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Portland Trip Can't Miss Dish Suggestions - Researched

Hello Northen New Englanders,

We are renting a house for Thanksgiving week just South of Portland and thanks to the board have some great destinations picked out. Having travelled to Portland a few times in the past year this trip is all about exploring some new places. We aren't planning a single repeat except for snacks at Miccuci's, Otto and DuckFat.

I have spent the time to select these destinations and have read about some dishes in previous forum posts but would love to fine tune the trip with any recent killer/can't miss dishes for these places. Thanks so much.

East Ender or Grace (Dinner)
Pai Men Mayaki (Dinner)
Salt Exchange (Lunch)
Street & Company (Dinner)
Bresca (Dinner)
Hot Suppa (Breakfast)
Eventide Oyster Bar (Lunch)

Breakfast & Coffee Shops (Possible baked goods or snack suggestions)

Scratch Bakery
Bard Coffee
158 Perkins St.
Speckled Axe
Tandem Coffee

Thanks again for any suggestions.

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  1. The bagels at Scratch are unparalleled. You'll have to go. For the carb overload, hit up Standard Baking Co. for their baguette.

    Petite Jacqueline has my favorite dish in Portland - Bouef Bourginion.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. East Ender or GraceĀ . Apples and oranges. East Ender much more casual. Grace at the very least have a cocktail. The place is worth a visit for ambiance alone.
        Pai Men. The pork buns are a must.
        Eventide. The oysters and the fried oyster buns.
        Bresca. You MUST save room for desert.
        Speckled Axe. Get the dripped to order.
        I prefer 158 to Scratch. One learned to make bagels from the other so I think it's six of one...
        Agree with Standard Bakery. Split a Luna bread at micucci for the total carb experience.

        9 Replies
        1. re: bobbert

          Pork Buns were on my list and we had them tonight, very strong. Also had the Pai Tan ramen which was excellent; thanks for the dessert mention at Bresca, we often don't save room but will make sure to this time. I was thinking drinks at Grace just to see the build out so we will do that and then East Ender for dinner.

          158, Salt Exchange and Street are on tomorrows hit list.

          Still have places left to hit people. If anyone has any special recs for East Ender or Bresca that would be great.

          1. re: YoChief23

            At Grace have your drinks upstairs for the best view of the place. The upstairs lounge area is on the left side as you face the kitchen.

            1. re: YoChief23

              We love the Salt Exchange. The bone marrow is great, if it's on the menu.

            2. re: bobbert

              Bobbert is clearly one of your town's culinary cognescenti! Eventide's fried oyster buns are truly delectable and habit forming. Thank goodness I live in Boston! Bresca's shaved brussel sprouts and braised Tuscan kale dishes not to mention the buttermilk panna cotta should not be missed. I'd also like to give a nod to Caiola's house made cannelloni stuffed with ricotta ,sweet pepper,parmesan and spinach. Lastly, whenever I visit your fine town, I purchase at least 3 loaves of Micucci"s Luna bread to bring home and freeze.

              1. re: FeeFiPho

                I've been called a lot of things but that's a first for cognoscenti! I think it appears that we just happen to have similar tastes. Only 3 luna? Would never make it out of the state. I have to buy at least two for dinner as I I inevitably eat one on the drive home. The real killer is that they stop baking lunas during the prime time Sicilian slab lunch run.

                1. re: bobbert

                  I might also add the roasted mussels from Fore Street and Pai Men Miyake's omakase to the list. BTW- I am also a big fan of Pai Men's pork buns and much of the delicious pastry from Standard Bakery... but that Luna bread...oh my!... is something else!

                2. re: FeeFiPho

                  OK, what is this Luna bread? We have loved the sicilian slabs, cannoli, and sfogliatelle at Micucci's.

                  1. re: Bob W

                    It is the same bread that Steve uses to make those sicilian slabs.

                    1. re: FeeFiPho

                      It's on the list for our next visit! Thanks FFP

                      When we visit Micucci's we usually then head north to the Waterville area, so we always load up on car-friendly carbs before leaving Portland.

              2. Just to help you not get lost, 158 is on Pickett Street, not Perkins Street.

                I have not tried Scratch yet, but it's my understanding that the bagels are almost identical. We had a wonderful time at 158, eating bagels out in the back yard. If you like bagels with a lot of chew, these are for you.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Bob W

                  We figured out Pickett Street ok...really interesting bagels...glad we tried it; we still have Scratch on our list as well.

                  Didn't end up making it to Salt Exchange, slices at Otto instead but we had a killer meal at Street & Company last night. Two of the party had the roasted mussels which my Mom thought were the same recipe as Fore Street, really super rich and amazing. I had the whole roasted fish which was the Branzino with roasted fennel and it was perfectly cooked and seasoned. Last person had the grilled lobster with linguini which was also a home run. I went in with pretty high expectations and it totally delivered.

                  I will definitely plan on grabbing some Luna bread tomorrow along with my slab.

                  Thanks for the specific recs at Bresca, love Panna Cotta so one of us will order that for sure along with the other dishes.

                  Other trip hits so far:

                  Siphon prepared Coffee and Latte's at Speckled Axe: Best coffee of the trip so far / good edge over Bard Coffee - can't wait to try Tandem Coffee tomorrow morning

                  Standard Baking Company: Great brownie, this place very much reminds me of Clear Flour in Brookline back near home

                  Fat Cat Baking Co: Very good Pumpkin Whoopie Pie, chocolate chip cookie was just ok, we have yet to get into the Cherry Pie we purchased but it looks ridiculous

                  Rosemont Market and Baking Company: Just stopped in to grab some produce and other things, very cool shop

                  Thanks for the feedback so far folks, 5 more days of our trip. Having a great time, weather has been really great.