Solo dining in Portland
Of the very good restaurants in Portland, which are best for dining solo, perhaps a bar seat?
Hi kindofabigdeal. I'm a frequent solo diner, so I have a few suggestions.
The Blue Spoon has a great little dining bar. I've sat there many times. It offers a great view of the kitchen and I found that the staff paid tons of attention to me, not just my waitress.
I've eaten as Bresca solo on a couple of occasions, but that was when there was a small dining bar there. Krista (owner and chef) had banquette seating installed late last summer, but she wrote in a reply to an email that I sent to her: "I dined out for years on my own and would never turn away a solo diner! So please do not hesitate to join us for dinner once the banquette is installed." So I wouldn't necessarily rule Bresca out.
Street & Company has bar seating, but a couple of my favorite dishes there (such as lobster diavolo) are only available as a double portion (for two diners). I've asked before if this can be modified for one person, but they seem to be inflexible in this area.
To echo what Foodquest wrote, many of the places in town have excellent bar service. The only time I've had a poor experience with bar seating was at the Corner Room bar. Was waited on by a certain "celebrity" bartender and he evidently thought that putting in orders was beneath him. The guy literally rolled his eyes at me when I requested a glass of water and a menu (I did eventually order wine, but not until after I decided what I'd be having for dinner), didn't offer bread, didn't give me silverware and a napkin and never once asked how my food was. But like I said, that has really been my only poor experience in terms of bar dining in Portland.
When I'm solo in Portland, I love to graze by dining in the lounge or at the bar at places within easy walking distance of each other., such as apps at Fore St., small plate at Hugo's, dessert at Bresca. Or mixing Caoila's with Evangeline and 555. There's almost always at least one bar seat available, and another plus is that the bartender usually takes extra care to make sure no one hassles me (you know, the half-drunk dude in town for a convention--high points to Hugo's for that).
I think Fore St would be great alone. And it's way easier to get a bar seat than a table for four.
Also, duckfat is very easy and pleasant.