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Sep 13, 2012 05:09 PM

Portland, ME pre-marathon dinner: pasta, please!

Any advice for a pre-race dinner in Portland? My husband will want plainish-pasta, but the kids and I would want something more. Ok, the kids might not, but I do. Kids are 10 and 8 and are decent eaters. We are open to anything that might be able to accommodate the pasta preference.


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  1. Paciarino on Fore Street. Fresh pasta made daily by a couple from Milan. A great traditional lasagna (traditional if you're in Italy - made with a bechamel sauce - no ricotta). Several types of ravioli and different sauces to chose from. Went a few weeks ago after a long absence and it was great. Also family friendly so the kids should be fine as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bobbert

      Definitely, if you're looking for pasta. Wonderful food, friendly relaxed atmosphere, and just down the street from Gorgeous Gelato :-)

    2. I second Paciarino! It's so good! And definitely treat yourself to a gelato at Gorgeous Gelato after!

      1. Asians do some seriously good pasta too. I vote for Thanh Thanh 2 on Forest Ave or Boda on Congress Street or their sister restaurant, a vegan spot, called Green Elephant.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Noreaster

          Both my wife and I are running this year, and Pho or Udon noodle soup are our favorite pre-marathon meals! Lots of carbs and soothing to both the soul and belly without leaving you feeling overstuffed. Thanh Thanh 2 - how's their pho? Any Japanese recs for udon or sushi? Would we need reservations at these places for the Saturday night before the marathon (omg- only two weeks away)?

          1. re: honestcuisine

            I prefer the pho at Saigon to tanh tanh 2--(saigon is, strangely, across the street from tanh tanh 2), but I'd call both places' pho average--nothing standout. I so wish we had a really great pho place in Portland--I've been making it at home.

            Pai Men Miyake has really good ramen, udon, and sushi, tho! I don't believe any of these places take reservations--

            1. re: sultanaboudreau

              I'm curious...what makes a pho standout? I'm not trying to be a smartass but I never had pho until I moved to portland 12 years ago. I find the broth a Thanh Thanh 2 rich, not over seasoned and, by Friday, you can tell that pot has been simmering all week and is delicious...Good fresh garnishes, like rau ram, bean sprout, lime, jalapeno and thai basil and decent raw steak, brisket and meatball. If you want strange and seemingly authentic, on the weekends they have a version with blood cake, house made sausage and tendon...

              1. re: Noreaster

                Hi smartass : ) I said the phos at Saigon and Thanh Tanh 2 were perfectly average, not crappy. Crappy pho is the watery situation a place like Top Thai on Congress has on their menu. The fresh garnishes and meat preps are all what's expected for pho. And the tendon and blood cake are tasty--I'm glad to hear that Tanh Tanh has them on the weekends! And I particularly like that Saigon serves sawtooth herb with theirs. Mostly, I wasn't getting the depth of flavor in the broth, in either beef or chicken pho, that I was used to. They're tasty--just not what I was accustomed to. And my experience is also somewhat limited, too--I spent 10 years or so eating pho a couple times a week in Boston and the Boston area before I moved back home to Maine. But the ingredients are cheap so I've just been making Pho stocks at home.

              2. re: sultanaboudreau

                We decided on Pai Men Miyake, and it was exactly what we were looking for. I had the paitan and orders of short rib, tongue and chicken skin yakatori. All of it delicious. It seemed particularly perfect for what turned out to be a rainy weekend. In fact, we enjoyed the ramen so much the night before the marathon, that we stopped in after the marathon before heading home and got some for take out to share with the kids.

                FYI - They do take reservations for their tables, but we ended up sitting at the bar, because, well, there was room and ramen and yakatori are best enjoyed at the bar!

                1. re: honestcuisine

                  yay! I'm glad to hear it worked out (and that they take reservations now--)

                  1. re: honestcuisine

                    Good call on Pai Men Miyake.
                    I'm not a big reservation guy - rarely make them and regularly get shut out - which is why I really liked the no reservations policy though because Pai Men has such long hours I can usually find a seat.
                    A great thing about Pai Men is the ever changing menu. Sure, there are several items that are always there but with so many proteins being sourced from Miyake's own farm, you're going to find that things may vary greatly from one week to the next especially with the yakitori. I stop by often and rarely am I bored with the menu. Because of this, on your next visit to town, you don't have to pass up Pai Men because you've already been there - there will probably be many new items as well as your old favorites (like the pai tan – my favorite).