We’ve listed the top places to bring a client for lunch in Portsmouth, but what about options for grabbing a quick lunch 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 following—and did lots of really tough research—and got some delicious and satisfying results:
The Works is a bright, casual café that offers sandwiches, soups and salads with fresh ingredients and organic meats. The Super Chicken sandwich is a favorite of several Vitalians. There’s WiFi for those working lunches, and, of course, all the bagels you can shake a stick at.
Who doesn’t love a great burrito? There are now several locations across New Hampshire, but it all started here in Portsmouth. Dos is a regular haunt of Vital, particularly on $5 Burrito Mondays and $2 Taco Tuesdays! Make sure to get some chips and house guacamole for the road.
Ceres Bakery on Penhallow Street has homestyle lunch specials every day and a handful of cozy tables surrounded with local art. The “Ceres Caesar Salad” with potatoes, beef chili tacos, mac and cheese with broccoli and spicy thai noodles are popular specials, offered alongside a steady menu of build-your-own sandwiches (assembled on fresh-baked bread), soups of the day and, of course, cookies like the “Kitchen Sink” for dessert.
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 right on Congress Street offers up sandwiches as big as “the legend”, their founder Charlie Bennett. A trip to Bennett’s will cover you for lunch and more than likely dinner! Our very own Chuck McMahon recommends their chicken cheese steaks and 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 is another longtime downtown lunch spot, adjacent to the Portsmouth Provisions convenience store on State Street. Their killer subs and sandwiches use Boar’s Head meats, and daily specials in soups or sandwiches add extra variety to the menu. A popular pick is The “Gobbler,” a turkey sub with cranberry sauce and stuffing—a Thanksgiving meal anytime.
The weekday Pizza Buffet downstairs at the Gas Light is another spot for downtown lunchgoers. It’s hard to beat $5.99 for an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet made up of a variety of brick-oven pizzas, pasta and breadsticks (not to mention $2 draught beer). Locals know to enter around at the side entrance.
In the summertime, it’s very easy to find an excuse for lunch on the decks, and the food, drinks and views of the Ferry Landing make it one of Vital’s favorite lunchtime spots. They serve up arguably the best fried clams in Portsmouth, and it’s always nice to have a good burger accompanied with a saltwater breeze. After work, come back for a Jimmy Juice and watch the sun set over the tugs.
Known for its whimsical décor, the Friendly Toast couples 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.
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. It’s typically crowded with an enthusiastic late-night following, but at lunchtime there’s usually a barstool or two open. Make sure you bring cash, as this is another cash-only joint!
Did we miss your favorite lunch spot? Tell us in the comments below!