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“Good Date Night” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Cava

Cava
10 Commercial Alley, Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603)-319-1575
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Ranked #4 of 189 Restaurants in Portsmouth
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.
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Good Date Night”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2014

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 part of the restaurant was highly preferable to being seated upstairs. Tables and patrons are packed in like sardines and it's so loud upstairs. The basement is more intimate and you can have a real conversation. We shared a collection of a la carte tapas and had some yummy wine. I definitely remember the paella being good. A fun place and would certainly consider going back again, just maybe not in the summertime ;).

  • Visited June 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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285 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Maine/New York
Top Contributor
175 reviews 175 reviews
128 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
“Top Notch”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

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 is the shrimp and stuffed peppers. We tried several others dishes that we also enjoyed. Outside there is seating for a dozen or so people. The restaurant is on a side street that is just lovely. Parking is just a block away.

  • Visited July 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Hard to Fault”
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
158 reviews 158 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 80 cities Reviews in 80 cities
126 helpful votes 126 helpful votes
“A real find in Portsmouth”
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.

Visited July 2014
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NJ
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
59 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
“Terrible Food Served in Nice Atmosphere”
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 falafels and salad for $10 that is leaps and bounds better than this flat uninspired dish.)

Yellowtail-4 or 5 slivers, Tough texture, again flavorless, and served so warm I wondered how long it sat out of refrigeration; did not seem like yellowtail either

Shrimp and artichoke-This was the one edible dish-4 shrimp and 4 artichoke 1/4's; fried and salted so really hard to screw up

Skirt steak-asked for it medium rare-but it was served well done, tough and maybe had some chili powder on it but again, terrible like everything else except the shrimp

The bill for 2 to share 4 tapas and 3 glasses wine each was $130. Btw, my wines: Cava $12/glass and French Chardonnay were so sweet they were awful. the Grenache was so so.

The ambiance is very nice, great location. Service was OK but our waiter kept disappearing and didn't bring our wine until after the course we ordered it for, which defeated the purpose.

Also, strange reservation policy-called for a reservation-they told me to call 1/2 hour before I wanted to come and they would tell me if they would have a seat for me or not. Didn't want to take a hard reservation for 2.

We're from NYC so know what good food is. This place is trying to be NYC on bad unauthentic tapas. Beyond disappointing, and a wasted of time and money.

  • Visited June 2014
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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