, Louie's offers Italian fare in a comfortable atmosphere. Housemade pastas and seafood dishes are the standouts here.

11. Mombo Restaurant

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66 Marcy St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 433-2340
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Located in historic village Strawbery Banke, Mombo's menu features seasonal dishes that rotate frequently. Diners love the wine list's selection and the classic cocktails, and the extensive menu offers variety for vegetarian and gluten-free diners.

12. Moxy American Tapas Restaurant

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106 Penhallow St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 319-8178
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Come to Moxy ready to eat and willing to share. The large menu of "American tapas" uses locally-grown ingredients and in-house preserved jams, pickles, and chutneys. Word has it some of the meat prepared here even comes via MEat in Kittery.

13. Portsmouth Brewery

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56 Market St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 431-1115
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This OG brewpub has been pouring beers since the early nineties and has a brew and an ambiance for everyone. The upstairs bar and dining room are great for enjoying a meal, while the basement lounge has couches and pool tables. Don't miss the famous mussels — especially in the spicy Thai curry broth.

14. Ristorante Massimo

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59 Penhallow St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 436-4000
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The restaurant downstairs is thoroughly classic Italian, comforting in its familiarity. The more casual Upstairs at Massimo's offers small plates, charcuterie, and a small selection of entrees.

15. Row 34 NH

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5 Portwalk Place
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 319-5011
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The second location from the Boston-based restaurateurs opened in Portsmouth this summer. Row 34 focuses on seafood with an extensive raw bar selection, and despite its trendy decor still offers New England classics like lobster rolls and fried clams. The bar program is strong at this Eastern Standard sister spot, too.

16. STREET

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801 Islington St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 436-0860
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Stop into Street for a taste of global fare without having to dust off your passport. This casual eatery offers small plates of street food from around the world, like pozole, sticky rice bowls, and Korean fried chicken.

17. Surf Restaurant

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99 Bow St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 334-9855
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Head down to the waterfront for fresh local seafood with a view at Surf. Styles of cuisine run the gamut, but they all contain Seacoast-caught seafood where possible. Pop into Surf Sushi Bar next door for even more fresh fish.

18. The Franklin Oyster House

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148 Fleet St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 373-8500
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From the chef at Moxy's, this new raw bar offers a selection of New England oysters, as well as some from Canada and Washington. Don't miss the housemade charcuterie or Happy Hour, Monday-Friday, 4-6pm, when select oysters are only $1.25.

19. Vida Cantina

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2456 Lafayette Rd
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 501-0648
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This jaunty cantina's owners take pride in serving locally-grown and organic produce where possible, and even make their own tortillas using local heirloom corn. The chef's wife is vegan, so the meatless dishes aren't just an afterthought.

1. Black Trumpet Bistro

29 Ceres St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
This cozy, waterfront bistro uses locally-sourced produce and meat, and menu items feature housemade condiments and preserves. A James Beard Award semi-finalist, chef Evan Mallett purchases whole animals to butcher in-house and recently opened Stock + Spice next door, selling Black Trumpet spices and blends.
29 Ceres St
Portsmouth, NH 03801

2. Block Six - The Restaurant at 3S

319 Vaughan St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
3S, a gallery and performance space, is also home to a modern lounge in which you can relax on comfy couches and chairs while you sip drinks. The menu offers small plates for sharing or larger bites like buttermilk fried chicken and steak frites.
319 Vaughan St
Portsmouth, NH 03801

3. Blue Mermaid

409 The Hill, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Enjoy tropical cocktails and island-inspired fare like jerk chicken and fish tacos on the deck of this long-running Portsmouth restaurant. The owners regularly donate proceeds to local organizations dedicated to ending hunger, so you can feel good about ordering another drink...for charity, of course.
409 The Hill
Portsmouth, NH 03801

4. Caffe Kilim

163 Islington St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
This coffee shop has been in business for over twenty years in Portsmouth and has a loyal following. Enjoy the shop's Middle Eastern vibe with Turkish coffee, cookies, and music piped in overhead.
163 Islington St
Portsmouth, NH 03801

5. Cava Tapas and Wine Bar

10 Commercial Alley, Portsmouth, NH 03801
You'll be transported to the Mediterranean when you dine at Cava, where the Old World atmosphere and wine list complement the menu of traditional tapas, like patatas bravas and char-grilled baby octopus.
10 Commercial Alley
Portsmouth, NH 03801

