About Ristorante Massimo

59 Penhallow Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801
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Nestled like a hidden jewel in historic downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Massimo's warmly lit brick and stone grotto walls, fresh flowers and oil paintings of magnificent Italian landscapes transports guests to Florence, Rome and Venice. Guests relax in a richly appointed atmosphere beneath mahogany-beamed ceilings and private parties unwind in their own intimate dining room. Ristorante Massimo offers authentic dishes from all regions of Italy. From innovative concepts to timeless Italian favorites, our executive chef creates each dish with a distinctive, refined touch as found in some of the worlds most celebrated restaurants. Thoroughly unforgettable, unbelievable satisfying. **limited dining room availability offered online**

Dining Style:
Fine Dining

Cuisines:
Italian

Hours of Operation:
Dinner: Monday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 9:30pm, Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:30pm
Cancellation Policy
Monday - Friday: for groups of 5 or more - We ask that a guest call by 12:00p.m. the day of the reservation to cancel or we reserve the right to charge a $20.00 per person fee.
Saturday: all reservations - We ask that a guest call by 12:00p.m. the day of the res reservation to cancel or we reserve the right to change a $20.00 per person fee.

Cross Street:
State Street

Dress Code:
Smart Casual

Price Range:
$31 to $50

Payment Options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(603) 436-4000

Website:
http://www.ristorantemassimo.com/

Entertainment:
Our staff!

Parking Details:
Ristorante Massimo offers complimentary weekend valet service. Our private lot is available for guest parking midweek. Simply alert the maitre d' of your arrival via telephone and we will gladly provide access to our gated lot.

Executive Chef:
Jethro Loichle

Private Party Facilities:
Ristorante Massimo is the perfect setting for celebrating a special occasion or hosting a corporate event. Here guests can enjoy customized menus, an intimate setting and impeccable service. Our elegant private dining room can accommodate up to 20 guests and special arrangements can be made for larger groups. State-of-the-art audiovisual equipment is available. We look forward to taking personal care of every detail of your entertaining needs.

Private Party Contact:
Massimo Morgia: (603) 436-4000

Additional:
Banquet, Beer, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Wine

Ristorante Massimo Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.7

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.7

service

4.8

ambience

4.8

value

4.3

noise

Moderate

95% would recommend it to a friend

Romantic (43)
Special Occasion (39)
Good for Anniversaries (37)
See All
Creative Cuisine (31)
Good for a Date (30)
Cozy (28)
Worth the Drive (23)
Fit for Foodies (23)
Good for Birthdays (21)
Notable Wine List (19)
Quiet Conversation (18)
Authentic (18)
Neighborhood Gem (17)
Pre/post Theatre (12)
Local Ingredients (11)
Handcrafted Cocktails (11)
Historic (10)
Bar Seating (9)
Good for Groups (8)
Business Meals (6)
Private Room (4)
Fun (3)
Vibrant Bar Scene (3)
Comfort Food (3)
Hot Spot (3)
Family Style (2)
Outstanding Value (2)
Good Vegetarian Options (2)
Molecular Gastronomy (2)
Late-night Find (1)
Tasting Menu (1)
Modern Decor (1)
Gluten Free Options (1)
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956 reviews
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Anniversary

 
 (New England)·Dined a day ago

Anniversary

Tags: Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Went for the first time to celebrate my ...

 
 (New England)·Dined 4 days ago

Went for the first time to celebrate my husband's 65th birthday and attend a Pat Metheny jazz concert in Portsmouth. The food was fabulous and the service impeccable. We will definitely go back.

Tags: Authentic, Fit for Foodies, Cozy, Romantic
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food4
ambience4
service4
value3

Always a treat dining at Massimos. Best ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on January 14, 2017

Always a treat dining at Massimos. Best food in town by far along with the best service and ambiance.

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food5
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service5

We had a very enjoyable and relaxing eve ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on January 12, 2017

We had a very enjoyable and relaxing evening evening of food and conversation.

Tags: Romantic
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

Very disappointed in the food as friends ...

vip
 (New England)·Dined on January 12, 2017

Very disappointed in the food as friends had recommended the restaurant. Ordered the gnocchi and having an Italian wife I guess I expected gnocchi similar to her family, but what we got were three potatoe cakes that tasted nothing like gnocchi. My wife ordered the duck and that was disappointing also, tough and not very tasty. A positive was out waiter who was great.

