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Jun 14, 2007 08:52 AM

best places to dine in Portland, ME?

I'll be staying on Peaks Island for a week at the end of June and hope to take in some of Portland's best restaurants? I'm up for anything--suggestions, please!

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  1. i can only make one recc, and it is for Fore street.

    1. Lots of great places in Portland you'll find on this site, if you haven't been to Peaks Island you will love love love Cockeyed Gull. I recenlty stayed there for a long weekend and believe it or not had not interest in leaving - eat there for 4 meals (a breakfast (fabulous), a lunch (best calimari ever) and two unbelievable dinners overlooking the Portland skyline.

      5 Replies
      1. re: lexpatti

        Thanks so much for this tip! I'm planning a short stay on Peaks later in the summer. (I lived on the island, as a child, WAY back in the mid-40s!) I've been back twice and there wasn't much either time, in the way of eats. I'm looking forward to the trip even more now.

        1. re: Pat Hammond

          Your right, not too much there! But there's also a new Inn with a nice pub too. We needed some major r&r (just sold a business that was wearing us out) so nothingness was awesome but I love great dining so Cockeyed Gull was perfect. Have a blast. We got off the island one day to do LL Bean and had lunch at that seafood place in Portland - Di Millo's (disappointed).

          1. re: lexpatti

            DiMillo's is a tourist trap, overpriced and mediocre food. I was forced to eat there for a family gathering once and hopefully it will have been my last visit.

            1. re: norumbegan

              I'm constantly amazed at, seemingly, savvy Hounds whose opinions I often agree with when they rave about DiMillo's. It's so frozen in time that it should be hermetically sealed

              1. re: Harp00n

                I could not have said it better. When I lived in Portland, I had a friend from Florida visit and someone had given her a gift certificate to DiMillo's to use on her trip. (The gift givers had raved about the place!) We did use the gift certificate....for drinks on the upper outside deck just before I took her to the airport for her flight home !! While she was visiting we ate at Hugo's, Fore Street, American Pie, J's and my house.

      2. Fore Street, Street & Co., Five Fifty-Five. Too bad Scales is gone.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Memsahib

          Sigh. The above makes me sad. This isn't Disney World. There's more to visit here than the stuff in the brochure. Please do a search -- we've talked about this lots. Recently:

          Bar Lola
          Front Room
          Portland Sea Grill
          Cinque Terre
          One Fifty Ate

          1. re: the_MU

            Your absolutely right, Mu. But if all the "Name" restos are to be mentioned, you might as well include Vignola & Hugo's, as well.

            1. re: the_MU

              I wouldn't necessarily stay away from the Portland Flatbread but it is not nearly as good as the originals in Vermont. For the best pizza in Portland I'd go to Portland Pie and have a N'or Easter or harbormaster.

              1. re: mjp81

                I don't agree -- I prefer the thin crust and the light hand with cheese and toppings over a doughier, heavily loaded pie, but we're all entitled to our opinions.

                1. re: the_MU

                  If I'm splitting a pizza with someone it's you, the_MU!

                  1. re: the_MU

                    The fact that you can find their pizza's in supermarkets all along the east coast and mid-west and they have 7 restaurants, I don't believe the Portland one is a destination. The original flatbreads from Vermont are better than Portland Pie and I prefer thin crust pizza but how about supporting a restaurant that is a more accurate representation of Maine pizza and not a liscensed bakery.

                    1. re: mjp81

                      Just because it's "Maine pizza" doesn't mean it's good. When Dana Street opened American Pie, his product was a good "Maine pizza." Not enough Mainers appeared to agree, and the business was sold off and run into mediocrity and then oblivion.

                      This used to be a good town for wood-fired brick oven pizza. Gradually all of those places have shut down except for Ricetta's and Flatbread. And between the two, there's no contest. Locally based or not, Flatbread wins.

            2. If you have a car, I suggest going across the bridge to South Portland (only 2-3 miles from the ferry terminal) and eating at Joe's Boathouse. It's right on the water and was quite good last time I went.

              1. I think the best restaurant in Portland is Caiola's. Actually, I know it's the best, but I'll leave a little room for others to disagree. For my money they blow Fore Street and 555 off the map. Can't speak for Hugo's because I haven't been (although we managed to have a bad experience there anyway! Story for another day...) Maybe Street and Co. is a close, but not too close, second place.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Dan S.

                  Thanks to this thread, and my friend;s research, we had a great dinner at Caiola's on Friday. The Ceasar with fried oysters was just kissed with dressing, with a puddle on the side if you needed more. Little shreds of moist parmiggiano, and six cridspy oysters to fill the 'fried food compartment' without too much guiikt. The oysters were a little small, but still juicy.
                  She had a burger, which was blood red in the center, as requested, an anomaly in these days of uncooked food warning. It was huge. Their homemade tater tots made her very happy; they were the asize and shape of felafel balls.

                  I had sashimi tuna, topped with a stewed melange of fish stock, shrimp, roasted pasta and herbs. Sounds a little bizarre, but it was very happiness-inducing someone who would prefer fish raw, everytime, but loves the flavors to be found in cooked dishes as well..
                  Reasonable wine list, with two glasses of wine each, it was $72. before tip. A bargain in Boston terms...

                  1. re: Dan S.

                    I disagree.... Its one of the best, but not the best. Others that are excellent are 555, Fore St, St & Co, Front Room, Cinque Terre, Vignolia's, Ribollita, Bresca, plus more.