Foodie couple first timers to Portland ME.. Help!
Hubby and I are going to Portland ME for the first time this coming Sunday for a week. Renting a condo in West End -Old Port section of Portland (so we can really take advantage of the food and walk it off... he he!!). I am really in need of suggestions, out of the way places, holes in the walls, is there anything to steer clear of ie.tourist traps?? or places with generally bad food?
We really love great seafood especially sushi. Also love Thai, Korean and any New Englandy type restaurants with great chefs, creative flair and trying to stay away from the "ho hum". Nothing too too pricey... we don't mind driving a bit either since we are staying for 7 nights, so if there is something outside of Portland and within a 30 minute drive that shouldn't be missed let us know.
I am a sponge so bring it on!!!! THANKS ALL!!!!
For my money the two best values in fine food would be:
Bar Lola, a wonderful wonderful restaurant which is seriously underdiscussed here in Chow. 100 Congress St. www.barlola.net
Evangeline's Monday night prix-fixe low-cost menu. Absolutely incredible. Catch it while you can. On Longfellow Square, look for the golden pig.
Miyake and Yosaku for sushi. Don't go for cheap when dining on sushi.
Thai: the Pom's chain. www.thaitastemaine.com
New Englandy with creative flair, nothing too too pricey: Fore St. has the best regional attachment in its cooking, but it's not cheap. It's odd: Portland has not developed a regional cuisine and has little to offer for seafood. Fore St.'s about it for regional, and Street and Co. is about it for seafood.
Caiola's is within walking distance from anything in the West End. Great food.
Next door is Aurora's Provisions, selling good gourmet deli food, prepared dinners and wine/beer. http://www.auroraprovisions.com/
Walk a bit further you'll find Bonobo's Pizza at 46 Pine St.
All good stuff and you're not even out of the neighborhood.
I second Caiola's. Very creative and reasonable pricewise. Street and Co. has excellent seafood done with flair - also reasonably priced. Less expensive but also excellent is the Front room with a lot of seafood entrees. However they do not take reservations - the first two do which I highly recommend. Finally, Ribollita is my new fave for excellent inexpensive Italian - they have some seafood.
Definitely Duck Fat for lunch.
On a beautiful day, preferably a week day which is quieter, head down to Cape Elisabeth to the Two Lights Lobster Shack. Great lobster roll with a dab of mayo on top so you can add as much or as little as your heart desires. Beautiful spot right on open ocean - but maybe you're coming from ocean.
You might want to make reservations now for Fore Street and Street & Co so you won't be disappointed. Both are soooooo good.
First sign of trouble is thinking that there's any mayo resident at the Lobster Shack.
Try: " sandwich dressing" or whatever they call the substitute for real mayonnaise. Trust me: I grew up in Harpswell in the 50's and I've spent time at L.S.
Search the Lobster Shack here: you won't find many positives.
In the greater Portland area, the idea of quality in lobster rolls is just gone, and the idea of quality in chowders has been supplanted by "If it's thick as glue it's good."