6. Ceres Bakery

51 Penhallow St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Ceres Bakery, while named for the street of its original location, also honors the Roman goddess of agriculture. Bakers turn the fruits of Ceres' harvest into breads, cookies, and pastries, and also offer daily selections of soup, salads, and sandwiches.
51 Penhallow St
Portsmouth, NH 03801

7. Cure Restaurant

189 State St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
This small, intimate restaurant is led by Julie Cutting, one of the few female chefs in town. Try the liver pate to start and don't miss the espresso-stout braised short ribs, a fan favorite.
189 State St
Portsmouth, NH 03801

8. Earth Eagle Brewings

165 High St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Head down a small alley to find this cheery brewery's tasting room, which serves unusual beer styles with a focus on gruit, the name for brews that feature a bevy of botanicals in place of hops. The food menu is equally eclectic with pub fare like spicy pickled eggs and alligator jambalaya.
165 High St
Portsmouth, NH 03801

9. La Maison Navarre

121 Congress St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
This new French bakery already has visitors raving about the authentic fare like croissants, macarons, and crepes. Enjoy savory selections on housemade baguettes or crepes, as well as a wine list and charcuterie plate specials offered Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights.
121 Congress St
Portsmouth, NH 03801

10. Louie's

86 Pleasant St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
From the owners of Gigi's in York Beach, Louie's offers Italian fare in a comfortable atmosphere. Housemade pastas and seafood dishes are the standouts here.
86 Pleasant St
Portsmouth, NH 03801

11. Mombo Restaurant

66 Marcy St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Located in historic village Strawbery Banke, Mombo's menu features seasonal dishes that rotate frequently. Diners love the wine list's selection and the classic cocktails, and the extensive menu offers variety for vegetarian and gluten-free diners.
66 Marcy St
Portsmouth, NH 03801

12. Moxy American Tapas Restaurant

106 Penhallow St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Come to Moxy ready to eat and willing to share. The large menu of "American tapas" uses locally-grown ingredients and in-house preserved jams, pickles, and chutneys. Word has it some of the meat prepared here even comes via MEat in Kittery.
106 Penhallow St
Portsmouth, NH 03801

13. Portsmouth Brewery

56 Market St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
This OG brewpub has been pouring beers since the early nineties and has a brew and an ambiance for everyone. The upstairs bar and dining room are great for enjoying a meal, while the basement lounge has couches and pool tables. Don't miss the famous mussels — especially in the spicy Thai curry broth.
56 Market St
Portsmouth, NH 03801

14. Ristorante Massimo

59 Penhallow St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
The restaurant downstairs is thoroughly classic Italian, comforting in its familiarity. The more casual Upstairs at Massimo's offers small plates, charcuterie, and a small selection of entrees.
59 Penhallow St
Portsmouth, NH 03801

15. Row 34 NH

5 Portwalk Place, Portsmouth, NH 03801
The second location from the Boston-based restaurateurs opened in Portsmouth this summer. Row 34 focuses on seafood with an extensive raw bar selection, and despite its trendy decor still offers New England classics like lobster rolls and fried clams. The bar program is strong at this Eastern Standard sister spot, too.
5 Portwalk Place
Portsmouth, NH 03801

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16. STREET

801 Islington St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Stop into Street for a taste of global fare without having to dust off your passport. This casual eatery offers small plates of street food from around the world, like pozole, sticky rice bowls, and Korean fried chicken.
801 Islington St
Portsmouth, NH 03801

17. Surf Restaurant

99 Bow St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Head down to the waterfront for fresh local seafood with a view at Surf. Styles of cuisine run the gamut, but they all contain Seacoast-caught seafood where possible. Pop into Surf Sushi Bar next door for even more fresh fish.
99 Bow St
Portsmouth, NH 03801

18. The Franklin Oyster House

148 Fleet St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
From the chef at Moxy's, this new raw bar offers a selection of New England oysters, as well as some from Canada and Washington. Don't miss the housemade charcuterie or Happy Hour, Monday-Friday, 4-6pm, when select oysters are only $1.25.
148 Fleet St
Portsmouth, NH 03801

19. Vida Cantina

2456 Lafayette Rd, Portsmouth, NH 03801
This jaunty cantina's owners take pride in serving locally-grown and organic produce where possible, and even make their own tortillas using local heirloom corn. The chef's wife is vegan, so the meatless dishes aren't just an afterthought.
2456 Lafayette Rd
Portsmouth, NH 03801