HOME > Chowhound > All New England Archive >


in Portland: Cinque Terre or Hugos?

  • 6

we'll be in Portland next Tuesday night and have narrowed dinner down to either Cinque Terre or Hugos.

i've looked at the menus to both places and from what i can see Hugos seems to be a bit more pricey and fancy while Cinque Terre is more traditional.

what i really would like to know is what each place is like inside as there seems to be no pictures on either's website.

so, which is cozier, has a better vibe or would be a better overall experience? price alone would not really be a deciding factor.


Cinque Terre
36 Wharf Street, Portland, ME 04101

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I vote for Cinque Terre. I think the food is outstanding, and I like the room (exposed brick, comfy seats, warm atmosphere). Hugo's is good, but the portions are small and the food a little too precious. Yes, I know the chef/owner has won a James Beard award, but really, who hasn't? I haven't been to Hugo's in a few years, so maybe someone else should chime in. When I was there, the chairs were the cheesy, stackable kind you see at convention halls. I know, that has nothing to do with the food.....

    Cinque Terre
    36 Wharf Street, Portland, ME 04101

    1. Have not been to Cinque Terre, but I do not visit Portland without going to Hugo's. I've never gotten the "precious" comment when talking about food. Yes their plates are not huge, but I've outgrown the need for huge plates of mediorce food. Is it precious because it's inventive? I don't know. My suggestion would be to get the six course blind tasting menu at Hugo's. It runs about $80 per person, and you'll have some very inventive and tasty food. One course at my last visit was "steak and eggs" A nice small piece of skirt steak accompanied b y an egg saboyan sauce that you poured over the steak. Yummy. They will also pair wines with it, if you ask. My wife and I live in Boston (she has family in Portland), and Craigie On Main in my favorite restaurant. My second favorite is Hugo's.

      1. Both restaurants make are of the brick walls and wood floors school.
        CInque Terre is in an open two-story space rimmed by a balcony with additional seating (see photo here): http://tinyurl.com/yhef82r

        In 2008, Hugo's was completely overhauled--both menu and space (I've never seen convention-hall chairs there, unless you go back to the restaurant, which had the same name and location, but different ownership). Menu went to small plates and space became more intimate and comfortable, while remaining elegant. Good description, but no photo, here: http://tinyurl.com/ygdl5uu

        1. Hugo's may be serving the best food in town. The presentation and service are great....got my vote!

          1. Would choose Hugos over Cinque Terre. Was not impressed with Cinque Terre food, very inconsistent, one entree was very good, while another just mediocre at best, and dessert was terrible. Also, when we went many diners, including ourselves, kept their coats on. A cold blast came in any time the main door was opened!

            Cinque Terre
            36 Wharf Street, Portland, ME 04101

            1. We like Cinque Terra and often dine at the bar when we're in Portland but if we only had one night and our choice was of the two, we would choose Hugo's.

              There are a couple of photos here.