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Portland,ME recs for dinner & lunch with 5 year old

kbear Jun 11, 2008 01:35 PM

Coming next week for our much-anticipated yearly trip thru Portland on the way up north. We always eat at Flatbread pizza, but since we have 2 nights this year, I am in need of suggestions for another place that wouldn't be crushingly boring for a 5 year old and would have something different and tasty, if not outright exciting and gourmet for us older people. Thanks in advance. Also, is there still a place called Norm's near Art Museum? Would you pick that or Duckfat or something else close to museum for lunch?

Thanks again for any assistance.


  1. e
    erin winn Jun 19, 2008 06:10 PM

    ohhhhhh....get the kid over to Black Tie Market and Bistro.....I just had the best lunch and a wild blueberry gelato cone.......it's such a laid back place but tons of great food!!!

    1. d
      davepitt Jun 17, 2008 06:55 PM

      Duck Fat... best french fries in the world. They also have great milkshakes, paninis and desserts.

      1. l
        lexpatti Jun 17, 2008 11:28 AM

        Does the 5 year old enjoy boat rides, because you can take a 20 min ride ($3.95) over to Peaks Island and have a wonderful meal on the deck of "Cockeyed Gull" for lunch or dinner. It's walking distance from the dock. There is also a nice pub right there at the INN on Peaks Island too.

        Have a blast.

        1. k
          kbear Jun 17, 2008 11:16 AM

          Thank you everyone for wonderful and appetizing suggestions. Will report upon return, not that any of you chowhounds need it! Really looking forward to being there!


          1. Dual Jun 14, 2008 02:41 AM

            A warning about Gilbert's Chowder house: "the chowder is the best in Portland" to the extent it's been thickened to the stand-a-fork-in-it level, and some people think that makes a good chowder. I grew up in a fishing community and know better, and I won't eat there. I hear that Portland Lobster Company, maybe two blocks west, is OK, but I haven't been there.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Dual
              irwin Jun 14, 2008 05:47 AM

              The Chowda at Becky's is the best in Portland !!!!!

              1. re: irwin
                coconutz Jun 18, 2008 01:58 PM

                Becky's is just great overall. Casual diner but with superior food. Thanks for reccomending it chowhounds!

            2. m
              maina Jun 13, 2008 05:34 AM

              There's also Flatbread Pizza near RiRa's. Great pizza and salads, beautiful views of harbor, and very kid friendly. Duckfats is great, but tiny with very few tables. Depending on when you go, you might not be able to get a seat.

              2 Replies
              1. re: maina
                coconutz Jun 13, 2008 01:57 PM

                oh, she said that she always eats at Flatbread, so that is one of the 2 dinners.

                1. re: coconutz
                  maina Jun 15, 2008 01:34 PM

                  Oopps, you're right. Didn't read post carefully enough.

              2. l
                laurmb Jun 12, 2008 07:31 PM

                If you have access to a car or are willing to take a cab there's also Susan's Fish & Chips beyond walking distance on Forest, another fairly kid-friendly option. Otherwise, I agree with Ri Ra, Silly's (I might not try to walk that w/a 5yo, though) or Duckfat.

                1. m
                  Mainegal Jun 12, 2008 08:11 AM

                  Near the museum: Yes, Norm's still exists--great local's spot. The museum does have a cafe--that's a choice, too. Local 188 is just up the block--not sure on kid-friendly menu choices, I'd google or call. Artmesia Cafe is bright and creative, and off most tourist's radar screens. It's on Pleasant Street, about a five-minute walk from the museum. BiBo's is also a fun spot--on Forest Ave., just off Congress. Practically next door is Geo's Patisserie Cafe, a European-style scratch bakery that also serves lunch--very casual. Bonobo, the creative pizza place, is also quite walkable (corner of Pine and Brackett), as is Aurora Provisions, a gourmet market and Cafe--order at the counter. Duckfat is a good 15 to 20 minute walk, perhaps longer with a five-year-old. If you're willing to walk, another choice is Silly's, on Washington Ave., about two blocks off Congress on Munjoy Hill.

                  1. s
                    sciencediet Jun 12, 2008 06:51 AM

                    It really depends on the palate of the 5-year-old, but some of the places we have done well are:

                    RiRa (Irish pub with upstairs dining room, in the same building as Flatbread): lovely view, varied kids' menu, crayons

                    Pom's Thai Taste (on Congress, not too far from the museums): in addition to a huge Thai menu, they have a kids' menu with standard gross stuff for little kids, and they gave my kids special umbrella drinks

                    The Port Hole: their deck may have been closed by the city council (something about zoning), but the inside isn't bad, and they'll always make a plain quesadilla for kids if nothing appeals

                    Dogfish Bar and Grill: right down the street from the children's museum, so they're used to kids (their kids' meals actually come with sliced apples!) Probably the most convenient pre- or post-museum option

                    Yosaku is a possibility depending on your kid--mine will only eat the edamame there so it isn't worth it.

                    1. m
                      mainemal Jun 12, 2008 05:12 AM

                      Directly across the Congress/High St intersection is the Green Elephant, a well-regarded vegetarian place: would definitely not be a boring lunch for your 5-year old! Duckfat is wonderful, but a bit of a hike from the museum. For that dinner, if your child likes/eats Asian, there are many tasty things on the menu that aren't raw fish at Yosaku, and most of us think it's Portland's best sushi.

                      1. d
                        deki Jun 11, 2008 04:52 PM

                        Try Gilbert's Chowder House on Commercial Street. Great food and if it's nice you can sit outside and watch the activity in the harbor....very child friendly and the chowder is the best in Portland.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: deki
                          jackbauer Jun 12, 2008 06:07 AM

                          I was at Gilbert's on Memorial Day weekend and the deck was closed. They said it was undergoing renovation and didn't have an exact date it would be finished. I agree, the outdoor seating is a definite selling point of the restaurant.

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