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

4.6

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.7

service

4.7

ambience

4.7

value

4.3

noise

Moderate

95% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

Romantic
Boston / New England
Best Overall
New Hampshire
Best Food
New Hampshire
5 More
Best Service
New Hampshire
Best Ambiance
New Hampshire
Best Value
New Hampshire
Romantic
New Hampshire
Special Occasion
New Hampshire
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Special Occasion (50)
Romantic (47)
Good for Anniversaries (38)
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Creative Cuisine (37)
Good for a Date (36)
Cozy (31)
Notable Wine List (26)
Worth the Drive (25)
Fit for Foodies (23)
Good for Birthdays (21)
Authentic (19)
Quiet Conversation (18)
Neighborhood Gem (16)
Local Ingredients (13)
Historic (11)
Handcrafted Cocktails (10)
Good for Groups (8)
Pre/post Theatre (8)
Bar Seating (7)
Business Meals (7)
Private Room (5)
Outstanding Value (4)
Comfort Food (4)
Hot Spot (3)
Vibrant Bar Scene (3)
Good Vegetarian Options (2)
Tasting Menu (2)
Molecular Gastronomy (2)
Organic (1)
Healthy (1)
Seasonal (1)
Paleo Friendly (1)
Modern Decor (1)
Casual (1)
Family Style (1)
Late-night Find (1)
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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
ambience5
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
ambience5
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
ambience5
service5
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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
ambience5
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
ambience5
service4
value5

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
ambience5
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value5

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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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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service5
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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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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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
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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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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
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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
ambience5
service5
value4

A very special evening as usual!! We ha ...

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 29, 2016

A very special evening as usual!! We have been coming to Massimo's for over 15 years and have never been disappointed.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Worth the Drive, Special Occasion, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Creative Cuisine
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food5
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The food was delicious, the service was ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 28, 2016

The food was delicious, the service was great and we loved the atmosphere; very romantic.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Special Occasion, Romantic
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food5
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This is one very special place. Just lo ...

vip
 (New England)·Dined on October 28, 2016

This is one very special place. Just love everything about it.

Tags: Romantic, Good for Birthdays
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food5
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value4

Masssimos has never disappointed us for ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 22, 2016

Masssimos has never disappointed us for the past 25+ years we have been going. The veal chop was the best I have ever had last night. Please go and say David sent you.

Tags: Good for Groups, Bar Seating, Handcrafted Cocktails, Fit for Foodies
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food5
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service5
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We had a great experience for a Birthday ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 18, 2016

We had a great experience for a Birthday dinner, our lady server, dark haired, was fabulous.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Romantic, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries, Bar Seating, Good for Birthdays, Creative Cuisine, Worth the Drive, Cozy, Good for Groups
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food5
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It's always a home run at Massimo's. Lo ...

vip
 (New England)·Dined on October 14, 2016

It's always a home run at Massimo's. Lots of creativity in the kitchen, warmth and attentiveness in the restaurant. Absolutely great food, always.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Good for Anniversaries, Quiet Conversation, Family Style, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Neighborhood Gem, Cozy, Worth the Drive, Vibrant Bar Scene, Bar Seating, Handcrafted Cocktails, Notable Wine List, Local Ingredients, Good for Groups, Private Room, Hot Spot, Special Occasion, Romantic, Authentic
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food5
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service5
value5

We had an incredible selection of food, ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 11, 2016

We had an incredible selection of food, a great bottle of wine, and champagne to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. The service was top shelf, and food recommendations and descriptions perfect. We travel from south of Boston to Portsmouth several times a year just to eat at Massimo's.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Romantic, Worth the Drive, Good for a Date
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food5
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service5
value5

My husband and I were spending the nigh ...

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 10, 2016

My husband and I were spending the night in Portsmouth on the way back from ME to home in CT. We chose Ristorante Massimo for its great reviews on Trip Advisor. We were not disappointed.

Our server was great. She was friendly, attentive, and professional. The entire wait staff appeared to care that their customers enjoy a special evening.

The food was delicious. My husband had a duck appetizer and butternut squash ravioli (with sage, brown butter, and pine nuts) for the main dish. Both of which he totally enjoyed. I'm a big fan of salad and have eaten variations in many different restaurants. I ordered the "special" salad of the evening. It was made with Kale, pancetta, grape tomatoes and an unbelievably tasty dressing. Definitely, 5 stars! For my main course, I chose the rack of lamb. It was cooked rare just the way I requested. The quality of lamb was fantastic. I'm not sure of the spices used on the lamb but the dish could not have been tastier. We, also, enjoyed a wonderful bottle of wine with this dinner.

From our point of view, Ristorante Massimo deserves all the accolades!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Anniversaries, Bar Seating, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Quiet Conversation, Romantic, Business Meals
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food5
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Excellent service and great food! I had ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on October 8, 2016

Excellent service and great food! I had the tenderloin and my wife had the scallops!

