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Aug 18, 2011 03:48 PM

Looking for restaurant suggestions from the locals in Portland, ME

My 13yo son and I are spending a few days in and around Boothbay Harbor and will be heading to Portland later this week. I'm looking for any suggestions of places between Boothbay and Portland we should check out as well as restaurants in Portland.

We are very adventurous eaters, prefer places the locals go to over touristy places, prefer laid back to trendy. I don't mind driving out of the way a bit if there's somewhere really worth visiting.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for your help!

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  1. If you don't mind dropping some coin, Miyake is definitely a place you should try. Fantastic and creative sushi is the name of the game here. They have recently moved to a much larger place on Fore Street to which I have not been, but I've heard the quality of the food has remained unmatched.

    7 Replies
    1. re: DavidPalmer

      +1 Miyake is, at the moment, my favorite restaurant in Portland. If you're adventurous eaters, try the Omakase (7 courses, $75). Monk fish liver pate. Cod sperm... adventurous enough? Actually, the Omakase changes daily and even one diner to the next so you won't necessarily get these items. Haven't been in the new space but it does look great - was crowded when I walked past the other night.

      1. re: DavidPalmer

        Miyake is a fantastic restaurant but his new restaurant on fore st is by no means laid back and is certainly trendy.

        If you are really looking for local on the way to Portland I would stop at Betty's on Front St. in Bath for breakfast.

        In Portland for cheap and truly local I might try Ruski's on Danforth st on the West end.

        Congress street Bar and Grill (the former Norm's) is great as well.

        For a little more money I would hit up Boda for some great Thai food or Pen Mei Miyake (japenese ramen) both in Longfellow square.

        For dinner Local 188 has a great laid back atmosphere and decent Spanish food and tapas.

        On the east end the Front Room and Bar Lola would be worth checking out.

        Other spots that fit the bill would Otto's on Congress or Flatbread near the ferry terminal for Pizza.

        If you are avoiding touristy I would stay away from Dimillos, Duck Fat, Becky's or Fore St.

        Have fun

        Bar Lola
        100 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04000

        Front Room Restaurant & Bar
        73 Congress St Ste A, Portland, ME 04101

        Local 188
        685 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

        Duck Fat
        43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

        1. re: ejohnson

          I don't know if I'd call Duck Fat or Fore Street touristy, I've eaten at both in the dead of winter, and they've both been packed, so someone from Maine (I'm from Boston) is going there! I also always plug my favorite restaurant in Maine (haven't eaten at Primo), which is Hugo's in Portland. I had an amazing meal there recently, an 8 course tasting that turned into a 9 course when chef Rob Evans sent out his amazing take on a Nicoise salad. Smear of olive puree covered by a strip of fine Gulf of Maine harpooned blue-fin tuna, with 3 small clumps of tuna tartare. On top was chopped onion and hard boiled egg. One of the best courses I've ever had in my many meals there.

          Now Demilla's Floating Restaurant, THAT'S touristy!

          Fore Street
          288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

          Duck Fat
          43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

          1. re: kimfair1

            Do yourself a favor and get to Primo- you won't regret it! We've gone several times and have loved every bite! I think Arrows and The White Barn are incredible dining experiences. But I won't rush back to those restaurants, whereas I can't wait to get back to Primo! I can't say enough good about it!

          2. re: ejohnson

            It's ridiculous to group Fore St. with Dimillos. A James Beard winning restaurant with a floating tourist trap? Have you ever even been to Fore St.? It's the opposite of Touristy.

            1. re: ejohnson

              It is indeed absurd to put Duckfat and Fore St., both truly fine dining experiences and worth a trip from anywhere, in the same category as Becky's and Demillo's.

              1. re: ejohnson

                My family are most definitely locals, and they frequent Duck Fat and Fore Street. Not tourist spots at all. They can be crowded because they're so good, but that's not because they're touristy - it's because they're amazing.

                Becky's and DiMillo's are definitely tourist traps, though.

            2. Korea house on Congress is good,Miyake excellent,Susans fish and chips on outer Forest ,funky fried me. seafood,SAIGON also on Forest.Walk around the waterfront its fun for you and your 13 year old, a mix of working/tourist.Enjoy Portland. Its come a long way since the 70's when I moved here!

              2 Replies
              1. re: LeRique

                I was surprised by Korea House's price range when I walked by and checked out the menu yesterday. Almost $15 for bibimbap? Is it really worth the price?

                Korea House
                630 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101

                1. re: Mike CP

                  I think the price may have gone up, but it is a good version the owners are very accomodating and the sides are great,kimchi etc.Last time in Boston at Korreana it was about equal, I know its a peasant dish but done well it can be sublime.

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