What to Eat and When: My Favorite Kinds of Nights in Downtown Portsmouth


I’ve been living in Portsmouth for five years now and, I have to say, it grows on me every year. Sure, the winters are long and the parking is atrocious (insert eye roll) but my town is as sweet as can be.

When we moved here from San Francisco, I have to admit I was a little nervous about how we’d settle in here. Would they have the kind of chai I like? Would the yoga be as good? Will I still be able to get my favorite California Zinfandel? What would I do without my local sushi place? My anxiety was real, people.

THANK GOODNESS this place has great chai (White Heron, my friends), the yoga is great (and I’m even a teacher at 3 Bridges in Portsmouth), the NH Liquor and Wine Outlets are wonderlands, and PRAISE BE there is good sushi (I bow at the feet of Shio).

What I am trying to say is that Portsmouth has a lot to offer this California girl. For whatever mood I’m in, this town is here for me.

For when I need a Ladies’ Night:

Cheers! It's Ladies' night!
Cheers! It’s Ladies’ night! GE foreva!

Look no further than Green Elephant right downtown. It is my absolute FAVORITE right now. The cocktails are innovative and the food (all vegetarian!) is beyond flavorful. If you really like spicy, ask for Level 5 (it’s not even on the menu, shhhh). My favorite dish might be the Siamese Dream. No wait, the Tikka Masala. Or maybe the Pad Thai… There is something about the staff that makes my girlfriends and I feel so welcome and comfortable even though it’s possible we’re not cool enough to eat here.

For when it’s Date Night:

There are innumerable upscale restaurants to wine and dine your partner in Portsmouth, it’s hard to pick a favorite. My husband adores Ristorante Massimo for both its amazing food (homemade pasta – yes, please!) and ambience (dark and cozy). I love Mombo because its food is great and the patio is sooooo perfect on a warm evening. Take me for a stroll after in Prescott Park and I. Am. Yours.

Walking in Portsmouth's Market Square. Ice cream at Annabelle's is in our future.
Walking in Portsmouth’s Market Square. Ice cream at Annabelle’s is in our future.

For when I’m with my Entourage:

More often than not, we’ve got our crew. Not every place downtown is the best to eat at with little kiddos. Of course Flatbread is always easy and delicious (and always busy) and we head to Surf (the bamboo steamed salmon is so flavorful and healthy) when we’re feeling fancy and/or when the Grandparents are in town. Top the night off with a dessert bevvie at Popovers on the Square and this mama is cooked. Ice cream from Annabelle’s when it’s hot out with some tugboat-watching ties up the night nicely, too.

The best thing about all of this is learning to love the place I live. It’s an incredible place with so much vibrancy. I worried I would feel like I was missing out, leaving San Francisco. From my tea to my sushi, I have everything I need here and more.

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Allison’s mission in life is to notice the extraordinary in the ordinary. Her commitment to see beyond what’s in front of her was fostered by her degree in Philosophy and Theology from Boston College. Allison’s a book nerd and credits her parents and inspiring English teachers for her love of reading and writing. She went on to earn her Master in Pastoral Ministry from Boston College and then taught high school for several years, both in New England and San Francisco. After moving from San Francisco to Boston with her engineer husband, she began teaching yoga and working as a social media marketing consultant. Now a Portsmouth resident, she spends most of her days with her three daughters (she does not have enough arms) and does her best to find the bliss amidst the endless snacking, dance parties and tiaras. With all the beautiful chaos in her life, she’s grateful to have her partner-in-crime (husband Charlie) and fellow movie quote enthusiast alongside her. Her passion for writing first drew her to Seacoast Moms as a contributing writer, and her desire to connect moms of the Seacoast with businesses who serve and interest them led her to become SM’s owner. Being able to write about the ordinary grace present in motherhood, while interacting with incredible Seacoast business owners is a dream come true.


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