Downtown Pizza: Best Pizza in Town
If you want good pizza in town; this is the place. The restaurant is located in the basement of the Gas Light Building. Upstairs are others restaurants and venues with different dining choices.
My wife and I first tried this place when were in town enjoying the sunny summer weather(Memorial Day weekend 2012) and needed some lunch. We had been disappointed by other pizza options in the area in the past but had heard they have delicious brick oven pizza. So we headed off to the restaurant. We entered on the street level and walked down the stairs to the hostess station. She promptly seated us at a large table in the corner of their second dining area by the bar and handed menus.
Now comes the hard part...The menu is packed with an array of specialty pizzas, build your own pizza, calzones, salads, sandwiches and pasta. The specialty pizzas all looked incredible and they even had a specialty pizza of the day written on the blackboard hanging on the wall. After perusing all the choices we had no idea what to choose, everything looked amazing.
After telling our waitress that we had narrowed it down to two pizzas; she suggested we get half and half on the pie. Excellent....we could have half a Salt Pile Pizza and half of the specialty pizza which was called the Fox Run Mall. We ordered a small pizza to share; which is six slices. Two unsweetened ice teas finished off our order.
We didn't wait long before our pizza arrived bubbling hot on a square metal tray. Wow...it looked amazing and smelled so good. We dug right in; I chose the Fox Run as my first slice while Liz had the Salt Pie. Oh my God incredible is the best way to describe this pizza. The pizza had a pesto base loaded with mozzarella, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions and artichoke hearts. I am salivating at the thought of it as I write. The Salt Pile is a white pizza loaded with garlic, swiss, ricotta, romano, and mozzarella cheese. The Salt Pile was also amazingly good. We had a hard time trying to decide which one was better…and still can’t decide.
The small pizza was a perfect size to share with six nice sized slices. We ate the entire pizza and felt totally full but not stuffed. This was a great lunch and very affordable with the pizza costing $12.95. We loved the casual vibe to the place, the excellent service and the wonderful pizza.
We've returned here almost every visit to Portsmouth; and we still love their pizza. Our last visit in July 2014; there was even a food tour stopping here for some of the tasty pizza.
Jumpin' Jay's Fish Cafe: Jump Up
Definitely on the expensive side, but the waitstaff was excellent, made me feel like part of their family, and the food was excellent.
I had the oysters, delicious. Then I had the Crab Grilled Cheese Sliders with tomato soup... a must. Then I had the monkfish (poor man's lobster), with a lobster sauce on it... wow.
I will be back.
Fat Belly's Bar & Grill: Good food that is reasonably priced.
I had arrived in Portsmouth fairly late on in the evening and after looking at one or two menus in other nearby restaurants decided to eat in Fat Belly's.
I ordered a Santa Fe Veggie Burger with hand cut French Fries and they were exactly that - hand cut from real potatoes as opposed to the mass produced frozen variety that you get in so many places. Portions were generous and prices very reasonable.
Open daily 11:00am - 01:00am
Favorite Dish: Santa Fe Veggie Burger was great.
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Breaking New Grounds: Great coffee, great pastries!
Stopped in here to grab a coffee, this local coffee house is centrally located in Market Square and provides a real alternative to the big chain coffee shops. The place was packed despite the fact that it was quite early in the day. Really good atmosphere, great coffee and cinnamon swirls to die for!
There are outside tables as well which I would imagine would be great places to sit and watch the world go by in warmer weather.
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Portsmouth Gas Light Company: Good service, good food
I stopped off here for lunch having spent the morning at Strawbery Banke. It was quite busy when I arrived but staff were welcoming and friendly. I was seated at the bar and this was fine for me. I had a Mozzarella B.R.A.T. which was very good.
If you are looking for a decent place to stop off for lunch then I would recommend that you consider this place.
- Women's Travel
Poco's Bow Street Cantina: Our Favorite Drink Stop in Portsmouth
Poco's is our favorite stop when wandering around Portsmouth. The place has a nice restaurant upstairs which we have never bothered with...oh well. We tend to sit at the bar downstairs or their outdoor heated patio when we come here. The atmosphere here is very laid back and inviting.
