Where to Dine
French bistro food at it's best, you will love the steak frittes, boeuf bourguignon and everything in-between. The atmosphere is as French-inspired as the menu, plus a great (if small) wine list and a massive picture window overlooking Longfellow Square.
All the entrees are good, but the homemade pasta is phenomenal, original, and changes daily. Think squid ink fettuccine with swordfish or puglia semolina pasta with pork leg, charred tomato, onion, and ricotta. Desserts here are a must.
Portland Lobster Co.
This waterfront restaurant is all about the location. Order your roll at the counter and head outside to a picnic table overlooking Portland Harbor. Your lobster-shaped buzzer will let you know when your order is ready, and there's cold beer and live music to enjoy along with your roll.
This neighborhood restaurant is tucked away in the West End and has a great porch that overlooks the Fore River and the Casco Bay Bridge. Enjoy a charcuterie board or some steamed mussels with a specialty cocktail.
Great on-the-go, by-the-slice pizza with creative topping combinations and a perfect crust. Be adventurous and try the Butternut Squash, Ricotta and Cranberry or the White Bean, Roasted Tomato, Herb & Red Flake. Two locations in Portland.
A local (no pun intended) favorite, this restaurant offers both weekend brunch, as well as dinner Monday-Friday and a great bar that's open until 1 AM. For dinner, you'll find Spanish-inspired cuisine and for brunch, items include a Summer Scramble, Biscuits & Gravy and a Breakfast Paella.
Located by Munjoy Hill culinary dynamos Guy and Stella Hernandez (former owners of the beloved but departed Bar Lola) and partner Neil Reiter, this “Vinoteca & Asador” has been knocking it out of the park since day one. A custom, wood-fired grill produces everything from blistered shishito peppers to clams to a massive porterhouse for three. Other items are super-original and unexpected, such as dandelions and nettles with garlic-almond puree and speck.
This food truck can be found in Portland's Old Port down by the water, where you can snack on sushi hand rolls and sushi burritos. Mr. Tuna uses all locally caught (Maine and Massachusetts) seafood and rolls it up with flavor-packed ingredients like fried shallots, tobiko and eel sauce. Look for the truck on Commercial Street.
Home of the original “hand slab” Sicilian-style pizza, this restaurant and bakery also features a beer garden, well-stocked bar, and a ginormous meatball sandwich. But is it the “slab” — which comes in individual, half and full sizes (enough for 8) — that will have your eyes rolling back in your head. In a good way. Bubbly hot cheese and flecks of herbs mingle with a sweetly spicy tomato sauce that conjures up visions of Sicilian grandmas stirring steaming pots.
Latin-inspired menu with a few serious stand-outs — the scallop ceviche and fried sweet plantains. Empanada of the day is always superb. Great refurbished interior with original tile floors, floor to ceiling windows, and a stunning bar area.
The Thirsty Pig
The Exchange Street purveyor of tasty pig parts slings a Sweet Italian with notes of fennel and a Kielbasa smothered in sauerkraut, among other things! Links are hand made right here in the Forest City. Menu items include a veggie dog, classic dog, apple chicken, BBQ banger, and a handful of soup and salad selections. And, nothing beats sipping a local Maine brew on the back deck while breathing in fresh Maine air.
If you're looking to get off the Portland peninsula, try The Treehouse above Pat’s Meat Market in the Deering Center neighborhood. The menu offers everything from Lobster Saffron Bisque, to Ravioli Crisps, to a Wild Mushroom Flatbread. Not to mention there's a jewel of a private 2nd-floor deck at the back of the building.
Chef Lee Harding Smith has renovated a Room for every occasion. The moody Grill Room proves a match for meat cravings and cocktails. The bustling Corner Room fits the bill for power lunches and pre-show appetizers. Newly opened Boone’s Fish House and Oyster Room offers waterfront dining on Portland’s working harbor. And The Front Room? The Munjoy Hill bistro is all about the burger on focaccia bread.
If you're looking for a true blue, old school experience, this is the spot for you. The Porthole offers breakfast, lunch and dinner and has live music multiple nights of the week, not to mention, it's home to Portland's largest waterfront deck.
The Honey PawBuzz-Worthy
Like bees to honey, people are flocking to Honey Paw - sister to perennially popular Hugo’s - for their savory stir-fried noodles, delectable dumplings, and pillowy potato gnocchi. The large communal table running through the center of the restaurant creates a sense of community, making it even easier to share your love for the array of small plates in front of you with your neighbor.
One of our favorite Portland restaurants, Boda, brings you Thainy (pronounced like 'tiny') Boda. This food truck brings Thai street food to the streets of Portland. Find skewered grilled meats, sticky rice, and Boda's signature dishes like fried Brussel sprouts and soy fried quail eggs
The Good Table
A restaurant run by family and friends, The Good Table has an extensive breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch menu offering everything from lobster eggs benedict, fish and chips, to blueberry crepes, and a lobster cod salad.
Little Tap House
Craft beer gastro-pub with a farm-to-table menu of simply prepared and simply good mid-priced staples. Try the cider-brined roast chicken or the burger (one of the best in town). Taps overflowing with locally brewed favorites. Creative cocktails.
