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“Disappointed” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Ristorante Massimo

Ristorante Massimo
59 Penhallow St, Portsmouth, NH 03801-3800 (Formerly Anthony Alberto's)
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Ranked #1 of 183 Restaurants in Portsmouth
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $31 - $50
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Doing business, Romantic, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: State Street
New Hampshire
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2012

My husband and I and 2 friends were guests at this restaurant last night. While the atmosphere gets five stars, the food doesn't, nor does the service. We arrived almost on time, as we had trouble finding a place to park on a busy Portsmouth Saturday night. We were shown immediately to our table as we had a reservation. The restaurant itself is beautiful, perfect for making a grand impression. We had to wait several minutes for our waiter to come. He was very nice and personable. After serving us water, we again had to wait maybe 10 minutes for our menus and then even longer for our drinks. The meal progressed that way, with the longest wait being about a half hour for our entrees. The entire meal was 3 hours and 15 minutes. While we all enjoy a leisurely meal, this was way too long. The restaurant did not seem to be overly crowded, so we had trouble understanding why it was so slow.

On to the meal - in a word, bland. We all know good food, and while the premise of the offerings was good, the execution was not. I had the arugula and fig salad, which was ok, but mediocre, and my husband's spinach appetizer was small but well prepared. It was maybe 3 bites. The best item on the menu that night was the Chet's special butternut squash soup. Really good and really rich. The oyster appetizer was ok, but not impressive. Except for the oysters, all portions were on the small side, definitely not large enough to share if you were so inclined.

I had the gnocchi and beef primo for my entree. It was bland. The dumplings were not good and I, who never add salt to anything, added salt just to give the dish some flavor. The meat portion was decent, but not as flavorful as it could have been. Thank goodness we still had bread left, as we all had it to fill us up! My husband had the duck entree, which he said was just bland. There were only 2 ravioli and there was nothing else to give the dish body. There was a good amount of duck, though, he said. Our companions had the shrimp entree which she said was good but very rich, and her husband had the steak, which was large and looked to be cooked to perfection.

Dessert was, I'm sorry to say, not good. My husband and I split the plum tart, which was insipid and the plums tasteless. The crust of the tart was very good. Very disappointing, overall. Our companion had the chocolate cake which was ok, but nothing special, according to his wife.

We will not be going back to this restaurant, especially since our meal was nearly $250 without tip. We definitely did not get our money's worth. It' s miss for us. Too bad. We need fancy restaurants but this isn't it.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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264 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
New Hampshire
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Italian at its finest!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2012

Now, I'm 100% Italiano and I have to tell you, next to dining in my own kitchen this is the place to be. Food, outstanding. Most romantic dining establishment in Portsmouth. A little pasta, a little wine, magic happens. Ciao baby!

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
14 reviews 14 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Best food, service and atmosphere in the Seacoast for years”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2012

I have eaten here a few times per year since 1995. It has always had excellent food, extensive wine list and good recommendations from Massimo himself, fine service, and a quiet atmosphere.
A couple can reserve the coal bin (now very clean) for a sense of privacy. The only drawback is a long entrance staircase.

  • Visited June 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Hampton, New Hampshire
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Last night in Portsmouth...'bella noce'(?)”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2012

Wonderful, out of the way. Dressier than most restaurants in Portsmouth. Not run of the mill 'Italian restaurant' food. I had fried oysters over chickpea salad as an appetizer...superb! My husband was looking for typical 'Italian restaurant' fare; the concierge at our hotel called and ... voila! His request was served to him for dinner! We both enjoyed this place and the staff, immensely. I highly recommend for an out of the ordinary 'Italian restaurant' dining experience.

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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Worcester, MA
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
50 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Best duck ever!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2012

Massimo helped Gale down the long staircase while I carried the wheelchair. By the time I caught up, she was in love. Massimo personally greeted each guest, and if they had been there before he knew their history and tastes.
Candace (?) was an excellent waitress. She knew the menu, and knew the wine pairings. She knew each component, and how it added to the flavor. She was kind to "she-who-can't-decide" and "he who wants his scotch."
Gale decided that she would not eat duck anymore since she had the best ever here. My steak was perfectly cooked, seasoned and presented.
Service was attentive while not overbearing. Reservations were made so that each table had time to relax and enjoy without being rushed.
Dinner, malt scotch, wine and coffee was $136 before tip.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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