We enjoy hanging out at the bar, chatting with other patrons, catching a bit of a game on TV while having some drinks and snacks. The bartenders here are very nice and make a good drink. You never have to wait for a refill; they are that attentive.... The menu consists of some typical pub grub and seafood entrees. Liz and I usually get appetizers whether it's their awesome nachos, spinach dip or just some chips & salsa.
The drink menu has a good selection and they have several different Margaritas to chose from. The traditional Margarita is very good but my wife adores their Blue Moon Margarita; she has to have one every visit to Portsmouth. It's always a fun time and we love coming here.
Our most recent visit to Poco’s was January 2013. The place had a nice crowd inside watching some football; staying warm from the freezing temps outside. We sat back and enjoyed some drinks; a beer for me and a XXX Mimosa for my wife (her new favorite drink here at Poco's).
**As of the end of 2012, this is no longer an AA I-dine.**
Favorite Dish: The nachos here are very good and piled high with toppings. The spinach and cheese dip is our favorite and is ultra creamy and gooey. The chips & salsa are also very good and the salsa has a nice kick to it. The chips here have a seasoning on them that give them a salty and spicy kick...very good indeed.
I usually stick to beer when I'm here and they have a nice selection of bottle and beers on tap. Liz loves their Strawberry Dacquiris, XXX Mimosas and their Margaritas....especially their Blue Moon Margarita.
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Blue Mermaid Island Grill: Yummy Food and Festive Atmosphere!
With a downstairs bar and an upstairs dining room, Blue Mermaid was one of my favorite spots while at Exeter and I was happy to get to visit it again! Very festive bar scene with lots of people having fun - good drinks, great service, really nice staff!
Favorite Dish: This visit I didn't have a chance to eat, but I love the grilled seafood selections - you can get salmon, shrimp, sea scallops, or mahi-mahi with any sauce and two sides you like... I usually go for Mahi-Mahi with Mango Chutney and sweet potato fries and sauteed green beans, but I also love the sea scallops with jalapeno lime cream! Yummy Caribbean flavors with an interesting mix of Asian influences - like pad thai, spring rolls, and saddle bags (crispy wontons), which are all on the menu, too!
- Food and Dining
Dolphin Striker: Cozy Little Restaurant
My wife and I were visiting Portsmouth during Memorial Day weekend 2012. We had just arrived in town and were a bit hungry for lunch. We decided to try the Dolphin Striker for a change of pace. The menu posted outside the restaurant looked appetizing so we went inside.
Our waitress Kathleen greeted us and showed us to a nice table in the back of the restaurant with a large window that looked out to the Harbor. We perused the menus and rather quickly knew what we wanted to eat. Our waitress returned quickly and told us the specials of the day. I chose the Specialty Burger with an unsweetened ice tea. Liz chose the small appetizer portion of their Lobster Mac & Cheese along with a club soda.
As we sat there enjoying our drinks we really took the place in. The décor is typical of what you’d find in an old New England seaside town; hardwood floors, wood walls, nautical accents and a relaxed feel. I really felt at home here sitting back with my wife and people watching out of the window.
Our food arrived around fifteen minutes later and I was starving. My burger looked incredible. The burger was a large size and covered with bacon, mushrooms and barbeque sauce on a ciabatta roll. The meat was very juicy and I loved the mushrooms. I finished the entire portion and felt satisfied. My wife adored her Mac & Cheese. It arrived in a ceramic dish steaming hot. The macaroni were tiny shells covered in a cream sauce with huge chunks of lobster meat and baked with panko bread crumbs on top. From bite one; I knew she loved it. I tried a few bites and God it is excellent; next time I have to get my own portion.
We both loved this place. Food was excellent, service was spot on and friendly and the vibe is nice and relaxed. I can’t wait to return here for another fantastic me
Jumpin Jay's Fish Cafe: Wow...Incredible Salmon...
My wife gets the credit for finding this gem in Portsmouth. She searched for the best mussels in New Hampshire and found a Trip Advisor review of this place. We were spending the day in Portsmouth one weekend in May 2010 and decided to check this place out for dinner.
