Portsmouth NH’s River House Restaurant should be on your must-try list if you would like to enjoy some of the best seafood chowder in the region. I have had the pleasure of dining at this quaint establishment a few times over the past few years and was always met with consistent chowder greatness, no matter the season ~ an impressive feat for any restaurant.
I remember the first time I walked into the River House. It was a late-winter afternoon peppered with light, feathery snow showers that showcased giant tongue-catching flakes. Downtown Portsmouth is beautiful any time of year, but that day, a coating of glimmering white kisses made it feel electric. My husband and I wandered up Bow Street under a giant umbrella, looking for a warm spot and cold beer. We chose the River House, a new place in the neighborhood at 53 Bow.
We ordered the seafood chowder with a cold beer after briefing the menu and chatting with the warm staff. What a delight we found! I consider myself a bit of a chowder snob, since I make a damn great one myself, not to mention that I try the house chowder (if it is on the menu), almost everywhere I go. But this creamy, dreamy bowl of succulent sweetness was downright delicious.
It was so good, in fact, that we went back by the River House the next day to get a quart-to-go to enjoy at home. I had to prove to myself that it wasn’t the magical atmosphere of a snowy afternoon in Portsmouth that made the chowder taste so good. Nope. It wasn’t magic, it was simply great. Ever since that day, every time I am in Portsmouth, I visit the River House for their fantastic chowder.
My last visit, on a quiet Monday night, cemented my affection for the place and prompted this review.
The A-frame chalkboard standing guard outside the front door announced that the deck was opening in 4, no – cross that out, 3 more days! I love deck dining and I liked the enthusiasm the tiny sign shouted, especially after a long winter.
Inside, I sat at the bar and ordered the seafood chowder and a cold Sam Adams Summer Ale. The girls working the bar I chatted with were funny, engaging and genuine. The seafood chowder…delicious, as always, served with Westminster Oyster Crackers. Another hit for me.
Portsmouth, NH has a lot to offer in the way of restaurants, shopping, entertainment and fun. For those who wish to enjoy a warm, creamy, seafood-filled bowl of heaven, accompanied by an ice-cold beer while visiting this beautiful port-city, the River House is the place for you. Come meet the friendly staff, eat some great food and peer out over the handsome Piscataqua River. I have never regretted my visits there and you won’t either.