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Ratings and reviews


Food and ambience

$31 - $50
Lunch, Dinner, Late Night
American, Steakhouse, International
Reservations, Private Dining, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Table Service
Reviews (504)
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All reviews steak pot stickers creamed spinach layer chocolate cake haddock special occasion cooked perfectly historic building birthday dinner new england books sides mahogany lions bookcase medium nh
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Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Went for a quick drink right when they opened. Beth and joe were incredibly helpful and the martini I had was unique and delicious! 10/10 recommend! ... oh yeah and the steak and food is all amazing!

Date of visit: May 2021
Reviewed March 5, 2021 via mobile

Made reservations for a Monday night special birthday party for 8 pp. we were gathering from 4 different towns, it had been ages since seeing each other. It was a big deal. I wasn’t going to write this because of covid challenges in the business...and because it’s a Monday night which always means the worst cook team on with training servers....but I can’t get it out of my mind how we collectively agreed it was so bad that we have a bet when it will close down. Greeting was great from host, server was painful. You know the server who looks uncomfortable in their own skin with no confidence resulting in being just a person that carries food to a table that a cart could do with the same flare...Either she was brand new or had 20 tables somewhere else because she was never present or she didn’t care because 20% is going to be added on so it can be called in. I think it’s option 1. We called ahead to see if we could get a fruit n cheese platter to have with pre-dinner drinks for 25.00. Never came till asked. Then it came with grapes snd cheese literally thrown on a platter no bread no crackers nothing...clearly cooks were pissed for doing something off-menu and I’m thinking don’t do it or offer it if you don’t want to! But lesson learned... I did get a delicious bottle of red wine to go with that white hot cheese/grape mess We got apps to share... Ceasar salad-warm, shrimp cocktail-overcooked...meaning if you there then at a wall they would bounce back and knock you cold,onion soup-thin n watery. We didn’t say anything. Got steaks most filets were fine. The 2 rib eyes were inedible. Sinewy and poorly cooked, sent back, no better...so 2 of us didn’t eat. Sides...mashed warmed up from day before, creamed spinach tasted old. Mushrooms dried up. Desserts...clearly no one has ordered any because they were tired snd tasted like the refrigerator. Meanwhile we had said it was a special occasion snd they stuck us in a corner up against a window so we had to pass the food down as the server cattle called the orders. Even though I asked her in the beginning if she wanted to go in order so it would be easier...she said no. Rookie... I was so incredibly disgusted, embarrassed, dissatisfied, disappointed, still hungry and 800.00 poorer. I have been here twice before and it was ok but never again...third strike.More

Date of visit: November 2020
Reviewed February 19, 2021

My husband and I went here for our Anniversary a few weeks ago. We loved it so much we are going again this weekend with our granddaughter - we had to bring her here because she loves steak and this place has literally the best...piece of steak I've ever had - club cut sirloin with peppercorn sauce. We love the atmosphere and the lighting and the staff was very attentive and very nice. We will make this our go too whenever we are in town.More

Date of visit: February 2021
Reviewed February 14, 2021 via mobile

The first time I visited this restaurant was about 40 years ago. New to Portsmouth, and New England blizzards, I found myself suffering from cabin fever after two days locked indoors with 3 feet of snow on the ground. I donned the cross country skis...on the front porch of my historic colonial and headed downtown. The gold lions and a lighted front entrance beckoned. I stashed the skis and meandered inside. At 23 the polished mahogany bar, hunting lodge feel and formal mantelpiece were a bit intimidating. I took a seat fireside and waited, fixated on the falling snow. Magic happened. A glass of wine. New England clam chowder. A haddock sandwich. Simple fare done elegantly. A friendly crowd seeking respite and connection. Flash forward four decades and little has changed: and I am so very grateful. How do I sum up decades of family dinners, business meetings, meet ups with friends, silver and gold. This is where I celebrated the purchase of my first home. And cried the day I sold the old girl. This is where I introduced the Florida fiancé to my NH posse in the private boardroom reserved for special occasions. This is where I had dates that sealed the deal. And ones where I bid adieu. It’s the place where I had a Covid-compliant virtual date New Years Eve 2020, to the delight of Michelle and Echo behind the bar and the consternation of long-wed couples who didn’t understand the exchange of playlists and menus, exuberant texts and the chaste midnight Covid-distanced bacis. Fun is had here. Someone always brings it. Sharing appetizers with pub mates, singing along with the oldies or watching the home team struggle; there’s a sense of belonging. No matter how far away you go or how long you’re gone, there’s a warm seat and sweet greeting. Appetizers to write home about are the spicy (but nicely) New Orleans barbecue shrimp, beef carpaccio with capers, red onion and parmesan drizzled with olive oil and fresh pepper and the special charcuterie plate with local cheeses and cured meats. ($14-$18). We ordered the wedge salad with local bleu cheese, walnuts and fresh veggies and split it like another appetizer. ($9) The Library advertises itself as a steakhouse, and indeed, you have a choice of filet mignon, sirloin and pork chops. ($29-$48). The Cowboy cut Ribeye, a 24 ounce platter of crazy beef, fed two of us with enough to fashion a Valentine’s Day breakfast of steak and eggs. Grilled swordfish ($30) and lobster mac & cheese ($17) are local dishes served fresh with panache and cooked to order. Sides of garlic mashed potato, sautéed spinach and mashed cauliflower are excellent accompaniments to the main events. ($8-$9). Salmon, haddock and lobster pie are daily mainstays. ($28-$34). Barkeep Michelle’s secret weapon is chocolate mousse. Don’t argue. ($13) Echo says it’s all about the creme brûlée ($9). Ask her about the wine list. It’s extensive and reasonable. Portsmouth is a hubbub of restaurant activity. James Haller honed his skills here at the Blue Strawbery as I was coming of age and the town continues to attract cutting edge culinary talent and adoring fans. But I’m the loyal type. If those BBQ shrimp look tantalizing, just ask. I share.More

