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Foodie anniversary dinner in Portland

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We're a mid-20s couple from DC going to Portland this weekend for our first wedding anniversary. We're big foodies and love trying restaurants that are interesting and different - nothing stale or boring! I've used the boards to narrow my search down and wanted to get some advice from you all. Since its a special occasion, I'd like it to be an upscale place (kind of hard to tell from their websites, which seem a little outdated?), but not stuffy.

Where would you recommend for our anniversary dinner on Sunday night?

Hugo's (My husband is super excited for the blind tasting)
Fore Street
Bresca

Also, here are the some places I flagged for other dinners, any favorites?

Salt exchange
Caiola's
Bar Lola
Petite Jacqueline

Thank you!

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  1. Sadly, Bresca is not open on Sundays, but that would definitely be one of my top choices. And if you're trying to go anywhere this weekend you might have trouble getting reservations (you can always eat at the bar at Fore Street, but that's probably not what you want for your anniversary dinner.) Others you might want to put on your list if you strike out at Hugo's and Fore Street: Emilitsa (awesome Greek food) and, one of my personal all-time faves, Back Bay Grill.

    I just went to Petite Jacqueline this weekend and really wanted to love it, because everyone does, but we found everything to be over-salted. I am more sensitive to salt than the average person, but be warned. Caiola's is great (go there for Sunday brunch).

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    Fore Street
    288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

    Back Bay Grill
    65 Portland St, Portland, ME 04101

    Caiola's
    58 Pine St, Portland, ME 04102

    Bresca
    111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

    1 Reply
    1. re: sciencediet

      Whoops, Back Bay Grill is Tues-Sat too. You might need to be open to your anniversary dinner not happening on your actual anniversary.

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      Back Bay Grill
      65 Portland St, Portland, ME 04101

    2. Any of your three dinner options will meet the upscale but not stuffy criteria. Bresca can be romantic - it's tiny, which can work for or against you; Fore Street tends to be busier. I think if you're excited about Hugo's, you should check it out - we had an amazing meal there a while back.

      I'm surprised that Five Fifty-Five isn't on your list - perhaps because my husband and I are thinking of having our anniversary dinner (also Sunday!) there this weekend. It feels very much like a special occasion place.

      Of your other dinner options, the only one I wouldn't recommend wholeheartedly is Salt Exchange. The food is lovely, but the service can be really uneven.

      Happy anniversary!

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      Fore Street
      288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

      Five Fifty-Five
      555 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101

      Bresca
      111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

      The Salt Exchange
      245 Commercial Street, Portland, ME 04101

      1. Phew - thank goodness for you guys! I didn't realize so much would be closed Sunday. Just made a reservation at Fore Street. They were booked up otherwise for the whole weekend! Wow Five Fifty Five looks great! There are SO many choices, 5 days won't be enough time!

        1. Hugo's is also closed on Sunday/Monday as is Bar Lola and Caiola's (after brunch). Fore Street does leave some tables open for walk-ins and you can probably snag the bar early (as in 5pm-ish). Otherwise you can usually get in later on a Sunday. Back Bay Grill, for some unknown reason, doesn't get the attention of some of the other places you mention, but I agree with sciencediet that it's terrific as is Emilitsa but, alas I think they both might be closed on Sunday's as well.

          There's my personal favorite, Miyake http://www.miyakerestaurants.com/. Not your parents sushi place. Definitely one of the most chow worthy places in town. Get the 7 course Omakase.

          Hit up the bar at Grace at some point.

          Then there's the ferry. Hop aboard a Casco Bay ferry to Peaks Island to The Cockeyed Gull. Not quite in the same league as the other places mentioned but you get to take a ferry ride and eat overlooking the bay. Pretty romantic overall.

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          Fore Street
          288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

          Back Bay Grill
          65 Portland St, Portland, ME 04101

          Caiola's
          58 Pine St, Portland, ME 04102

          Bar Lola
          100 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04000

          Cockeyed Gull
          78 Island Ave, Peaks Island, ME 04108