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“First Class Dining Experience: So Why The $1 Upcharge For Steak Sauce?”
Review of The Library

The Library
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Ranked #41 of 205 Restaurants in Portsmouth
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $31 - $50
Cuisines: American
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Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Business meetings, Romantic, Large groups
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Reviewed November 17, 2012

As many others have written, The Library is a great choice if you're in the historic downtown area of Portsmouth and looking for an excellent meal with top-notch service and a really nice atmosphere. It's easily walkable from the shops and theatre or either of the downtown hotels.

We both started with a wedge salad ($7) which was good, but unremarkable. For entrees, my wife went with the Pan Roasted Salmon with creamy parmesan polenta and shaved brussel sprouts ($24) while I chose the 12oz. Filet Mignon ($34) and a family-style side of Broccoli ($6.50). I also ordered the Gorgonzola cheese sauce ($1) from their variety of sauce options though for the life of me, I cannot understand why they would charge you a dollar for a sauce on a $34 a la carte steak. To me it seemed petty and beneath the rest of the experience.

That aside, the entrees were cooked to perfection. The filet was simply incredible; my wife enjoyed her salmon thoroughly and the the shaved brussel sprouts with the smoked bacon vinaigrette were a standout.

Our waiter, Jose, was excellent. He was attentive without being intrusive and paced the dining experience so it ran like clockwork. It sounds simple but anyone reading this knows that its no, so hats off to Jose; nicely done.

All in all, I would recommend this restaurant when in Portsmouth and I would definitely eat there again.

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Thank taylorplayer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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297 - 301 of 409 reviews

Reviewed November 16, 2012

Let's start with this: I have been a patron of this restaurant ever since it was part of an actual, operating hotel. Sure, I've taken extended breaks now and then, but I started out as a young child many years ago as a guest of my immigrant grandfather, who loved the place and apparently felt like it ratified his assimilation. Stodgy and exclusive back then? A bit.* But memorable nonetheless.

It's still memorable today. This is a steadfast restaurant, and in recent years the quality of the food and the direction of the menu have become even better. And forget stodgy and exclusive. If Portsmouth is the new casual resort destination, and if a new casual resort destination needs a signature steakhouse, this is it.

The Seacoast of NH may not have a Morton's, nor a Capital Grille, nor a Del Frisco's. But The Library brings a quality of food and service that those chains collectively represent, along with a healthy dose of local history. While you enjoy the Gentleman's Cut sirloin, for example, reflect upon the notion that Teddy Roosevelt stayed here, as did diplomats and representatives of Russia and Japan while signing the Peace Treay of 1905 just across the river. I bet the sides were just as generous and enjoyable back then as well.

For those who want a great steak or beef dinner, or a good wine list, or a memorable and vibrant bar scene, this won't disappoint. The Library has earned its raves.

*While the white tablecloths and napkins still remain, the attitude does not. My grandfather would be proud.

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Thank NH_Guy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 13, 2012

Portsmouth has lots of good places to go eat, but the Library rates far above all of them. If you want casual drinks and apps the bar is cozy and warm, the perfect place for friends and conversation. If you want a first class dinner then step into the dining room, the menu is extensive, local and excellently prepared. The Library's setting is unique and should not be missed!

Thank DaveScho44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2012

Seven friends just had a great experience - the food, the ambiance, the attentive waiter. From appetizers through deserts - soups to mouse - it was a great experience.

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Thank Tom03301
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2012

The food is excellent, the service is too, and the atmosphere is wonderful. It really is an old library and there are thousands of books. It's a bit expensive, but worth every penny. The vegetables are served 'family' style, so one order will be enough for two. The baked potatoes are huge. Huge. I splurged and had the Kobe sirloin and I have to say it's the best steak I have ever had. Cooked to perfection. Great wine list. It's one of those restaurants that is good for special occasions.

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Thank Peke47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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