Date of visit: February 2021
Reviewed January 20, 2021

My husband and I ate at The library restaurant on Martin Luther King weekend. I ordered the sirloin steak with the au poivre sauce with sautéed button mushrooms. It was the best steak that I have had in a long time and cooked to perfection....The menu says they serve “prime” beef which tasted so good. My husband had the haddock with lobster which was also delicious finished off with a rich bourbon chocolate mousse. The service from our friendly server Trish and the atmosphere in a building with beautiful woodwork and stained glassed windows added to the experience. Great night!!More

Date of visit: January 2021
Reviewed January 17, 2021

We went to The Library for my birthday dinner last night. I had read the very disparate reviews on TripAdvisor before going. It was a very fine steakhouse. Beth was our waitperson. She completely belongs in a steakhouse such as this. She has the perfect...personality for such a place: she was very professional yet warm, quite astute at reading my visual queues and all over our needs without being intrusive. She spoke little but was fun and funny when she did. She was a real pleasure. The aesthetics of the dining room (we were in the boardroom) were gorgeous. An original fresco on the ceiling was illuminated by a warm fire; the walls were adorned smartly with bookcases of books all of which had bindings of a blue-green hue. They were clearly chosen for their collective appearance and not their titles. The effect was that we felt transported back in time. The food was perfect. My wife's 12 ounce filet was a perfect medium; my swordfish was juicy and thick. We will go back and ask for Beth!More

Date of visit: January 2021
Reviewed December 14, 2020

The food was all under cooked. I hate sending things back to the kitchen but my steak was raw so I did. I was ordered medium rare. It came back rare still. Lamb chops for someone else came out rare as well even tho we...were assured that the chef cooked them to perfection always at the perfect temp. French onion soup was also a disappointment. I wouldn't go back.More

Date of visit: December 2020
Reviewed November 27, 2020 via mobile

Had a perfectly prepared meal with Attentive and friendly service. The sirloin with the house brewed sauce was excellent. The staff is professional and friendly even on a busy Holiday. Great Bourbon mousse for dessert. The bar is well stocked. Classy place, they are enforcing...the spacing protocols in spite of the limitations it places on their capacity.More

Date of visit: November 2020
Reviewed November 1, 2020

Very disappointed by our experience at the Library! We were seated near the bar with two individuals less than 6 feet distance. Throughout our meal patrons were permitted to leave their table and go to the restrooms WITHOUT MASKS! The steak was fine, which you...would expect at a steak house, but the salmon was very overcooked and without flavor. The Clam Chowder was horrible! Way too much roux. A good description would be clam-flavored wallpaper paste. The creme broule had a way-too-thick thick topping which made it far too sweet. A very pleasant ambience was ruined by mediocre food!More

Date of visit: October 2020
Reviewed October 21, 2020

I had my rehearsal dinner at the Library and aside from the delicious food, the service was extraordinary. Michelle and Rahim accommodated all of our needs and made our special occasion even more perfect. They were able to seamlessly host our party of 15 and...made us feel as if we were their only table. We would absolutely book our next event or dinner at the Library. Thank you again Michelle & Rahim! -RachelMore

Date of visit: October 2020
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Questions & Answers
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October 26, 2018|
AnswerShow all 4 answers
Response from Gugliuzza | Property representative |
We closed for lunch approximately 2 months ago. We are happy to open during the day for larger parties, but will only be serving our dinner menu, or our event menu. Please don't hesitate to email us:)
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Frequently Asked Questions about The Library

  • The Library is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travelers:
    • Food: 4
    • Service: 4
    • Value: 3.5
    • Atmosphere: 4.5