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food1
ambience3
service5
value1

Excellent place to bring a customer. The ...

 
 (Dallas)·Dined on January 11, 2017

Excellent place to bring a customer. The service was perfect, the food was delightful, and the decor was really nice. John, our waiter, was attentive, friendly, funny, knowledgeable, and confident in his recommendations. Everything I look for in a waiter.

Tags: Authentic, Romantic, Local Ingredients, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

We had a very special night and it is a ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on January 7, 2017

We had a very special night and it is a classic restaurant with flowers on the table and the feel of a genuine Italian restaurant. Obvious care with everything. I had the pork chop special which was amazing. (Biggest I've ever seen) I only wish the waiter had mentioned the price in his spiel about the specials.

Tags: Special Occasion
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food4
ambience5
service4
value4

Excellent service,great food, great sele ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on January 6, 2017

Excellent service,great food, great selection of wines and meals.

Tags: Bar Seating, Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Romantic
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food5
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value4

Wonderful find. We waited 15 minutes for ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on January 1, 2017

Wonderful find. We waited 15 minutes for our reservation however the owner, Massimo, was so friendly and engaging. He offered us a beverage on the house while we waited. The whole staff was very friendly. The food was scrumptious and the service impeccable. The dining room is cozy and romantic. We will be back!

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food5
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A special evening was made even more so ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on January 1, 2017

A special evening was made even more so with the staff, food and atmosphere of Massimo's! Will be a treasured memory for us and we look forward to coming back in the future!

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food5
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Love the whole experience..... the only ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on December 31, 2016

Love the whole experience..... the only disappointment was that the waiter forgot to bring our left-overs :(

Tags: Worth the Drive, Bar Seating, Good for Birthdays
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food5
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Formal, knowledgeable and attentive wait ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on December 31, 2016

Formal, knowledgeable and attentive waitstaff. Elegant menu and fine wine list. A bit pricey but worth the cost. Pick a night that is not very popular for an excellent personal dining experience.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Authentic, Creative Cuisine
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food5
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My first trip to Massimo's for a "busine ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on December 30, 2016

My first trip to Massimo's for a "business dinner" - I am a self-published author and I took my beta readers out for dinner. My five girls and I had a fantastic evening. The staff was totally on-point - the hostess, the waiters, and we had the pleasure of being served by the Wine Director, who wowed us with an education as well as new and exciting options, plus he had a winning sense of humor. The meal was one of the best ones I've had west of Italy - every single dish we tried was absolutely delectable. The owner dropped by to welcome us as well. A lovely, intimate space, the atmosphere is fancy but relaxed and approachable. The hostess took our coats upon arrival and remembered us upon departure, and valet for Friday night dining is a bonus, too! I cannot wait to take my husband here for a date night!

Tags: Business Meals, Good for Anniversaries, Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Cozy, Pre/post Theatre, Special Occasion, Authentic, Good for Birthdays, Historic, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine, Romantic
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food5
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service5
value5

We went for my husband's birthday and we ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on December 22, 2016

We went for my husband's birthday and we just had the most wonderful time! Everyone, from the girl checking us in to wait staff smiling as they walked by were so nice. The food was delicious, very flavorful. We truly enjoyed our experience and can not wait to go back.

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food5
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value5

Excellent food and service but pricey

 
 (New England)·Dined on December 22, 2016

Excellent food and service but pricey

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food5
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My boyfriend and I went here for our sec ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on December 19, 2016

My boyfriend and I went here for our second anniversary and had a lovely evening. We had a 5:15 reservation, probably the first diners for the night, as they were still setting up the dining area when we arrived. The owner greeted us when we were seated, which was very nice of him. The food was delicious--we got smoked duck, beef tartar, and the gorgonzola mountain for our "small bites"; I had the carbonara for my entree and my boyfriend got a beautifully-cooked beef tenderloin (Filetto di Manzo). The recommended wine paired nicely with both of our dishes. The atmosphere livened up as more diners came in. Christmas music was playing in the background at a reasonable volume. It got hard to hear my date at times, but that might depend on your fellow diners. Service was attentive, yet gave us plenty of time to enjoy our night at our own pace with few interruptions. They made sure that we were comfortable and the dining room temperature wasn't too cold, as it was near the entrance. We were fine, but it seems that other diners were cold as halfway through the night, they closed the double-doors that led to the lobby and increased the temperature on the thermostat. We were asked if it was a special occasion right before we ordered dessert and when it came out, our mini cannoli was embellished with a candle and "Happy Anniversary" chocolate, "compliments of the house." Very thoughtful touch! Our bill came out to around $130 with tax and tip. We will definitely be back for special occasions.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Cozy, Good for a Date, Quiet Conversation, Romantic, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Fit for Foodies, Authentic
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food5
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The food was excellent as always, the se ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on December 18, 2016

