Keith Prince and his business partner, Brook Gassner, opened Rudi's Portsmouth in 2007 in the eatery ediﬁce whose legacy boasts The Jarvis Tea Room and Metro. Prince had been very successful with Colby’s on Daniel Street (breakfast and lunch) for many years, but the early hours left him wanting a change. “I enjoy working the later hours of the day, so I wanted to open a place with good nightlife,” Prince says. With live jazz in the bar four nights a week and during Sunday brunch, he and Gassner have succeeded in that endeavor. But Prince did not leave a great lunch reputation behind at Colby’s; Rudi’s offers a quiet and sumptuous lunchtime respite six days a week.
Great hotel restaurants appeal to an eclectic clientele, including locals, weekend guests, and business travelers alike. With several indoor seating options and a varied, regionally inspired menu, Salt Kitchen & Bar is Wentworth by the Sea's new restaurant, located in the renovated dining room, and was voted Best Hotel Restaurant in this year's Best of Taste awards. The staff, under the direction of Executive Chef Ken Lingle and Food and Beverage Director Gabe Cogley, is focused on executing their motto, "Fresh, Local, and Lively."
Walk into Hagan’s Grill and the first thing you’ll notice is a surfboard mounted horizontally across the barrier wall. There is no doubt you’ve arrived for dinner in a beach town. And that town is Hampton, New Hampshire, home to the well-known tourist attraction known as Hampton Beach.
Beyond the stretch of Kittery shopping outlets, and around the corner from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Anneke Jans, a quaint, dimly lit bistro, packs a full house. In fact, on a Saturday evening it is advisable not to be a minute late for your reservation, as you will surely lose your table, obliged to dine at the bar. Dining at the bar isn’t so bad, though, as the mood from patrons in the full dining area can be downright boisterous. But that’s what bistros are all about: culinary camaraderie.
We settled into the curvy, high-backed banquette overlooking the Piscataqua River, the Sarah Long Bridge, and busy Portsmouth Harbor. Rays of the setting sun bounced off tiny whitecaps and lit the bows of fishing boats heading home. As if on cue, one of Portsmouth’s iconic red and black Moran tugboats slowly chugged its way into port. Inside, the restaurant was hopping; guests clustered around the bar, tables were full, and conversation and drinks were flowing.
When Pigs Fly Wood-Fired Pizzeria in Kittery, Maine, is an astonishing place in both edifice and fare. The exterior has a subtle arts-and-crafts-inspired style, while the post-industrial interior features a cathedral ceiling supported by huge I-beams. The décor is composed largely of repurposed metal from previous mills and factories, with a bar made of concrete with gear and cog inlays. Ultra-sleek Douglas fir chairs line each table and the bar of the 170-seat restaurant.
Peter Koge, chef and owner of Sake Japanese Restaurant in Portsmouth, takes his sushi seriously, pampering his fish with salt cures and sake soaks before serving it to the devoted clientele at his 16-year-old establishment. “I’m like a doctor,” says the 62-year-old Portsmouth resident. “I can’t give fish that I don’t know.”