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Going to Portland for an afternoon

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We'll be staying in Ogunquit in May and want to go up to Portland one afternoon. We want to go for lunch as we don't want to drive after dinner. I'm thinking Duck Fat, but any other suggestions. I know it's sacrilege in Maine, but we're not big fish eaters, though my husband loves oysters. Also, its not food, but any suggestions on what section to go to and things to see and do? And eat????

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  1. Duckfat is definitely a popular choice, but it depends what sort of experience you like. It's tiny and is usually very, very busy--often with people tailgating in front of the restaurant or getting food to go and eating by the water nearby. The food is inconsistent--especially the fries and sandwiches. They make the best salads and milk shakes--i love the burnt honey shake, and the blueberry buttermilk. But it seems to be a more than the sum of its parts experience for people, both locals and from away.

    Infiniti is a good choice, it's on the water and has my favorite waterside back deck in town. And the menu is varied and quite good--they also have good frites. It's also a brewery and distillery and the equipment gives the place an atmospheric, steampunky feel.

    I'm not sure if Central Provisions will be open for lunch as we move into the tourist season--but if so it'd be a good choice, as well. If you happen to be in Portland on a Sunday, Piccolo has the best brunch--

    Outside of the Old Port tourist area, Pai Men Miyake--a japanese ramen/noodle bar and french bistro Petite Jacqueline in the Longfellow Square area would be good choices. Also the Blue Spoon in the east end is a favorite neighborhood restaurant. It's also very near the flagship Angela Adams store if you're into design/decorating.

    As for things to do--Portland is good for just wandering around. The Eastern Promenade along the ocean is a scenic walk. As is wandering around for boutiquey- type shopping. Leroux Kitchen is a great kitchen store. Ice cream coffee shops, bakeries, and beer are very popular--Gelato Fiasco, Gorgeous Gelato, and Mt Desert Island ice cream are all in the Old Port, as is Standard Baking. For coffee there's Bard and Arabica in the old port area. Novare Res is a belgian style beer bar that has a big outside deck.

    The Portland Museum of Art usually has good exhibits--they also organize tours of Winslow Homer's studio at Prout's Neck.

    You could also visit East Bayside for brewery tours at Rising Tide and a distillery tour at Maine Craft Distilling and a coffee at Tandem Coffee. Portland Architectural Salvage and the Portland Flea for All (the flea is only open on weekends) are also in East Bayside. If you're having trouble finding decent groceries in the Ogunquit area there's a Whole Foods and Trader Joe's in East Bayside, too.

    I hope you enjoy your trip!

    1 Reply
    1. Zapoteca is open for lunch. Had a really nice meal there last month.

      1. I just got back from a few days in Portland. Sultan has some great recs. I'll add East Ender and Eventide to the list for lunch. East Ender is attached to Duckfat and tends to get a lot of spillover while people wait, but I really like it as a first choice as well. Really good apps, excellent burger, and a bunch of local beers on tap that you are unlikely to find outside of Portland. Eventide is across the street and would be great for oysters.

        We grabbed some apps at the bar during happy hour at Zapoteca and really enjoyed it. Not sure of their lunch hours or options. Also had some pizza at OTTO on Congress St and really liked it. They have whole pies or about 8 options for slices. If coffee is your thing, try Speckled Ax across the street. Portland has a wealth of good coffee and beer options which is right up my alley.

        We walked off our lunch by following the trail on the promenade. Lots of small shops in Old Port. If you have just one day, that's where I would stay.

        Infinity is great for beer and cocktails. I only had a pretzel with beer cheese for food, but it was tasty. As you can see, my trip revolved around food, coffee, and alcohol!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ali G

          How could I forget the Speckled Ax!
          Food, coffee and alcohol are what we do best in Portland--

          I like Zapoteca for lunch and brunch--especially their carnitas and the cocktails when the person tending bar knows how to make them properly, but I wouldn't want to make it my only meal in Portland if I were visiting as the kitchen and service can be pretty inconsistent depending on who's working--and the decor is pretty dark and cavernous in a town where outside, preferably waterside, seating during tourist season is such a big deal for lots of visitors.

        2. Just an update. We ended up at Duckfat and reviews here were right on. I had the tomato and fennel soup which was nice. My husband had the BLG... Bacon, lettuce and goat cheese panini, which he loved. It was early so not crowded. But, when we made out way around town, we stumbled upon Central Provisions....open for lunch!!!!! Oh well, next time. We walked around and, of course, hit Leroux's. Thanks for all the recs!