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Portland, ME Restaurants

Dining Reviews for a
Weekend in Portland Maine


Portland Maine Restaurants

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 rancid flavor.
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 5

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 requests.
Price: Expensive ($25-35 per entree, tasting menu is available)

Gilbert's Chowder House - 3 out of 5

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 entrees)

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