The Library Restaurant
Portsmouth NH Restaurant Review

A pair of friends from England came to visit, and they adore steak. One is a wine writer, so a restaurant having a high quality wine list was very important. For our "opening" dinner when we arrived we took them to the 111 Chophouse in Worcester. They adored the food and the wine list. As the "closing" dinner when they were about to leave, we took them to The Library Restaurant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Unfortunately, even though the dinner was more expensive (the final bill was about $100 a person) the experience did not measure up.

First, the atmosphere. We enjoyed that greatly. The room is wood and books, and the chairs are very sturdy. We loved the feel of the room. The tables were a little on the small side - we had to put our wine bucket on a nearby table because it would not fit on ours.

The wait staff was reasonably attentive, but they should have been better at this price point. Water glasses sat unfilled, we had to ask for more. We had to ask three times for the manager to come over before she arrived, to talk with us about the wine list.

The wine list somehow won a Wine Spectator award, but it really wasn't that comprehensive. The wines listed were OK, but not exceptional. They wouldn't let us bring our own wines in to celebrate this final evening with our friends (we gladly would have paid a corkage fee) - but it was challenging to find something we really wanted from the list. They didn't have any dessert wines at *all*.

The food is on the expensive side, and while it was good, it just didn't compare with the Chop House.

The dessert tray was nice - this is an area we felt the restaurant did a very good job.

I am all for having a high end restaurant available for special events, and I love the atmosphere of The Library Restaurant. I feel though that the prices are a bit too high for what they present. You can get higher quality food, a MUCH superior wine list (with far cheaper wine prices!) and more attentive service by driving south a ways. If nothing else, at least they can work to improve the wine list and the staff attentiveness at the Library, if they're going to keep the prices in that range.

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