Black Trumpet

4.4
1512 Reviews
$31 to $50
Global, International

About

Black Trumpet is a two-story bistro and wine bar in the heart of Portsmouth’s historic old port. Both floors offer views of the Piscataqua River and the oft-photographed tugboats that still escort enormous tankers into the harbor. Our first floor dining room offers a cozy, romantic setting with warm, unassuming service. The upstairs wine bar is a more intimate, convivial space. The menu changes every six weeks to capitalize on the freshest seasonal ingredients. The wine list features a variety of unheralded gems that pair well with the bold flavors of Chef Mallett’s cuisine. Black Trumpet’s cuisine reflects the chef-owner’s culinary curiosity, drawing inspiration from the Mediterranean as well as the Americas. A typical Black Trumpet menu may include influences from Spain, North Africa, Turkey and the Mexican heartland. Reservations are accepted in our dining room, the upstairs wine bar is first-come-first-served.
What 1512 people are sayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.4based on all time ratings
4.4
food
4.4
service
4.4
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
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SK
vipSKfromSF
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

What a lovely restaurant! Hidden behind a discreet (and easy to miss) front door is a rustic/modern space. The menu is very seasonal, a bit offbeat and fresh. The staff was hardworking, friendly and eager to please. A real surprising find and great alternative to the usual seaside town eateries.

F
Foodie
Savannah
5 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2018
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Wonderful ambiance, with excellent menu and wine service. The service was excellent! A little bit noisy with the brick walls and closeness of seating.

k
kathyb
New England
46 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Still one of our all time fave date night spots. The food is always inventive, based on local ingredients, and the service is terrific. Kudos to the kitchen staff, because we have never had anything but a spectacular dining experience...

MF
MichaelF
Kansas City
47 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2018
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Out of wine ordered, very average selection available, service good, food reasonable.

EB
EricaB
1 review
Dined on August 25, 2018
Overall1food1service1ambience5

The worst service I have ever had. I understand bad days at restaurants and this was one of my favorite places, but we walked out after appetizers. My husband went through 2 courses with an empty drink and had asked for a drink menu right when we sat down. I had to ask for plates and silverware when our appetizer came. The mussels were the sandiest I ever had and there were only about 15 on the plate. We didn’t see our server for an hour so we walked out. Truly awful and no one was apologetic. When you are paying top dollar you expect something slightly more than awful. Servers were standing around waiting for drinks at the bar instead of helping out another sever who was obviously in the weeds. No manager walking around to apologize to tables and you could see the frustration from other tables. Sadly won’t go again. :(

JG
JeannineG
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2018
Overall1food1service1ambience1

What a disappointment. My husband and I dined here on a Saturday night and left a bit shellshocked given how highly recommended and well reviewed this place was. We knew going in it would be a pricey meal, which is fine if the food quality matched the expense, which it certainly did not.
To start, it was oppressively warm in the first floor of the restaurant, which was in the basement and virtually devoid of airflow.
Our server was a rapid fire robot. She was relentless at getting us out of there as quickly as possible, barely giving us time to glance at the menu for each course, despite our repeated requests for more time.
Cocktails were tiny and overpriced.
We ordered several small plates, all which were decidedly bland and underwhelming in presentation, emphasis on small.
Ultimately, given the poor service and quality, we left halfway through the meal, skipping entrees all together.
Expensive lesson, we'll never return.

B
mbdinBoston
New England
17 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

What a find! We were visiting from Boston for the day. Had the most amazing dinner. Ordered lots of small plates. Everything was so delicious. The building is so cozy with an interesting history. The staff was lovely. I’m telling everyone I know to try it. We’ll be back.

IL
IrwinL
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on August 22, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Saw the write-ups in various guides and was not disappointed! Great service, great food, many wonderful flavors and unique recipes. Unexpectedly got 2 seat table on second floor next to window overlooking bay, perfect!

JJ
JulieJ
1 review
Dined on August 20, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My husband and I visited on Monday night for my birthday. We ordered a cheese plate, two small plates, two entrees and a dessert. We both had a cocktail and I had a glass of wine. The price was right ($145) and the food was incredible. We were also taken aback by the service as both the manager and the other servers saw to it that we had everything we needed when our server got busy. We are in love with this find.

IF
IvorF
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on August 20, 2018
Overall3food3service3ambience3

The menu was too 'show off' with unusual words. The wine we chose was not available. We expected a bigger choice of fish dishes - the one we had was mediocre. Service was keen but slowish.

