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Portland ME - where to eat, what to see?

I'll be taking a trip to Portland, ME (just me and my camera) a couple of weekends from now. I'll be traveling up either I-95 or route 1. Where should I eat, what should I see? This will be my only chance to head up there while I'm out east before heading back west. Thanks in advance.

Mr. BT

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  1. Oooo I get to chime in first!

    My food faves in order:
    Bar Lola
    555
    Bresca
    Yosaku
    Fore Street

    See:
    Portland Museum of Art
    Two Lights (rugged headland as state park: great this time of year especially for a photographer)
    Fort Williams Park (near Two Lights, home to Portland Headlight, bring your camera)
    Walk Congress St. from Longfellow to Monument Squares and then down to Old Port to understand the city: bring your camera and don't miss the galleries scattered along the way. I'd steer you to a gallery guide but can't find one right now.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Dual

      Awesome. Just the type of recomendation I was looking for. Which of those resturants has the best seafood?

      1. re: MrBigTime

        That's a tough call. Yosaku has excellent sushi. The others don't specialize in seafood so it's more a case of what their current menu presents. (I think I'd vote for 555 to top the list above in that category, and it's a real people-pleaser in all respects). Seafood in Portland has been discussed here a fair amount in recent weeks and a search here might help. You might want to check out Street & Co., which specializes in fish.

        Every restaurant discussed above offers dining at their bar, btw: a real benefit for the solitary diner.

        1. re: Dual

          Sounds like Street & Co would be your best bet if you are into seafood.

          1. re: irwin

            You know, I forgot to put Hugo's into my initial list.

      2. re: Dual

        Don't hop off Congress St at the Old Port! You'll miss one of the most interesting parts of the city! Make a detour, then brave the crossing of Franklin Arterial and head up Munjoy Hill. You will find cafes, galleries, good restaurants (like Bar Lola in Dual's list, and Front Room, and the new market Fat Baxter's). You will go past the old observatory tower from which you can view Casco Bay, and, if the weather permits, you will see, at the end of Congress, the wonderful view from the Eastern Prom looking over the Bay, the B & M Baked Bean factory (nobody mentions it, but it's amusingly shaped like a barge sticking out into the water), and the impressive homes on the Prom.

        Then since it's December, flee to the Hilltop Coffee Shop, North Star Cafe, or Coffee By Design on Washington Ave. After you warm up, head back west and detour down India Street for a view of the new ferry terminal, and the double bakery whammy of Two Fat Cats and Micucci's. Hit Standard, just around the corner, and you'll have a trifecta. Congrats, you're back in the Old Port now.

        1. re: the_MU

          Although this makes for a loooong walk in December, the MU is spot-on.

      3. Dual's suggestions are right on target. If you're looking for lunch, many of those listed are only open for dinner. Yosaku's is open for lunch, has great luncheon specials plus full sushi menu. For seafood dinner my vote would be Street & Co, they have the best selection of fabulously fresh seafood (IMO). Although not exclusively seafood we also love Brescas - they have homemade, unusual pastas plus several excellent seafood dishes. Their menu changes regularly, so you might want to check first. But, be warned this restaurant is tiny, and space is tight.

        1. For lunch: J's Oyster on the waterfront in Old Port. My personal fave for a seafood lunch in Portland.

          5 Replies
          1. re: StevensAve

            Hopefully J's Oyster has oysters? I have a craving for some oysters and bloody mary's ...

            Mr. BT

            1. re: MrBigTime

              For oysters, try the Old Port Sea Grill.

                1. re: im hungry

                  For Maine-style fried seafood (with home made French fries) try Susan's Fish
                  & Chips on Forest Ave. You can even read the article from Gourmet Mag on the wall. Low down(free coffee), cheap, delish. and BYOB. You won't won't find this out west. Worth a picture too.

            2. re: StevensAve

              J's? you kidding?
              dirty, nasty.
              pre-opened oysters of questionable quality with plenty of grit from the shells the way they stack them on the plate well before the first customer comes in.
              no thanks.

            3. Duck Fat.

              Heaven's it's tasty. I've not had panini like the one I had there(duck confit with a chutney of blueberries and something) again.

              Avoid DiMillo's. It's there only to take your parents to.

              1 Reply
              1. re: frittering_away

                Well, I made it up to Portland today. I had lunch at Old Port Sea Grill (1/2 dozen oysters and a bloody mary), walked around for a while, then made it to the museum of art. I wanted to have dinner at St. & Co, but it didn't open until 5:30, and I had to drive back home, so I ate at the Old Port Inn instead. It was ok - I had the Lobster Stew (with something in it I couldn't figure out - it was on the tip of my tounge, both figuratively and literally) then the fish and chips. The french fries were perfectly seasoned, but the fish was over cooked, so it was so-so. Anyways, thanks for the tips. I had a good time.

                Mr. BT