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Oct 25, 2007 10:14 AM

Portland ME suggestions before the symphony


We have tickets to the Portland Symphony Saturday night and need some suggestions of somewhere to eat dinner before. It is my husband, me and my six year old (well behaved and way beyond the typical kid's menu choices). We are open to just about any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.


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  1. The Dogfish Bar and Grille has a great atmosphere, and a 5.95 kids menu. They are on Free Street -- I've taken my family and my friend's family there a few times and everyone left full and happy.
    India Palace on Congress Street is also a great ethnic place, as well as yosaku on Danforth street for sushi (ginger scallion makeral rolls are amazing there)

    1. I second all of Artdove's suggestions, and particularly applaud Yosaku as a suggestion. Try the "Yosaku Roll" which is a tempura-battered spicy tuna roll with a splendid sauce (one order would be several good-sized slices for each of the 3 of you). There are plenty of other Portland suggestions lurking on Chow, of course. Another thought that's great for families: Flatbread's, on the waterfront behind RiRa, makes unique and interesting pizzas in a wood-fired oven that's right there: very kid-friendly place, and definitely adult palate flavours.

      1. Last spring a hostess at Vignola recommened a place called the Front Room up on Munjoy Hill, not too far from downtown and have WONDERFUL food. It is quite casual, and the prices tend to be more reasonable than some other foodie places. The wine list is also affordable, and I've yet to have an unenjoyable bite of food there. I like to get a side of gnocchi and risotto on chillier days because they are so yummy. They have a website too. I would suggest making reservations as it's just a small chef owned place.

        4 Replies
        1. re: wildrnss

          Ah, but there's the rub - the Front Room doesn't take rez. It's a fun spot but the wait can be hellish. If you're going really early, you should be fine. But anytime after 6 on a Saturday and you could be in trouble. (Same goes for Flatbread, BTW.)

          Yosaku is a great idea... it's not terribly far from the Merrill, and there shouldn't be a problem w/ the wait there.

          1. re: sopobungalow

            Where are you coming into portland from?

            1. re: jspear

              We come from the west I guess it is so through Gorham and Westbrook and into Portland that way.

              1. re: winterstorm

                The things I know are in Brunswick/Bath area if you want to come in that way and travel south I can make some recommendations.....You might be able to get in easier there, but they are out of your way....

        2. Within easy walking distance of Merrill, you could try Sebago, Natasha's, O'Naturals, Oriental Table, Greek Corner, Tandoor, Fuji or Walter's. All are decent, with Natasha's and Walter's being on the pricier side.

          1 Reply
          1. re: CandyGirl13

            From the sounds of it, O'Naturals I think is a bit to quck/fastfoody for them. It bills itself as a wholesome sort of fast food place -- a significant step above places like McDonalds, but it's still got the fast-food type atmosphere, despite the much improved food over other FF joints.

          2. Bresca - without hesitation. Within walking distance of Merrill; superb food - just secure a reservation in advance. This 5 star rated restaurant fills up fast!


            3 Replies
            1. re: TypeA

              Bresca's has superb food, but dont think they have a children's menu (altho have appetizer sized pasta dishes). As stated above, you definitely need a reservation -- the place is tiny (about 6 or 7 tables total) and seating is very close.
              Yosaku's also is great, and they have a terrific bento box for kids with a variety of different items in it, served in an unusual stacked "box". You can also dine in an area where you're seated Japanese style, with shoes removed, or in their regular dining room. Might be fun for your six yr old -- and great sushi for you!

              1. re: maina

                Bresca is stupidly expensive, and not all that worth it. Natasha's, walter's, and sebago are also just "meh." The indian food at either tandoor or hi bombay is the same as the indian food you get in any typical indian restaurant.

                The service is terrible at yosaku, they also changed their price-to-serving ratio. King of the roll, or even Miyake is better.

                I think you and your family would like Fuji a lot. They have a huge menu, good sushi, a full bar, and maybe your 6 year old would like the hibachi table. They also have the shoeless dining area.

                If you're going through westbrook the Frog and Turtle is very good.

                1. re: Drunkenstein

                  Au contrere, Yosaku is the best sushi restuarant in Portland WITH children. If the service is slow (and frankly, when Yosaku is slowest, primetime on a Friday night every Old Port restaurant can be deathly slow) its because so many people are there WITH kids. And Yosaku's kid's bento box can't be beat for the price ($5.99 or $6.99 - its ridiculously cheap for the impact/quality).