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Trip to Portland

Am flying to Portland for a wknd, and looking for restaurant recommendations in and around the city. Am looking for the best food, whether that's a hole-in-the-wall seafood shack or white tablecloth Michelin-starred haute cuisine. Open to any cuisine and any price range.

In case it impacts what you recommend, I currently live in Manhattan (so for example, I'll pass on recommendations for bagels or pastrami).

Any thoughts? What are some CH faves?

Thanks in advance, 'hounds.

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    1. re: mcel215

      The first link took me to a "Whoops, file not found (404)" page and the second link just took me to the Chowhounds boards page. Did you mean to post different links for me?

      1. re: Kanger

        Sorry, I am not great at linking pages.

        Try this one:


        I like Beckys, it's a local breakfast spot, and Fiore for dinner. But the link has most of all the restaurants in Portland.

        Have a fun trip.

      2. re: mcel215

        Portland is filled with great eats. Some of the best include Hugo's, 555, Nathasha's and Bresca, all in the Old Port, and Caiola's in the West End and Blue Spoon in the East End. Check out the Portland Food Map, http://portlandfoodmap.com, for list of Portland restaurants and links to reviews. If you're looking to venture out of Portland, Switch Magazine has a Greater Portland restaurant guide at http://www.themaineswitch.com/greater...

      3. Your challange at this point is to try to secure a table at either Fore Street or Street & Company - less than a week out, that could be tough, unless you dine early. I'd try to work in a Street & Company/Hugos combination, personally. If S&C or its close relative Fore Street aren't available I'd hop over to the Old Port Sea Grill or 555.

        I'll likely get savaged for suggesting the fish chowder for lunch at Dimillo's, but taken from a foodie native, its the best in town.

        Mims is a GREAT place for a late morning brunch. Becky's is fine, but its JUST A DINER. If you did Mims one day and Becky's the next you'd have a nice breakfast experience spread.

        Another nifty idea would be to take the twenty minute ferry ride out to Peaks Island from the Old Port to grab a bite on the island at the Cockeyed Gull or the Inn at Peaks Island...

        1. yes!! i just got back from portland.
          if you want the best pizza EVER go to Portland Pie Co. on the cross of Center and Fore St.

          if you want the best coffee in town go to Breaking New Grounds on Exchange St. They also have a huge selection of imported Teas as well.

          Theres also this great place on Commercial St. that has GREAT bubble tea and the best steamed buns ive ever had. Bubble Maineia Tea Shop i think its called. if you cant find a place feel free to ask anyone on the street and theyll happily direct you where to go.

          2 Replies
          1. re: simon_C

            While at Bubblemania be sure to get one of the pork or red bean dumblings as a delicious snack...

            1. re: Keefer Lucas

              buns! not dumplings! either way, yes you must!

          2. [Oops, I just realized you mean Portland, ME, not Portland, OR]

            My original post was for Oregon. My bad!

            1. Just got back from Portland myself. You're visiting at a great time of year. Foliage will probably be close to peak next weekend. Had a fantastic dinner at the bar at Fore Street (a good option if you can't get a table). Bartender and waitstaff were attentive and just dear. Fore Street's seasonal menu changes daily and makes use of what is locally available. Their wines by the glass list changes also. I paired a delicious Bell Wine Cellars Sauvignon Blanc with some sardines that were roasted and accompanied by a light creamy sauce. Spied many other tempting first courses, including a foie gras that my neighboring diners savored.

              1. I managed to snag a table at Fore Street, as my trip isn't for a few weeks. Excited to try some of your other suggestions. Thanks so much to everyone who chimed in--I'm very excited for my trip.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Kanger

                  Great!-Hope you like it. Another place you may want to try for lunch or low-key dinner is Flatbread. Some 'Hounds don't like it, mainly it seems because they either don't like thin crusts like flatbread or they can't just go with the hippy-ish element of it, or they find the toppings to foofy. I think, however, that it's a unique NE place to visit at least once with some tasty pizza. It's one of a chain, but the 3 I've visited still have something unique about them. The one in Waitsfield VT, to me, is by far the best in preparation and atmosphere (old barn, outdoor firepit in winter, gorgeous garden in summer), but the one in Portland is right on the water, and I enjoyed it as well. The oven fire gives a cozy feeling, I love their basic salad, and I actually appreciate the pizzas there for a change from my usual.

                  1. re: Kanger

                    Highly recommend the wood-roasted mussels at Fore Street.

                  2. Fore St, Fore St, Fore St....they do reserve some walk up tables, or at least used to..

                    1. I visited Portland last week. My two meals were at Fore Street and Duckfat. They both were wonderful! If you're at Fore Street, see if you can get table near kitchen. It was a show.

                      1. Oh no, wrong Portland. Sorry. I am in accord with many others here. Duck Fat for lunch, don't miss the fries, and Fore St for dinner.

                        1. I'll second the roasted mussels at Fore St. I've heard some discouraging words about that restaurant on these boards, but we had a great meal there. Enjoyed the tuna as well -- melted in the mouth.

                          We also ate at a rather large, noisy oyster place down near the water (Commercial St.?) Kinda pricey but we sat at the bar and it was a lot of fun.

                          The only negative was it rained the entire three days we were there. Probably not that unusual for May, but it was still depressing.

                          1. Thanks, 'Hounders. My gf and I ended up having a great time in Portland ... everyone was extremely friendly and the weather was fine, with lots of beautiful foliage all around. Here are my thoughts:

                            FORE STREET: Loved the space, even though we were only able to get a table in the backroom. The wood-roasted mussels was one of the best dishes we had on the entire trip. For entrees, we had a roasted sea bass and a duckling confit, which were both only so-so. We topped off the meal with a delicious chocolate tart ... its texture was suspect, but its rich, dark chocolate flavor was unimpeachable.

                            DUCKFAT: We loved it so much, we ended up going back the next day! Amazingly delicious panini, with wonderfully fresh ingredients and lots of bold, savory flavors. The fries (fried in duck fat!) were excellent as well, both alone with dipping sauces and as poutine. I've never been to Montreal, but it was the best poutine I've ever had.

                            BECKY'S: "Keefer Lucas," you were right on the money. It's just a diner.

                            FLATBREAD: Absolutely loved the space and the ambiance (we got seated right in front of the oven, which was exactly where I wanted to be). I liked the texture of the crust and the ingredients, but our mushroom pizza was woefully underseasoned. Shame.

                            GILBERT'S CHOWDER HOUSE: Had the clam chowder and lobster roll. They did the trick, but were ultimately unmemorable.

                            Didn't get to go back to STREET & CO, but that was the one place I had been before in Portland, so I was OK with that.

                            Next time I'm driving by on I-95, I fully intend to make a detour to Duckfat!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Kanger

                              Those fries ... omg ...and PBR in long neck bottles (and plenty of other micro brews). great place.

                              1. re: Kanger

                                Glad you had a great experience. Wish I could have warned you off Becky's. I ate their recently with an out of town visitor and was horribly underwhelmed (and it was a construction site, complete with dust).
                                I brought another visitor to Fore St. for dessert after Bar Lola. I still think Fore St. is overrated, esp. compared to Hugo's!. Love Street & Co., however.