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Jan 3, 2009 01:25 PM

Duck Fat - Portland, ME

After a hellish 5 hour drive from Boston to Portland thanks to a NYE snow storm we were ready for some naughty food. Unfortunately when we pulled up at Duck Fat at about 5:30 pm it was closed. We were disappointed - very disappointed - but undeterred. When we woke up the next morning we gave them a call and were happy to find that they were open!

The restaurant was much smaller than I expected. Really just three tables and two long counters. The highlight of our lunch was definitely the poutine -- so amazingly good, especially since it was about 10 degrees out and we were all out pretty late ringing in 2009 the night before. The fries were appropriately crispy, salty and hand-cut, but I think the real reason they were so delicious was that they had been layered with the gravy and cheese curds so that every fry was allocated the perfect amount of sauce and cheese. This poutine put the version All Star Sandwich Bar whips up here in Boston to shame and definitely rivaled anything I've had up in Montreal. I also tried the meatloaf panini. The meatloaf was good and worked well with the onion relish, but the bread to meat ratio was off and there was a bit too much of the horseradish mayo.

Hope to make it back up to Portland - and back to Duck Fat - sometime this year.

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  1. Everything I've tried at Duck Fat is great (Belgian fries with sauces; poutine; panini; the homemade sodas; the beignets (sort of donutty things); the$5 milk shake that costs $4; the soup; the French press coffee)---everything!

    You need to go a few times because the food is so rich you can't try everything on your first trip.

    1. I wasn't sure about this place, but had read so many good reviews, I tried it back in the fall. AMAZING! The fries are to die for, the sandwich was great, and the beignets were heavenly. I tried the spicy chocolate sauce with the beignets (I was told they put a little cayenne pepper in it), and couldn't believe something so odd-sounding could taste so good. Had a blast with the magnetic poetry while waiting for the food too. I will definitely return!

      7 Replies
      1. re: lirwin13

        i first heard of Duck Fat when it had a blip in Gourmet magazine @ 4 years ago. i have always wanted to get up there, but alas we are vermont junkies and i've never made the time for a trip. now this is the first i've heard reviews for the intrigue is renewed and i feel compelled to make a short mid-week trip to portland. any other places that should not be missed? esp late night/bars/brewpubs, etc?

        1. re: sarabean

          portland is a paradise for eating,duck fat is amazing,as is fore st.,hugos,the public market,grittys,the list goes on forever....i even heard theres a topless dounut place that has pretty good glazed dounuts....get up there,its so close,like less then 2 hrs from boston...

          1. re: im hungry

            Isn't the public market closed ?

            Also, where is the topless doughnut place ? Is this for real ? Sounds interesting....

            1. re: bakersma

              The "original" Public Market closed, but a newer version with a few merchants from the first one reopened at Monument Square (477 Congress St).

            2. re: im hungry

              Hah, my DH and I call that topless donut place home of the Donut Hos. :)

              1. re: GSM

                I can see guys going up to Portland in search of the mythical topless donut shop. Like El Dorado

                1. re: Trnrbrnr

                  very similar to those duckfat fries,the mecca!!

        2. Duckfat Rules! Made a pilgrimage from Providence and it was well worth the drive. The fries were sublime. The salads are great,too.

          1. Been to Duckfat several times. Last time was in the summer and we had to stand in line for at least half an hour before ordering fries and a shake. This was after we had a forgettable lunch elsewhere in Portland. It's great stuff, but it is heavy.

            We'll be celebrating our anniversary next weekend with a trip to Portland. I'm looking forward to another visit to Duckfat. We'll probably get to Fore Street and then what? Maybe Hugo's? Haven't been to 555 yet. Any other suggestions?

            3 Replies
            1. re: Essex County

              Maybe you should try some of the less well-known, but still excellent spots in Portland: Caiola's; Bresca; Evangeline, Back Bay Grill come to mind, and all have been noted on this board recently. 555 is definitely still superb, however, so if you haven't been there, try for a res.

              1. re: mainemal

                I have been to Back Bay Grill and was happy with it. Haven't even heard of the other three. Time for some research! Thanks for the tips.

                1. re: Essex County

                  I love 555, and Fore Street is still as good as ever. If you are looking for something different from those 2 stalwarts, you might try Emilitsa's, Caiola's (they both have websites), or Local 188. Bresca is wonderful but tiny, so if you don't have a rez by now, you might be out of luck. I have often wanted to try Pepper Club, but haven't been yet! Anyone have any thoughts?

            2. I've been to Duck Fat recently and have to say that I cannot wait to go back! The fries alone are making me want to return! We actually ordered more food to go because we were sad to leave! The prices are great, atmosphere is nice, service very friendly! I can't wait to go back!!!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Lee Storey

                Wow! all this response is making my mouth water! thinking about calling in sick for a few days with duck flu! thanks maineiacs for all the feedback, planning a roadtrip superbowl weekend, since we're not doing anything else special.... :(