Bon Appetit magazine has announced its 2018 Restaurant City of the Year, and to no surprise to those of us who have spent any time here, Portland, Maine is its pick. This honor has been awarded only three times in the past, to Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Chicago. That this national publication has highlighted Portland's corner bakeries, burgeoning East End eateries, and even dive bar favorites is an exciting milestone to say the least.
Now is the time to eat your way through Portland, and our boutique Portland hotel Pomegranate Inn is the perfect home base from which to enjoy these bars and restaurants that make Portland Bon Appetit's Restaurant City of the Year.
This relaxed oyster bar on Washington Ave. in Portland's East End has a narrow focus: oysters and not much else. There's local beer and wine on tap and a selection of tinned fish, but most of the menu is just local oysters, served on the half shell. Slurp your way through the menu on the patio or just inside the garage doors, open during nice weather.
You'll be rewarded for your trek off the peninsula with this small bagel shop in a decidedly non-touristy spot of Portland. With bagels that rival those in New York (even Bon Appetit agrees!), this is a great place to start your day. These Montreal-style bagels come piled high with corned beef, lox, or whitefish salad and vegetables. Latkes and matzo ball soup round out the offerings at this Jewish deli.
You'd never known Baharat got its start as a food truck, with its sophisticated Mediterranean menu and cocktail program. Start your meal with a Tom Kha-tail, a coconuty, ginger rum drink inspired by the Thai coconut soup, while you snack on fried chickpeas, housemade pickles, and za'atar deviled eggs. Don't skip the specials board, where dishes like Turkish crab dip and spring pea fritter salad will be the sleeper hit of your meal.
Brush up on the rest of Bon Appetit's Restaurant City of the Year recommendations before your next visit to Portland, Maine.