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Portland - need non dining food stop ideas!

Sunday will not be hit or miss for any shops in the Old Port on Labor day weekend. They will all be open; with the only exception of miccuci's which I believe is closed on Sundays.

Aug 16, 2012
ejohnson in Northern New England

Portland Wine Shop Recommendations?

If you are really looking for wine pairings, then your best would be Old Port Wine Merchants. The owner is exceptionally knowledgable and would love to help out with pairings

Jun 19, 2012
ejohnson in Northern New England

BYOB in Portland

Schulte and Herr on Cumberland ave is a small German restaurant that is BYOB.

May 02, 2012
ejohnson in Northern New England

A few questions for Portland / Scarborough

Rebelais moved to Biddeford

Apr 21, 2012
ejohnson in Northern New England

Looking for restaurant suggestions from the locals in Portland, ME

Miyake is a fantastic restaurant but his new restaurant on fore st is by no means laid back and is certainly trendy.

If you are really looking for local on the way to Portland I would stop at Betty's on Front St. in Bath for breakfast.

In Portland for cheap and truly local I might try Ruski's on Danforth st on the West end.

Congress street Bar and Grill (the former Norm's) is great as well.

For a little more money I would hit up Boda for some great Thai food or Pen Mei Miyake (japenese ramen) both in Longfellow square.

For dinner Local 188 has a great laid back atmosphere and decent Spanish food and tapas.

On the east end the Front Room and Bar Lola would be worth checking out.

Other spots that fit the bill would Otto's on Congress or Flatbread near the ferry terminal for Pizza.

If you are avoiding touristy I would stay away from Dimillos, Duck Fat, Becky's or Fore St.

Have fun

Bar Lola
100 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04000

Front Room Restaurant & Bar
73 Congress St Ste A, Portland, ME 04101

Local 188
685 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

Duck Fat
43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

Aug 19, 2011
ejohnson in Northern New England

The East Ender - Portland

I think it suffers from being in a really crowded niche.

East ender/Bar Lola/District/Salt Exchange all seem to be playing to the same crowd. In the end Portland is a small city and there are only a finite amount of diners and at the moment there are a lot of restaurants. The new restaurants that are succeeding are both executing well and competing on price ( El Rayo/ Otto's and Petitie Jacqueline come to mind).

I found the food to be decent but nothing spectacular and I found the drinks to be overpriced.(Petite Jacqueline's carafes of wine are brilliant and are attracting lots of customers)

I have no problem with unpretentious decor but I found the ambience to be cold. We were in there with a few diners and the waitstaff were playing fairly loud music for their own entertainment.

May 19, 2011
ejohnson in Northern New England

Diamond's Edge, Portland ME

It's still a disaster. Just more expensive now.

Jul 19, 2010
ejohnson in Northern New England

5 Nights in Portland, Maine

The Old Port is definitely not where ALL the action is - in fact you would probably do better staying away from the tourists and eating near the Eastland with mostly local folks. The food tends to be a lot better and the prices more reasonable. Also, don't worry about the quality of the Eastland, it is not brand new - but is an old hotel with a bit of character.

My recommendations in the immediate vicinity for casual food would be Norms on Congress (decent pub food), Otto's Pizza on Congress (by far the best pizza in Portland) and Local 188 a little farther down on Congress is a great spot for dinner ( lively crowd and decent spanish food).

There is fantastic Thai food at Boda on the corner of State and Congress and great drink specials and alright mexican food at Mesa Verda also on Congress. There is amazing Sushi at Miyake on Spring and Park .

For more upscale meals I would highly recommend Caiola's which is within walking distance on the West End ( Northern Italian) or 555 which is right down the street from you, Evangeline has somewhat pricey French food. For breakfast Hot Suppa is a halfway decent greasy spoon - It would be a bit of a walk but the Ohno Cafe (on the corner of brackett and gray st) has the best breakfast sandwiches in town.

All of the above are a fairly short walk from the Eastland.


58 Pine St, Portland, ME 04102

Ohno Cafe
87 Brackett St, Portland, ME 04102

Hot Suppa
703 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

Local 188
685 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

Old Port Cafe
111 Main St, Winterport, ME 04496

Jun 28, 2010
ejohnson in Northern New England

Lobster Dinner in February!

The weather will make no difference at all in lobster availability - there will always be plenty of lobsters even in bad weather.

If you are looking kitschy and cheesy then DiMillo's restaurant would fit the bill. I am not sure it counts as being enjoyed by locals but I have heard rumors that they have a new chef that is actually quite good. Regardless, they certainly know how to cook a lobster and should have some big ones on hand. They also do enough volume that their lobsters should be healthy and kicking. I can't think of any other places off the top of my head that would have steamed lobsters in the middle of the winter. The portland lobster company is closed in the winter.

