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Where to eat/what to do in Portland, ME

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My boyfriend and I will be visiting Thanksgiving weekend (Nov 26-28). I've been researching places online to eat, but I'm still unsure!

I'll break this down for you, so here's what we need:

Activities: Inexpensive, fun/touristy type stuff. Tours, karaoke (I'm not yet 21 though!), cool places to visit, etc.

Breakfast: 2 different places. I'm a home fry fanatic (I like them crispy & fluffy, almost like tiny french fries) and would love it if you could recommend something with great home fries. I'm also big on waffles, so if there's any place with good waffles AND home fries....help a sister out!

Lunch: 1 place. Cheap & delicious.

Dinner: 2 places, 1 of which has to serve a good lobster meal. However, I don't do lobster, so this place has to have other decent non-seafood options. The second one can serve anything, really, though if there is anywhere that has good Mexican, that would be fantastic.

Neither of us are the fine-dining type, so we prefer casual/unpretentious joints over hip/trendy places. Thanks so much!

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  1. Well, I'll give it a start. Actvities: if the weather is reasonable, take the ferry to Peaks Island and walk around the island (~3 miles).
    Breakfast: don't have a definitive opinion about home fries, but I was going to recommend Artemesia in the west end for breakfast anyway, and I like their combo sweet potato/white potato/purple potato fries. Lots of innovative brunchy stuff, too. Not sure about waffles, but they often have excellent huge cinnamon buns. Inexpensive to boot.
    "Good" Mexican is a matter of opinion: there's nothing spectacular this far from the border.
    Other opinions??

    1. For a unique and excellent dining experience, try Hugo's. Rob Evans is an award winning chef, and his take on "molecular gastronomy" results in some truly memorable dishes. They do a 6 course tasting menu with wine pairings that is well worth the steep price. http://hugos.net/

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jimmyg

        Since the OP specified that she is not the "fine dining type" and prefers "casual/unpretentious joints over hip/trendy places" I think this rec clearly doesn't make sense.

      2. Last time I was in Portland, I really enjoyed the home fries at Bintliff's on Portland Street. Killer scrambles, thick cut bacon and house-smoked salmon, too.

        http://www.bintliffscafe.com/

        1. If memory serves...good home fries at Porthole and Hot Suppa.

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          Hot Suppa
          703 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

          1. Artesemia Cafe on Pleasant street has an amazing breakfast and/or lunch. only open until 2:30, though. Also, very off the beaten path and easier to get into.

            1 Reply
            1. re: serendipityeats

              Porthole does a nice job with breakfast though I don't recall the home fries. Bintliff's has great vege fries. Lunch: Duckfat meets your criteria. It' not expensive and great for sharing - share fries, panini and a shake for about $20. GOOD Mexican is tough. Tu Casa on Washington Ave is technically Salvadorian food and to get less pretentious you would be eating in the street. Believe it or not, the lobster is the tough one in Portland - you will pay through the nose although you might find some deals in the paper. Masa's noodle place is also great for dinner or lunch especially if you're on a budget. What to do? The ferry ride to Peaks is a great idea.

            2. I don't know if you want to eat all your meals at the Porthole, but they would have lobster and other options. Another breakfast option (but I don't recall the home fries) is the Good Egg, in the same location as Pepperclub on Middle St (also a good dinner choice, but no lobster.) I absolutely endorse Artemisia.

              Another activity idea (with good food!) is Bayside Bowl on Alder St. I seem to recall that they have karaoke too...