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Just moved to Peaks Island, need suggestions

JemB May 11, 2008 07:48 PM

I moved to Peaks Island off Portland last weekend with my 2 pre-teen kids. I've been combing the New England board looking for info on food in Portland.

I am looking for recs for very casual good seafood places in and around Portland. An old Chowhound recommendation for lobster and steamers (Newicks in So. Portland) is now moot since they closed that location. Any newcomers?

I'd also love suggestions for really good, authentic clam chowder. I like the real old-school, thin, milky kind. I'm apalled by all the chowders out there that contain flour! Or way too much cream. Or veggies other than potatoes and onions. Just gimme some good, simple, briny chowder and I'll be happy. Any suggestions?

Also, any other general suggestions--but nothing upscale. I find those are easy to find out about, and I'm a poor, single mother anyway and save those places for once a year birthday dinners. Just some good places for deli, burgers, Chinese (does good Chinese exist up here?), Thai, Italian, breakfast, etc.

Thanks, all!


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  1. l
    lexpatti RE: JemB May 12, 2008 05:12 AM

    I'm jealous, we took a nice get-a-way to Peaks Island and loved it. We really enjoyed the Cockeyed Gull right there on Peaks Island. We didn't venture much into Portland but you should do another thread with your subject "Just moved outside Portland Maine, Help!!" you will get loads of wonderful advice from chowhounders.

    Best luck to you and your kids. Single parenthood can be an exhausting but rewarding journey. :-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: lexpatti
      JemB RE: lexpatti May 12, 2008 02:12 PM

      Thanks, Patti, for your suggestions. Single parenthood isn't new, and should be even better on Peaks! Thanks again.

    2. l
      ladyfemme RE: JemB May 12, 2008 06:03 AM

      wow- there are so many food options in the portland area. I don't know much about Peaks Island, but I'll tell you about chowder- so far the only one i've found that is the thin kind is at the Lobster Shack at 2 Lights. Definitely the best place for seafood, very touristy so beware weekends in the summer. But their chowder is thin and delicious, and everything there is reliably good.

      and there isn't much good chinese or Mexican food in portland. But lots of thai- I recommend Bankok Thai, on Congress St, very affordable and yummy, and also Mekong Thai on Forest Ave.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ladyfemme
        JemB RE: ladyfemme May 12, 2008 02:13 PM

        Thanks so much, Lady. The Lobster Shack at 2 Lights--is that in Portland?

        I'll definitely check out Bangkok Thai. Thanks again!

      2. Dinsdale45 RE: JemB May 12, 2008 09:14 AM

        We're leaving Peaks Island after summering there for 50 years. The Inn on Peaks is decent, but can be overpriced for what you get as they try to cater to the increasingly "upscale" island crowd. The Peaks Island House serves mediocre predictable food, but the omelettes are pretty good. The Gull serves a few Korean-influenced dishes (because one of the owners is Korean), but is way overpriced and the waitstaff is apathetic. I never understood why the potential gold mine that is Jones Landing opens only for Reggae Sundays and catered events. Outside of Hannigans Market, which makes surprisingly good pizza, that's about it on Peaks.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Dinsdale45
          JemB RE: Dinsdale45 May 12, 2008 02:11 PM

          Thanks, Dins. I'm already pretty familiar with all the options on Peaks itself. I was really looking for food options in Portland or nearby areas.

          Thanks, though, and good luck!

        2. JenBoes RE: JemB May 12, 2008 02:23 PM

          Flatbread Pizza Company has great pizza, it's casual, and I'd consider it to be kid friendly. When you take the ferry over to Portland, it's right on the left of the terminal. Becky's Diner is another option, but there always seems to be a wait. That's at the other end of Commercial Street. I also like the burritos at Granny's Burrito's on Fore Street. The West End Grocery has good deli sandwiches. I'm not sure about Chinese or burgers.

