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Portland, ME

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What are your favorite spots for lunch and dinner in Portland, ME?

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  1. Front Street
    555

    I would usually say Duckfat is a must, but I was there two days ago and the visit dissapointed. The frites were fine but not as spectacular as I recalled. The duck gravy had a greasy taste and the confit panini was overpriced, good, but not exceptional

    Portland is a great eating town!!! Study up!~

    1. Lunch: J's Oyster
      Dinner: Caiola's

      1. Just got back from visiting friends in Cape Elizabeth. Went to the Grill Room for lunch, and thought it was really excellent. Food delicious and inventive, and we ate outside so it included great urban scene-watching as well.

        1. I second J's.

          1. Emilitsa on Congress downtown for upscale Greek. Very good food, need a reservation as it is small.

            www.emilitsa.com

            1 Reply
            1. re: mainahs

              I'll second Emilitsa -- awesome food! Bar Lola, in Munjoy Hill, is also great; Paciarino, on Fore Street, makes really good basic Italian.

            2. Lunch- Silly's garden for the lamb roll-up and sweet potato fries

              Dinner- Rachel's L'osteria for Portuguese Shellfish Stew

              1. evangeline
                bresca
                hugo's
                duckfat
                Miyake
                ribollita
                555 is good but doesn't live up to the hype

                (not J's, NOT cinque terre)

                2 Replies
                1. re: merrvally

                  Merrvally----I like your response
                  not J's, NOT cinque terre and I think several more can be added to this...........not listed above..

                  1. re: irwin

                    Lunch-
                    Paciarino
                    Henry VIII's

                    Why Henry's doesn't get more mention on this board I have no idea. Yes Duckfat fries are great and you can't compare paninis to Henry's sandwiches, but Henry's blows them out of the water for taste, value, filling you up, etc.

                    The Crooked Mile- great workers, cool place, decent food

                    Portland Lobster Company- My new summertime fav

                2. Fore Street :-)

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: GoodFoodie

                    For a simple lobster roll, go to The Dry Dock. It was huge and they put the mayo on the side! I also had a gigantic and fresh Mixed Salad with Crab that I could not finish it was so huge and but tasty.

                    Have a few drinks at Old Port Seafood and Grille. Dan the bartender makes some yummy drinks and the appetizers are yummy!

                    1. re: GoodFoodie

                      Be cautious with Fore St; reservations are required (I don't care what anyone says), and other restaurants surrounding it have caught up in quality,....and certainly in service.

                      My rating is somewhat dubious as the food is still very good.

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                      Fore Street
                      288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

                      1. re: bunnyr

                        My wife and I drove up to Portland from Boston for a 1 day quick vacation. When we arrived in Portland, we walked around the city for a while scoping out possible hotels. We walked by Fore Street and thought it looked promising (busy, despite understated signage, yummy sounding menu). After we checked into our hotel, we walked back and was told without a reservation their would be an hour wait, but we could probably get seated at the bar within 15 minutes. We ended up being seated within 5 minutes and had a delicious meal. My wife had the Pacific Salmon (wood oven roasted, I believe) and I had the Seafood Trencher that included local oysters, clams, scallops, lobster and winkles (my first time). We also shared some tasty vegetable sides including hierloom tomatoes and garlic mashed potatoes (perhaps the best I've ever had). We finished off with a cheese tray with several wonderful local cheeses.

                        The service at the bar was great. Overall, it felt like a great find, given a spontaneous 1st time trip to a city with no research or preparation.

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                        Fore Street
                        288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

                    2. Don't forget that Miyake is now serving lunch. It's far-and-away the best creative sushi in the city. After enjoying 4-5 omakase dinners over the past 2 years, I dined there a few weeks back and enjoyed its $15 lunch (they also have a $25 option; both great deals). Here's a quick write-up I did if you are interested: http://bit.ly/bEPMfi

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: portlandeats

                        We prefer Shima for Japanese lunch at a much more reasonable price.

