We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Big city atmosphere in a small town”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Port Authority Cafe - CLOSED

No photo provided
Got a photo?
Add it.
Port Authority Cafe
Restaurant details
Keene, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
224 reviews
148 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Big city atmosphere in a small town”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 28, 2013

If you like the big city cafe' style of food, you should give this a try. This small establishment serves up big time food. They host a variety of fine selections for every taste. This is not a burger and fries joint, but a culinary experience.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank Bryant A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

8 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    5
    1
    0
    1
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Antrim, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
20 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Fabulous food, incredible variety, reasonable prices”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 31, 2013

Turn the bus around and head to the Port Authority Cafe in downtown Keene, NH. We have been trying to eat at this little restaurant in Keene for some time. They are small, with table seating for a dozen or more inside, another dozen or so outside in summer+, and a small counter. And they do not seat parties larger than four. And, they are often crowded, especially on weekends. So we went on a Thursday night, and were the only customers. Mark, the owner welcomed us telling us we had our own personal chef tonight.

Well, now that we finally made it in, this is going to be one of our top go-to places in Keene. The food is incredible. Lots of fresh local ingredients, including local meats. A lot of ethnic variety, which we love. But for vegetarians and vegans, there is a lot to choose from. And every dish is well prepared and beautifully presented. The decor is trendy casual, very relaxed, friendly and welcoming.

It was a tough choice with this menu, not huge, but every dish is unique and interesting, appealing to different palettes. Nearly a dozen burger choices as well as another dozen or more veg, vegan, and meaty sandwiches, a few main dishes, some salads, six soups. We finally ordered the African Peanut Soup, Somali Lamb Stew, and the Salmon Burger. My wife and I shared all three.

The soup was a smooth and creamy light bisque, with a wonderful peanut flavor, but not overpowering. If you've never had peanut soup, you are missing a great southern treat. This soup had a wonderful bouquet of spices, with peanut and vegetables cooked in, and garnisheed with scallion and a drizzle of hot sauce. Definitely another world from the peanut soup we enjoyed in Charleston, SC.

The lamb stew was served with a multigrain mix (Kashi?) and a side of (sauteed?) greens, I am not sure what kind (because I am not smart enough to recognize or ask), but I think they were mustard greens. The stew was spicy and hot (not at all killer hot) with great flavors of cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and a host of other spices. The meat was soft. The greens were tender and delicious. The grain a perfect complement.

The salmon burger was an attempt to recreate the amazing fare from some fancy hotel, I don't recall which, and frankly I don't really care, as long as I can get this incredible sandwich in Keene. Regardless of whether or not Mark matched it, he has created a fabulous sandwich. It was sweet and a bit spicy, with a great salmon flavor coming through, and a wonderful sauce. Even the bun was excellent, not your usual sandwich bun. It came with a side salad of Napa (I think) and Red Cabbage.

Everything we ate had a wonderful array of spice and a bit of heat. No two dishes tasted alike, and even the sides were unique and perfectly matched to the main dish it accompanied. The Port Authority even has a good selection of bottled beer from small and large brewers, US and imported. Not a huge selection, but something for everyone.

So, for all that, with three beers, we walked out for about $43 for the two of us (tip and tax extra). Pretty darned good, if you ask me. We will be back. Did I say I love this place?

BTW, I rated Port Authority Very Good rather than Excellent for Romance and Special Occasions, because it is not really that type of place. But if you are not that type of person, you will enjoy great food for a romantic or special occasion. BYOR - Bring Your Own Romance.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank NextStopIs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Walpole NH
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
“fabulous locally produced food, a little quirky”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 14, 2013

This cafe has unusual food as well as new twists on the classics, like hamburgers.
Most of the food is locally sourced, the execution is top notch, and the chef has a great flair for different combinations of flavors.
Sometimes it is hard to get a table right away, but we find it is worth it, we always go there first, and if we can't get a table, we go to our second choice.
I am going to the dentist today, like the other reader, I will go there before hand!
Keep at it, Mark!

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Pippa03608
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amherst, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
40 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Best hamburgers EVER!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2013

My dentist is in Keene and I always make my appointment around lunchtime so I can visit this restaurant. While there are many choices of entrees, both meat and vegetarian, I always end up choosing one of the hamburgers. Today it was the baby blue burger with hunks of blue cheese and bacon, served on a warm roll done exactly as I ordered. It was juicy and delicious. I splurged and ordered a side of delicious, crispy sweet potato fries and had a perfect glass of Thai iced tea. The owner/chef is always the only one doing the cooking which is fine with me. There is a waitress who deftly handles both the inside and outside customers. An all around treat!!

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank ricapear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
19 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Never open”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 20, 2013

This restaurant has extremely limited hours. When open, the food is good but this place is constantly closed or about to close. Wish Mark would stay open when everyone is out.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank ZHound
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing