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10 Commercial Alley, Portsmouth, NH 03801
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Ranked #5 of 187 restaurants in Portsmouth
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Cuisines: Mediterranean
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Bar scene, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Description: Cava is located in the heart of historic downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Just a brief walk from the Portsmouth Parking Garage and the Ladd street access. We are located in the middle of quaint Commercial Alley. The walking alley way is home to several small businesses and Cava's Vertical Garden. Dine under the Northeasts only outdoor living wall. Cava is the dream of two long time friends John Akar and Gregg Sessler. Together they combined their years of experience in the restaurant business to build Cava. Featuring two wine bars, one on the street level, and one in our Wine Cave. John offers a diverse always changing selection of international wines to be paired with Chef Sessler's modern and classic Mediterranean cuisine. Chef Sessler uses only the freshest seasonal products available to create his innovative menus. Join Chef Sessler and his team at the Chef's Table for dinner and a show. *Cava accepts reservations for parties of 4 or more for our dining tables. *Cava accepts reservations for parties of 4 and under at our Chefs Table.*If you are a party under four people and are not interested in the Chef's Table, all seating is based on a first come first serve basis.*During Restaurant Week Cava will accept reservations for all seating, including our bar seating, for parties of two or more.*For Valentine's Day and New Years Eve, Cava will be accepting reservations for all seating, including our bar seating, for parties of two or more.*It is always a good idea if you are a party of four or more, or if you would like to sit at the Chef's Table to make a reservation in advance Cava.
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246 reviews from our community

87% Recommend
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
51 restaurant reviews
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2014 NEW

We loved this place! The outdoor patio is so cozy and fun. The tapas as elegant and flavorful. They just keep bringing out these delicious tapas which as you know are small portions. This worked for us as we had a chance to try many different things. Each was better than the one before. The wine selection was on the... More

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4 reviews 4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2014 NEW

Cava is a fun, trendy restaurant in downtown Portsmouth. Reservations are definitely required for a table in the summertime. My boyfriend and I went here for dinner and even though we had reservations, they sat us at the bar in the basement, next to the kitchen. That was a little annoying. However, that being said, being seated in the basement... More

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Maine/New York
Top Contributor
119 reviews 119 reviews
97 restaurant reviews
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014 NEW

Sitting at the kitchen bar, we could see everything being made. The chef was helpful in explaining all the different dishes. The host was terrific in explaining how the menu works and the different wines. I loved that there were 2.5 and 5 oz. pours. I tried three different wines, and they all were wonderful. The paella is wonderful as... More

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Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2014

We had the chefs recommend sampler, seven course small plates, very high quality, all delicious. The gazpacho's were outstanding. The service fully met expectations. Rather expensive, but, worth it. Interesting bar and quite friendly I have no hesitation in recommending. Perfect for an intimate evening or a celebration.

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San Diego
Top Contributor
134 reviews 134 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
119 helpful votes 119 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2014

It is small and can be cramped, but worth it. It is located in an alley in Old Town Portsmouth. No view, but excellent food and a good wine list. I had an Ahi sashimi app and the monkfish main dish. It is mainly a tapas type of place and even the "large" plates aren't a full meal.

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Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
58 restaurant reviews
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2014

I don't understand the glowing reviews. We ordered: Mezze-Completely flavorless hummus, tabbouleh (which was really just chopped parsley), baba ganoush, bad feta, bad pita-served in big bowls with hardly anything in them, which was OK because it was completely AWFUL. (I have a Mediterranean place around the corner from me where I get a huge platter of the above plus... More

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Rye, New Hampshire
4 reviews 4 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

John the maitre'd treated me like a long lost friend. The Fois Gras was sublime; and the atmosphere felt as if we were on the Mediterranean coast. The small alley way (commercial ave) where Cava is located elicits an old world charm; and in the summer; is near impossible to beat. Go a little after the typical dinner crowd to... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
16 reviews 16 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2014

I have been to Cava in many seasons with both small and large groups. The best deal is the tasting menu which requires just a lazy nod from each at the table and the procession of goodness begins. For me, the wonder of each new plate and the relaxed delivery is great. I think we ( myself included) as Americans,... More

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Buffalo, New York
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2014

It is a rare restaurant that delivers on a Tasting Menu value. Tasting Menus highlight the range, creativity and skill of the chef. While portions are smaller than entree size, the plating and number of courses served makes it a more labor intensive process for the chef. Typically, they come with a price tag to reflect this. At $32, the... More

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Hopkinton NH
18 reviews 18 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2014

We ate here a few years ago, when it first opened, loved it, and though it was a good value. We didn't have the same impression when we ate here last night. Atmosphere is great, we ate outside on a nice June afternoon. But this is one of the most expensive meals I've had at a restaurant, and we eat... More

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