                      2. I'd pretty much second everything written already with some advise if you're from "away". You really have to eat somewhere in the Old Port. Fore Street, Street and Co, Bresca, Duckfat, Paciarino (get the lasagna) for the upscale meal. For more down to earth eating with the regular folks, do J's, a bowl of chowda at Gilbert's, or my favorite thing to do - hit a couple of spots for apps and take in the vibe between venues.
                        555, Emilitsa, Evangeline, and Local 188 are interesting choices along what is turning into an interesting few blocks on Congress St. - sort of a mix between upscale diners and freak show - as diverse a crowd as you're going to see north of Boston. Enjoy.

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                        Fore Street
                        288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

                        Bresca
                        111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

                        Local 188
                        685 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

                        Old Port Cafe
                        111 Main St, Winterport, ME 04496

                        Paciarino
                        468 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: bobbert

                          I agree with bobbert, although I think I wouldn't include Paciarino (which I LOVE) in the "upscale" category: probably more of a middle.

                          -----
                          Paciarino
                          468 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101

                          1. re: mainemal

                            I was wondering if I was going to get "called" on that. Paciarino is actually a pretty down to earth Italian pasta place - all home made in what looks like it could be your own kitchen just off the dining room. Ravioli, a glass of wine, maybe a dessert and you have a very simple, delicious meal. You still must try the lasagna. Oh yeah, Duck Fat really isn't an upscale place either, I usually grab some fries and a wonderful milkshake and then head over to the hospital in case I have a heart attack.

                            -----
                            Duck Fat
                            43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

                            Paciarino
                            468 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101

                          2. re: bobbert

                            Bobbert, would you elaborate a bit on what you mean by "interesting choice" for 555? I've chosen it over Bresca for an upcoming dinner and am wondering if I've made the wrong choice. Your thoughts?

                            -----
                            Bresca
                            111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

                            1. re: maxwellsmart

                              Max- stay with 555. I really like it. I've been to Bresca several times, but I prefer 555. Just my 2 cents.

                              -----
                              Bresca
                              111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

                              1. re: maxwellsmart

                                Interesting more in the neighborhood than in the food. The food is great – you must try the truffled lobster mac and cheese. You really can’t go wrong here. The neighborhood is an eclectic mix of people (which I happen to really like). It’s in the center of the Arts District which has been experiencing a very nice change over the past few years – very much for the better. There is a great mix of some fine restaurants (555, Evangeline, Nosh, etc.) but if you’re planning on hanging in the area, you might have to dodge a few pierced, heavily tattooed skateboarders or a homeless guy or two talking to himself. Not in any way dangerous – just a more real life area than… say the Old Port (which, by the way, has its share of freaks as well – just a little more trendy). Bresca? Also wonderful. So, if you're into wandering around in the vicinity of the restaurant before/after dinner - the Old Port is a must place to visit if you've never been to Portland - 555 then back to the Old Port for a coffee, dessert, after dinner drink or just to walk off what will be a great meal.

                                -----
                                Bresca
                                111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

                                Old Port Cafe
                                111 Main St, Winterport, ME 04496

                            2. For lunch: Nosh, Front Room, Micucci's (Sicilian Slab; 2 tables inside, otherwise takeout)

                              For dinner: Bresca, Miyake, Fore St of course, Hugo's if you're in that kinda mood

                              -----
                              Front Room Restaurant & Bar
                              73 Congress St Ste A, Portland, ME 04101

                              Bresca
                              111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

                              1. Just got back from Portland,Camden And Bar Harbor. Fore St, still excellent.Enjoyed The EDge in Lincolnville( Camden), and Havana in Bar Harbor.

                                1. And just back from the swing around --- up to Primo's in Rockland (outstanding!); a lot of cooking-in in Bar Harbor, especially after BIG disappointment at Havana; wonderful lobster roll at Docksider in Northeast Harbor, a lobster shack out of central casting; and then, after much deliberation because there are so many good restaurants in Portland, we decided on 555 and had a marvelous meal and excellent service, really terrific evening. Our B&B was nearby, and yes, it was kind of a freak show walking there, but seemed safe enough. Oh, for a week to eat in Portland and lots and lots of money!

                                  -----
                                  Docksider
                                  PO Box 1010, Northeast Harbor, ME 04662