Tags: Bar Seating, Romantic, Cozy, Good for Anniversaries, Good for a Date, Notable Wine List
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food5
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service5
value5

Truly outstanding authentic Italian cuis ...

 
 (Baltimore)·Dined on October 8, 2016

Truly outstanding authentic Italian cuisine. First class dining experience with good value in this charming sea coast enclave.

Tags: Special Occasion, Authentic, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

Impeccable service. Authentic Italian c ...

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on October 5, 2016

Impeccable service. Authentic Italian cuisine carefully prepared. The freshest seasonal ingredients. Gregarious and genuine chef owner. The best restaurant north of Boston.

Tags: Historic, Worth the Drive, Romantic, Cozy, Good for a Date, Quiet Conversation, Notable Wine List, Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Authentic, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

it exceeded my expectations will come ba ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on September 29, 2016

it exceeded my expectations will come back and will recommend

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Best Restaurant in Portsmouth, especiall ...

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on September 26, 2016

Best Restaurant in Portsmouth, especially for a special occasion. Nice menu, good variety, outstanding food, ambiance and service

Tags: Romantic, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for Birthdays, Pre/post Theatre, Notable Wine List, Good for Anniversaries, Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

Disappointing... We were seated at an un ...

vip
 (New England)·Dined on September 24, 2016

Disappointing... We were seated at an uncomfortable booth between the kitchen door and a table of 20+. Massimo's should lose this booth - it is awful as the servers are constantly coming and going and/or standing in front of your table watching others'.

The service was erratic (long waits between courses) and it was nearly impossible to carry on a conversation. Don't understand why such a small restaurant would book a party that overtakes half of the main dining room at prime time on a Saturday night... Food was okay but not up to Massimo's former standards nor the price (it's been a long time since we were there and will be a long time before we go back).

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food2
ambience2
service2
value2

We chose Massimo for a quiet family gath ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on September 23, 2016

We chose Massimo for a quiet family gathering after our wedding (only 4 people) They honored all of my special requests and the service, meal and ambiance could not have been any better!f

Tags: Good for a Date, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion, Worth the Drive, Good for Anniversaries, Historic, Authentic, Private Room, Romantic, Cozy, Creative Cuisine, Quiet Conversation, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience5
service5
value3

Beautiful atmosphere, knowlegable and fr ...

 
 (New Mexico)·Dined on September 21, 2016

Beautiful atmosphere, knowlegable and friendly staff, small servings, creative menu. I had a lobster dish which strangely (to me) sat on a bed of ratatouille like veggies - a creamy risotto or special,pasta withnsauce would have been much better. My husband had a divine veal chop.

Can't beat the ambience for a special evening.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Neighborhood Gem, Creative Cuisine, Cozy, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Authentic, Quiet Conversation, Healthy
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

Chefs selection of meats and cheeses as ...

vip
 (Jacksonville)·Dined on September 20, 2016

Chefs selection of meats and cheeses as an appertizer was outstanding. The entrees were authentic Italian, plentiful and delicious. A "must go to" in Portsmouth.

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food5
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service5

The service and food were outstanding! ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on September 20, 2016

The service and food were outstanding! Great Special occasion Restaurant. We will be back!

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food5
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service5

Wonderful food and wine

 
 (New England)·Dined on September 19, 2016

Wonderful food and wine

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food5
ambience4
service5
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First visit. We were pleasantly greeted ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on September 18, 2016

First visit. We were pleasantly greeted by Massimo. Invited us to have a drink while waiting.

Food was delicious. Staff is well informed, courteous and attentive. Great evening.

Tags: Creative Cuisine
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food5
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service5
value5

Wasn't as good as it use to be although ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on September 17, 2016

Wasn't as good as it use to be although the veal chop was great a little disappointed .

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food2
ambience4
service4

We had a wonderful dinner with another c ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on September 17, 2016

We had a wonderful dinner with another couple. The atmosphere is for special occasions. Exposed brick, formal, but comfortable. The food was excellent. I had the veal chop which was perfectly cooked, juicy and flavorful. I tasted my husband's meatball appetizer, and I would come back just for those!! He had a pasta dish with lobster that he said was really good. Only 3 stars for service due to our server bringing out our entrees before our appetizer course was served. We had ordered 3 courses...the soup and salads came, then there was a really, really long wait without the server coming by. When she appeared with the entrees, we were quite surprised, but it explained the long wait. The owner came by to apologize. Despite the mis-step, we look forward to another special occasion meal at this restaurant. We also plan to try the less formal upstairs restaurant in the near future.

Tags: Romantic, Good for Birthdays, Historic, Cozy, Good for Anniversaries, Good for a Date, Notable Wine List, Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
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food5
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service3
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