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dinner in portland

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My husband and I will be in Portland on Friday, December 4th and looking for a place for dinner. Not really interested in Italian. Great food, but not precious. Price is immaterial. I was leaning towards Bresca, but I am concerned about the close quarters. We like eating at the bar. Is Fore Street not an option?.\ Thanks for your help.

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Fore Street
288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

Bresca
111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

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  1. We ate at Fore St. on a recent Saturday night and had a drink in the bar first. It was VERY crowded, but there were people eating at the bar. I don't know if they offer the full menu there or just small plates, or if a reservation is required to eat at the bar. I would call first.

    1. I would suggest Grace. It's new to Portland (opened in July) and its in a refurbished church. Even if you don't plan to eat here, just going in to see how magnificent the place is, is worth it. It's a great place for bar dining or more formal dining. Its located on Chestnut St. Reservations are not required but suggested because they get pretty busy, especially on the weekends. It's two levels- the main bar is located on the first floor and is equipped with 30 bar stools perfect for eating at. Upstairs you will find a lounge with comfy overstuffed chairs as well as another bar which is more of a standing room area. From here you also have a fantastic view of the open concept kitchen as well as the bar crowd on the main floor. The bar and lounge are first come first serve but if you are looking to sit down and be served make a reservation for mezzanine seating- the view is marvelous. I've included their website which also lists their menu- it changes frequently, right now there are quite a few Fallish items to choose from. The food is eclectic, local, and just down right good!
      www.restaurantgrace.com

      2 Replies
      1. re: niceray19

        Thanks for the suggestion. It looks great. We will be staying at the Portland Harbor Hotel. Is Grace within walking distance?

        1. re: michla

          its DOable but in the chillier weather a cab or your car might be in order. a cab may make more sense because, like many portland restaurants, grace doesn't have its own parking. its all on street which on a friday can be an issue. also portland harbor may offer a driver to its guests. but again walking is totally DOable if you don't mind the cold. i'd say a cab is probably not any more then $4 or $5, its really not far from your hotel.

      2. I would agree with the Grace recommendation. I recently dined at Bresca, and found it cramped, the food uneven, and prices a bit steep for what you got. Also, the atmosphere was at odds with itself -very formal (read slightly cold) service in a cozy, almost too tight room. Not worth it, in my opinion.

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        Bresca
        111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

        1. The bar at Fore street is always full but they take a list and it is the best place to eat there, they do have the full menu, but I prefer the starters and cheese over the mains anyway.

          1. Since none of the other regulars have chimed in with it yet, let me suggest Caiola's as an alternative.

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            Caiola's
            58 Pine St, Portland, ME 04102

            1 Reply
            1. re: mainemal

              I'll chime in. I've eaten a full meal and just starters at the bar at Fore Street, which is always very good. But we just had dinner for the third time at Bresca the other night and it was ethereal. I don't mind the size of the place. And, she got rid of the bar, so there's a bit more room.