I love taking food tours in different countries, but sometimes it’s really interesting to do one in your own state! New Hampshire does in fact have a food tour company: Portsmouth Eats in Portsmouth. What better place for a fun little food tour? Portsmouth has loads of history and charm, it’s easily walkable, and of course it has an amazing and well-known foodie scene. Here are the highlights of this 2.5 hour Best of Portsmouth Tour:
The Library Restaurant
The Library Restaurant is in a fabulous historic Portsmouth building, and is now home to one of its finest steakhouses. The Bang-Bang Shrimp appetizer that we sampled was absolutely delicious so I would definitely be interested in this restaurant for an anniversary dinner or other special occasion.
Gilley’s is a little historic lunch cart that is famous for its burgers and hot dogs. It was certainly the most homely stop on the tour, but it was really interesting to see such a vintage mobile cart still in use today (an original food truck!) The hot dog wasn’t really memorable but I definitely appreciate the nostalgia that people have for such a treasured local place. We were lucky and got to eat inside at the counter!
I have to admit, this restaurant was a surprise, and now one I am dying to return to! It’s so fun, and the menu is incredible. With a mega-award-winning female chef owner, this restaurant is going places! We were served brussels sprouts which was completely surprising to me. Really? On a food tour? But YES! These crispy Buffalo Brussel Sprouts with Gorgonzola dip were simply amazing. This one little taste of a humble vegetable has me salivating about going back and trying their awesome-sounding burgers, and boozy milkshakes.
The River House
Probably no food tour in Portsmouth would be complete without chowder, and there is no better place for chowder than the River House! With a list of awards won a mile long, with new ones being constantly added, you really can’t go wrong with River House seafood chowder. It really is the stuff of dreams. This restaurant is always packed, even in November. We were wedged into a tiny little table so we could eat our soup. So delicious. The recipe is a closely guarded secret!
Byrne & Carlson Chocolatier
The last stop of the afternoon was a small sweet bite of dessert. Byrne & Carlson is a tiny little small batch craft chocolate shop, where we sampled caramels coated with salted chocolate. Although it was delicious and clearly very high quality, to me it didn’t really hit the spot as a dessert on a food tour.
This little tour was very interesting, and provided some great insight into the always fascinating city of Portsmouth. I enjoyed the historical context that our guide provided, as well as restaurant recommendations. As a food tour, it was fairly brief at 2.5 hours, and was focused more on quick tastes rather than more hearty samples of dishes. Still, even with me being somewhat of a local almost all of the information was new to me, so I enjoyed it very much. Portsmouth Eats also offers other food tours with different themes. I’d really be interested in the White Tablecloth Culinary tour!
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