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.
Sweeping ocean views greet diners entering this spacious, upscale eatery on Salisbury Beach. The restaurant may be located in a warehouse-style pavilion, with an unadorned entrance, but once you’re inside, the views are spectacular. Sit at one of the tables perched over the water by the floor-to-ceiling windows and you’ll feel like you’re on the bow of a cruise ship.
It’s hard to imagine a prettier spot on the Seacoast than this postcard-perfect foodie find. Nestled on Harris Island, Dockside Restaurant overlooks a protected harbor and small marina dotted with bobbing sailboats and dinghies, small yachts, and working lobster boats. Look to the east and you’ll see the open ocean, the waves crashing against Boone Island, and a slice of Maine’s rocky, spruce-studded coastline. You could come solely for the setting, but what happens in the kitchen is equally dazzling.
John Welch, executive chef of the Wentworth by the Sea resort, says, "Our entire menu is inspired by the ocean that surrounds us." With a sweep of his hand, he adds, "I want people to know that everything they're eating is right out there."
A commercial plaza on Portsmouth's Mirona Road might not be the kind of place where you'd expect to find authentic Greek fare. Located in Madison Village off Route 1, Café Nostimo serves a variety of traditional Greek dishes (and a handful of American favorites as well), while offering customers an affordable alternative to dinner downtown. Having won Taste's Best Of award for Inexpensive Lunch and Dinner three years in a row, it's no wonder customers say, "It's like eating in Yia Yia's kitchen."