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“A favorite” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Jumpin' Jay's Fish Cafe

Jumpin' Jay's Fish Cafe
150 Congress St, Portsmouth, NH 03801-4019
+1 603-766-3474
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Ranked #5 of 160 Restaurants in Portsmouth
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $22 - $32
Cuisines: Seafood, Oyster Bar
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Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Dessert, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Middle Street, Maplewood Avenue, Islington Street
Description: Located just two blocks down from Market Square in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Jay's has become an overnight institution among locals who appreciate exceptional seafood. The quality of fare is unsurpassed, with fish arriving daily from local fisherman as well as some exotic catches from locations such as New Zealand and Ecuador. Four to six varieties appear on the ever-changing "Catch of the Day" menu, complimented by your choice of a gourmet sauce or marinade. The standard menu offers a more traditional flavor, including Maine Crab Cake, Haddock Piccata and the popular Linguine in White Clam Sauce. The atmosphere is casually hip, with no pretense. Reservations encouraged. Open Seven nights a week.
Northern Virginia
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“A favorite”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2011

A favorite for great seafood, prepared with imagination. Went again for dinner in late August 2011. Four of us shared two appetizers - a generous bowl of mussels and a roasted pear salad. Lots of choices for the main course, but consider ordering one of the fresh catch selections with your choice of sauces. I had scallops and took the server's advice for the "dirty" sauce - citrus and Dijon. Wow.
Keep in mind this is a very popular restaurant, so you may have to wait during prime time even if you have a reservation. You can stand by the bar, have a drink and savor the aroma of the plates passing under your nose on the way from the kitchen to the dining rooms. Negatives? The night we were there the dining room was very dark - had to hold the candle to the menu to read it.

  • Visited August 2011
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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559 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Freedom, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
234 reviews 234 reviews
184 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 81 cities Reviews in 81 cities
117 helpful votes 117 helpful votes
“Excellent fish selection & service”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2011

Recommended by colleagues as a good place for fish, and with few restaurants open in Portsmouth on the day Hurricane Irene brushed the town, we had a very good meal of mussels, super fresh oysters on half shell, and the locally caught pollock special. All expertly prepared, along with very polished service. Dessert made in house, and a nice wine list with lots of selections to choose from. Worth a visit.

  • Visited August 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Amazing Fish for a reasonable price”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2011

Went here for lunch on a weekday. We had the Cod and Fish Tacos. Both were great! The restaurant is towards the outskirts of downtown and not near the water but well worth it. One would not expect it from the outside but Jumpin' Jays was recommended by everyone we asked and it was maybe the best meal of the trip.

  • Visited August 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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South Berwick, Maine
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Never impressed”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2011

I have been to Jumpin' Jay's three times over the past year, August 2011 being the most recent. I have had the mussel appetizer, pear and radicchio salad, shrimp and scallop orecchiette, the grilled swordfish, and the key lime pie...among tastes from the meals of my companions. I honestly have found nothing worth returning for. I found the flavors that were jammed into the mussels overbearing and clashing (too much ginger + too much garlic leaves you wondering if you are even eating mussels). The pear salad was soggy and seemed to be missing an element to tie the flavors together, I didn't even finish the small portion. The shrimp and scallop dish made me ill. The homemade mozzarella was this horrible gluey texture and the scallops were under cooked to the point of being gelatinous. The swordfish was fine, but I certainly wouldn't pay $23 for something I can do at home. The key lime pie was very tangy, which was fine, but also a little gritty and with a poor crust. The one thing that I have liked there is the haddock piccata from my mother's plate. I disliked the restaurant the first couple of times I have eaten there...very ho-hum food for the prices. However, after getting sick on my final visit- there is no reason that I would ever recommend this restaurant to anyone. My final conclusion is they are charging the customer based on how hard the restaurant is trying, not how well they are pulling it off.

  • Visited August 2011
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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Chicago, Illinois
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Biggest shrimp you'll ever see!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2011

We visited this restaurant based on a recommendation and loved it! The cocktail shrimp were so fabulous and you even get to add your own horseradish to your cocktail sauce to make it to your liking. Amazing restaurant that isn't pretentious at all!

  • Visited July 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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