Despite the name, there’s nothing rough or lacking about this place. Owned and operated by the Weathervane Restaurants, this a quintessential summertime eatery where you can enjoy both the local seafood and seaside ambience. I’m a sucker for dining alongside water, so clearly I excited to see what this place is all about.
Situated directly opposite the Portsmouth decks on Badgers Island, Lobster in the Rough has the same beautiful view of the Piscataqua River coupled with the downtown Portsmouth skyline. They have a small but adequate outside deck, as well as a long dock that sits atop the river with bar stool seating along both sides of the railing.
Inside, there is a small bar and seating area, but since this restaurant is open seasonally from Memorial Day to Labor Day, who wouldn’t covet sitting outside on a sunny, summer day or evening? The outside tables are a combination of wooden picnic and wrought iron tables with blue checkered table cloths and an entire roll of paper towels. This restaurant bilingually speaks super casual and cool chic. I love the view and the atmosphere and could see myself here…a lot.
On The Menu
We happened to arrive a few minutes before 5:00pm and easily found an outside table. We were promptly greeted by a friendly waiter offering us sturdy picture-framed menus with simple but tasty looking offerings. However, once we realize we’ve arrived smack in the middle Happy Hour (Monday through Friday from 4:00pm-6:00pm), we are completely enamored with the “Wicked Cheap” Happy Hour menu consisting of appetizers (chicken fingers, onion rings, mussels, crab cakes, bucket of Peel-n-Eat shrimp, mozzarella sticks and clam chowder) for only $3 each! You can also order a draft beer, house wine or specialty cocktail for $3. Score!
The regular menu offers appetizers (the same Happy Hour offerings), chowders and salads ($3.99-$10.49), sandwiches ($6.99-$14.99), grilled land-lubber dinners ($10.99-$22.99) and of course steamers, lobsters and fried seafood baskets (market priced daily). When I inquired about a children’s menu, they said “yes we have one, but it’s basically the appetizer menu.” They also have a sides menu including Kraft Mac-n-Cheese and corn on the cob, among other things, for $2, which combined with the Happy Hour chicken fingers made a filling dinner for my kids.
What’s The Damage
To feed two adults and two kids, we ordered mussels, bucket of peel-n-eat shrimp and chicken tenders off the Happy Hour menu and mac-n-cheese and a salmon wrap sandwich from the regular menu and escaped for around $30. And although I found that to be amazingly affordable, the service was a little slow (we were our waiter’s only actual table as he was managing the entire dock bar, as well) and they didn’t knock my socks off accommodating to the little diners (no kids menu, crayons, etc.). That being said, we still had a very enjoyable time and if I head back, I might make it an “adult only”.
Note: Lobster In The Rough is directly adjacent to Green Pages, a local tech firm, so if you plan on hitting up Happy Hour, I recommend you get there slightly before 5pm. When we arrived, there were several tables available. By 5:10, the place was filled to the gills.
The Bottom Line (based on a five-star rating):
Distraction Offering: ??? (no “kid stuff”, but plenty of boats, birds and river activity to enjoy)
Atmosphere: ??? (quintessential summertime, it’s perfect)
Food: ???½ (small menu serves up tasty choices)
Affordability: ???½ (Happy Hour is a fantastic deal, otherwise it’s middle-of-the-road pricing)
Service: ???½ (friendly, but can get crowded and somewhat sluggish)
Lobster In The Rough
31 Badgers Island West, Kittery ME (207) 439-0335 x125
Monday – Friday: 4:00pm-11:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 11:00am-11:00pm