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May 28, 2014 11:22 AM

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.