We arrived about a half hour after they opened (which was 5:30pm). The hostess seated us at a table for two by the window; excellent for people watching. Our waiter came over with menus as well as a drink list. My wife's first impression of him was that he looked like the character from Empire Records, "Rex Manning". After she pointed that out I couldn't get it out of my head. I decided to stick with unsweetened iced tea since I was driving and Liz ordered a glass of Sauvion Vouvray. "Sexy Rexy", as we began to call him arrived with our drinks. He did a "hair flip thing as he served Liz her wine; I thought we'd both lose it and laugh.
Our drinks arrived along with a basket of warm bread with butter and roasted garlic. For an entree I selected the Salmon with a Mandarin Sesame Glaze with Wasabi Aioli. Liz decided to have the Mussels Provencal Style over linguine. Our food arrived rather quickly; piping hot. My salmon was incredible. The sauce was insanely good and the fish was perfectly tender. I enjoyed mixing my vegetables and potatoes in the tasty sauce...it was yum. Liz loved her mussels and said they were very sweet. The portion though was rather large so she barely ate half of the plate.
We did although save room for dessert and decided to have the chocolate brownie sundae for me and Liz's favorite, creme brulee. The brownie sundae was too big and too rich of a portion for me to even finish half of it. The brownie was very dense and rich. They served a huge mound of vanilla ice cream on top that was larger than my fist. It was good but I couldn't finish it. Liz loved her creme brulee but she couldn't finish her portion either.
This was an excellent place: good food and great atmosphere. We had a great time and a good laugh thanks to "Rex".
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Shalimar: Decent Indian Food
Liz and I had been craving some Indian food and decided to give Shalimar a try. In a town filled with pub grub and seafood it was nice to see an ethnic restuarant. Upon entering we were greated by the host and told we could sit anywhere we liked. We chose a booth close to the window but away from the other crowd of diners. The place is very large with several booth and tables in the dining room.
The menu had the typical Indian fare and it was not hard to decide on a meal. We decided to have an order of the vegetable pakoras, vegatable samosas, garlic naan and lamb Saag. Our waitress brought over unsweetened ice teas after she took our menus.
Our Samosas and pakoras came out first. The samosas were very good and the crust was nice. The pakoras were good but I have had better at our local. The Lamb Saag and Naan came out ten minutes later. The Nann was good and full of garlic. The lamb was nice but the rice was not the usual jasmine rice I get at home. It was different but still good.
We were glad to try a new place in Portsmouth especially since it was Indian. I don't think I'd go out of my way to eat here again but it was still a nice meal with good service.
- Food and Dining
Flatbread Company: Pizza made by Hippies
This place was recommended to us by the bartenders over at Two Ceres. We had mentioned we wanted some good pizza at the end of our Bar Crawl and were told this was the best pizza in town. So off we came to the Flatbread Company.
Yeah, from the minute we walked in I should have known this was a bad decision. The place was a den of tattooed, patchouli scented, hippie wanna be twenetysomethings, and those were just the servers. So we sat at our table and were handed menus. Oh, God...another nightmare. The menus were psycadelic nightmares with wavy letters everywhere that made it next to impossible to read. When the waitress came over and asked if she could explain anything for us, my wife said how about reading the menu since we can't..it was obviosly made by someone on an acid trip. Her reply was"yeah, probably". Ugggghhh!
We decided we were hungry so let's try this "organic" locally grown food that was recommended so highly. Liz and Lydia decided to split a Jay's Heart Pizza which was a pizza with fresh mozzarella, sauce, garlic oil and herbs. I chose the sausage pizza.
Pizza arrived and the girls got what they ordered but I had a problem. I guess "sausage" meant mushrooms to them, so that is what I got. Obviously someone in the kitchen is the same one that designed the menu.
Pizza itself was crap. Bland, weird tasting, just not good. We left dissapointed and still hungry.
Harbor's Edge: Good Breakfast
Normally I would have set out from the hotel in search of breakfast but frankly we were all too tired to do so. So, my wife, Lydia and I chose to have breakfast in the restaurant at our hotel(Sheraton).
The dining room had large windows that did have a water view but also a view of a large black tarp covering a mound of something unidentifiable. Either way we settle in to perusing the breakfast offerings on the menu which were the usual fare; pancakes, french toast, eggs, etc.
