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Portland - Fore Street Alternatives?

Just found out my family and I have to be in Portland for one night. Wanted to take everyone to Fore Street, where I have had several outstanding meals, but they have no tables. What would be your #2 choice behind Fore Street (that's assuming it would be your #1, which may be a rash assumption).

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  1. Street and Co. -- While I've never been to Fore Street myself, from what others have said about it, it sounds that the rude waitstaff at Fore Street would put me off.

    The seafood at Street and Co. is really, really good. Scallops cooked to perfection!

    1. 555 is just about as good as Fore st.

      1. Five Fifty Five is far superior to Fore Street. Equally fresh, quality ingredients but prepared with greater creatively. Their execution is flawless. I have a review on my blog if you'd like greater detail.

        If you have trouble getting into Five Fifty Five, I would try Bresca or Hugo's (in that order).


        1. Hugo's has great crafted food.

          1. If you go to Street and Co. be sure to ask for a table in the "second" dining room. The "first" has the kitchen at one end of it and the tables are close together. Very noisey! Oh, and the last time I was there they served the food in a frying pan. I guess they thought it was charming. I thought it was tacky.

            I would recommend Caiola's on Pine St. Good food, nice people.

            5 Replies
            1. re: ellieeggplant

              When I was there (August I think?), the food was indeed served in a frying pan.

              I'd agree that it isn't very elegant, though the quality of the food and waitress service more than make up for it IMO.

              1. re: Keithel

                since when is Street & Co elegant?
                They have excellent product and I look forward eating their sole in a frying pan. It also keeps the fish hot a lot longer. I love the frying pan effect.

              2. re: ellieeggplant

                In my experience at Street & Co., everything served in a frying pan is outstanding, and everything served on a plate is dull. I always ask to be sure that my dish comes in a frying pan.

                1. re: sciencediet

                  Even since seeing the "dish in a frying pan" at the No Name in Boston almost twenty years ago, I always loved it for what it is. Non-stuffy, fun and it certainly keeps the food hotter than a plate. Dana Street, from Boston, brought this to St and Co., what is it now, almost 20 years ago. Timely then, charming now, and standard for many.

                  1. re: Noreaster

                    Well, it sure does keep things hot, though I was concerned with burning myself.
                    Certainly tasty!

              3. I second Caiola's in the West End for a great dining experience. The food is great and the service is warm and welcoming.

                1 Reply
                1. re: StevensAve

                  In case some of you didn't know, Abby, the co-owner and head chef of Caiola's was the exec chef at Street and Co. for many years prior to opening her own place.

                2. If you really want to go to Fore Street and are willing to eat on the early side, they do reserve a good portion of their tables for walk-ins during the first seating at 5:30. They start taking names at 5:00 when the bar opens and will seat you, first come first serve, at 5:30. You can also have dinner at the bar (full menu) or in the couch/chair seating area (lounge menu which is apps, sides, desserts from the full menu).

                  1. Don't pass up Bar Lola at 100 Congress St. Easily the equal of the best restaurants mentioned here: my personal first choice having eaten at them all several times.