We’ve listed the top places to bring a client for lunch in Portsmouth, NH, but what about options for grabbing a quick lunch for yourself while you’re downtown? One of the perks of working downtown is being able to take advantage of Portsmouth’s many amazing restaurants. We polled our social media followers — and did lots of grueling research — and got a baker’s dozen delicious and satisfying results.
The Works Bakery Café
9 Congress Street
The Works is a bright, casual café that offers breakfast, coffee, sandwiches, smoothies, soups, and salads made with fresh and organic ingredients. The Dagwood sandwich is a favorite of several Vitalians, as is the Bacon Avocado bowl. There’s WiFi for those working lunches, and, of course, all the bagels you can shake a stick at.
51 Penhallow Street
Ceres Bakery on Penhallow Street offers homestyle lunch specials every day and a handful of cozy tables surrounded by local art. The mac and cheese, daily quiche, and spicy Thai noodles are popular specials, featured alongside a steady menu of build-your-own sandwiches (assembled on fresh-baked bread), soups of the day, and, of course, scratch-made cookies for dessert.
Popovers On The Square
8 Congress Street
Popovers is a great place to go for an upscale café lunch. During the summer, grab a table outside for unbeatable Market Square people-watching. Enjoy a popover fresh from the oven with maple butter, and if you can’t decide on a lunch item, pick two: half-salad, half sandwich, and/or cup of soup. If you feel the need to Yelp or YouTube (or work) while you eat, they’ve got WiFi for that.
Bennett’s Sandwich Shop
41 Congress Street
A trip to Bennett’s Sandwich Shop right on Congress Street will likely cover you for lunch and dinner! Their Famous Steak & Cheese is a favorite staple among Vitalians and our team was quick to point out Bennett’s customer service and efficiency overall. If you are looking for a quick lunch break that will keep you full for the day, Bennett’s is the place for you.
Googie’s Sandwich Shoppe
148 State Street
Googie’s is another longtime downtown lunch spot, adjacent to the Richardson’s Market convenience store on State Street. Their killer subs and sandwiches use Boar’s Head meats, and daily specials of soups or sandwiches add extra variety to the menu. Take your lunch to go and continue down State Street to picnic at Prescott Park.
96 State Street
Also situated along the walk to Prescott Park, Domo offers fresh, delicious, and reasonably priced Japanese classics such as sushi, tempura, and udon. Their bento box lunch deals are hard to beat, both in terms of price and variety.
Gas Light Downtown Brick Oven Pizza & Pub
64 Market Street
A four-in-one eatery and watering hole, the Gas Light is always busy at lunchtime. Where else do you have your choice of a basement Pizza Pub (with a buffet deal!), an upscale American grille, a verdant deck, and a bumping nightclub after hours. Locals know to enter around at the side entrance.
76 Congress Street
Cheese Louise offers traditional and adult takes on the classic grilled cheese sandwich. They have a variety of options that will be sure to hit the spot. It’s a great place to cozy up on a rainy day with soup and grilled cheese for a quick and delicious lunch.
142 Congress Street
Much like an American in Paris, The Goat can feel somewhat out of place at first blush. A country bar in New Hampshire? If the live music is this good, why not! With daily music and specials and a full menu of breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and drinks — including 47 different whiskeys behind the bar —, there’s not much left to be desired from this dining experience.
53 Bow Street
We say “Portsmouth,” you say “waterfront,” right? It’s a no-brainer to have lunch along the water, and the River House offers the perfect venue. The food, drinks, and views make this one of Vital’s favorite lunchtime spots. Open year-round, they offer all the seafood classics a tourist could wish for, and locals appreciate the reasonably-priced menu during the high season.
The Friendly Toast
113 Congress Street
Known for its whimsical décor, The Friendly Toast pairs crazy vintage ephemera with large serving sizes to satisfy your belly and your eyes. The Toast serves breakfast all day, a full lunch and dinner menu, and daily specials. Lunchtime is the perfect time to avoid the weekend brunch crowds, which can be formidable.
175 Fleet Street
One of the longest-running food joints in downtown Portsmouth, Gilley’s started as a horse-drawn lunch cart in the 1940s, and has since found its home on Fleet Street, expanding the small diner to accommodate a modern kitchen setup. Perhaps better known as a late-night joint, Gilley’s lunch offerings are nothing to scoff at. There’s usually a barstool or two open at lunchtime. Make sure you bring cash, as this is a cash-only spot!
The Green Room
41 Vaughan Mall
Directly across from Gilley’s is the back door to the Green Room, a bright and laid-back cafe that makes it feel like you’ve stepped into a tropical beachside cabana. Known for their smoothies and breakfast bowls, the Green Room also serves lunch seven days a week, with sandwiches, salads, and toasts available all day. In the warmer months, grab a shaded table outside and enjoy the excellent dog- and people-watching.
319 Vaughan Street
Located on the other side of the tracks (literally) from the Vital office is the street-art-influenced taqueria Barrio. Their menu is all bangers all the time — though not necessarily extensive, the build-your-own taco menu offers infinite variations on the theme. They also have a full brunch menu, complete with cocktails. Barrio shares the building with 3S Artspace, which features regular art exhibitions, markets, and live music.
Did we miss your favorite lunch spot? Let us know!