Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > All New England Archive >
Mar 3, 2008 08:20 AM

Portland, ME Romantic Fine Dining

I want to send some friends of mine who live in Portland to a wonderful, fine dining, romantic dinner as a thank you. Where would you suggest?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Well, knowing how many Portland food afficionados regularly view this site, you'll likely to get lots of answers. For me, for sheer excellence of food, traditional "white tablecloth" romantic atmosphere, and excellent service, #1 would be Back Bay Grill. I could imagine Hugo's getting some notice, although it's quite a bit more pricey, and at times, a little tedious in its pride over its menu. Cinque Terra would definitely be my #2.

    1. i'm not a portland expert, but the one time i visited, i had one of my best dining experiences ever at a place called Fore Street.

      I'm from NYC and eat out frequently at a lot of amazing restaurants, but this is still one of my all time favorites.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Get In My Belly

        I think Hugo's provides a fantastic dining experience, perhaps fitting the bill as a gift. And I think they deserve a degree of pride in regards to what they provide to the demanding diners in Portland...they have also recently promised to shake it up with their Spring menu ... proving they do not rest on their laurels and they respect the competition.

        I, unfortunately, have had less than stellar experience at Cinque Terre.

        I am trying to get into Bresca as the press on it is so good...but it was fully booked for 5:00 on a Wednesday (only 20 seats.)

        Other suggestions...Ribollita, 555...and the new greek place Emilitsa also has a buzz.

        Also, Portland has a calendar full of tasting/wine events which may provide a really special dinner at any number of restaurants. Try the blogs or individual restaurant sites on for schedules.

      2. I absolutely second the Back Bay Grill. Somehow it doesn't get half the attention of places like Fore St and Hugo's, but I've had some of my most memorable meals there. My second choice would be 555.

        1. If you want a little more bang for your buck, Vignola can be a nice, cozy place to share a meal on a slow night.

          Also Caiola is smaller than some of these spots, great if they live on west end - they can walk.

          Cafe at Pat's would also be a great choice for something a little off the beaten path.

          1. Romantic fine dining--definitely Back Bay Grill. Hugo's is also fine dining for now, but it's changing its concept this spring to be more casual, offering a la carte choices not just prix fixe. Another possibility is Eve's at the Portland Harbor Hotel.

            While both Fore Street and Cinque Terre are tops, I don't consider either romantic, ditto for some of the other places mentioned, but other people's definitions vary. You can't go wrong with Back Bay.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Mainegal

              I agree with you. I love Fore St. and 555, but both are too close and hectic to be really romantic, in my mind. I haven't been to Back Bay or Eve's - I'll have to try both. Thanks!

              1. re: laurmb

                Add me to the list of those promoting Back Bay Grill for the "romantic" element, and Hugo's would qualify as well. If food takes preeminence, I'd reverse that order, and have to add 555 and Fore St.