ED
ElleDeeDee
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on August 19, 2018
Overall4food4service4ambience4

The restaurant has wonderful service.
It was a very relaxing evening with many good choices on the menu and wine list.
The tables are far enough away that you can talk to your dining partners without hearing other parties. The food was really good, especially the mussels. It was a lovely dining experience and relaxing evening.

r
regtom
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2018
Overall3food3service4ambience3

This was our second time visiting, we were disappointed. Portions were small I left hungry.

CR
CoreyR
New England
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Second time here. Great meal and atmosphere!! Can’t wait to go back!

AF
A2Fan
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great mid to upscale dining. The food was outstanding and the waiter on top of his game. It never disappoints and we will continue to return there.

j
vipjakthird
New York Area
21 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was an amazing experience at all levels. Every element of every dish was delicious and the pacing between courses was fantastic. I want to give special thanks to our server, John, for being so good at explaining the menu and making fantastic recommendations. Definitely will be returning to this phenomenal place.

VT
VTliving
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall3food2service3ambience4

Everything was mediocre at best. The food was meh. The service was meh. We had to wait half an hour because our reserved table wasn’t ready yet. I had heard good things so I was excited, but it was extremely underwhelming.

GB
GeorgeB
New York Area
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Waiter and rest of staff provided excellent service. New silver service with each course.

AG
AndrewG
New England
2 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2018
Overall2food2service4ambience4

Wait staff was great, moved us to another table without us asking because there was a large noisy group next to us. They were attentive without being invasive. Food however was not great, appetizers missed the mark, were not well put together, flavors were jarring rather than harmonious. Main course was OK, steak was slightly overdone, but not bad. Accompanying potatoes and vegetables were bland and uninspiring. The price and reviews set our expectations above our experience.

JP
JohnP
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We have eaten in 40 states and 5 countries. We live in Manhattan and the meal we had at the BT was one of the best we’ve EVER had.
The service was wonderful and the whole experience was just great. Thank you!

S
Scott
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2018
Overall3food3service3ambience2

Over rated and over priced. Waiter was difficult to understand and the restaurant was dirty.

J
Jeppo
Portland
38 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Creatively prepared dishes using high quality ingredients. We were delighted with our meal and the service was wonderful.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2018
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Delicious dinner! Portion sizes are on point, and our dinner was cooked to perfection. Highly recommended the chef’s mezze platter and grilled almonds to start. Ribeye and cod for entrees were full of flavor. We live in the greater NYC area, and this restaurant is better than many NYC restaurants at a third of the cost. Highly recommended.

MB
MaggeB
San Joaquin
6 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Unusual and interesting menu choices. The Black Trumpet cocktail is fabulous. We shared four small plates. The staff is very friendly and helpful.

b
britfoodie
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2018
Overall3food3service2ambience2

It was very hot upstairs. Even though AC was on, we were sweating and so was the waiter.

H
Haru
New England
18 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2018
Overall5food4service5ambience3

We went for dinner for our anniversary celebrations. The food was fantastic and the service was outstanding. Thank -you for making our celebration so special. A must for all food.ies.It is absolutely worth the drive from Boston.

h
vipheartdoctor
West Palm Beach
126 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2018
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Visiting Portsmouth. Quaint venue, can be somewhat noisy due to acoustics. Somewhat limited menu but well prepared and tasty.

b
boneman
New York Area
28 reviews
Dined on July 29, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We came up to Portsmouth to do a reccie for a 2019 family reunion. The last time we had been was in 1977 and needless to say it's changed a lot. We booked a table at the Black Trumpet for dinner. The dining room is situated at street level on Ceres and is intimate and romantically lit. Noise level can be pretty high, dependent upon your fellow diners but this could be the norm for restaurant row on Ceres and Bow Sts. Service is excellent, attentive, timely and but not obtrusive. Nice selection of cocktails, wines by the glass and bottle. Menu is broken down into small, medium and large offerings. There were also a couple of specials the day we were there. We split the Chef's Meze selection from the small menu, then each ordered the fried eggplant from the medium section and each ordered the Zarzuela, a galician seafood stew. The meze consisted of three small offerings which for us were a chocolate meatloaf, a calamari and greens mix and a beef and greens mix. The calamari was the highlight of the meze. The fried eggplant was superb but in hindsight, should have split one order, noting that it was in the medium section of the menu. The Zarzuela was outanding, including mussels, clams and fish in a tomato based sauce with chickpeas and fried bread. Haha, the latter not seen since my last full english brekkie and great to mop up every last drop! Note that the strew was not a soupy mess like bouillabaisse can be at times. We split a dessert, strawberry rhubarb trifle. This time of year, it's a must have pud. Recommended! We will be back in 2019 for the reunion so it's on the list.

