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“Fish is well prepared, good music” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Jumpin' Jay's Fish Cafe

Jumpin' Jay's Fish Cafe
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Ranked #6 of 199 Restaurants in Portsmouth
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $22 - $32
Cuisines: American, Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Local cuisine, Bar scene, Large groups
Dining options: Dinner, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
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, Jumpin' Jay's is a local foodie enclave serving refined seafood in a sleek restaurant setting. 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 of fish appear on the ever-changing "Catch of the Day" menu, complimented by your choice of gourmet sauce. Our raw bar offers an extensive variety of shellfish found in New Hampshire. Our specialties menu offers more traditional flavor, including Maine Crab Cakes, Haddock Piccata and our popular Linguine in White Clam Sauce. The atmosphere is casually hip, with no pretense. Reservations encouraged. Open seven nights a week.
Waltham, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
40 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Fish is well prepared, good music”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 17, 2009

Jumpin Jay's has music - go figure. It isn't overwhelmingly loud but you can hear it.
I had a similar experience to a previous poster who arrived just after opening time, the staff just wasn't ready. They all congregated at the door, talking and taking it easy. Three or four people seemed to be our server, it was a bit confusing. Somehow, I survived.
Appetizer: mussels were good. A generous portion and the broth was mostly garlic and jalapeño. I have had better and I have had far, far worse.
Fish: grilled cod and the pan seared swordfish were both very well prepared. I don't understand the idea of the sauces since good fish is best with a bit of lemon and nothing else.
I doubt if the 'daily menu' is really daily but it might be weekly. A daily menu normally has the date printed on the menu so you know it truly is, you know, daily.

Expensive and the 9% tax was a shocker. But, I doubt if I could find anything for a similar price in Boston.

    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Skillet_87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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871 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Amherst, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
297 reviews
212 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 169 helpful votes
“Seafood Delight in Portsmouth”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 11, 2009

We ate here last Saturday night and the place was packed, but we had a quiet little table by the window. Raw oysters were tasty and properly chilled. Salmon tartar and avocado appetizer was delicious. Salads were fresh and crisp. Stuffed rainbow trout special was out-of-this-world. Pan seared halibut was perfection. Good wine list. Even the hot fudge brownie sundae was done well. Service was attentive, responsive, but not rushed. I love seafood, and Jay's is fresh and excellently prepared.

    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
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    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank merlinslap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Poor service and over priced”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 9, 2009

My wife and I lived near Boston for many years and really like excellently prepared seafood. We recently were on vacation in the New Hampshire and Maine area, and had dinner at this reataurant, based on reviews that we read. The restaurant was suppose to open at 5:00 PM, but the staff did not seemed ready, so the opening was delayed 5 - 7 minutes. We were seated at our table, given menus, never ask if we wanted any drinks, and then our waitress vanished. After about 15 minutes, I had one of the restaurant employees tell her that were were ready to order. She came back to our table, took our order and grabbed the wine list and started to leave, again not asking if we wanted any drinks. It was attitute all the way. It is not a relaxing environment, unless you like loud music with your expensive meal. Now to the food. The seafood chowder my wife and I had was excellent. The pan seared halibut I had was over cooked and dry.

    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Austin_TexasCowboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rhode Island
Level Contributor
42 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“What did we miss???”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2009

We always consult Tripadvisor reviews when we travel, so expected more from the #3 restaurant in Portsmouth. The place has zero ambiance, lots of plastic, uber-casual, a bit loud because of the bar. I had the highly-praised-in-other-reviews mussels, which were fresh, but none of the lovely things mentioned as being in the steaming liquid, --lemongrass, saffron,etc., could be tasted by me or my companion. He had the jumbo shrimp. The menu does say they were from Vietnam (all the fish items have their sources noted), so we probably should have expected that they'd been frozen before cooking. We were so unimpressed at that point that we paid for our appetizers and left. Locals we spoke to afterwards said this place is not as good as it used to be. Just sayin'...

    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
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      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank petlady1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Springvale, Maine
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Consistently Great Food”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 6, 2009

I have frequented Jumping Jay's four or five times over the past few years, and have always had a great meal. The service is always good, although sometimes you do feel rushed. That is understandable for a busy place, the servers are trying to flip their tables. I highly recommend their "catch of the day", and being able to pick your own sauce is fun.
Try their espresso martini for desert - it is delicious!

    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank micahbetts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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