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5 Nights in Portland, Maine

Hi there,

We are taking a road trip from NYC to Portland - Monday - Saturday next week (7/5 -7/10). We are staying at the Eastland Park Hotel (great deal on Priceline). Any info on where to eat - we plan on taking day trips to other cities as well - would be a great help. We like local and organic whenever it's possible, and totally not into tourist traps of any kind - good, local eats is what we are looking forward to nothing too hoity toity - just yummy - especially breakfast and dinner. Diners, drive-ins and Dives style - thanks for any info!!!

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Eastland Park Hotel
157 High St, Portland, ME

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  1. Portland's a great "little" city. The Old Port area is where the action is. DeMillos albeit a touristy place ahs a yummy lobster bisque. Duck Fat is also a good restaraunt. Lots of great reviews. I ate there a few years back. Don't wear those NYC heels is you plan on doing it by foot. The streets are brick and cobblestone and a bit tricky. Their dining scene has definitely improved in the last five years. I don't think you'll have any trouble finding good food. If you're able to travel, you should check out Kennebunkport and Oguncuit (sp?). Beautiful ocean and good dining as well.

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    Old Port Cafe
    111 Main St, Winterport, ME 04496

    Duck Fat
    43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

    1. Becky's on commercial is great simple food, Street & Company is one of our favorite "special" dinner spots for fresh seafood. Not too expensive, but excellent. Flatbread Pizza Co. is organic and local. For day trips, going downeast to small coastal towns like Brunswick and Harpswell are scenic drives from Portland. Brunswick has Fat Boys Drivein and Lilleys Public House or take a 20 minute drive down to the tip of Harpswell and visit Dolphin Marina and Restaurant for fresh local seafood and the best chowder and stew (with a blueberry muffin). Enjoy!

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      Dolphin Marina and Restaurant
      515 Basin Point Rd, Harpswell, ME 04079

      1. Don't miss the new Mount Desert Island ice cream shop on Exchange St in the Old Port. Very unusual flavors. There's a small park nearby where you can sit and enjoy.

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        Old Port Cafe
        111 Main St, Winterport, ME 04496

        1. There is a great spot for breakfast about 5 min. from the Eastland called Hot Suppah. It is on Congress St, heading west.

          1. You may want to re-think the Eastland, I have not been a guest there, but when checking reviews, you may want to upgrade to another venue. Becky's diner on the wharf is great-best huge muffins and blueberry pancakes. Also Miss Portland diner has the most wonderful REAL corn beef hash. Duck Fat is fun, duck confit pannini, cream soda, and great fries with dipping sauces. Maine Diner in Wells, also great, not only for breakfast, but lunches and dinner. Go on-line and check menus for selections and prices. Flo's hot dogs are a Maine tradition, you may want to order at least 2-3 dogs, cheap, either at the trading post in Kitttery or on rte 1. If you choose to go to a special dinner, Fore Street in downtown Portland. One of the best restaurants we have dined at in years - need reservations, if not sit at the bar, have a drink and an appetizer. Any questions, reply back on chowhound. Portland Maine and Portsmouth NH have exceptional dining. Enjoy. We love northern westchester ny, but are planning to retire to Portsmouth in the next 1-2 years.

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            Fore Street
            288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

            Maine Diner
            2265 Post Rd, Wells, ME 04090

            Portsmouth NH
            45 Gosling Rd # 15, Newington, NH

            Duck Fat
            43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

            1. The Old Port is definitely not where ALL the action is - in fact you would probably do better staying away from the tourists and eating near the Eastland with mostly local folks. The food tends to be a lot better and the prices more reasonable. Also, don't worry about the quality of the Eastland, it is not brand new - but is an old hotel with a bit of character.

              My recommendations in the immediate vicinity for casual food would be Norms on Congress (decent pub food), Otto's Pizza on Congress (by far the best pizza in Portland) and Local 188 a little farther down on Congress is a great spot for dinner ( lively crowd and decent spanish food).

              There is fantastic Thai food at Boda on the corner of State and Congress and great drink specials and alright mexican food at Mesa Verda also on Congress. There is amazing Sushi at Miyake on Spring and Park .

              For more upscale meals I would highly recommend Caiola's which is within walking distance on the West End ( Northern Italian) or 555 which is right down the street from you, Evangeline has somewhat pricey French food. For breakfast Hot Suppa is a halfway decent greasy spoon - It would be a bit of a walk but the Ohno Cafe (on the corner of brackett and gray st) has the best breakfast sandwiches in town.

              All of the above are a fairly short walk from the Eastland.

              Enjoy

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              Caiola's
              58 Pine St, Portland, ME 04102

              Ohno Cafe
              87 Brackett St, Portland, ME 04102

              Hot Suppa
              703 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

              Local 188
              685 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

              Old Port Cafe
              111 Main St, Winterport, ME 04496

              1. Lot of good suggestions, so I think you will be on the right track. For lunch I agree with Duck Fat for sure - fun little place, high quality and real tasty. Now for one of the newer guys in town, I do have to vouch for Nosh over on congress, not far from the eastland. It's heavy on the meats, but if you are on board with that, it's really a fun place. Charcuterie, great sandwiches, and dinner is a great option there too - pretty upscale stuff for a little bar.

