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Exactly one nice meal in Portland!

We are making our annual Maine pilgrimage in a few weeks and I am look for one excellent restaurant in Portland for a Monday night. In past years we have gone to Fore St, Street & Co., and Paciarino.

We'll have a car so not limited to Old Port area.

Thanks all!

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  1. I had a very nice meal at Vinland last week. It's a relatively new restaurant (opened late last year?) - it's now getting some real buzz with spring and summer coming in.

    For maybe a more expanded menu, cant go wrong with central provisions. CP and Street & Co. are my staples when im up in portland.

    let us know what you decide and how it went!

    5 Replies
    1. re: majordanby

      Thanks majordanby! Will check out Vinland.

      I should have added that we are two adults and two kids (almost 10). Our daughter is fairly adventurous while our son is happy with a good plate of pasta.

      One place I saw at a somewhat lower price point is East Ender, next door to Duck Fat. They have a good variety of smaller plates and sides that we could let the kids try without committing too much $$. Ever been there?

      1. re: Bob W

        Of all the "gastro pubs" in town, I think East Ender has the best food and I wouldn't have any problem with kids that age. Excellent beer selection as well. Another "kid friendly" but real good grown-up food restaurant would be Pai Men Miyake (excellent ramen, pork buns, Brussels sprouts, etc.) on Longfellow Square.
        Scheduled to open early next week is Slab which will feature the former baker/chef from Micucci's with his Sicilian pizza "slabs" along with other Sicilian options. Space is looking real nice with what appears to be plenty of family friendly outdoor seating. I'm sure there will be early reports next week.

        1. re: bobbert

          Slab is opening next week? Perfect timing!! If it looks like a smooth opening we might have to hit it but otherwise East Ender looks solid. We get plenty of asian down here in the DC area.

          I might make a late night run to Blue Rooster for brussels sprouts if I have any room in my gut.

          Thanks bobbert!

        2. re: Bob W

          Bob - hmm, dont think vinland will be good with kids. great place for just you and the wife.

          I have never been to east ender. I saw a couple of families at Local 188 when I was there earlier this year - that might be another option.

          If you end up going to Slab, let us know how it was.

          1. re: majordanby

            Thanks major -- yeah, I checked out the Vinland menu, looks great but we always need some safe options for the kids. Local 188 is also on my radar screen.

            I will post a full trip report, including various lobster shacks and hopefully Slab!

      2. Personally not a big fan of local 188. I'm glad someone mentioned East Ender though. I've been a few times and really like the food. I feel like it's a little "off the radar" in the sense that I can go there on a Friday evening and not be too concerned with mobs of people.

        And every time i go to Blue rooster I have to get three little pigs. Would love to try other things on the menu but can't bring myself to not get that!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Davidrias

          Thanks, I am definitely leaning towards East Ender, I think the menu is perfect for my family. And it's open on Monday, which is when we'll be in Portland.

          1. re: Davidrias

            By the way, Blue Rooster has been running a special hot dog each week. each week throughout the summer a different local chef will showcase their spin on the dog. So far, so (very) good. A portion of the proceeds go to a local charity so you're doing a good thing while clogging your arteries.

          2. How about Outliers - great menu & drinks and very accommodating …sit outside on a lovely night and take in the scenery!
            Either of the Miyaki restaurants or Central Provisions is also a great call.
            Personally I am not a fan of Local 188, I find them to be inconstant at best.

            2 Replies
            1. re: kaby

              Outliers is closed Mondays, FYI. I was just there for brunch! It'd be a good choice if the poster was visiting on another day of the week tho.

              Local has been pretty inconsistent in the past couple years--It's one of the bigger physical restaurant spaces in Portland and it has a parking lot, which makes it handy when you have a large crowd/people who are uncomfortable with parking on the street, but otherwise...

              With kids and one picky eater, I'd probably choose the new Slab, with its outdoor seating; the East Ender, with the caveat that the physical space is really small and you could end up waiting but the food is really solid and worth the wait; Pai Men Miyake; or Empire Chinese for dim sum/dumplings.

            2. Just got back from a very good meal at East Ender. Over-ordered by far but have good stuff to report:

              Beet risotto: Outstanding
              Arugula salad: Really good
              Deviled eggs: Very good
              Lobster poutine: Decadent would be an understatement. Mrs. W and I ate the whole thing. We suggest at least four large men share it.
              Half-rack of ribs: Very good and a great value at $16. Probably eight meaty ribs, with fried rice and kimchi.
              Pizza with caramelized onions: good, but didn't blow me away.
              Mac&cheese w/ sausage: Excellent, and a perfect portion. The pasta (gemelli or something like that) had a really nice bite.

              Two cocktails (Ricky and Caipirinha Verde) were very good too.

              Also thumbs up for the attractive space and nice server.

              1. Glad you enjoyed the East Ender, Bob W. We also ate there last night, and also had a terrific meal: outstanding deviled eggs (one set veg, one not), nettle soup, tossed salad, and a salad special (truly special, though can't name the magical ingredients beyond pickled asparagus and mustard greens) - both fantastic, bread basket (wonderful), and mint chocolate chip ice cream (only thing that was just good). Two brilliant cocktails - the Bowlegged Cowboy, made with bourbon, beer syrup, stout and a lucardo cherry, and the Caipirinha Verde, made with cachaca, cilantro and lime. We were relaxed and comfortable by the window downstairs in what may be their bar area, with enjoyable roots/bluegrass/Americana music and good service. The main dining room is up a flight of stairs, if I'm not mistaken.