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.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Amazing flavor pairings”
Review of Cava

Ranked #15 of 202 Restaurants in Portsmouth
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Mediterranean, Wine Bar, Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Bar scene, Special occasions, Local cuisine
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Drinks, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
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.
South Berwick, Maine
Level Contributor
23 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Amazing flavor pairings”
Reviewed March 30, 2013

I went to Cava for Restaurant Week 2012 with a friend and we were both very impressed! It's a small restaurant down one of the alleys (not sketchy) downtown and very cozy. We sat at the bar since the tables were booked, but I think that worked out even better! The bartender was very friendly and helped us make our choices as well as explain what some of the less-common ingredients were. He made us unique drinks with cider and they were very good.
We tried to order different items and share, which was a great choice since everything was fabulous. We tried both of the 1st courses - baby beets with burratta (best cheese ever) which was to die for and also the butternut squash soup with chocolate and marshmallow- super creamy and delicious!
For the second course we tried the rabbit with lentils which was so moist and well seasoned. We also got brussel sprouts with chestnuts and pomegranates- everything was well paired, we just didn't enjoy the chestnuts.
We both got the moxie braised shortrib with sweet potato and graham cracker for the third course due to allergies and personal preferences. We both agreed this was our least favorite course just due to the overall sweetness of the dish...still good, but we were saving room for dessert!
For the fourth we had the pumpkin spice cake and churros with hot chocolate. The cake was very moist and nicely flavored. The churros were sooo crispy and soft! I didn't love the chocolate for dipping, but the churros didn't need it anyway!
We will definitely be coming back again!

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank ib13125
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

433 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed March 28, 2013

We ordered from the tasting menu and also added 2 orders from the ala cart menu. While the portions seems small, we actually left feeling quite full. I think the food was just mediocre and we were definitely not impressed except for the pineapple course. Definitely won't come back again.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank Puteri_love
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hampton, New Hampshire, United States
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Pretentious and Overpriced”
Reviewed March 26, 2013

After dining throughout the Seacoast for several years, it was a pleasure to find this little spot that was so highly rated on tripadvisor. After making a reservation we were shown to our table upon arrival - the only one left upstairs. The manager/host was not well dressed (i.e. stained jeans) and not very professional. We opted for the tasting menu which we were told consisted of eight plate to be split between the two of us. The first course consisted of a raw scallop with blood oranges. OK, It might be been two scallops sliced into six morsels, but it was still meager. The pea soup was OK, as were the grilled asparagus, however, the next dish was essentially hash browns in some type of mayo (OK, aioli). Considering the size of the other dishes, to be confronted with this giant mound of fried potatoes was a bit incongruous. This was followed by a sirloin that might have amounted to an once apiece of meat that was tough and overcooked. The palate cleanser was one pineapple nugget and dessert consisted of a piece of pound cake the size of a domino. All in all we dropped a hundred bucks, with just sparkling water and coffee to drink and were still hungry. I appreciate good food and have dined in some of the finest restaurants in the world. I won't be back.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank LadyComic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Not to be missed!! Best food in the US!”
Reviewed March 20, 2013

We discovered this restaurant by accident on a weekend trip to Portsmouth.
That was extremely fortunate!! I believe that we have discovered America's best restaurant.
The food was inventive, exquisitly prepared and presented, second to none in taste and extremely good value for money.. The wine list is complete and exciting.
The partnership between John and Gregg is fantastic, the vision of taking the staff on a gastronomic trip to San Sebastián and other culinary Meccas has instilled a love and appreciation for fantastic food which shows in the service!
Why this restaurant does not have at least a couple of Michelin stars I do not understand?
Thomas Keller look out!! Gregg Sessler is on his way up!

My comments may sound pretentious but I am so excited about this discovery!
A must for all foodies!

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Simon W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2013

Head straight downstairs, grab a glass of wine of the extensive menu, and go nuts with their extensive tapas selections. Classy, and high quality. The price point will get you, so don't go here if you're on a tight budget, but this place is worth it.

Visited December 2012
Thank ATWeck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Cava also viewed

Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth, NH

Been to Cava? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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