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Dinner in Portland ME

We will be staying in Oqunquit for 5 days(as we have been for the past three summers) and have never taken a ride to Portland for dinner. About how long a ride and is it worth it? If we decide to take the drive where would you recommend dining? My husband is on a special diet and needs very simply prepared fish/chicken entrees. What about Fore Street or Street & Co.?

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  1. You probably won't be able to get into Fore St. at this time of the year. You will definitely find simple and delicious fish at Street & Co., including their signature "skillet" presentation of sole, although once again, reservation may be a problem. Probably take you ~ 1 hr. from Ogunquit, including the challenge of parking on Commercial St.

    1. 45 minutes tops from Ogunquit to Portland and there are many places worth the visit. Fore Street has some simply prepared dishes (Pork loin, chicken, fish) although they are seasoned well (salt, pepper, etc.). I ate there the other night, no reservation, sat at the bar and had an excellent meal. Parking is not really an issue if you don't mind a 5 minute walk. If you do, there is a parking garage 2 minutes away ($1 an hour I think) on Pearl street. and a lot across the street for 5 bucks. Also consider Emilitsa's for upscale Mediterranean Greek on Congress Street (think very fresh fish with olive oil and herbs), Caiola's on Pine Street. Street and Company will work as well but will probably be the hardest to get seated at prime eating times (smaller than Fore Street).

      1. We ate at the Front Room last week. I don't think catering to special requests would be a problem. Food was really good ( described it in my post on this board, Maine Coast trip [long}) and an easy walk to the East Promenade.

        1. White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport

          in Portland if you are lucky to get a reservation
          Fore Street or Street & Co.

          1. The Grill Room has an a la carte menu with wood fired or grilled choices of whole fish of the day, tuna, salmon or chicken breast (as well as steaks, lamb etc.) that would most likely accomodate his diet. You shouldn't have a problem getting a reservation.


            1. If you really want to eat at Fore St, you can get in without a reservation, but you need to eat in their first seating at 5:30. They leave a third to a half of the tables for walk-ins. They start taking names at 5:00 PM. There are usually a few groups waiting to put their names in at 4:45. The restaurant area doesn't open until 5:30, but the bar opens at 5:00. You can also eat at the bar, it's first come first serve as well. Once it fills up there is a waiting list that the bartender keeps. If you are willing to wait a bit for a table, this is your best bet. The food there would likely meet your husbands dietary restrictions.

              3 Replies
              1. re: BikeToEat

                I was able to make a reservation at Street& Co., no luck at Fore St. unless I want to do the walk-in thing. From what I'm reading on the Portland posts lately, people that are familiar with the Portland dining scene are not really recommending Street & Co. Any particular reason? Are both restaurants in the same area?

                1. re: EIF1lady

                  Last ate at Street & Co a couple of months ago and it was sensational. Had the pan grilled fish - forget what it was that night - but I loved it.

                  1. re: EIF1lady

                    Street & Co is a excellent fish restaurant, but crowded and noisy. Most all dishes are very good, but my favorite is the "sole francise which comes in a frying pan".....Street & Co is on Wharf St which is for walking only, but it has a parking garage at the very end of the street (Union St) which I think costs $5 for the evening. Its very hard to get a reservation at Fore St unless you call a few weeks in advance. I think Street & Co will accommodiate your husbands diet, but a phone call to them should answer your question.
                    In Ogunquit make sure you try 98 Provence and On The Marsh in Kennebunkport. Let us know how you make out. Have a wonderful vacation...and hopefully it will stop raining !!!!!

                2. We love Street & Co for seafood, even better than Fore St (know that may incite some folks!) We've also tried Emilitsa (up on Congress St) and it also had excellent fish. Seafood is clearly Street & Co forte, but for more extensive menu Fore St would be better. As to travel time - it would be bet 45 - 60 min, depending on where you're staying in Ogunquit, traffic and parking availability. Problem with Ogunquit is driving up Rt 1 to get onto Turnpike, Rt 1 can be bumper to bumper in summer. Have you tried Provence in Ogunquit? That's one of our favs.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: maina

                    In Ogunquit, we have a reservation at MC Perkins Cove, which we have never tried. We have never been to 98 Provence because we usually dine "french" in our vicinity(suburbs of NYC). Is it really that special?

                    1. re: EIF1lady

                      I have enjoyed a few meals at 98Provence. I also like Joshua's in Wells - great onion crusted haddock with wild mushroom risotto.

                      Fore St didn't wow me, but 555 did.

                      1. re: EIF1lady

                        We dine at 98 Provence occasionally and find it to be quite acceptable, though not anything to rave about. If you are used to good French cuisine in the NYC area, this won't compare.

                        1. re: EIF1lady

                          In Ogunquit I would go for the Arrows. They were probably the first in New England to epitomize local sustainable fine cuisine. We have loved Maine for over 20 years and been surprised by evolution of quality and the number of great restaurants and chefs

                          1. re: EIF1lady

                            MC Perkins Cove is excellent. Same owners as Arrows. The drunken fried chicken and cheddar cheese beignets are wonderful. Also, fish tacos on the bar menu. Whatever the fish special for the evening is.The Kobe Beef burger is very good. Oysters are fresh and briny. Most people love Provence. WE do not think it is that great as we find the food very rich. If you like French food it is fine.

                        2. I just ate at Emilitsa's last weekend and absolutely loved it. I was shocked at how affordable it was compared to Boston restaurants of similar caliber. The atmosphere is lovely and the food is divine. The chicken liver appetizer was incredible - I would not have ever thought to order it but had tremdous food envy when I had a bite of my DC's order!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: bostongal

                            Never heard of Emilitsa's - can you tell me where it is located? Sounds like its worth a try.

                            1. re: derekj

                              Emilitsa's is at 547 Congress St (right near 555)..

                          2. I was just in Portland for 3 days and thanks to many of the Chow posts, had several great meals. I DID get in to Fore st this time of year and so did many of the people I traveled with. It was great! and worth the price. We all loved the overall simplicity of the meals that showcase 1 focus accented by lovely ingredients.
                            We also ate at Street & co and it, too was fab, but the service was very inattentive and s...l...o...w. I really enjoyed Walter's on Exchange St. It has a neat menu of caribbean fusion food with outstanding service. Vignolia is very good, too but with that teensy service problem we ran into at Street & co. But a great place for a glass of wine and cheese-WOW! The cheeses!

                            1. Do any of these posts help with the simply prepared idea. All list wonderful creative cooking with a lot of ingredients, except for Fore st with the one focus cooking. I would have suggested fore st if I had answered this in Aug when you went as well....