I realized today that I have never written down my go-to recs for Portland. I couldn't f@$&ing believe it. I've spent every summer there for the past 15 years (maybe more, I've actually lost count) and I haven't blogged about Portland. Good god, what is wrong with me?
Portland is famously a foodie heaven. And I swear it's not bullshit. There are more restaurants per capita in Portland than any other city in the US... and most of them are outstanding. Like James Beard Award outstanding. Since summer is basically here, and my fellow New Englanders are excitedly planning their long weekends, I thought I would share my faves in case you were venturing to my favorite little city in the Maine.
86 Middle Street | $$-$$$
Eventide is one of my favorite restaurants
in Portland. It's a cozy spot with an incredible menu. There is always a wait but if you go during off-peak hours you can easily grab a seat the bar and watch the bartenders craft some awesome cocktails. Also, you can get Tabasco ice with your oysters. Tabsco. Ice. That alone is worth the hour wait.
MANGER: oysters (with Tabasco ice - seriously though), fluke crudo, Eventide lobster roll, chickpea fries and the biscuits (with bacon butter).
188 State Street | $$
Ugh, guys, just thinking of the Paitan ramen makes me drool. This place though. It's a perfect spot to escape the freezing winter temps with a bowl of ramen. Or grab a sushi roll in the summer. Actually, F it, get ramen in the summer. YOLO.
MANGER: brussel sprouts, Paitan ramen (with extra spicty garlic paste) and the tuna sushi roll.
75 Market Street | $$-$$$
Don't let the name fool you, this place has nothing to do with fox hunts. It has everything to do with Scandinavian food and craft cocktails. I've never seen such an unique array of charcuterie boards. And they have house-made pretzals. Nom.
MANGER: herb-toasted nuts, house pretzels, and POPCORN AND CHAMPAGNE.
288 Fore Street | $$$
Fore Street is my favorite.restaurant.anywhere.period. I feel like they are constantly up for a James Beard award, because, yeah, they should be. The attention to detail, the locally sourced ingredients, the bread. DAMN. It's a pain in the ass to get a rez, you can always show up at 5p.m. and put your name on the waitlist for the night, but if you try Opentable or call a few weeks in advance, you're golden.
MANGER: Since the menu is local and seasonal, it's tough to recommend something. Their fois gras is stupidly good (yeah, I know it's not PC...), the meat and fish are so fresh and I always enjoy their vegetable sides. And eat all the bread. All.of.it.
414 Fore Street | $$$
Central Provisions is getting a lot of press these days. Their menu of small plates ranges from unique salads to oysters and crudo to paninis. They were a contender for a James Beard award this year - and they definitely deserve all of the notoriety they are getting.
MANGER: beet salad, yellowfin tuna crudo, roasted cauliflower, rabbit panini, baja fish sandwich.
There are so many places I'm leaving out: Hugo's, Duckfat, Zapoteca... and so many new places are popping up. (Like The Honey Paw, from the guys at Eventide. I can't wait to try that one out... basically Asian small plates. )
Definitely let me know if you try any of these places. I'd love to hear what you think.