AT
ActThree
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on July 29, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We (a party of 4) arrived 15 minutes early for our early dining reservation and were able to get a table upstairs which is smaller and quieter. There are several tables by the window looking out on the tugboats in the harbor, but they won’t reserve them in advance. The gourmet food and service are exquisite, simply the best dining experience in Portsmouth. Good wines and craft beers too.

B
vipBetty123
New York Area
28 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2018
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Excellent food, food was slow due to kitchen problem that night. Bread was delicious and will be better if they are warm !

RD
vipRDS554
Washington DC
47 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was wonderful. The service. The food. The wine. The ambiance. Everything. Our waiter was knowledgeable, friendly, efficient, personable...total package. The food was on point. Best Galician seafood stew I have ever had; and that includes all its cousins-bouillabaisse, zuppa di pesce, and cioppino. Brown butter potato gallate...OMG. and so on...
If you are near Portsmouth, NH. Stop. Eat. Repeat

AS
vipAndyS
Los Angeles
487 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Whenever I"m in the New England area, I make it a point to have dinner at Black Trumpet Bistro. Chef Evan Mallet and his team take the highest quality local ingredients and craft them into delicious seasonal cuisine. Service is friendly, attentive and knowledgable. The wine list features small grower producers from the old world, as well as some unique selections from California and Oregon. All of the wines are carefully selected to pair well with, and enhance the food. Black Trumpet is one of my favorite restaurants and I look forward to another dining experience very soon.

W
vipWendy
New York Area
50 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2018
Overall2food2service3ambience3

If your hungry, not for you
This restaurant has a nice ambiance, good service, refills water without requesting.
The bread and butter were tasteless, and the portion size for different dishes are very
different. My seafood dish in a light sauce ( $30) was so small I was hungry after that and my
small appetizer. The salmon dinner my husband ordered was a decent portion.
Usually I am not able to finish my dinner however, this was the opposite case.
Needless to say we will not be returning and will not recommend this restaurant to
others.

CK
ChristineK
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This restaurant never disappoints w creative dishes and unusual ingredients. The service is always outstanding and the atmosphere perfect. An absolute treasure in portsmouth!

w
vipwestender
New England
194 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2018
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Dined with family we don't often see.

Exceptional and creative food, wonderful service. It would have been more comfortable if the space were cooler. It was during the awful hot and humid July, and perhaps the air conditioning just could not handle it, but it was a bit warm. The young woman with the ice water kept our glasses full, which was much appreciated.

Really love the fresh inventive dishes!

I
Irene
Western NC
5 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2018
Overall3food3service5ambience4

The menu has many good gluten free and vegan dishes.

DH
DanH
1 review
Dined on July 27, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My girlfriend and I went to BT to celebrate her birthday, and had a lovely time. Karen was particularly lovely as our server, and we have been talking about it since.

DA
DonA
Philadelphia
30 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Very creative nand tasty dishes! Get small or medium plates to share and enjoy!

ER
EdwardR
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 26, 2018
Overall4food5service5ambience4

The Black Trumpet is all around excellent. the staff were attentive but not smothering, courses came in a timely manner and preparation was very interesting (in the best sense). The weakest point was perfectly adequate cappuccinos - when the weak point is a perfectly ok cappuccino that is not bad. All of the food from small plates to dessert were simply outstanding.

r
rhcj
New York Area
24 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2018
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Recommended by a friend as the best restaurant in Portsmouth. It was very good, but with a limited menu. My wife had the zarzuela, and I had the crab, cucumber and buttermilk terrine from the "small dishes" plus the mussels from the "medium dishes" instead of anything from the "main dishes" section. My wife liked the zarzuela, and the mussels were very good with a nice, tangy sauce.

I would recommend this place, but first check the menu online to make sure that there's something on it that you would order.

P
vipProducto
Denver
48 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2018
Overall3food5service2ambience4

Fantastic food, lovely restaurant. 7-25 7:30 pm. Waiter does not match the quality of the food and great setting. Hard to get his attention and when he would come by he was in a big hurry every time. Had to stop him three times from walking away after hurriedly telling us about drinks, menu, etc in order to ask a question about the choices. There were only about 4 or 5 tables with people. He was overbearing when he did come around. A shame. We would love to return if we knew we would have another waiter/waitress. Sorry.

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Black Trumpet is rated 4.4 stars by 1512 OpenTable diners.

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