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Portland, Maine for a weekend - 555 or Hugo's?

Hello all,
I am originally from the Portland area, but now live in San Francisco. I'll be heading home for a weekend in August and am looking to try someplace new. I've been to Fore Street, Viognier, White Barn Inn, David's, Street and Co., Uffa, Duckfat, and some of the other nice places in the area. However, I have not been to 555 or Hugo's. I only have a couple of days in town and so I think I'll have only one big night out - which of those two should I pick? Or is there someplace else new that I'm missing that I could try? I'm also amenable to places outside of Portland (but probably not as far away as York/Kittery). Any suggestions or experiences would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. We prefer 555, but you may get as many replies favoring Hugos. We also love 98 Provence in Ogunquit (right before Perkins Cove, but has its own parking) and both Bandaloop and Hurricane in Kennebunkport are very good. Have also heard good things about Bresca's in Portland,, but havent been able to get a reservation! Our favorite is 98 Provence for both ambiance and food.

    1. They're both wonderful. Hugos' has shed some of the annoying preciousness that made it so difficult to visit a few years back. 555 is welcoming and still a bit more casual. We've eaten there a fair amount over the years, but by comparison were put off by Hugo's way-of-being. That said we had an amazing meal there recently: really remarkable.

      You can't go wrong with either, I'd say.

      1. Thanks both. I had not heard of 98 Provence or Bresca's. I'll try to check both of them out one of these days. I have eaten at Hurricane and I agree, it is quite good.

        I too had heard from friends that Hugo's had a sense of preciousness, which is why I'd been a little wary about making reservations. Glad to hear that it has lost some of that recently. Dual, did you have the tasting menu last time you were there?

        1 Reply
        1. The following restaurants are fabulous:
          98 Provence
          MC Perkins Cove
          On The Marsh--one of my favorite
          Cape Arundal Inn
          Arrows--hard to beat anywhere
          The Tide Inn on Goose Rocks Beach
          Pesce Blue-mainly fish-but truly wonderful

          6 Replies
          1. re: irwin

            Now Irwin,
            Tell the nice people that you're really enthusiastic Pesce Blue and that, even though it's in Portsmoth, N.H., they'll like it. Oh, I guess I did that already, huh? :-))

            Harp00n

            -----
            Pesce Blue
            103 Congress Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801

            1. re: Harp00n

              chickyonly,

              Why choose one? Both are excellent and offer varied takes on cusine. Hugo's has a great bar menu with a selection of four "fried snacks" (the parmesan and black truffle puffs are unbeliveable) and about 10 apps. Have a couple and then move onto 555 and sit at the bar and order off of the lounge menu, which also has a lot of great choices. I just did apps at Hugos a few nights ago and it was fantastic. BBQ tripe stew, beet risotto, fluke tartare and the pork belly were out of this world.

              1. re: goat

                That's not a bad idea at all. I actually tried to do the bar menu at Hugo's last time i was in town, but they were inexplicably closed that night so sadly I did not have the opportunity. Perhaps I'll try your suggestion and get a good flavor for both.

                Sadly for me I'm about the only person in the world who can't stand black truffles, so I probably won't be getting the puffs! Then again, I also hate peanut butter so clearly I'm sometimes odd with my food.

              2. re: Harp00n

                ha, no wonder i hadn't ever heard of pesce blue. I don't think I'll be making the trek to Portsmouth. Irwin does make a good mention of Arrows though...I've yet to go there and would love to do so sometime.

                1. re: chickyonly

                  Bring the money, credit card or first born and it'll be worth every penny of it :-)

                  1. re: Harp00n

                    Hmm. Well, no first borns yet, and six digits worth of student loans mean not so much money at the moment. Credit cards it is! ;-)

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