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.

Eventide Oyster Co.

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.

What to order:

  • Eventide lobster roll (it’s TINY but just incredible)
  • Oysters (with Tabasco ice – seriously though)
  • Fluke crudo (Possibly seasonal, but if you see it, order it.)
  • Chickpea fries
  • Biscuits (with bacon butter).

Pai Men Miyake

188 State Street | $$ 188 State Street | $$

Ugh, guys, just thinking of the Paitan ramen at Pai Men Miyake 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.

What to order:

  • Brussel sprouts
  • Paitan ramen (with extra spicty garlic paste)
  • Tuna sushi roll.

Portland Hunt & Alpine Club

75 Market Street | $$-$$$ 75 Market Street | $$-$$$

Don’t let the name fool you, the Portland Hunt & Alpine Club 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.

What to order:

  • Herb-toasted nuts
  • House-made pretzel

Fore Street

288 Fore Street | $$$ 288 Fore Street | $$$

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.

What to order:

  • 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.

Central Provisions

414 Fore Street | $$$ 414 Fore Street | $$$

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.

What to order:

  • 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.

Bon appétit!

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