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Portland Maine dining with...two toddlers

My wife and I are foodies with an eclectic palette. We're vacationing in Portland and are looking for good food that has some options and won't be too weird with two toddlers.

We did Otto's for lunch (fantastic pizza) and Street & Company for dinner (out of this world halibut, and very good linguini for the kids) so far.

Otto's knocked our socks off with their veggie pizzas, and I liked their side of meatballs. The ambiance was very casual in a good way.

Street & Company will be difficult to top, since the food was out of this world delicious and the overall ambiance can't be beat with the copper table tops (I think?), crusty fresh-baked bread, and good wine list.

Other restaurants we have on the radar include:

-David's Restaurant (basically because they have a kid's menu)
-Green Elephant (vegetarian Thai)
-Yosaku or Miyake - I'd prefer the latter but worried it's too upscale/quiet Japanese zen. If we do Yosaku will it appeal to a sushi snob's palette or are we really talking only mayo-laden rolls and salmon nigiri?
- Fisherman's Grill - for lunch


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    1. Green Elephant is great, although I've never been there with my kids.

      As for sushi: I would not bring toddlers to Miyake. Yosaku is excellent and very kid-friendly, but another choice would be Pai Men Miyake, which has a broader menu of noodles and unbelievable pork buns in addition to a few sushi things, and is much more kid-appropriate.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sciencediet

        Checking out Miyake's website, I have to agree no toddlers i the vibe I'm getting. I'm a big Japanese cuisine guy, and there's definitely a bias against kids in many of the higher-end restaurants (not that I think that that is bad, but just practically an observation for this particular trip).

        1. re: dndicicco

          I would agree. There are basically two kinds of restaurants here--family-friendly and Get a Sitter--while other cities have more of an in-between. I'm not sure why that is; maybe it's because the population here is mainly families and retirees, without a lot of the childless professionals in the middle?

      2. Super helpful, thanks so much.

        So, we did David's last night and it was disgusting, to be frank. We were right on Monument Square, which apparently at night is alcoholics square. The restaurant is eclectic in a bad way, and our server was obviously straight out of college or a HS kid with nary any appreciation of food. Everything was covered in grease and oil and woefully overcooked.

        1. I bet the kids would love Nosh Kitchen Bar, on Congress St. The sandwiches are great, but the fries are insane.

          If the kids would be up for Mexican, I really like Zapoteca (especially their ceviche, but they have other stuff the kids would like). For breakfast/lunch I've heard good things about Artemisia but haven't tried it yet, it's next on my list.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Niblet

            Artemisia looks very promising; thanks!

            1. re: dndicicco

              Artemisia is lovely, as is the playground right next to it, where one of you (assuming two parents) can take them if they lose it!

          2. Does anyone have experience with Fore Street? I see it's highly recommended on Yelp. Is it reasonable with kids, or "no high chairs" not a good sign.


            3 Replies
            1. re: dndicicco

              Fore Street has been consistently outstanding for decades, but that's another one where I, at least, would not take little kids. (I think there was a discussion of this specifically on this board a while ago.) Others may disagree, of course, but I tend to be conservative about this, and of course I live here; when you're on vacation, everyone has to eat.

              1. re: dndicicco

                Fore Street freaked out when we showed up with our sleeping infant in his car seat. I would not suggest it with children who can actually move or make noise. We basically slid the baby under the table, ate quickly and high tailed it out of there.

                1. re: dndicicco

                  Ate at Fore Street not long ago and the food was terrible. Overpriced, over-hyped. The interior is also very dark, very loud, and quarters are close.

                2. Really enjoyed Yosaku.

                  Extremely kid friendly with a number of couples, and then the professional crowd, yuppie crowd, etc. I liked it.

                  Very diverse Japanese menu. I particularly enjoyed the Hamachi Kama, amaebi (with fried heads), and vegetables with dipping sauce. I thought their cooked items shined, although the sushi was good. The rolls were a bit haphazard to me, and I suspect were not made by the same sushi chefs that did the cutting of the sashimi (excellent) or nigiri (okay). The sushi rice was a bit too fluffy for me and not enough sweetness, although the fish itself was very fresh and diverse at this very reasonable price point.

                  1. How timely. I was just about to post asking about options with a 3yo + infant. We're especially looking for things like outdoor picnic-y options if you stumble on any. I've gotten some suggestions on visiting lobster docs (five island, two lights).

                    Looking forward to your reviews.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Underdog Rally

                      For picnic options, you cannot beat the Bite Into Maine food truck on Cape Elizabeth, assuming that the limited menu -- a variety of lobster roll options, a veggie option, and a few sides -- is not a deal breaker for your kids. Here is the link to their website http://www.biteintomaine.com
                      Sublime lobster rolls and you are right on the water and by the Portland Head lighthouse in Fort William park.

                      1. re: masha

                        The Bite Into Maine truck is much better than 2-lights and chances are you're going to visit the Portland Head Light anyway. Try the curry lobster roll - my favorite. Was at the park last Saturday for a few hours at a BBQ and there was always at least 10 people in line.

                    2. We've found ourselves in Kennebunkport a couple times, and had some good lunches @ Allisons. I can't imagine a more kid friendly menu, but with decent pub/seafood fare.

                      1. We rounded out with a simple, yet casual and very tasty meal at Asmara tonight. The food was delightful and the owner/cook was even more pleasant.

                        Really tasty, spongey injera that wasn't too sour. The veggie sampler is filling, more varied than other Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurants I've tried, and I thought the flavor profile fairly sophisticated. The restaurant is super casual, but clean. The best thing besides the spice was the items that were made especially for children in a tomato sauce but served on injera, so the kids got into things.

                        1 Reply
                        1. Hi there!
                          We live in very close to Portland. I highly recommend Miyake if you like real Japanese food. My daughter has been going there(from Old Miyake time) since 3 mo old and now she is 8. For her, restaurant means Miyake lol They open for lunch from 11:30 am Mon-Sat so try lunch first to see what it is and can decide for dinner. How about that? Such as Wed evening(at 5:30 sharp), we often go there because less clouded and slow start evening. Before it starts busy, we finish our dinner and hit a road~Restaurant "Fore street" is one upscale restaurant (The same owner of Street co)has kids menu. Noisier atmosphere so mask kids' noise pretty well. Only difficulty will be very hard to make a reservation especially vacation season from now on. Good luck and enjoy your time in Maine! Demi, Japanese