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“Sophisticated yet comfortable”
Review of Cava

Ranked #14 of 202 Restaurants in Portsmouth
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Mediterranean
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Bar Scene, Special Occasion Dining, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, After-hours, Lunch, Reservations
Description: Cava is located in the heart of historic downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Just a brief walk from the Portsmouth Parking Garage and the Ladd street access. We are located in the middle of quaint Commercial Alley. The walking alley way is home to several small businesses and Cava's Vertical Garden. Dine under the Northeasts only outdoor living wall. Cava is the dream of two long time friends John Akar and Gregg Sessler. Together they combined their years of experience in the restaurant business to build Cava. Featuring two wine bars, one on the street level, and one in our Wine Cave. John offers a diverse always changing selection of international wines to be paired with Chef Sessler's modern and classic Mediterranean cuisine. Chef Sessler uses only the freshest seasonal products available to create his innovative menus. Join Chef Sessler and his team at the Chef's Table for dinner and a show. *Cava accepts reservations for parties of 4 or more for our dining tables. *Cava accepts reservations for parties of 4 and under at our Chefs Table.*If you are a party under four people and are not interested in the Chef's Table, all seating is based on a first come first serve basis.*During Restaurant Week Cava will accept reservations for all seating, including our bar seating, for parties of two or more.*For Valentine's Day and New Years Eve, Cava will be accepting reservations for all seating, including our bar seating, for parties of two or more.*It is always a good idea if you are a party of four or more, or if you would like to sit at the Chef's Table to make a reservation in advance Cava.
Level 6 Contributor
188 reviews
87 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
“Sophisticated yet comfortable”
Reviewed 20 May 2014 via mobile

Saturday night arriving late without a reservation we had quite a wait, but it was worth it. We sat outside and over two hours enjoyed some of the best tapas I've ever had. The menu changes and our first two item were seasonal dishes incorporating morels and asparagus. I could have eaten several!! The service and timing were impeccable throughout the evening. A flawless evening of thoroughly delicious dining.

Visited May 2014
Thank Kathryn M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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447 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Afraid to share”
Reviewed 13 May 2014

Cava is an amazing restaurant and a well kept secret. I'm not big on cliches but my husband and I know good food for a variety of reasons. We've been fortunate to dine at a number of Michelin star restaurants and guess what, little Cava can complete with the best. And we're out of towners...whenever we dine at Cava, at least once a year, the food is always sublime...it's not just qualtiy ingredients..it's how they marry them to create well balanced "untypical" dishes that truly excite the senses. And the tease is that you wish the portions were just a little bit larger, they're that good. Watch the chefs prepare and you have a magical evening. Service is always accommodating even at busy times...which seems to be always. Love, love, love this place. Please don't change a thing. Ok. maybe a tad bit bigger portions of amazing dishes!

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank mysoapbox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Hampshire
Level 6 Contributor
131 reviews
123 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Great Menu for the Discriminating Palate”
Reviewed 29 April 2014

If you want to try an amazing sample of different items, try the tasting menu. It is $35.00 each and there is a 2 person minimum. If you want the special wine pairing, it is an additional $35.00 per person.
The bar only holds 4 people, but that is the place to sit and watch the saute cooks. They are experienced and will answer all your questions. Your food for the tasting menu is served on one plate for the two of you. You have a small plate in front of you and you may choose to slide your portion on to the smaller plate. They give you a clean little plate and new utensils for each tasting. I loved it all but refrained from reading what it was I was eating until the end. There are some things on the menu that I would have never tried if I knew what it was. So Please........try it first!!
The have a unique wine cellar. Great array of wines. Once again a job very well done.

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank frequentdiner1948
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dover, New Hampshire
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Wonderful staff, atmosphere, and most of all FOOD!”
Reviewed 25 April 2014

This is my all time favorite restaurant! They have superior small plates with a menu that's always changing. My first trip to Cava, I was a bit weary that I would not be as satisfied with the small portions, but quickly learned this was not the case- and I have never left there hungry! I have and will ALWAYS recommend the Chef's special. You are served course after course each being better than the last. This ranges from I believe around 35 dollars with a minimum of two people. I can guarantee you will not find a better price or quality anywhere in town! I have been to most restaurants in Portsmouth,as it is near my home, and although I enjoy a lot of them, Cava is always the one I suggest to friends, family, and acquaintances. The atmosphere is something to speak about as well. Staff are friendly, it's certainly not stuffy, and the mood fits perfect for anything from a romantic date to a casual outing with friends. I love the everything about this place, and can't wait to go back again :)

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank April S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sandisfield, Massachusetts
Level 5 Contributor
57 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Great food, atmosphere, and service”
Reviewed 4 April 2014

We had dinner here on Sunday, March 30, 2014 and it was one of the best dining experiences that we have ever had. We started with the roasted dates. We were given the golden pineapple desert, served with lime zest and pomegranate molasses, as a complementary pallet cleanser before we had the paella. We finished with the valhrona chocolate for dessert. All were excellent. The waiter and other staff were friendly and attentive. The waiter helped us pick a great wine to accompany our meal. We will go back every time we are in Portsmouth.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank 571Roxanne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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