We recently had the opportunity to spend a few days
in Portland, Maine. This picturesque city on Maine's mid-coast has become a hot spot for
foodies for its focus on fresh local ingredients and innovative cooking, and has been featured in
Wine Spectator and Yankee Magazine, among others.
Here are our recommendations for top dining spots:
Twenty Milk Street - 3.5 out of 5
Location: Conveniently located inside the downtown Regency
Hotel, which was once a historic armory.
Ambiance: Large armchairs and a fireplace set a comfortable tone.
Food: We enjoyed breakfast here (several times since it was so good) although
lunch and dinner are also served. High notes were the exceedingly fresh smoked salmon plate and
Maine blueberry waffle.
Service: Warm, personable and very attentive.
Prices: Moderate ($10-15 for breakfast).
The Farmer's Table - 2 out of 5
Location: On the waterfront in the Old Port.
Ambiance: Attractive exterior. Decor inside a bit mismatched.
Food: Uninspired and mixed execution. Some dishes were decent but boring, such as French
Onion soup. Others lacked seasoning or were poorly prepared. Scallops and shrimp in
seafood pasta were slightly mealy and didn't seem altogether fresh.
Service: Not great. Server was easily confused by questions.
Price: Moderate ($18 - 25 for entrees).
Duck Fat - 2.5 out of 5
Location: In downtown but farther away
from city center.
Ambiance: Bustling and fun! You may need to wait for a table.
Food: We love the concept - gourmet sandwiches and french fries cooked in duck fat (thus the
name) - but were disappointed in the actual food. This place is so popular maybe it was an off
day? Our corned beef sandwich was underseasoned; fries weren't crisp and had a slightly
Service: Helpful but you do feel they want you to eat and move on.
Price: Inexpensive ($8-10 per sandwich).
Five Fifty-Five - 4.5 out of
Location: Downtown center location.
Ambiance: Nicely decorated inside, although nothing exceptional.
Food: Unquestionably the standout at this restaurant is the food (as it should be). Dishes
were creative and expertly made. Standouts were the pork pozole (if only pork were always this
tender and succulent) and fried pear dumpling dessert.
Service: Excellently timed. Servers were knowledgeable and accomodating to special
Price: Expensive ($25-35 per entree, tasting menu is available)
Gilbert's Chowder House - 3 out of
Location: On the Old Port, on the water
side of Commercial Street.
Ambiance: Nothing fancy.
Food: Do I even need to say it? Come here for the clam chowder - it's creamy, well-seasoned
and has lots of tender clam pieces. Lobster roll is also a solid showing.
Service: Fine. Basics are covered.
Price: Inexpensive ($8-14 for sandwiches, $15-22 for dinner
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