Portland Restaurants

America’s "Foodiest Small Town" is how one magazine described Portland, which is practically bursting at the seams with fabulous restaurants to rival those of a major metropolis. It's worth it to splurge and try as many as possible while visiting. Fresh seafood, including the famous Maine lobster, is still popular and prevalent, but it is being served up in unexpected ways that are a far cry from the usual bib and butter. There is a broad spectrum of cuisines to be enjoyed, and many chefs are pushing the envelope in their reinventions of traditional culinary idioms. More and more restaurants are using local meats, seafood, and organic produce as much as possible; changing menus reflect what is available in the region at the moment. Even the many excellent food trucks that have popped up across the city—several of which remain open in the off-season—reflect this trend. As sophisticated as many of these establishments have become in the way of food and service, the atmosphere is generally laid-back; with a few exceptions, you can leave your jacket and tie at home—just not your appetite.

Smoking is banned in all restaurants, taverns, and bars in Maine.

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  • 1. East Ender

    $$ | East End | American

    The emphasis at this cozy neighborhood restaurant is on the superb food rather than the atmosphere, which isn't surprising, given that the owners...Read More

  • 2. Eventide Oyster Co.

    $ | East End | Seafood

    Not only does Eventide have fresh, tasty oysters from all over Maine and New England, artfully prepared with novel accoutrements like kimchi...Read More

  • 3. Fore Street

    $$$ | The Old Port and the Waterfront | Modern American

    One of Maine's best chefs, Sam Hayward, opened this restaurant in a renovated warehouse on the edge of the Old Port in 1996; today every copper...Read More

  • 4. Gelato Fiasco

    $ | The Old Port and the Waterfront | Café

    Proper Italian gelato and sorbetto here come in traditional flavors as well as more offbeat varieties like torched marshmallow s'more, mascarpone...Read More

  • 5. Portland Pâtisserie and Grand Café

    $ | French

    This is the perfect spot for a quick, delicious bite any time of day, but early risers will be rewarded with a wider selection of pastries at...Read More

  • 6. Union

    $$$ | The Old Port and the Waterfront | American

    In the Press Hotel, Union Restaurant has a sophisticated but not stuffy air that is reflected in its menu, which focuses on local ingredients...Read More

  • 7. BaoBao Dumpling House

    $ | West End | Asian

    In a historic town house with traditional Asian decor (a 30-foot copper dragon watches over diners) in Portland's quaint West End, this dumpling...Read More

  • 8. Bard Coffee

    $ | The Old Port and the Waterfront | Café

    The beans sourcing this shop’s delicious brew are bought from a handful of small growers—you can read their bios on the website—and roasted...Read More

  • 9. Becky's Diner

    $ | Diner

    You won't find a more local or unfussy place—or one more abuzz with conversation at 4 am—than this waterfront institution way down on the end...Read More

  • 10. Coffee By Design

    $ | East End | Café

    Stop in this hip shop located in a former bakery building for quirky baked goods like vegan poptarts and sturdy coffee brewed from beans that...Read More

  • 11. Duckfat

    $ | East End | Modern American

    Even in midafternoon, this small, hip panini-and-more shop in the Old Port is packed. The focus here is everyday farm-to-table fare: the signature...Read More

  • 12. Gilbert's Chowder House

    $$ | The Old Port and the Waterfront | Seafood

    This is the real deal, as quintessential as old-school Maine dining can be. Clam rakes and nautical charts hang from the walls of this unpretentious...Read More

  • 13. Home Catering Company

    $ | Sandwiches

    Nestled in a former grocer's shop in Portland's West End, this deli has all the fixings you need for an impromptu picnic, a cozy night in, or...Read More

  • 14. Hugo's

    $$$ | East End | Eclectic

    Serving the freshest local, organic foods is a priority at Hugo's, and your server is sure to know everything about the various purveyors featured...Read More

  • 15. Local 188

    $$$ | Arts District | Spanish

    There's an infectious vibe at this eclectic, Spanish-inspired Arts District hot spot that's accentuated by its 2,000-square-foot space, lofty...Read More

  • 16. Tempo Dulu

    $$$$ | Asian

    Probably the only place in Maine that focuses exclusively on top-notch Southeast Asian cuisine, Tempo Dulu offers both three-course and tasting...Read More

  • 17. The Honey Paw

    $ | East End | Asian

    Come for the salty wontons, piping-hot broths, and wok-fried noodles; stay for the turntable music, the well-stocked cocktail bar, and the soft...Read More

  • 18. Five Fifty-Five

    $$$$ | Modern American

    Classic dishes are cleverly updated at this classy and very popular Congress Street spot housed in a former 19th-century firehouse with exposed...Read More

  • 19. Lolita

    $$$ | Spanish

    Perched on Munjoy Hill near the Portland Observatory, Lolita has a sophisticated bodega vibe, where wood-fired dishes like scallops with hazelnuts...Read More

  • 20. The Holy Donut

    $ | The Old Port and the Waterfront | Café

    Don't pass up a chance to try these sweet and savory, all-natural, Maine potato-based doughnuts glazed in flavors such as dark chocolate-sea...Read More

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