Feb 11, 2010
ejohnson in Northern New England

Lobster Dinner in Maine

I would actually try Street and Co. on wharf st in Portland. I am almost positive they are open on Sundays and should be open late enough. They may not have a traditional boiled lobster, but they have some of the best seafood in Southern Maine. The ambience and service are also fantastic. While it is a touch fancier than Dimillo's the prices will not be that much more.

I would give them a shout and see if they could accommodate you.


dessert & drinks in Portland?

I would avoid going to a full service restaurant on a weekend at 8 if you are not interested in waiting. I think your best bet would the The Bar of Chocolate at 52 Wharf St. All they serve is dessert and drinks so it should be right up your alley.

Pizza in Portland Maine

I would go to Portland Pie. While the pizza might not be as good Bonobo's or Flatbread, going to either of those places would end up setting you back financially quite a bit for ten college kids. The pizza at Flatbread is great and maybe worth the cost, but Bonobo's pizza is at times good and at times has verged on inedible.

Portland, ME, weekend rec's

Ruski's on Danforth st. for breakfast and Bloodys

Greek food in Portland

I had dinner at Emilistsa last night with one other person. The price range for appetizers was around 7-10, salads. 8-10 and entrees 19-26. The menu was listed as a "preview" menu and only had four options for dinner.

The decor of the place is fantastic . It is a long a skinny room with a large marble bar upon entering and exposed brick along one wall with comfortable bench seating and about a dozen or so tables.

The wine list is exclusively Greek starts and start at around $24 a bottle $ 6 a glass and head up from there. We ordered a sampling of cold appetizers and one order of beef sausage (meatballs). The cold appetizers of hummus, tzatziki and an artichoke dip were decent but not much better than one could find at a typical Greek restaurant. The beef sausage was good but certainly not better than the meatballs served as tapas at Local 188.

We had Moussaka and Lamb shank for our main dishes. Both of the dishes were very good but certainly not exceptional. The portions were a touch larger than what I would have wanted or expected. The wait staff is very well trained, which should not be surprising, but in fact in Portland it is rare. There seems to be an incredible lack of knowledge in how to wait tables in this city. My biggest pet peeve with wait staff is their insistence on clearing the table of plates when only half of the people have finished their meal. It is simply inexcusable to do this. Many restaurants that should know a lot better ( Local 188 constantly, Fore st. at times, Mim's and with complulsion the now closed Uffa's) insist on reaching across diners that are still eating and take away the plates of people that are finished. Thankfully the staff at Emililsta's was a touch inexperienced but was very well trained.

Our server remarked that the reason for only having Greek wines on the menu was to be as authentic as possible. While I loved the Greek wines and enjoyed the Greek food, I found the experience about as far from what it is like to eat in a restaurant in Greece as possible. The great things I recall about eating in Greece was the casual atmosphere, somewhat decent food and most importantly inexpensive wines served in stainless steel pitchers. I find when people often open "authentic" restaurants they take what I remember as being good about eating in the region and often raise the price till it is a premium to eat in an "authentic" restaurant. If Emilista opened a restaurant the was in fact similar to what it was like to eat in Greece, the place would in fact be packed nightly. One of the pleasures of eating in Europe is to be able to sit down with lunch or dinner and enjoy an exceptionally drinkable and inexpensive carafe or pichet of house wine. I am bewildered that the only place in Portland to have figured the draw of this out is The Front Room ( which is packed nightly).

If people have not been paying attention then they may have not noticed that our economy is in a touch of a slump. New restaurants like Emilista, Evangaline, and maybe the Grill Room will struggle to survive if they do not recognize that the ability of diners to splurge is limited, and the amount of places to do it in Portland is growing. Unfortunately, the ego of many owners and chefs prevent them from moving towards where the real money and desire is, good restaurants with decent inventive food at a great price.

I would need to have an incredible meal to feel the need to go back to Emilista. The meal gave me a few reasons to go back, but not at the prices that I paid.

Portland ?

1 vignola on Dana st

2 standard baking or bagel works
4 local 188 congress st

5 empire dine and dance - sean mencher
swing combo - no cover great band

Special Occasion in Portland

I would definitely second what Steve said:

The last few times at Fore st. I have felt like I was at a cafeteria. It just feels too big, too impersonal and the overall impression is that they have such an overhyped reputation that there is no reason to strive to make the food fantastic. It's a scenario that happens to a lot of (formerly) great restaurants.

The last few times I have eaten at 555 it has been incredible.

If you are looking for a place with a little more atmosphere, a touch more hipness and are willing to sacrifice on having incredible food, I would try out the new Local 188. The room is fantastic, it has great energy and food is decent at prices far below 555 or fore st.

