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Fine Dining in Portland Maine

mjg0725 May 10, 2007 06:24 AM

Hi,

I am looking for some help. I am in charge of finding a couple of really nice restaurants in Portland Maine for a group of 10 guys (For a low key bachelor party). It'll be the middle of June and we're all into great food.

I am aware of Fore Street, Back Bay Grill and Vignola all being great choices. Looking for some help as to where we should definitely go. Any other suggestions are welcome besides the ones I just listed.

Thanks!

  1. mjg0725 Jun 18, 2007 06:52 AM

    Reporting back...

    The crowd that I ended up going with decided that they wanted to drink at bars rather than going out for some fine dining. So we canceled our reservations to Cinque Terre. I however made sure I took some time to eat well.

    Had a nice Morning roll at Standard Baking Company for Breakfast. That place is bustling in the morning hours!. The bread selections looked great too.

    Saturday for lunch I hit Duckfat with a couple guys. I had the LONG ISLAND DUCK CONFIT panini with Blueberry Cumberland Chutney & Boursin. The sandwich literally Transcended me to a place of foodie bliss after the first bite. The Duckfat Fries with Truffled Ketchup were also great. I love this concept of this place and I wish they had one here in the Boston area!

    Ate dinner Saturday night at Gilbert's Chowder house. Had a wonderful Fried Clam appetizer, Clam Chowder and a Fried Haddock Sandwich (Breading was good, but a little too heavy). All of the food was very fresh and deliscious.

    Enjoyed some of the best coffee all weekend long at Coffee By Design. Easily my favorite coffee shop in Portland. I cannot express how good their coffee is. I bought a lb of their Midnight Jazz blend that I am enjoying right now.

    Thanks to all that wrote to me on this thread. Portland is a great city for people who love to eat.

    1. mjg0725 Jun 13, 2007 05:59 AM

      Thanks for all of your help. Our trip is upon us and I decided to make a reservation at Cinque Terre for 10 of us Saturday evening. Has anyone been recently? Looking for any specific opinions about this restaurant. All the reviews sound great.

      Thanks!

      1 Reply
      1. re: mjg0725
        g
        GWRyan Jun 13, 2007 06:35 PM

        Relax and enjoy! You can't go wrong. For a point of reference, halibut and veal chop were excellent a few weeks ago. Fiddleheads as an appetizer great as well, but might be past the season. Hopefully someone in your group knows Italian wines, because I get the sense the list has some real prizes on it, but I'm unfortunately no expert.

      2. u
        ummmfood May 14, 2007 09:26 AM

        If you want true "fine dining" I'd suggest Hugo's. The food is upscale and truly unbelievable. smallish portions but you won't leave hungry. nice wine selection as well. oh and you can get a chef's tasting menu made just for your group. that's the way to go if you don't mind throwing down a little cash.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ummmfood
          k
          Keefer Lucas May 14, 2007 01:39 PM

          I dig Hugo's, but I can't imagine going there with a group of ten - and if it were attempted I'd bring at least a grand. At least.

          1. re: Keefer Lucas
            v
            Vacationland May 15, 2007 10:08 AM

            I'm also having a hard time picturing 10 bachelor party guys jamming into Hugos all at once, at least for dinner. It might be a fun place to go prior to dinner for a drink and to sample something off the bar menu, but it would still be a little crowded.

            In addition to Sapporo, Fore St., Vignola, 555, I would add:

            Cinque Terre (went there with a pre-wedding party of 12 last year and they easily accommodated us)

            Caiola's has great food and also a private dining room (through the kitchen) that I think can seat a party of 10 - might be fun for a foodie crowd?

        2. h
          HDinCentralME May 13, 2007 05:07 AM

          I think some of the suggestions above are getting afield from your request for "fine dining".

          I think Back Bay Grill is an excellent choice. Low-key, refined atmosphere. Can probably provide a corner area for your table for a bit of privacy. Excellent food. Walking distance to after-dinner spots.

          2 Replies
          1. re: HDinCentralME
            l
            la catalana May 13, 2007 07:39 AM

            I love 555 (as in 555 Congress St). The food is excellent and the atmosphere is fun, a little loud, and not stuffy. I also love Fore Street and Back Bay Grill, like everyone else.

            1. re: la catalana
              k
              Keefer Lucas May 14, 2007 06:55 AM

              The Old Port Sea Grill would be a great place for such a gathering - a great variety of seafood and nonseafood dishes, with a wood grill that rivals Fore Street but without the hautiness (or price). It also has the advantage of being on Commercial Street within parking/walking distance of the Old Port bar scene - its close, without putting you in the midst of drunken young people dancing to the thump of a frantic disco beat.

          2. k
            Keefer Lucas May 13, 2007 04:37 AM

            I'd rate Vignola as a great place for a BACHELORETTE party...

            1. Passadumkeg May 13, 2007 03:11 AM

              My first thought was Sapporo's too. Then I thought, a bachelor party, what the hell, try the new Billy's Barbecue. It is a Portland institution that is Phoenix-like in its reincarnations. Lots of good eats in Portland.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Passadumkeg
                Passadumkeg May 13, 2007 03:22 AM

                Sorry, that's Uncle Billy's Barbecue!

              2. c
                cootiec May 12, 2007 02:26 PM

                Hi there...I see no one has replied to you so I thought I'd offer a few suggestions. You might want to try a restaurant on Commercial St. called Portland's, it serves steaks and seafood and supposedly has a nice bar. It's good size and might be able to accomodate your party. Many restaurants in Portland are fairly small.....if you like sushi there is a nice place on Commercial Street called Sapporo's, they have a nice outdoor deck as well. There are some nice pubs around too, 3 Dollar Deweys ( across from Sapporo ), Brian Boru, Gritty's, etc. They all have pretty good pub food.
                Enjoy your visit.

                2 Replies
                1. re: cootiec
                  i
                  irwin May 12, 2007 02:33 PM

                  My suggestion would be the following places for excellent food, nice atmosphere, and hopefully they can accomodiate your party of 10:
                  Davids in Monument Square
                  Back Bay Grill
                  Dimillo's--the floating boat which is very good and big selections
                  The Village Cafe--I love their veal and huge selections with excellent food
                  Good Luck and let us know what you decided.

                  1. re: irwin
                    p
                    PhilF May 15, 2007 10:15 AM

                    Just wanted to mention I went to the Village Cafe last summer with around 20 people. Unlike the year before, when we went there and most of our party had an enjoyable dining experience, it was very disappointing for some people. The food and the service was hit or miss. To Irwin's credit, I don't believe anyone had the veal. Anyway, we decided not to return this summer.

                    Unfortunately, like CootieC said, most restaurants in Portland are fairly small. Although, I was there last weekend and noticed a good size group of young guys going into the Old Port Sea Grill at dinner time. It looked like it could have been a bachelor party, so Keefer might be onto something.

                    Good Luck

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