A lot of people I know really love this place, so we finally gave it a try.
An unenthusiastic host (owner?) sat us. Bar was busy, dining room 1/2 empty. Server was very pleasant, but detached. She brought some warm bread with spiced olive oil. The bread was of the frozen baguette kind, not fresh, so already we knew corners are being cut. Salads were just OK, nothing special, no fresh ground pepper was offered. The food runner, was just that, she dropped the food and ran, never asking, "May I get you anything else?" So, let's be gentle and say the place lacks polish.
The food was pretty good, pasta was al-dente, veggies were freshly cooked, veal was of nice quality, but the marinara sauce served with side pasta was pedestrian as was another pasta dish. They offered grated parmigiano and what they brought was a bowl of what looked & tasted like Kraft (Sysco?) grated Parmesan cheese. We were told that none of the desserts are made in house, so we didn't go for that.
Prices were fairly reasonable, but overall, it's another Portsmouth disappointment. It has potential--like a tasty home-baked cake covered with canned frosting.
On another note, Pesce Blue (one place I liked) has closed and another pizza place just opened . .
103 Congress Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801
119 Congress St, Portsmouth, NH 03801