Portland - Help in Choosing!
We'll be visiting Portland in mid-June and will be there for two dinners. Looking for help in choosing two of Fore Street, Bresca and Evangeline. How would you compare the three? We're looking for great ingredients, some local flavour, price no more than $200 including wine. All look great from their websites so we suspect we couldn't go wrong!
I haven't tried Evangeline yet (though I've heard incredible things). Of those three, I'd say Bresca is the one that's can't-miss. Locals love to gripe that Fore Street is coasting on its reputation; I haven't eaten there in a few years but have never had a bad - or even so-so experience.
If you wanted to do a little armchair psychology, you could do Bresca & Evangeline - since the chef-owners are married to one another. (Krista Kern at Bresca and Erik Desjarlais at Evangeline.)
If you haven't made reservations yet, go with where you can get them. You can't go wrong with any. I'd add 555 to your list, though. That's a must, too. Or try my method, grazing: appetizers at one, entrees at another, dessert at the third (Evangeline for apps, Fore Street for entrees, Bresca for dessert).
I'm with the other responders: you can't go wrong with any of them, and I think your price range is entirely appropriate, provided you stay on the lower end of the wine lists (and any of them will have some fine and interesting choices for $40 or less). And should you strike out on reservations, there are plenty of other choices very similar to your top 3.
My two cents: Evangeline is indeed delicious but the quantity of the food served makes the minimalist food movement seem like gluttony. If you go, over order or you risk leaving hungry; Bresca is better than the hype; and Fore Street may be past its prime. Consider Hugo which seems to be on a roll. My favorite high end restaurant is Caiola's.
My wife and I had a fantastic meal last Saturday at Hugo's. We went for the 6 course tasting ($80 pp with wine pairings $30 pp) which is just slightly over the OP's price point (the meal was actually 7 courses, not 6). I love Fore Street, and have always had good meals there. Looking forward to trying 555 and perhaps one other in August when we return to Portland.
The Portland Chowhound crew helped me a lot over Memorial Day. Here's that conversation.
We loved Hugo's and will add it to our Portland Rotation. We also enjoyed Fore Street-- that is our Porland favorite. We've had to begin taking longer trips so we could still have a couple of meals at Fore Street and still try other places.
I did a review of our evening at Hugo's with some photos here: