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One dinner in Portland, ME: Bresca vs. Street & Co?

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amyvt Nov 4, 2009 01:38 AM

Hello all! My boyfriend and I will be spending one night in Portland during the first week of December, and I'm seeking advice on where to go for dinner (and maybe lunch the next day). Thus far, based on my research on Chowhound and other sites, periodicals, ect, I'm thinking it will be either Bresca or Street & Co. What does everyone think of those choices? Or am I missing the boat and should head somewhere else? As far as what I'm looking for, basically it will be just the two of us, so small and intimate would be nice. We are both rather serious about food, but not snooty. He loves seafood, I love everything. Price is not that important, but I'd prefer not to spend more than $150 total and I'd rather it not be too formal an environment. Lastly, we've both lived in NYC and lots of other places so we'd really like to have a more local 'Maine' experience. Oh, and what about Duckfat for lunch? Thanks!

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Bresca
111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

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    mainemal RE: amyvt Nov 4, 2009 04:07 AM

    Interesting question. As you will have seen in some recent posts, Bresca is almost too intimate: that is, so small and noisy that your space can feel impinged upon by a neighboring table. Street isn't a lot better: larger, but can be almost as noisy. A couple of alternatives: Caiola's food is definitely in the same league, but the space is better. And do consider Back Bay Grill: it's definitely "white tablecloth" but not even a little snooty, and the food is excellent in a much more "special night out" atmosphere.

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    Back Bay Grill
    65 Portland St, Portland, ME 04101

    Caiola's
    58 Pine St, Portland, ME 04102

    Bresca
    111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

    1 Reply
    1. re: mainemal
      SaltPig RE: mainemal Nov 4, 2009 07:12 AM

      I would say go for it at Duckfat for lunch. The poutine is amazing and the truffled ketchup for the fries is the best. Bresca is very good but agree with the comments by MaineMal. May also want to try 555, you won't go wrong there.

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      Bresca
      111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

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      maina RE: amyvt Nov 4, 2009 12:35 PM

      Yes, by all means try Duckfat for lunch. Agree with other poster, Street & Co is great for seafood but is noisy. One of our favorites is Caiola's as well. Terrific food but very laid back atmosphere, and not as noisy as Street & Co. Their menu changes all the time, but I'm sure they'd have at least one or two seafood entrees plus beef ones. Their appetizers are always the highlight for us (altho entrees are excellent too). It's a little off the beaten path, not in Old Port area, but worth the trip.

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        StevensAve RE: amyvt Nov 5, 2009 08:51 AM

        If seafood is your focus, then the best by far is Street & Co. It showcases the Maine seafood universe very, very well. Unless you desire absolute quiet, the noise level at Street is moderate and not obtrusive at all. Caiola's does have more than 1-2 seafood choices and is my favorite restaurant in Portland. Very reasonable too. Lunch the next day: Duckfat is the popular choice but has a very limited menu. Consider Paciarino which is also very popular on this board. For an outside the box choice and if you like Korean, try Happy Teriyaki on Congress.

        1. Bunnyfood RE: amyvt Nov 6, 2009 07:45 AM

          My two cents is this-both are excellent. Both are well within your guidelines. Street & Co. never disappoints with the food- and as a party of two, you won't feel too cramped.Also, Portland is not big, but Street & Co is in the mix of the night life- that could be an added bonus...or detractor. Bresca is exciting and locally sourced...you can't go wrong! If you consider Caiola's, read up on the chef- she used to run the show at Street & Co. They do brunch too, if Duckfat for lunch doesn't work out...Going to have to say pass over Back Bay Grill...you can get that anywhere...

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            mminmaine RE: amyvt Nov 6, 2009 10:15 AM

            Bresca IS wonderful, though I think for seafood, Street is a far better choice. I agree also with what other diners said...it's almost too intimate at Bresca and you can feel like you need to talk quietly there. Street is far more bustling, but very romantic and warm for an early December dinner. I'd ask to be in the room that does NOT overlook the kitchen, as it's a little prettier, and a bit quieter.
            I could not be a bigger fan of Caiola's, but when I have guests in town who want seafood, I always take them to Street and Company. It feels like classic Portland, whereas Caiola's is a bit more of a neighborhood place....

            And you can't go wrong with Duckfat! I'd be hard pressed to think of a better lunch spot in Portland.

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            Caiola's
            58 Pine St, Portland, ME 04102

            Bresca
            111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

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              amyvt RE: amyvt Nov 10, 2009 04:27 AM

              Follow up question - we are thinking of visiting Friday the 4th so we can hit up the First Friday art walk. Is one restaurant or another better location wise?

              2 Replies
              1. re: amyvt
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                domain RE: amyvt Nov 10, 2009 05:00 AM

                Not really. First Friday is mostly in the Congress/Forest St area. You could start around Longfellow Sq and work your way to the old port (Street and Co.) or down Congress to Bresca. Both are walkable from the main area for the art walk.

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                Bresca
                111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

                1. re: amyvt
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                  sopobungalow RE: amyvt Nov 11, 2009 09:01 AM

                  I largely agree w/ domain, but I'd say that Street & Co. has a slight advantage on this one... maybe just 2 or 3 blocks closer to Art Walk festivities, but an advantage nonetheless, IMO.

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