A surge of new restaurants, along with our favorite standbys, has brought authentic, truly tasty south-of-the-border cuisine to Seacoast diners. The recent crop of restaurants includes Cemita Shack, the latest venture from Michelle Lozuaway and Josh Lanahan, co-owners of Street (Portsmouth). This eatery (located in a former Taco Bell) is all about the cemita, a Mexican sandwich originating from the city of Puebla in central Mexico. Served on a sesame bun, it includes a choice of meat, ﬁsh, or vegetables, with avocado, cilantro, queso blanco, and chipotle mayonnaise. Fish and shrimp tacos, as well as other tacos utilizing cemita-style meats and homemade vegan beans, are also planned.
Vida Cantina in Portsmouth has a fresh, ingredient-driven menu of modern Mexican dishes. The Ceviche de Casa is a good starter, featuring local ﬂounder. The enchiladas stuffed with slow-roasted chicken and Oaxaca cheese or smoked beef brisket, caramelized onions and Chihuahua cheese are now favorites, along with the inventive conﬁt pork belly taco with Cotija cheese and mango salsa. Don’t miss the Churros for dessert.
The newly-opened Mexico Lindo in Exeter already has a loyal following, receiving raves for its custom made guacamole, prepared tableside, and its homemade sauces.
Seacoast diners had plenty of good options for satisfying their Mexican food cravings, even before the newest crop of eateries. Loco Coco’s in Kittery, with house-made salsas and fresh ingredients, remains a favorite, grabbing top honors in this year’s Best of Taste awards. Lively and perennially busy, Poco’s Bow Street Cantina offers a varied menu of popular Mexican dishes (think quesadillas, burritos, and tacos) and an enviable waterside setting.
Agave Mexican Bistro goes slightly upscale with its contemporary take on Mexican cuisine. Popular dishes include the Ceviche Acapulqueño, made with local halibut, Chile Verde Plato, a medley of tender, slow-cooked pork, peppers, and onions, and the Carne Asada Burrito, with sliced skirt steak and Chihuahua cheese. The spirited bistro also boasts an impressive margarita menu, and more than 70 tequilas.
Dos Amigos, known for its value, consistent quality, and vegetarian and vegan options, now has ﬁve locations: Portsmouth, Dover, Rochester, Concord, and Manchester. Maragritas also has multiple locations in the Seacoast, with a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. Adult-friendly too—their award-inning margaritas (in over a dozen ﬂavors) go well with classic Mexican fare like Original Grilled Fajitas and Black Bean Enchiladas.
The Red Iguana is celebrating its second anniversary in East Kingston. Owner Mario Herrera offers authentic Mexican cuisine like shredded chicken Chimichanga (a deep friend burrito) and Carnitas (pork tips with pico de gallo, rice, and beans). The huge tequila bar has great choices.
Agave Mexican Bistro, 111 State Street, Portsmouth, N.H. 603-427-5300
Cemita Shack, 2454 Lafayette Road, Portsmouth, N.H. 603-828-1095
Dos Amigos Mutliple locations
Loco Coco’s, 36 Walker Street, Kittery, Maine 207-438-9322
Mexico Lindo, 72 Portsmouth Avenue, Exeter, N.H. 603-580-1474
Poco’s Bow Street Cantina 37 Bow Street, Portsmouth, N.H. 603-431-5967
The Red Iguana, 89 Main Street, East Kingston, N.H. 603-580-5491
Vida Cantina, 2456 Lafayette Road, Portsmouth, N.H. 603-501-0648