I chose the Star Island; which was corned beef hash, two eggs any style and home fries. My wife chose a toasted bagel with cream cheese and a side of home fries. Lydia went for the Harborside; Two eggs prepared anyway, crispy home fries and bacon. Liz and I had Orange juice while Lydia had water.
Our food arrived within ten minutes and looked good. My breakfast was okay; it was definitely corned beef hash from a can. The hash browns were good though. The ladies enjoyed their breakfast but complained the portions were too big of the hash browns.
All in all not the worst hotel breakfast but certain not the best at $40 for three people.
Fat Belly's: Good Pub Grub
Fat Belly's is one of the many bar/restaurants in downtown Portsmouth. The place has two levels. The main floor has tables and a small bar area. Upstairs is a cozier area with seating and New Hampshire's only "Ice Bar". The menu here can be described as pub grub but has some interesting items such as a build your own Macaroni and Cheese.
We wound up here during our pub crawl Cinco de Mayo weekend 2012. We wanted some snacks to hold us over until dinner. Despite it being Cinco de Mayo and the day of the Kentucky Derby; the place wasn't packed as it usually is on a weekend. We found a table with no problem.
After perusing through the menu offerings we decided to split an order of the mozzarella sticks and their potato skins. I chose to drink a Miller Lite, Lydia had a Cosmo and my wife decided to have a club soda. The food arrived about ten minutes later and piping hot. We had to wait a bit for the skins to cool down before we could dig in. The mozzarella sticks were very good with lots of gooey cheese.
Food here is good and the service is spot on. The Cosmo left alot to be desired as it was so strong we had to ask for a glass of cranberry juice to add to the glass that was almost all vodka.
Poco's Bow Street Cantina: Blue Moon Margaritas
Poco's is our favorite spot to visit when in Portsmouth. This bar/restaurant is located right by the water and in the summer months has outdoor seating downstairs next to their bar(upstairs in the restaurant section). My Husband and I love coming here for some bar food or just for drinks when we are visiting in the area; which is quite often.
The food menu has a nice selection of appetizers; in particular we enjoy their spinach dip. The Spinach dip is very tasty served with fresh, crispy tortilla chips for dipping. Their drink menu is full of wine, beer and mixed drink selections. They have a nice variety of Margaritas to choose from and I love their Blue Moon Margarita (Yum!).
The atmosphere here is very laid back and welcoming; we always feel at home sitting at the bar. The outside bar in the summer is way too crowded and rowdy for my liking so we tend to stick to indoors even during nice weather.
Favorite Dish: The spinach dip is so Yum! Love the creamy texture of the dip and the spices they sprinkle on the tortilla chips for soem added flavor.
The Blue Moon Margarita is a must try for Margarita lovers. It's tasty and refreshing. They also make good frosen drinks and I have enjoyed their Strawberry Dacquiris.
The Friendly Toast: Kitsch Kitchen
The Friendly Toast is a local landmark, and has been since before it even migrated south(it was originally a Kittery, Maine eatery). Straddling the line between counter culture meeting house and family diner, this kitsch laden spot succeeds...overall.
The mismatched plates, salt and shaker figurines, velvet paintings and antiques-of questionable-value lining the walls give the young and jaded some knowing grins while Mom gasps, "Hey, I had that teapot in my first apartment!"
There is often a line out the door, daily, but the wait is never too onerous, and the homemade breads alone(also available as take away) make it worthwhile.
It's not perfect: The menu is unnecessarily large and many of the non breakfast offerings are to be skipped. And, the hipster staff hired to match the decor are probably much better on rhythm guitar than managing an eight table section.
That aside, it's a great place to grab all day breakfast in Portsmouth. But, be prepared...the Toast is suddenly getting NATIONAL press, so that line might be a wee bit longer than expected....
Favorite Dish: The breads are stellar. Made in house, the Cinnamon Raisin and Anadema(molasses bread) steal the show.
I always go for breakfast. It's what they do best. The build an omelette is my choice. I tried the cheddar, tomato and artichoke heart combo one fateful day and never looked back. Seems an unlikely success, but it's delicioso.
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