The food was excellent as always, the service was great.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries
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food5
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Outstanding as always! Massimo's is an e ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on December 17, 2016

Outstanding as always! Massimo's is an exceptional restaurant ! From the minute you meet the valet, to the friendly and attentive staff, to the extra touch of Massimo's himself coming over to your table - you feel special. The food is extra ordinary and simply put delicious. My wife and I along with our friends truly look forward to our dining experience! Keep up the great work and we will be back soon!

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food5
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We try to get to Massimo's at least twic ...

vip
 (New England)·Dined on December 15, 2016

We try to get to Massimo's at least twice a winter during our "date night" evenings out. We have never been disappointed. We especially appreciate that Massimo is always a presence and cruises around the dining room to assure satisfaction. We were seated in a cozy alcove on this visit which I loved, quiet and yet still part of the scene.

All the food was excellent but the bread was exceptional.

Tags: Cozy, Good for Anniversaries
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food4
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Only issue was slightly slow service at ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on December 11, 2016

Only issue was slightly slow service at the beginning, otherwise everything was great! The scallops were perfect and the gnocchi was very good. Burrata appetizer was excellent. Good value and our waiter was excellent as well. The table was downstairs under a brick arch with a mini chandelier. Very romantic and easy to talk. The owner stopped by and was very personable.

"Free" valet parking (you should tip of course!) is a great service as parking can be difficult in Portsmouth. Highly recommend!

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Historic, Notable Wine List, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Birthdays, Romantic, Creative Cuisine
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food5
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I ate here with 4 friends that have been ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on December 10, 2016

I ate here with 4 friends that have been to Italy many times, they could not believe what they were eating - they wanted to drag the chef out to congratulate him/her. The most amazing meal in years !! Highly recommend.

Massimo is also a great host, he takes careful attention to greet all guests and want to ensure their experience is optimal. Amazing staff too !!

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Fit for Foodies, Worth the Drive, Romantic, Special Occasion, Authentic, Hot Spot, Creative Cuisine, Fun
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food5
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service5
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This is my 3rd or 4th visit to Massimo a ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on December 3, 2016

This is my 3rd or 4th visit to Massimo and it exceeds my expectations every time. From the parking valet to the hostess, waiters, etc., the service is top notch. The ambiance is warm, inviting and elegant. The food is amazing. Our table tried pasta, lobster, steak, and scallops and everything was fantastic. We tried 3 different desserts to share, and they were all delicious. The flourless chocolate cake is divine. We were all fighting over it. No reason to drive all the way to the North End for fantastic Italian food. Massimo is perfection.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Fit for Foodies
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food5
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service5
value4

Wonderful MeL and dessert! Outstanding ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on December 1, 2016

Wonderful MeL and dessert! Outstanding service. Our waiter was knowledgeable and friendly. Wonderful evening!

Tags: Local Ingredients, Cozy, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
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service5
value5

We chose Restaurante Massimo for our 25t ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on December 1, 2016

We chose Restaurante Massimo for our 25th wedding anniversary and couldn't have chosen a better spot. We were greeted at the door by our hostess. She ensured we had the most romantic table and that our every request was taken care of. The drink list was extensive and the staff made sure we were happy with our selections. The food was absoulely outstanding. Wonderful flavor and portions just bigger than our appetites. The desert, as expected, was also great. I'm looking forward to going back.

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, Cozy, Quiet Conversation, Romantic, Neighborhood Gem, Creative Cuisine, Historic
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food5
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This was our first visit to Massimo 's. ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 26, 2016

This was our first visit to Massimo 's. We were celebratin our 45th anniversary and we're really impressed that Massimo recognized that fact. Even though we were a few minutes early, we were offered a glass of wine while waiting. The hostess was very friendly and helpful. Steve, our waiter, was also very professional and helpful in explaining the menu. The alcove we were seated in was perfect for a romantic dinner. All the food was very tasty and the presentation was outstanding. I would highly recommend Massimo's to anyone wanting a special night out.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries
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food5
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service5
value3

Complementary valet parking just icing o ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 26, 2016

Complementary valet parking just icing on the cake. The food here was unbelievable! Not your traditional 'red sauce' Italian restaurant. Very creative and unique dishes. The veal chop served with pouched lobster was literally to die for! Highly recommend!

