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Mar 19, 2008 06:42 AM

Portland, where's the SeaFood???

GF and i will be in Portland next week for a night. we've been to (and Loved) 555 where we did snacks at the bar one night and the Tasting Menu the next.

so, last night we checked out the menus at Hugo's, Cinque Terre, and a couple of others and were surprised that most places have only a smattering of seafood choices.

we'd really like to find someplace in Old Port (or very close) that has a greater variety of seafood on the menu. i mean Portland harbor is a working fishing port, right?

we'd be looking for up(ish)-scale or fine dining, no 'family' or 'shack' type joints please.


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  1. Hey, Scuba Steve, that is why we have this site for guys like you to ask !!!
    Old Port Sea Grill on Commercial St is wonderful. Also, Street & Co is one of the best but you will need a resv. Hope this helps you so let us know what happened !!!!!

    1. It's an interesting dilemma. Portland, as it turns out, is less a working fishing port than you might think, since for a variety of reasons, most of our fleet is now calling Gloucester home. That's not to say that there isn't plenty of quality fish around. I'd agree with irwin's Street & Co. recommendation: nothing except fish, and one of Portland's best restaurants overall: if you haven't dined there, you've missed a wonderful meal. There's not much in the middle range between the fine dining places and the shacks, but I'd observe as well that all Portland's better places will have multiple items on the menu at any given point. Frequently, they won't be found on the on-line menus because they treat them as specials, changing depending on what's available. Places that seem to me to have more offerings than most would include Bresca, and Caiola's.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mainemal

        This question has been batted around before. My answer is the same. There is no "fine dining" option for seafood. As far as I can tell, the poster wants fine dining or upscale and mentions Hugo's, 555 (the "Triple Nickel") and Cinque Terre, some of the finest dining Portland has to offer. I'm sorry but Street and Company is no where near this level of ambience, decor, presentation, wine list or any other element of "fine dining" as I do not consider fish served in the pan it was cooked upscale. That said, Street and Company has never really recovered from its loss of Abby, now owner and head chef of Caiola's, and is only "ok". Old Port Sea Grill also serves a mostly seafood menu but, again, not upscale or fine dining.

      2. irwin-
        i know all about this site, i'm quite active on the Boston Board. last September we did go to Old Port but only for oysters and beers as J's was just too sketch to hang around in. we'll give that place another look.

        does Street have a web site? Google is coming up with nothing but references and reviews. and Caiola's does not list their menu on it's site.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ScubaSteve

          SS, I don't think either has a menu on line. And Noreaster and I will have to agree to disagree--no, Steet isn't quite as high on the elegance scale as 55 or Hugo's, but I've found the food consistently delicious, and I don't object at all to one of their signature dishes, pan-cooked sole, coming to the table in the pan. It's owned by the same restaurateur as Fore St.

          1. re: mainemal

            I have had some great meals at Street, have always enjoyed the whole fish. However, my recent experiences over the past couple of years have been inconsistent. I am sad, believe me, as I used to frequent them almost weekly a few years back. The discussion, it seemed to me, was related to fine dining which it clearly is not. The "food in the pan" made famous by the No Name in the South End twenty years ago is kinda played out and as casual as it comes. Dana Street, the restaurateur you refer, has been approached to create a new seafood restaurant, hopefully more upscale, whenever they get around to expanding the pier project...

            1. re: mainemal

              Mainemal: I also love the pan-cooked sole at Street & Co. I think its nice and different for that signature dish coming to the table in a pan. Its definately not as classy as 555, but totally different, and again both are very successful.

          2. Street & Company doesn't have a website, but are mentioned on the Fore St site at http://www.forestreet.biz/en/Other-Re.... Also, Fore Street usually has quite an extensive seafood offering. Street & Company is good, but if you're looking for a comparable "555" experience, Fore St would be my recommendation.

            1 Reply
            1. re: khepler

              Fore Street is not in consideration for reasons not associated with food/ambiance/service/pricing. thanks though.

            2. SS - If you there during the day, do all in your power to get the Duck Confit Panini at Duckfat! Transcending is the only word that comes to mind.

              3 Replies
              1. re: mjg0725

                oh don't worry. Duck Fat is already on the books for Saturday lunch. but i have my mind set on the Poutine.

                1. re: ScubaSteve

                  If you enjoy Duck Confit, you have order both. It's not like we have a Duckfat in Boston, splurge man.