When your restaurant boasts sterling reputation, the expectations of your guests run high. Hugo’s meets and exceeds them with inspired cuisine (in the form of inventive, multi-course tasting menus) and truly impeccable and knowledgeable service.
Boone’s Fish House + Oyster Room
This Old Port restaurant is housed in a renovated a historic building right on Custom House Wharf on Portland’s Commercial Street. With decks on two levels overlooking Portland Harbor, you can dine on local seafood while watching lobstermen haul in their daily catches.
This cozy bistro, a longtime Portland favorite, turns out the comfort food classics that it has long been known for. Tuck into eggplant parmesan with spinach salad or classic seafood paella loaded with chicken, chorizo, mussels, clams, and shrimp. Whatever you do, don't pass on dessert – they're legendary.
This small plates restaurant opened with a bang over the winter of 2014 and has been serving up creative meals ever since. Eclectic with arty touches, the food here is the culinary equivalent to the Pomegranate Inn! Dishes arrive quickly with a detailed description from your server. Chris, the beverage/wine manager is a brilliant sommelier and all-around great guy. Don’t miss the smoked carrots (trust us), fluke ceviche, arancini, local mushrooms, scallops...we could go on and on.
Putting Boda in the same category as the rest of Portland’s Thai restaurants is like equating grandma’s from-scratch Tuscan with greasy-good college town pizza. It’s a matter of ethnic authenticity. The Thai food at Boda is simply – well – unAmerican. In a very good way. Don’t miss the crispy quail eggs appetizer or the bitter melon soup stuffed with minced pork.
The line-up includes sandwiches, specialty dogs and a few daily salad specials, but don’t let that fool you. Sheparded into existence by chef Damian Sansonetti (formerly of Manhattan’s acclaimed Bar Boulud), this “sandwich shop” is anything but ordinary. Case in point — The Red Eye: buttermilk biscuit, pork belly, hash browns, red eye mayo and a runny fried egg. Mind blowing.
Bao Bao Dumpling HouseBuzz-Worthy
Cute as a button, this dumpling house is perfect in the colder months. Steaming hot dumplings and Asian teas are just the ticket for snowy nights. All the dumplings are exceptional, but don't miss out on the beef and curry (get them pan fried). The greens in oyster sauce dish is truly amazing, and the chrysanthemum tea will set you to rights if you are feeling sniffly.
Bite Into Maine
One of the best ways to enjoy fresh Maine lobster is in roll form, but not just any roll – the area's best. Bite Into Maine parks their food truck at Fort Williams and offers a variety of lobster rolls from Original, Picnic, Wasabi, Curry, or Chipotle. Nosh while you soak in the view.
Bite Into Maine
There's nothing quite like a Maine lobster and we think it tastes best in the form of a "roll." Bite Into Maine, which started as a food truck and now with three locations, offers up a list of lobster rolls made in various styles with tasty side dishes and a few dessert options.
Take just a 20-minute ferry from Portland’s Old Port to Peaks Island, to enjoy destination dinner at the Cockeyed Gull. It's a very small restaurant but offers up both a terrific menu and a great deck overlooking Casco Bay, the city of Portland and incredible sunsets — make a reservation first.
A staple in Monument Square offering a variety of fish and seafood dishes with a twist. Think Moroccan-Spiced Skewers of Shrimp & Scallops and Ginger-Scallion Crusted Salmon. There are plenty of more "classic" options as well.
Located on bustling Commercial Street, Flatbread has a deck literally right on top of the water and is worth the wait. It features thin-crust, wood-fired pizza and a boisterous, kid-friendly atmosphere.
Vegetarian and vegan food with a flair. Asian-inspired dishes range from Indian to Thai to Vietnamese. Don’t miss the Roti Canai, an Indian style flatbread with curry dip.
Even though you get a lovely breakfast at the inn, you’ll want to consider grabbing a dozen of these Maine potato donuts for the drive home. Dense and not too sweet, these are righteous rings of deep-fried deliciousness. Try the chocolate sea salt, sweet potato ginger, and coffee brandy.
Chef Steve Correy's restaurant was one of the first to spark Portland's foodie renaissance and the stellar menu keeps diners happy year after year. Brunch is quite good and 555 is known for creative holiday dining menus.
Lobster lovers that want the most bang for their buck should head to this small seafood shack located on less-than-scenic Forest Ave., where a jumbo roll comes packed with the meat from a 1-1/2 pound lobster.
Best oyster selection in Maine with a set of nuanced small plates designed to sate any appetite. The savory lobster stew with notes of paprika delights, and the lightly cured artic char melts on the tongue. For a unique twist on a classic, try the brown butter lobster roll. Cocktails are crisp and original.
The sleekly designed navy blue food truck serves falafel sandwiches, with a signature "dreamy tahini" sauce stands, making for vegan-friendly pita pockets. You can find Falafel Mafia every Sunday from 5pm-8pm on Portland's Eastern Promenade.
Back Bay Grill
Old fashioned elegance with white tablecloths, ever-present waiters, and classic, well-made dishes. Great for a special occasion celebration.