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First Time in Portland - HELP! Too many amazing choices in your town!!!!

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hello NE chowhounders!

i've been researching and searching the boards of chowhound and the internet for good eats in portland. i will be there next week and don't know where to begin! i'll be there in time for dinner on sunday, monday, and will leave after dinner on tuesday.

so for breakfasts, i think i'm good. i'm going to visit standard baking company and maybe tony's donuts and perhaps two fat cats for a little something sweet to go along with my yogurt and coffee. that being said, what are your recommendations on what to get at standard? and also at two fat cats? i'm not so interested in the cake, but am interested in what you think of the pie.

lunch, i'm definitely going to try duckfat for one meal. and probably a lobster roll for another one. so far, i've heard good things about falmouth, two lights, susan's (they also do a you bring, we cook thing!), etc. what are your recs for steamed lobster/lobster roll? i prefer mayo on the side.

dinner: here's where it's tough. i probably don't want to spend money on all three nights on nice dinners. i might want to keep it to one nice dinner and one evening at another great, same-price-point place with a glass of wine and a starter. so i'm thinking of evangeline's prix-fixe on monday night, as well as all the incredible things i heard about 555. those were my two choices when i didn't know i'd be in town on tuesday for dinner. my friend is not free for dinner on tuesday, though, and the only thing that is calling my name on tuesday is the fact that bresca will be open and i've heard SUCH THINGS about this place! any recs on cheap eats for the other nights?

keep in mind though, that i am from new york city and have a plethora of great cooking and restaurants around me. what is a real portland can't-miss? i want to get a taste of portland that i won't easily find in new york. i do love seafood with a passion.... how's street and company? i was also thinking of this place for a dinner. sigh.... too many amazing places!!!!

and have i missed anything?

thank you so much!!!!!!!!!

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  1. A lot of restaurants in Portland are closed on Sunday and Monday nights. Make sure any place you want to go to on those nights is actually open.

    1. The MU is right, I recently spent a Sat-Tuesday weekend in Portland, and of the places I wanted ti try/return to only 555 and Fore St were open Sun and Mon. I wouldn't miss Hugo's as your more expensive night out, I go each time I'm in Portland. We enjoyed our meal at 555, but frankly weren't blown away, and the donut dessert was one of the greasiest and awful things I've ever been served in a higher end place. I really want to try Evangeline and Cialoa's (sp?) but neither was open on Sun or Mon, and we were going to Hugo's on Tuesday (555 was Saturday).

      5 Replies
      1. re: kimfair1

        yes, i am very aware of this fact. as i said, i've been researching A LOT for a few days now! :) oh boy, hugo's - another place to add to the mix.... and caiola's too. how will i ever choose??

        1. re: j.jessica.lee

          Graze. Hit the bar/lounge of each for a sampling.

          1. re: Mainegal

            Jessica (who eschews upper case letters...)
            I recommend Fore Street, Cinque Terre (which rarely gets a mention here), 555, Emilitsa (upscale Greek), Street and Co. Caiola's for sure... a new fave, and they do a great brunch. Standard Baking Co. does great bread, but it's really take-out only, there's no breakfast served there. Nice croissants, rolls, baguettes, but I prefer to go there on my last day and take some things home.

            1. re: ciclista

              Wow, not only is there a plethora of amazing restaurants and food in Maine, but a whole bunch of really nice people. Thank you all for all your comments so far! (ciclista, the caps are for you :)

              Keep the comments coming and I'll be sure to post what I end up doing and how I liked them! Thank you so much!!

              Oh, is there ANY chance there will be any wild blueberries left? I'm probably dreaming nonsense, aren't I?

              1. re: j.jessica.lee

                Since you say you're from NYC and want a Portland experience, you should do one of your dinners at Street and Co. Portland has amazingly fresh seafood and Street and Co. is the best for that. So good! Out of all the restaurants on your list, I think this is the type of place you won't be able to get in NYC.

      2. All restaurants listed here are fantastic! As a former East End of Portland resident, the Front Room is one of my favorite places for brunch, lunch and dinner. Reasonably priced, and open 7 days a week for brunch and lunch.

        Duckfat IS good, but went there recently and they upped their duck sandwich price to $14 bucks! That's up at least 5 dollars since a couple of years ago.

        Fore street is great. But make your reservations ASAP, as they book up super quick.
        We had one of the best meals of our life at Street & Co. about 4 months back...and they're managed by the same head chef as Fore St.

        Same sentiment as a few of you about 555--good food, but not blown away.

        1 Reply
        1. re: katetheskate

          FWIW, as far as I know, Sam Hayward(Executive chef of Fore Street) has nothing to do with Street and Co. However, the owner, Dana Street, is the same...He also has an interest in Two Fat Cats as well as Standard baking...

        2. We weren't blown away by Sreet and Co, but it was quite good. Evangeline was terrific, and I would also suggest Bresca...which we missed, but have heard great things about.

          Haddock chowder--try J's, for some local color, awesome lobster rolls, and that chowder.

          Loved the whoopie pies at Two Fat Cats! And Standard Baking Co has yummy stuff, too.

          Are you driving back down through Portsmouth? You MUST try Hebert's in Kittery, just over the bridge from Portsmouth for some fantastic fried clams, haddock fish and chips, etc. Sit on the picnic table and look out over the river...very casual and hits the spot.

          Good luck and happy eats!

          1. In case your trip is not in the past, you asked about what to eat at Standard Bakery--morning buns!!!!!!