Where To Eat In Portsmouth, New Hampshire guide image

photo credit: Anne Cruz

PSNHGuide

Where To Eat In Portsmouth, New Hampshire

These are our favorite restaurants, bars, and cafes in Portsmouth.

Portsmouth is a city just south of the Maine/New Hampshire border, about an hour drive from Portland. There’s a lot to love about the city, including the walkable downtown area, scenic river, and that sweet New Hampshire lack of sales or income tax. All of these things make Portsmouth great for a New England weekend getaway, or an ideal overnight stop if you’re road tripping up the coast.

And of course, there are plenty of great restaurants, from a gastropub with an impressive late-night menu to a more casual weeknight dinner spot that could please even your pickiest friend. We even included a cool museum on this guide if you're looking to do more than just eat. (We know, unlikely.)

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THE SPOTS

photo credit: Anne Cruz

Street review image

STREET

$$$$

801 Islington St, Portsmouth
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Come to this international street food restaurant with a group so you can split a wide range of options like subarashii fries that come drizzled with both scallion mayo and kimchi ketchup, or the bibimbap with crispy sticky rice that’s served in a piping hot cast-iron skillet. You can definitely have a really nice meal here for under $30 a person, and the atmosphere is lively enough that you'll probably want to stay for a few rounds of drinks, but not so loud that you can’t hear your table’s conversation.

Botanica might not look like much from the outside, but once you get into the dining room, the restaurant and gin bar feels like a place where you either could dress up or arrive in your comfy joggers and not feel out of place. The menu is French using lots of local produce, with dishes like venison meatballs with zucchini in a blueberry sauce and a hearty risotto with tiny gems of eggplant. The cocktails are also a highlight with our favorites being the ultra-floral Turkish rose with rose cordial and cardamom bitters and the Empress gin and tonic that magically changes from indigo to pink as you swirl it, making you feel like a fancy scientist. 

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When you need something quick, Nikki’s Banh Mi is ideal. You can definitely grab a couple of to-go sandwiches, but the interior is cozy enough to enjoy your meal at the counter with a beer or Vietnamese coffee. You can customize your spice level on the sandwiches, and we also recommend the bánh mì tacos made with pillowy flour tortillas.

This scoop shop is right along Portsmouth’s main street that leads to Memorial Bridge and across the state border into Maine. Flavors like honey lavender and blueberry maple jam taste like the epitome of summer, but you can also choose from classics like vanilla and espresso fudge ripple. We’re hoping to come back soon to try their ice cream sandwiches, which are made with either brown butter chocolate chip cookies or ginger snaps. 

photo credit: Anne Cruz

The Wilder review image

The Wilder

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open table

There’s a surprising amount of nightlife in Portsmouth, and The Wilder is among our favorites. A gastropub in the heart of town, The Wilder is where you should end a day of exploring or work with excellent cocktails, and the dishes—like pork belly poutine and the fried chicken basket—are exactly the types of things you might enjoy after a few drinks. Cocktails like The Sneerwell, made with chai bourbon, black cardamom syrup, and whiskey barrel-aged bitters, and Lady Stardust, which features tequila blanco, mango, pineapple, and hot sauce, both go down like water.

A GREAT MUSEUM TO CHECK OUT

There’s definitely more to do in Portsmouth than just eat. Make some time to walk around and explore the Strawbery Banke Museum that’s actually an expansive 10-acre campus with historic buildings and gardens. You can step inside homes and stores to see what life was like for residents of Portsmouth's Puddle Dock neighborhood over a span of 300 years. Our favorite stop is the Wheelwright House, where you can learn about hearth-cooking techniques from the 19th century from a culinary historian. Your $20 ticket also grants you access to the museum for two consecutive days, so you can come back if you’re staying in town for a bit. 

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Street is a restaurant in Portsmouth, NH that serves international small plates, entrees, and cocktails.

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Botanica

Botanica is a French restaurant and gin bar in Portsmouth, NH.