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays
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food5
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service4
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One of the best meals I've had in a long ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 26, 2016

One of the best meals I've had in a long time, and hands down the best meal we've had is 2016. We are big, big fans of Italian and this was our first time - we'll definitely be back.

My only disappointment came with the waiter, though very nice to us, it was clear he was struggling that night with focus and attentiveness. We had to ask a few times for the same thing, and he was very apologetic and kind. We all have off-nights and I'm not faulting him greatly for it - as I said, we'll be back. Besides the food the best part was the owner coming by personally, twice. Feeling like we were welcomed into his home was simply amazing!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Quiet Conversation, Romantic, Good for a Date, Handcrafted Cocktails, Worth the Drive, Authentic, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
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service4
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Okay, so I'm going to join the list of m ...

vip
 (New England)·Dined on November 25, 2016

Okay, so I'm going to join the list of many fans of this restaurant!

The food was well prepared with manageable portions. My tagliatelle carbonara didn't look too appetizing but it was wonderful! I had the buratta salad which was also very enjoyable. They do cater for vegetarians.

We were seated in a cozy book so it felt a little private but we could look out on the room. Greeted by the owner when we walked in which was a nice personal touch. He stopped by during our meal and when we left.

Definitely good for a revisit!

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food5
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This was our first visit to Ristorante ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 19, 2016

This was our first visit to Ristorante Massimo and it was a great experience. I let them know in advance that it was a special anniversary for my wife and I. They sat us at a wonderful private table and our waitress Melissa was so warm and attentive that she really made the night. The food was excellent but the service and ambiance makes this restaurant very special.

Tags: Cozy, Private Room, Creative Cuisine
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food5
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What an evening. Arrived a half hour ear ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 19, 2016

What an evening. Arrived a half hour earlier than our reservation during restaurant week and it wasn't an issue. Massimo and his very nice hostess sat us just outside the dining room and we had drinks fairly quickly. Ate the three course meal special and every bite was fabulous. From the meatball amatraciana, to the braised short rib, right on through the caramel apple shortbread. All quite delicious. The service was also pretty perfect. Massimo really knows how to make you feel welcome and he clearly cares about his restaurant and it's guests. Bravo, we shall return.

Tags: Cozy, Quiet Conversation, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries, Worth the Drive, Pre/post Theatre, Authentic, Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine
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food5
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value4

Excellent meal. Would be quite expensive ...

 
 (Birmingham)·Dined on November 18, 2016

Excellent meal. Would be quite expensive if it weren't for food week in Portsmouth. Service and ambiance were outstanding. Highly recommend for those willing to pay $100+ per person.

Tags: Good for a Date
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food5
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value4

I was blown away by the overall experien ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 17, 2016

I was blown away by the overall experience of Ristorante Massimo. The staff we're attentive but low key and helpful. My girlfriend has a severe seafood allergy that sometimes causes a problem for us to choose a restaurant, but our waiter was almost happy to tell us that it wouldn't be a problem and he would make sure both of our dinners contained no trace. I have never experienced this kind of reaction at a restaurant and was very impressed.

We were served in a booth set back into an alcove surrounded by the original granite foundation and (what looked like) polished cherry with what I consider just the right amount of down light. We each chose a 3 course meal so I won't go into details about each dish but they blew our expectations away. Overall I truly couldn't have been more impressed with the atmosphere, staff, food, etc. and we have been talking about visiting yearly for our anniversaries.

PS. If anyone from RM should read this, thank you for making the anniversary/birthday dinner one to remember for us!

Tags: Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies, Good for Anniversaries, Romantic, Worth the Drive, Cozy, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food5
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service5
value5

Twice yearly friends get together. Awes ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 12, 2016

Twice yearly friends get together. Awesome as usual!!