                Another fun suggestion is the Green elephant, which is right near the eastland as well. It's a vegan bistro, but it's a fun place for lunch and dinner, and always thought the food there was great, and i'm not a vegan by any stretch of the imagination, but it's good enough there to make you not care there isn't meat. Really tasty stuff.

                I also go along with the Fore Street mention - good food, little too much on the rustic vibe for my preference though, but worth every penny. Always have a fantastic meal there. I have to disagree with 555 though.....food isn't bad, but they think too highly of themselves, and for what you are paying, consistency and quality could be a little bit better. For what you shell out there, and for food more along the lines of that place (and better executed), Hugos would be a far better bet, although both of those are heading more towards what you don't want.

                Local 188 is another fantastic choice. Laid back, fun time, good food. Haven't been there in a while, but always had a blast.

                Hope you find some help with all of these.

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                Fore Street
                288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

                Local 188
                685 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

                Duck Fat
                43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

                1 Reply
                1. re: carlc

                  Duckfat is awesome for lunch.
                  555 is a great spot for dinner.
                  Bresca is a really great small restaurant with outstanding creative food.

                  If you head Mid-coast Francine's Bistro in Camden is probably my favorite restaurant in Maine.

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                  Bresca
                  111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

                2. We house clients at the Eastland sometimes, and while it may be a bit strange and run down i think it is a perfectly acceptable hotel for a visit to portland! Make sure you check out their cocktail bar on the roof- it has AMAZING views of portland on all 4 sides!

                  I agree with Boda, Caiolas, and the Green Elephant. I would stay away from Local 188 for food, personally, as i think it has gone downhill since the move. But the atmosphere and drinks are pretty good if you are interested in cocktails. Another good place for cocktails, not impressive place for food is Sonny's in the Old Port.

                  For pizza i'd skip Flatbread and go to Bonobo, similar idea but not a chain and much more delicious!

                  I do love 555 but it is very expensive. I really love Bresca- it is my new favorite little restaurant in Portland, but it only seats about 15 people, so you need a reservation.

                  For a quick Lunch, coffee, or acoustic performance try North Star Music Cafe.

                  For Seafood and Lobster try the Lobster Shack at Two Lights State Park. It has the best fried seafood and chowder, as well as outdoor seating and an amazing view!

                  And for out of town, I really love El Camino in Brunswick for Mexicanish food and delicious margaritas!

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                  Caiola's
                  58 Pine St, Portland, ME 04102

                  Bresca
                  111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

                  North Star Cafe
                  225 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101

                  Local 188
                  685 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

                  Old Port Cafe
                  111 Main St, Winterport, ME 04496

                  Lobster Shack
                  225 Two Lights Rd, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107

                  1. Just a friendly reminder, everyone. Posts that just discuss lodging or which do not discuss food and drink are out of scope for this forum.

                    1. The Lobster Shack at Two Lights is always a winner. Good food and the best views.

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                      Lobster Shack
                      225 Two Lights Rd, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: CEMaine

                        Thanks everyone for all the great advice!!! It is very much appreciated!! As far as the Eastland goes - for the first time ever, we gambled and named our own price on Priceline.com - so we didn't know where we would wind up until after I hit the "send" key!! I'm sure it's fine - downtown would have been out of our budget otherwise and we'd have been at a motel so it's all good. I am a bit nervous about finding parking each day/night, but I guess we'll figure it out. Again, thanks for all the help - I'm way more excited about this trip now that I have a few destinations to seek out!! :)

                      2. Update - staying at Eastland was ok - we paid $70/night - very clean - not much in amenities, but for the price it was fine. We had dinner at Beckys our first night here - it was just ok - nothing to write home about; The Good Egg served a nice breakfast -the homemade bread was very good, but Marcy's won us over and we had breakfast there the rest of our stay. We did a lot of day trips and had lobster rolls at the Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster - near Freeport - it was fab! We also made our way to Boothbay Harbor and had lunch at the Lobster Dock; we loved it. We also loved dinner at the Dolphin Marina; but our favorite meal was definitely at J's Oyster in Portland. We didn't go to Duck Fat - my husband was kind of grossed out by the idea of it - maybe next time.

                        Thanks again for all the suggestions!!!

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                        Dolphin Marina and Restaurant
                        515 Basin Point Rd, Harpswell, ME 04079

                        Lobster Dock
                        49 Atlantic Ave, Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538

                        J's Oyster
                        5 Portland Pier, Portland, ME 04101

                        Harraseeket Lunch
                        PO Box 218, Freeport, ME 04032

                        Duck Fat
                        43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

                        1 Reply