HOME > Chowhound > Northern New England >


Where to go in Portland, Maine...Dinner & Breakfast?

Should we go to 555 or Fore Street for dinner? It is me, my wife & my 9 year-old gourmand daughter. Also, do we do becky's for breakfast or someplace else? We will be around for two breakfasts. Where do we go for lunch?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 555 or Fore St are both excellent. 555 is much less noisy. For breakfast or lunch you must try Becky's..... But for breakfast only try Brea Lu`Cafe, 428 Forest Ave just off 295 and just after Oakhurst Dairy. Huge breakfast menu, and very good, but a real small operation. Not sure where you are coming from, but Full Belly deli has excellent deli, and if you really want something different, try Silly's, 40 Washington Ave. Real Home made food. When you get done, try Standard Bakery or Two Fat Cats Bakery for a treat...
    Enjoy, and report back to us so we can tell other people or must we shut-up !!!!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: irwin

      Full Belly Deli is a joke for "Real" deli but they do have decent corned beef.

    2. 555 and Fore Street are completely different animals and both very difficult to procure reservations. Fore Street has more variety on their menu, with a larger selection of appetizers, more entrees and less "fancy" with moe emphasis on "farm to table". That said, Steve Corry of 555 was justin Food and Wine as one of the top new chefs of the year and has a more creative New american meets Maine style menu. They do have a website with menu.

      Becky's is a diner and nothing more. If eggs are your thing with toast and jam then by all means. Seems like a waste but whatever is your thing. For a more interesting breakfast try The Front Room on Congress St. Or even better, go to Standard Baking for a continental breakfast with the best croissants outside of Montreal and walk around. Try Walter's for lunch or have a simple bowl of excellent soup at Ladle both on Exchange St.

      1. 555 and fore st. are both terrific. liked 555 for its creativity. for lunch, though my favorite is Duckfat. whatever else you get, make sure you order the fries. they are to die for.

        1. To add to your experience (and have a wonderful breakfast, lunch or dinner) take a 15 min. ferry over to Peaks Island (only $3.95) - just a quick walk from ferry drop off is Cockeyed Gull. (I thoroughly enjoyed a breakfast, a lunch and two dinners there last Oct.) http://www.cockeyedgull.com/

          7 Replies
          1. re: lexpatti

            We have tried both 555 and Fore Street and 555 was the outright winner for food, service and atmosphere. We go there quite often. If Local 188 has reopened mid-July as planned definitley check it out. Spanish influence with lots of small plates so you can sample lots! My husband and I get a bottle of wine and dinner for $100 or under. We were there almost every Saturday when they were open!

            For breakfast, check out Bayou Kitchen they do great Cajun food as well as the
            standard breakfast fare. My personal favourite is the Heurvos Rancheros. Check out Big Sky Bakery afterwards across the street, or go there for lunch later (they also have a location on Congress St but no seating but you can sit outside). Great pannis and interesting soups and sandwiches all served on their homemade bread.

            If you want to go where the locals go check out J's Oysters nothing fancy but cheap, fresh and good.

            1. re: Marmalade

              I miss 188. Can't wait til they re-open.

              Bayou has changed ownership several times in the past couple of years, and had definitely lost us as fans somewhere along the line. Are they good again?

              1. re: the_MU

                We hadn't gone prior to this current ownership, so hard to compare, but we have enjoyed our experiences thus far.

                Hello Marms...

            2. re: lexpatti

              The ferry costs $7.25 in the summer

              1. re: lexpatti

                I second the Cockeyed Gull recommendation--food is excellent and can't beat the view. Other Portland places to try for dinner: Caiola's in the West End (sometimes hard to get in because it's popular/has limited outdoor seating), Bar Lola and Blue Spoon in the East End. For breakfast, The Good Egg Cafe on Middle Street does the best job of serving up quality, made from scratch food using local ingredients.

                1. re: CandyGirl13

                  Isn't the Good Egg the Pepper Club now, reopened by the original owner? I had dinner there my last visit; I loved it. Good sourced products, creative vegetarian specials. I really wanted to try their brunch, but I didn't have time.

                  1. re: galleygirl

                    Yeah, the Good Egg is what they call the breakfast/brunch option at Pepper Club. I think one of the owners of Pepper Club is the sister of the guy who originally ran the Good Egg... there's an explanation on the menu of the connection, but it's been a while since we were there.

              2. I've had good luck with the food at the Port Hole in Portland, although the service is often spotty. Do try to sit outside, if you go. Inside is a little stuffy, IMHO.