Tags: Cozy, Good for Groups, Romantic, Creative Cuisine
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food5
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service5
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Outstanding, the staff was incredible v ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 12, 2016

Outstanding, the staff was incredible very attentive, food was impeccable. The atmosphere is just so romantic and the owner Massimo made sure that he spoke to every table welcoming new and old customers like you are part of a family. This is definately a gem of a restaurant. If you have time check out the beautiful bar area upstairs. The wait staff there are also incredible. Can't wait to go back

Tags: Romantic, Historic, Special Occasion, Worth the Drive, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

We visited Massimo during restaurant wee ...

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 12, 2016

We visited Massimo during restaurant week, which meant it was very busy. Perhaps that had something to do with our experience. We arrived about 30 min early, hoping to be seated a bit ahead of our 8:15 reservation. Unfortunately, they were overwhelmed and not entirely organized, so we were seated about 30 min late (8:45). Our table and dining room was very nice, but I found the food and the service to be average, particularly for the price range. I also thought that the chef had a tendency to overdue the flavors in the dishes, which is not typical of good Italian cuisine. I may try again in the future, but for now, I am left thinking that the food and the service were very average, for a price range that would imply something much better.

Tags: Good for a Date
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food3
ambience4
service2
value2

I wish I could write a great review but ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 11, 2016

I wish I could write a great review but instead this one is a mixed bag.

First, the positive: service, ambiance - all great. Nice wine list - the pairing the sommelier suggested was great. Thumbs up on the Rotolo e Polpette (meatballs with a mini manicotti-like rotolo) and Burrata e Finochietta appetizers (house-made burrata cheese with fennel salami), as well as the Costolette di Manzo (braised beef short rib with polenta). I would recommend any of these dishes.

Negative: the Bistecca e Cavolfiore (sirloin with cauliflower) was a poor cut of meat – too much gristle to chew around. The crab was missing from the crab tortellini (Granchio e Tortellini Autunno) with the exception of one tortellini where it was noticeable. The Torta Ciocolato (flourless dark chocolate cake) was undercooked, there was nothing cake-like about it. You should be able to cut a flourless cake with your fork, not smear it.

In summary, like the nursery rhyme about the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead: what was good was very, very good – but what was bad was horrid.

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food2
ambience5
service5
value3

This place is a jewel. If you have not ...

vip
 (New England)·Dined on November 11, 2016

This place is a jewel. If you have not made it to Massimo's, your missing out on a great experience!

Tags: Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays
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food5
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service5
value3

Always a wonderful dining experience wit ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 6, 2016

Always a wonderful dining experience with warm hospitality, outstanding food, and a unique ambiance.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Authentic, Creative Cuisine
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food5
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There's a difference between a restauran ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 5, 2016

There's a difference between a restaurant where you eat versus where you dine. At Ristorante Massimo we dined and dined very, very well. At no time did I feel rushed nor overlooked by the staff. By the way, this staff is very well trained and it cooperates within itself. If something needs attention, it's noticed and cared for whether it's your wait person or not. The host, Massimo, is a gentleman; in Italian "un Gentiluomo" whose connotation goes beyond being polite and encompasses "caring, attentive, friendly, and knowing". He is sincere when he hopes you enjoy your meal since it reflects on him, personally. And the meal that I had began with grilled octopus, a delicacy perfectly prepared. It was succeeded by a fusilli served with a Bolognese-style tomato sauce with rapini. The amazing part, for me, was that it was placed on a thin bed of fresh ricotta which added a unique and most pleasant sensation in the mouth! We had a bottle of Chianti (Riserva/DOCG) which was excellent and moderately priced. I was sitting quite close to the wine cellar and saw an extensive array of bottles, many very fine, from both Italy and California. Desert was also excellent. I chose the cheesecake: creamy, firm and not too large a serving. It was accompanied by pitted Bing cherries - a nice presentation. Finally, the espresso was served hot and was fresh, not burned. This is a true Italian restaurant, not a wanna-be.

Tags: Authentic, Neighborhood Gem, Business Meals, Pre/post Theatre, Local Ingredients, Fit for Foodies, Romantic, Notable Wine List, Cozy, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

This restaurant is in a beautiful older ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 5, 2016

This restaurant is in a beautiful older building in Portsmouth that is worth the visit just to see the décor. The service was excellent, the menu offered a variety of dishes and wines that suited everyone's taste. The quality of the food, preparation, presentation and taste was excellent. Everyone in our party choose something different from the menu and none were disappointed in their choice. Prices are in line with the quality of the food, service and the restaurant overall. A fine dining experience that I would definitely recommend to others.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Creative Cuisine, Romantic
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food4
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