          2 Replies
          1. re: JenBoes
            mainemal RE: JenBoes May 13, 2008 05:30 AM

            I concur that Flatbread is a great option for you with the kids. Two other possibilities: on Wharf St., in the middle of some high-end places like Street & Co and Cinque Terra, is Passage to India: reasonably priced, kid-friendly, very tasty. If you and your crew climb up the hill to Congress St. and turn left, you'll find The Green Elephant (vegetarian) at the corner of High St. Again, excellent tastes, reasonable prices. I don't have a sense of where the good burger places might be in town, and as you will have heard, there's no edible Chinese, just lots of decent Thai.

            1. re: mainemal
              MangiaMuse RE: mainemal Jan 1, 2009 02:29 AM

              If you want decent Chinese, you'll have to go to Freeport for China Rose, on Main Street. Also, although I haven't been there in a few years, Imperial China by the mall used to be good.

          2. a
            alison500 RE: JemB May 13, 2008 09:24 PM

            We recently had a good, hearty supper at Norm's Bar & Grill on Congress Street, in the arts district near High St. Very casual, appeared to be populated by students and others associated with MECA. Here's a link to a news story about Norm's: http://www.portlandphoenix.com/food/d...
            The article is 5 years old, but pretty much describes the experience we had just a couple of months ago.

            1. ElsieB RE: JemB May 14, 2008 06:39 PM

              A tiny place on Commercial Street (not the water side of the street) that we had great and
              not very expensive fish tacos. Very unassuming place but tacos were really good.
              I think its called Louie's or Crab Louies.

              1. s
                Shooley RE: JemB May 15, 2008 04:58 AM

                Hi! I recently went to Local 188 on Congress St. and noticed many kids in tow. The food was very good (we had huevos), well priced, and the atmosphere very laid back. We also like Bonobo pizza in the West End of Portland.

                1. Dinsdale45 RE: JemB May 15, 2008 07:04 AM

                  Big Mamas diner on Dana St. just up from Commercial has some tasty breakfasts, without the hype and long lines at Becky's.

                  1. j
                    joss2 RE: JemB May 15, 2008 01:53 PM

                    The combo Bahn Mi sub sandwich at Kim's on St. John St will set you back $2.75, and the Vietnamese egg rolls on weekends 3 for $1, a varied selection of other take-out things on weekends too. Lunch for less than a CBL ferry ticket!

                    1. m
                      macman56 RE: JemB May 16, 2008 11:20 AM

                      Seafood...Gilberts Chowder House, or Susan's Fish n' Chips( better than Lobster Shack, less expensive. Thai...Mekong Thai in Portland. Pub...Three Dollar Deweys on Commercial Street. Burger...Harmons in Falmouth.Pizza...Pizza Villa on Congress St., Bruno's in North Deering. Flatbread is great...kid friendly, good food, but sneaky expensive. Send me an e-mail for more precise info...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: macman56
                        tbbuchanan RE: macman56 May 30, 2008 01:41 PM

                        I concur on Gilbert's Chowder House...love the atmosphere and food there.

                        1. re: tbbuchanan
                          obraustin RE: tbbuchanan Jan 1, 2009 06:05 AM

                          Kid-friendly seafood: Portland Lobster Co. is right on Commercial St. by DiMillo's (open spring, summer, fall). Perfect for kids as it has tasty fried seafood that you eat outside at picnic tables that are right on the water.
                          Echo Becky's for any time of day.
                          Portland Pie I find to be delicious (one in Portland and one near the new Cabela's in Scarborough).
                          Great Lost Bear - great food (large menu for the kids to pick from), decent service.
                          Norm's on East End (happy hour/free food from 4-6) is great as well as Beale St. BBQ just on the other side of the bridge. Spacious and kid friendly.
                          Bon appetit!

                      2. kingeats RE: JemB Jan 2, 2009 03:18 PM

                        I concur with lobster shack and Flat bread being great. They can be pricey but they have very good inexpensive options. Norms is awesome and its walking distance from the dock for the ferry. There is lots of fried goodies for the kids there, especially the onion rings. For breakfast we love Wake N' bakery on Forest Ave, its a little out of town but worth the drive. The biscuits and gravy are the best I've had in Maine.

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