There’s something about Portland, Maine that keeps drawing the culinary elite there in droves. Maybe it’s the small city vibe or the proximity to the Atlantic – or that it’s just far enough away from Boston that it feels like a vacation. (I mean, there’s something to this Vacationland thing Mainers have going for themselves.) Whatever the reason, I’m selfishly happy about it all because I get call Maine my “home” i.e., I get to eat there all of the time.

I posted a few of my favorite spots in Portland last year, but we’re definitely due for a bit of an update, so here we go…

Coffee

Chocolate Sea Salt donut from The Holy Donut Chocolate Sea Salt donut from The Holy Donut

The Holy Donut
I love this place. They give you coffee ice cubes with the cold brew. OH AND THE DONUTS ARE AMAZING! The best donut I have ever had. EVER. This is not a drill.

Bard Coffee
Great coffee shop. Much better than Starbucks across the street.

Tandem Coffee
A coffee shop housed a 1960’s gas station and laudromat.


Food

Taco Escobarr Taco Escobarr

Taco Escobarr
Really casual taco place. Their crispy al pastor tacos are stupid good. Happy hour is dangerous. Treat yourself to the El Jefe marg.

Eventide Oyster Co.
Up for a James Beard in 2015 and 2016. They are known for their lobster roll. It’s tiny but delicious. I also love the oyster accoutrement they offer here. The beer list and cocktails are excellent.

The Honey Paw
Same chef/owner as Eventide. They call themselves a “non-denominational noodle bar.” Most of their plates are Asian inspired seafood. For the record, the noodles are delicious.

Fore Street
Won numerous James Beard Awards… and it’s my favorite restaurant ever. Really delicious farm-to-table restaurant. If you can’t get a reservation, show up at 5 and put your name on the waitlist.

Street & Co
There is a lot of great seafood and pasta in Portland but this place is outstanding.

Duckfat
The chef won a James Beard at his old place, Hugo’s. Sandwiches, beer – and get this, fries… cooked in wait for it duckfat.

J’s Oysters
Super dive bar on the water. It’s in the name but get some oysters.

DiMillo’s
A ferry turned restaurant. Great for classic New England food. I really enjoy the steamed clams.

Portland Hunt and Alpine Club
Scandinavian food and craft cocktails. You can get champagne and popcorn!

Central Provisions
James Beard finalist this year. Lots of small plates. Everything is delicious.

The Thirsty Pig
Casual place. Known for sausages and craft beer.

Slab
Sicilian style pizza slices. Just rated one of the top pizza places in the country.

Nosh
Great for charcuterie and a mid-afternoon snack or drink.

Emilitsa
AMAZING Greek restaurant. Haven’t had a bad meal yet. Make sure to get a reservation.

The Green Elephant
If you’re into vegetarian Asian food (Thai, Indian), this place is incredible. It’s very small inside so it’s best for take-out – or if you are in the mood to wait, go for it. It’ll be worth it.

Pai Men Miyake
Start with the brussel sprouts. Then ramen! I love their classic ramen with spicy garlic paste. I also really enjoy their spicy tuna roll. They sprinkle slivered almonds on top. I never knew that was a thing, but it’s tasty. One of my faves in Portland.

Petite Jacqueline
A little bit of France in Portland, Maine. Yummy French food and decent wine list.

Local 188
Spanish-inspired dishes, including tapas.

Salvage BBQ
Wear stretchy pants and eat all of the food. If you’re with a big group, get everything. I really recommend trying their hot sauces as well. SO GOOD!


Drinks

The Press Hotel The Press Hotel

The Press Hotel
Housed in the old Portland Press Herald building, this hotel is part of the Autograph Collection, which means it’s fancy. Grab drinks in the hotel lobby bar, Inkwell.

Top Of The East
The Top Of The East is Portland’s only rooftop bar. Get a view of the city with your bev.

Novare Res Bier Café
An excellent beer garden with LOTS of international beer.

The Porthole
Dive bar on the water. Great for grabbing drinks on a warm Summer day.

Breweries:

  • Shipyard Brewery
  • Allagash
  • Bissell Bros
  • Peak Organic
  • Maine Mead Works

If you’re into wine, Wine Wise Events runs really great walking wine tours throughout the city. And if you’re in town over the summer, Erica hosts wine sails around Portland harbor. You can check out the Wine Wise website to see if there’s one happening when you’re there.

Wharf Street has a ton of bars. If you’re looking to go out, this is the place. Another great option for bars is Commercial Street.


I’ll leave you with one last tip. If you’re looking for fresh seafood to cook at home, I only have two words for you: Harbor Fish. Everything is literally right off the boat so it’s the definition of FRESH.

I don’t know about you, but after all that, I’m drooling. If you are planning a trip to Portland and need help with your itinerary, email me! I’m happy to help you build your perfect visit. 

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