Rehearsal-ish gathering- Portland

Portland Yacht Services on the waterfront has several funky function rooms with great views. Specifically building six which is completely redone and has large windows that overlook the bay and should be about the right size for your group. There is no restaurant on site, so you have to bring your own caterer, but this gives you a little more flexibilty in planning your menu. The place ( including the staff which can be a little surly) has a character that you really can't find anywhere else.

I tried to get my brother to do his rehearsal dinner there but he balked because the walk down to the pavement would be too far for the smokers.

Portland area restaurant for mixed crowd

I have no regrets dissing Dimillo's
I have never had the chowder so I can't comment on that. The deck for drinks is great in the summer, but there are other places with better staff and better drinks.
It's true Dimillo's is not trying to be Street and Co, however, it is more expensive than Street and Co. and there is no way you could even begin to compare the service or food. There are at least a dozen places in the greater Portland area that server fresher and more interesting cuisine than Dimillo's at far cheaper prices. The kitchen staff are a bunch of hooligans and the waitstaff are not exactly well trained themselves.

What else besides the chowder and the parking do they do "very, very well"???

The Hilltop it is definitely not.

Portland area restaurant for mixed crowd

Though it may seem implausible, Dimillo's is actually worse than how it was portrayed above by mjp81. How anyone could recommend it is beyond me.

Portland's Oolong is Long Gone

As I is said earlier on this same thread right after they opened.

"Portland's will fare no better. I walked by last evening at 7:30 and it was nearly empty - for a town that is always interested in trying something new - that is not a good sign."

Anybody that thought Portland's would survive is ignorant of what Portlanders are looking for.

Where to go in Portland, Maine...Dinner & Breakfast?

The ferry costs $7.25 in the summer

Jun 26, 2007
ejohnson in Northern New England

Portland, ME Dinner for 10-20

As noted, the Village Cafe is a mediocre Italian/American restaurant and that is being generous. Caiola's and Bresca are both good but are truly tiny, they may be able to accomdate 10 but it would be packed with 20. Portland's restaurant and Bar's wide range of plates go from steak to another type of steak, if that is your interest then it is not that bad - and yes they do have the space.

My recs:
I have had some great large dinners at Walter's. They have space upstairs to accommodate large parties and the food recently has been very good. The space is funky and right downtown and the prices are pretty good.

Fore st., 555, and Hugo's are all large enough restaurants with excellent food but you would be picking up a very large check. However, if that is possible they are all fantastic restaurants.

I am sure there are others that people will chime in with. Good luck.

Cake Restaurant on Wharf St. Portland

For a funny and honest review of what Cake is like, I recommend this article from The Bollard.

Click on: "Canky or Swanky"

24 hours in Portland, 24 in Portsmouth

My recommendation for apps a step from Norm's would be Vingnolas on the corner of Wharf and Dana street. They are open late and have a pretty good mix of appetizers.

Portland, Maine - Lobster restaurants?

If you are looking for a truly non classy joint to eat lots of lobster I think newicks in South Portland may be your best bet. If you are looking for a little better view, then The Lobster Shack at Two Lights State Park will probably be a better bet.

Unfortunately bad weather and cold ocean temps have conspired to drive lobster prices even here in Maine higher than they have been in a very long time. Hopefully by the time you get here they will be much lower.

Portland ME - Hotel, Neighborhood, Food reccs?

Mim's is presently closed for dinner I think until this summer.

Regardless of that - Mim's is truly one of the worst restaurants in Portland and quite possibly the worst restaurant I have ever been to.

Atrocious service, predictable menu and mediocre food, there is just no reason to go. What makes it so frustrating is it has a fantastic location with an amazing deck – if the food were halfway decent it would be a great place to go.

I am too Portland-centric! help!?

My Recs

Solo Bistro in Bath is awesome. Similar prices to Fore st. but completely different atmosphere Sit downstairs at the bar for the best service.

Back street Bistro in Brunswick is also really good

Bresca in Portland....very good indeed!

I have not been there, but I glanced at the menu the other day and the prices are relatively high (About mid twenties for entrees).

I am sure that the food is good and it could be fantastic, but an expensive Northern Italian/European eatery is the last thing that Portland needs. We are swamped with Caiola’s, Cinque Terra, Vignola’s, Café Uffa, Fore st. and Bar Lola. Some of these places are good, and some are not so good, but the market in Portland is cramped with them. What Portland needs is more casual joints that people in the city feel comfortable eating at on a regular basis. The Norm’s empire does by far the best job of it but so does The Front Room, Shay’s and Dogfish Café. These places are packed EVERY night but somehow people think that Portland needs another high end European restaurant- I wish they would have a little creativity and open something different for once.

Portland ME Date Restaurant ?

Where is Bresca?

Portland: Caiola's or Uffa?

Definitely Caiola's.