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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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Black Trumpet Bistro

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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.

Block Six - The Restaurant at 3S

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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.

Blue Mermaid

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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.

Caffe Kilim

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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.

Cava Tapas and Wine Bar

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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.

Ceres Bakery

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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.

Cure Restaurant

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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.

Earth Eagle Brewings

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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.

La Maison Navarre

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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.

Louie's

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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.

Mombo Restaurant

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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.

Moxy American Tapas Restaurant

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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.

Portsmouth Brewery

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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.

Ristorante Massimo

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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.

Row 34 NH

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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.
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.

Surf Restaurant

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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.

The Franklin Oyster House

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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.

Vida Cantina

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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.

Black Trumpet Bistro

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.

Block Six - The Restaurant at 3S

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.

Blue Mermaid

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.

Caffe Kilim

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.

Cava Tapas and Wine Bar

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.

Ceres Bakery

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.

Cure Restaurant

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.

Earth Eagle Brewings

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.

La Maison Navarre

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.

Louie's

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.

Mombo Restaurant

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.

Moxy American Tapas Restaurant

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.

Portsmouth Brewery

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.

Ristorante Massimo

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.

Row 34 NH

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.

STREET

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.

Surf Restaurant

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.

The Franklin Oyster House

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.

Vida Cantina

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.