                1. I've had a number of great and interesting breakfasts at The Blue Spoon on Munjoy Hill in Portland.

                  Gritty's is a great place for lunch if you're going to be in the Old Port: http://www.grittys.com/ptld.html

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: bojyra

                    Drive over to Freeport (lots of shops and home of LL Bean), the go to South Freeport about 5 minutes, on the water to Harasseeket boat dock and restuarant.
                    The have the best lobster rolls, full lobster dinners, bread pudding, and if you like
                    fried clams, have a pint of crumb fried clams. You can watch the boats coming
                    and going. Try Cinque Terre, 36 Wharf St,in Portland for excellent up scale Italian. Barb

                  2. Visiting Portland for the first time and loving it! We had an exquisite dining experience at 555 Wednesday evening. From beginning to end, the food was superb. From the samplings of artisan cheeses to the grilled Ceasar salad, to the smoked center cup pork chop, to the to die for trio of deserts, which included melt in your mouth salted caramel candy, our dinner was a culinary delight! Were it not for the fact that we have reservations at Hugo's, Fore Street, and Grace, we would definitely return to 555 for one more divine culinary experience before heading home. We have dined at some of the finest/best restaurants in America and are happy to add 555 to our list! Each item we selected from the menu exploded with its own unique flavor, Steve Corry is a master!

                    As for Becky's Diner, we loved it because the food tastes like it was cooked in someone's kitchen, very flavorful, and the service was excellent!

                    I think you will be more than pleased with both establishments.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: saxman

                      Welcome to the Portland chow scene! Glad you're having a good experience thus far. Would be very interested in your comparison among 555, Hugo's, Fore St., and Grace once you've had time to digest physically and mentally!

                      1. re: mainemal

                        One of these days I'm going to have to give 555 another chance, as I was comepletely underwhelmed by my experience there. Food was solid, good, but not great, and the "famous" donut was one of the most foul things I've ever been served in a restaurant. Leaden and full of grease, it seemed like it was cooked in far too cold oil and absorbed most of it. I also felt the service was a bit scattered. Hopefully it was just a bad night, but since I generally only have one night to eat out when I am in Portland, and Hugo's is my favorite restaurant I've been to, we always end up there.

                      2. re: saxman

                        saxman, greetings from the Boston board!

                        I have a vacation along the Maine coast planned for early fall, and am deciding between exactly your three restaurants: Hugo's, Fore Street, and Grace.

                        I can likely pull off two, but not all three. Would love if you (and others) could share your recommendations.

                        Fore Street
                        288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

                        1. re: rlove

                          I have never had anything that wasn't great at Fore St. Haven't been to Hugo's for a long time (years) but it's on my short list - there's just so many great restaurants in town. I was not overly impressed with the food at Grace although the space is as impressive as it gets - well worth a visit if only for apps at the bar just to check it out. In fact, I might suggest early apps at the bar at Grace with a glass of wine then a walk down to one of the other places for dinner. Best of both worlds.

                          1. re: bobbert

                            rlove - have not eaten at Grace, but with two dinners in Portland, it's hard to argue against Hugo's and Fore St. Two great restaurants, two distinctly different experiences. Do the blind tasting at Hugo's, it's always wonderful.

                            1. re: kimfair1

                              bobbert & kimfair1 -- thank you for the comments.

                              You confirmed my instinct, which was to do Fore Street & Hugo's. We'll make sure to do the blind tasting at Hugo's.

                              Hitting up Grace for drinks sounds like a great idea. Thanks!

                              Fore Street
                              288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

                              1. re: rlove

                                U made the right choice.......
                                Don't think you would be happy with dinner at Grace !!

                          2. re: rlove

                            I recommend Grace (ask for a balcony table that overlooks the kitchen) , Fore Street (be sure to ask for a table in the main dining room so that you can watch the chefs work their magic), and Hugo's in that order. You can't go wrong with the food at these restaurants! My wife and I can't wait to get back to Portland for another great culinary experience!

                            Have a great time, :-)


                            Fore Street
                            288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

                        2. Although both very good, I think Portland offers far more choices then those two restaurants. I personally like David's restaurant, which is far less pretentious, and very good food. Caiolas in the west end offers a very good neighborhood feel, and again great food. Their sunday brunch is very creative and excellent. They made the simplest dish, a fruit bowl, divine. When traveling to Portland come with an open mind, remove your blinders, and look at the multitude of options at your disposal.

                          58 Pine St, Portland, ME 04102

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: zenace71

                            Couldn't agree more. I like David's a lot and love Caiolas among many others in Portland. The problem is with the question of where to eat just two meals in a small city that has at least a dozen great restaurants. In just a three block stretch on Congress St. you have 555, Nosh, Evangeline, Emilista, Local 188, The Green Elephant (best vegetarian around), Bibo's- then a couple of Indian places, a Thai restaurant or two, a good Burrito place and Otto for the best pizza slices possibly anywhere ($3 for a slice of bacon and mashed potato - where can you beat that?). Best advise? Keep coming back to Portland and try something new each time.

                            58 Pine St, Portland, ME 04102

                            Local 188
                            685 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

                          2. Fore Street is an exceptional dining experience. Even eating at the bar is great. I also agree with Becky's -blueberry pancakes and the largest just cooked muffins, you will ever have. Stop at Standard Bakery (in back of Fore Street and next to the Hilton Garden Inn). Duck Fat is also fun. Please report back.

                            Fore Street
                            288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

                            Duck Fat
                            43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

                            1. Nobody has mentioned Sreet+Co!!!