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Dinner in Portland with two under 21 college kids

Ok, my wife and I are picking up our son and his girlfriend from Bowdoin College on May 17. After a tough week of final exams we thought a nice dinner would be just the thing. They are finishing freshmen year so they are not real familiar with Portland. What would be a good recommendation for 4 in Portland for Saturday, May 17. I want a nice meal but I don't want to break the bank (Maybe $100-150 total). They are accustomed to Maine seafood, so touristy type things like that aren't necessary. Maybe some drinks and small plates first followed by dinner. Any recs that would fit for two late 40's and two 19 year old college kids. I know that my son really likes good restaurants, aka Bistro's, out of the way places, not chains and the like. I would also entertain options other than Portland, I know they just want to go somewhere outside of Brunswick (where Bowdoin is located). Thanks for your help.

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  1. I'd recommend Pepperclub on Middle Street. They have a varied menu, lots of vegetarian options, generally interesting food. Or, if they like sushi, Yosaku.

    1. I second Pepperclub. Our 21 year old loved it and there are great choices for all ages. Most importantly, make a reservation wherever you decide to go.

      1. I will not recommend the Pepperclub to anyone for numerous reasons. For your price range and ages you should try- Front Room, Blue Spoon, 188, Davids. There are probably more that I am forgetting. Miyake is the best for sushi, fish flown in from Japan. Don't be fooled by Browne Trading!!

        1. At $25-$35 per person including drinks, your options are limited. Front Room may be a good choice as suggested, but they don't take reservations and will be pretty tough to get into on a Saturday. Norms on Congress St (Norm's Bar & Grill) or on Middle St. (Norm's East End Grill) might meet your needs--not fine dining but good quality for the price.

          For that price you might have better luck with some of the ethnic places--Bangkok Thai (Congress St), Pom's Thai Taste (Congress St) or one of the several good sushi places.

          1. Consider, as an alternative (although I second Front Room in particular), the bistro Conundrum on Rt. 1 south between Freeport and Yarmouth: lots of bistro-type food, reasonable prices, funky atmosphere.
            Another possiblity in your price range: Ribollita, a reliable Italian restaurant, also on Middle St. in Portland.
            It being a Saturday night, reservations are a necessity (and Front Room doesn't take them).