|Portland's selection of restaurants is a
varied and commendable one ranging from the most casual of outdoor eateries with a
spectacular view to the more intimate with attentive service and memorable cuisine. All of
Portland's restaurants are designated as non-smoking. In September 1999, restaurants
statewide followed suit. A capsule of some of our favorites follows. Each is in Portland
unless otherwise noted.
Main Street, Freeport
Is perhaps the only place in
Freeport with a history as notable as L.L. Bean. Sitting directly next to Bean's, this
white clapboard house with a broad lawn in front and a large red barn in back was a
one-time stage coach stop and the site of the signing to separate Maine from
Massachusetts. New England fare is served in the main dining rooms in the front of
the house while the tavern is reserved for those with less lofty expectations. The
wonderful tavern exudes old-world atmosphere and there is an adjoining flagstone terrace
overlooking Bean's and Main Street. Reservations accepted for the dining room.
78 Middle Street
One of our longtime favorites.
Located near the Old Port in a growing section of restaurants (Hugo's, Norm's, the Village
Cafe). The decor is a little bit Caribbean (the giant oil drums acting as the bas for the
bar look like they were snatched from the hands of a Crayola crayon meltdown) blended with
the atmosphere of a a San Francisco coffeehouse. The menu is eclectic with items
such as the Pepperburger made of organically grown beef served with wonderful red potatoes
to more innovative dishes based on a vegetarian base with possibly scallops or salmon.
They serve dinner only and do not take reservations.
288 Fore Street.
Arguably Portland's finest restaurant sharing top honors with Street &
Company as providing a memorable dining experience whether it is simply
for a night out or a special occasion. The unassuming building, near the old
Custom's House, offers no hint of the culinary delights within. A cozy and
sophisticated bar is at the entrance and the warm atmosphere enhanced by
flattering lighting, original old beams, exposed brick, and a sizeable
exhibition kitchen proffer a soothing environment to enjoy a wide range of
fish dishes, enticing beef choices inventively prepared, or perhaps a choice
from the chef's specials. Priced accordingly, it is still well below big
city prices. Reservations urged well in advance but one-third of space is
left to walk-ins.
33 Wharf Street
Vying for top honors in Portland,
Street & Company is often neck and neck with Fore Street competing
evenly with exemplary food in an atmosphere that makes guests feel part of the preparation
with cooking close by and a retinue of staff that keeps guests in glowing spirit. Count on
a good selection of meat and seafood dishes where attention to detail makes the difference
and the chef's skill is tasted at every turn. Dining here can be a destination for the
evening and not simply a pitstop enroute to a Sea Dogs or Pirates game. Priced
accordingly, this top flight choice is always booked and reservations are a must. They do
however keep one-third of the tables open for walk-ins who arrive beginning at 5:30 p.m.
to score a last minute table. You're better making a dinner reservation when you book your
Main Street, Freeport
A lovely New
England inn in the shadows of L.L. Bean, is occupied in a white clapboard
structure, in quintessential Yankee architecture. A warm, inviting Brunch,
lunch, or dinner awaits in the Maine Dining Room or enjoy something more
casual in the masculine-inspired Broad Arrow Tavern. Reservations suggested,
especially for brunch.
Bar and Grill
The original Norm's was a barbecue place on the
fringe of the Old Port with a handful of picnic tables indoors but they
closed leaving their follow-up restaurant, near the inn, in the shadow of
the Portland Museum of Art, and opposite the State Theater. The expanded
menu has staples such as memorable chicken BBQ sandwiches, pulled pork
sandwiches, and more. The tapas menu ever-changes. Try to get seated
before 6 p.m. or you can expect to wait. Reservations not accepted.
1 Spring Point Drive, So. Portland
In the Spring Point Marina, this
entry in the seafood market brings the outdoors inside with big windows, deck dining, and
marina views tableside. The menu accents seafood appropriately and serves lunch and
dinner, and is a choice selection for a cold libation on the deck. You don't have to sail
into Portland Harbor or dock at the marina to appreciate the boathouse. This makes a fine
stop going to or coming from Portland Headlight. Reservations accepted.
The Boat Landing, Peaks Island
Jones Landing is a landmark on
Peaks Island and the first impression arrivals are greeted with on the island. It's an
ideal place to enjoy a beer on the deck or perhaps a casual seafood entre when you want to
experience a short ferry ride in Portland Harbor. Boats leave from the Casco Bay Ferry
Terminal (parking garage adjacent) frequently and the fee is a marginal one. Jones Landing
offers superb views of the Portland skyline, passing boats and the Scotia Prince cruise
ship (nightly about 7:45 and 9:15 p.m. April-Oct.). Reservations not accepted.
Dale Northrup is a Portland native who has critiqued thousands of
hotels for his work as a travel writer and definitely knows what
he is doing..."
- An Explorer’s Guide