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Apr 12, 2012 09:30 AM

Picky in Portland

I'm going to be in Portland, Maine, this Saturday night with my sister and brother-in-law, and I'm looking for some suggestions on where to have dinner. I've read quite a bit on this board (but never posted!) and haven't been able to find anything that meets our various requirements. Here's what we're looking for:

--under $20 a person (under $15 would be great)
--I'd love a place with some seafood options, but my sister and her husband are vegetarians who don't eat any seafood/ shellfish. They get sick of eating just salads and pasta, so some place that has a more extensive vegetarian menu PLUS non-vegetarian options for me is what we're looking for.

We tend to like ethinc stuff, but not Greek this time, since we're going to a big Greek party on Sunday. And I'm planning to go to Duckfat for lunch, since I've read such great things about it.

Thanks for the suggestions!

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  1. Silly's is a possibility--extremely varied menu, lots of veggie options, fun atmosphere, cheap. Hot Suppa's dinner menu is basically cajun and meat-heavy, but they do have good falafel and a fried green tomato BLT (as well as salads.) But even if you think you want meat, give the Green Elephant a look--it is an outstanding Asian-influenced vegetarian restaurant, but all kinds of omnivores love it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sciencediet

      I'm a huge carnivore but if all vegetarian was as good as the Green Elephant I might consider giving up meat. Not really but you get the idea. I also like their sister restaurant, Boda, which has a number of vegetarian options. Both fit your price range. Pai men Miyake noodle bar has a fairly decent vegetarian selection Plus sushi rolls and you can eat the pork buns!

      1. re: bobbert

        +1 to all of bobbert's and suggestions. Also, check out El Rayo and Asmara. I just had a great family lunch at El Rayo a few weekends ago, and the last time I was at Asmara with a party of 4 we shared the vegetarian platter which ended up being plenty of food and very satisfying.

    2. I wouldn't call them picky! I say "right on" to them!

      Anyway, lots of good suggestions already. Pepperclub also has veggie/vegan offerings, too. In the same block as Rabelais, one of my favorite stops in Portland.

      1 Reply
      1. re: digga

        Pepperclub is another good spot for that vegetarian/omnivore mix. Unfortunately, the bookstore next door has closed and moved to Biddeford. As mentioned below Figa is really good I'm a fan but to get anything close to filling I think you have to have an app with the entree which might push the OP over budget - with a glass of wine and food, I'm usually in that $50 pp range with tax and tip.

      2. How about Figa? ....or on the same block Otto Pizza.

        1. Thanks to all for the great recommendations. I looked at all the restaurants mentioned, and we narrowed it down to Silly's and Boda, depending on the mood we were in. In the end, we went with Boda because it was after 8:00 and I believe Silly's closed at 9:00.

          We shared a couple of tapas-- the peanuts and the taro sticks. I thought the peanuts were interesting, but the seasoning was pretty salty and garlicy if you got any of it with the peanuts. I didn't really care for the taro sticks, but my sister her husband liked them. They also shared a sticky rice ball, which I tasted. It was quite peppery and also salty, although I liked the chewiness of the sticky rice. I wouldn't order those particular dishes again, but none of them were bad, just not to my personal liking.

          I ordered the beef skewers from the grill menu, which was the best part of my meal. Very flavorful and tender, and definitely something I would get again. I also had the fried rice with crab and shrimp, which was very good, but would have been great if the sauce on the side(spicy fish sauce) had been less spicy. Without it it was very mild tasting, but with it it was too spicy for my taste. My sister and her husband shared the Woon-Sen Pat Thai, which apparently they didn't like. My sister said it tasted too fishy to her. I didn't taste it so I can't comment.

          For desert I had the black rice pudding, which was very good. The coconut cream served with it was nicely salted, which of course goes great with that kind of dessert.