The Blue Mermaid

Tonight we are going to talk about my "favorite restaurant in Portsmouth." Bold statement, bold flavors, the (bold) Blue Mermaid.

But before I do that I need to showcase last night's openface meatloaf sandwich! The sequal was better than the first performance.

Two slices meatloaf, ezekiel english muffin, babybell cheese, marinara sauce, toaster oven...oh, baby! Considerations for three nights in a row have entered my mind but I just can't bring myself to tripple play the meatloaf. For me eating something similar two nights in a row is pushing it, but I couldn't dismiss the daydreams of this sammy. (do you daydream of food?)

Glorious. Saturday's supper perhaps.

Do you have a tried-and-true restaurant? An establishment consistently delivering on taste, price and service in turn capturing your loyalty? The Blue Mermaid is my true blue.

My most recent visit to the Blue Mermaid marked a very momentous occasion. The meet and greet of my mom and Matt's mom! After much debate on where to allow this "laissez faire" dinner to occur and resistance on my part to go to the Blue Mermaid again (Matt and I seriously go there on the reg) I came to my senses and realized, "What better place to bring my family and Matt's together but our favorite place," (the same realization that goes down in the My Idea Windows 7 commercials when ordinary people think of something fabulous before the geniuses at Microsoft).

Located in the Hill, an historic area of Portsmouth, the Blue Mermaid could possibly get overlooked, as it is not the center of attention downtown. Which explains TASTE Magazine coining it "Portsmouth's Best Kept Secret." Caribbean inspired, the Blue Mermaid is brightly adorned with inspiring photographs and eclectic decor. The Mermaid's passion for delivering high flavor and unique festive food is apparent in every item that reaches the table starting with the warm tri-colored tortilla chips and homemade salsa. The service is always exceptional, informative and friendly and that salsa, did I already mention the fire roasted, award winning salsa?

My boyfriend "knows what he likes and what he likes to do" (his words) so he tends to order the same drink, appetizer and entree at the Blue Mermaid every time. No judgement, his lineup is stellar defined. I usually order some variation of the margarita or sangria. The picture below showcases the Painkiller and a Patron Silver marg.

The Painkiller Light & dark rum, pineapple juice, oj, and coconut with fresh nutmeg (right) Patron Silver Patron silver tequila, Cointreau, a splash of sour, splash of lime, float of Grand Marnier (left)

The Crispy Calamari served with a tomato roasted poblano aioli dipping sauce gets the party started every time.

The calamari at the Mermaid is without exception, amazing. Nailing the two integral factors perfectly: lightly crispy on the outside, deliciously fresh on the inside.

Let's jump in the trust tree for a minute or two. The real reason Matt and I continually come back to the Blue Mermaid is for the Braised Short Ribs. These "fall off the bone" ribs really and truly fall off the bone but land softly in the decadent sauce sent from Caribbean heaven. Moderately rich but full of flavor, I could eat spoonfulls of this sauce all night.

Braised Beef Short Ribs
Island rubbed and braised in a guava-soy reduction, served with roasted poblano mashed
potatoes and sauteed green beans

If food by sea is more your preference, the selection of fish entrees is vast and irresistible. Wood grilled salmon, shrimp, scallops or mahi-mahi to be paired with your choice of two sides and sauce. The possibilities are endless; salmon with roasted corn red pepper salsa, jalepeno pesto or chipotle honey glaze. Shrimp with sunsplash salsa, grilled mango vinaigrette or mango chutney. Aside from the talented wood grilled selections, other Mermaid specialities include but are not limited to: Pan Blackened Mahi-Mahi served over couscous and a black bean and corn roasted waffle topped with mango napa cabbage and chili slaw; Seafood Tagine: Salmon, cod and mahi mahi sautéed with curried tomatoes, onions and peppers in a rich coconut fish stew, served with foccacia and a side salad (pictured below right) and Bimini Chicken Pan roasted boneless breast of chicken sautéed with bananas and walnuts in a bourbon coconut sauce, served with chef’s vegetable and sweet potato hash.

The entree on the left is a special that peaked my interest. Blackened salmon with an avocado cream sauce (on the side), baby bok choy and roasted red peppers with roasted poblano mashed potatoes. Special indeed.

With numerous visits over the past four years, I have tasted a plethora of delicious items: Lobster and Roasted Corn chowder; Steamed PEI Mussels sauteed in fire roasted tomatoes, white wine, garlic and herbs; grilled bananas; corn bread; Mermaid Mac and Cheese, Saddle Bags, crispy wontons filled with chicken, jack cheese, herbs and spices, served with a ginger soy sauce....to be continued.

The Blue Mermaid will always be my favorite restaurant in Portsmouth but now the food and memories hold a more distinct place in my heart. Food really brings people together and at its essence is the shared flavors of communities and relationships. Over the years, the Blue Mermaid has united new couples, old friends and now families.

If food is love, the Blue Mermaid is Aphrodite.


  1. This is a stellar review. Mainly because my mouth is watering and I want to go to the Blue Mermaid like, right now. You really did your spot justice. What an incredible menu they have.

  2. that sounds like an awesome restaurant. i have a go-to restaurant that is consistently awesome. it's a local restaurant called the Mustard Seed. i've reviewed it on my blog like 208592687 times. or 4. haha. i love the name blue mermaid too!

  3. Love the sound (and the looks) of this place!

  4. I just went to Portsmouth for the first time last weekend and loved it. What a cute town. Looks like this place may have to go on the must try list next time we're in town. (We went to Flatbread last)

  5. This looks like a great place! I still haven't introduced my parents to my fiance's parents. We're trying to find the perfect place to do it!

  6. Elina, flatbread is so delicious. I can't eat pizza anywhere else now! hope you enjoyed your time in Portsmouth!

  7. If I were to pick a last meal before I die it would be the braised short ribs from the blue mermaid, seriously!

  8. Ooh! When did this open?? I've been out of NH for 5 years now, and I wonder if it opened after I left... Or if it was being kept a secret for the 4 years I was there! It looks awesome :)


  9. Ooh, this restaurant sounds amazing! Wish I was in the area to go to it!

    Also, thanks for your delightful comments on my blog. I'll have to suggest the high five app to my iPad loving boyfriend, and then I can "borrow" it for my own entertainment. And thanks for liking my comment about chopping things and eating cheese!!

  10. Great job making the most out of your left-overs. The meatloaf pizza looks great.

    The restaurant sounds wonderful too.

    It could be because I'm thirsty, or a little hot, but even though that calamari looks awesome, the painkiller is what's really talking to me. Yum!

    There's a Chinese restaurant I love to go to in Ogunquit, Maine that serves a coconut rum drink called a headhunter, Man! That's good stuff. I think I really enjoy the food too, but I've only had it after headhunters and mai thai's so...


  11. Ree, the headhunter sounds amazing. i love any drink with coconut in it! i should get up there,thanks for the recommendation!

    Sues, I know that the Blue Mermaid has at least been here since 2006. I think it was around that time that Rachael Ray visited the restaurant.