Five Fifty-Five is owned by husband and wife team Steve and Michelle Corry, who also act as executive chef and wine director-cum-general manager respectively. The stylish restaurant serves New American cuisine typified by fresh, delicious and seasonal ingredients and offers an a la carte menu as well as a five or eight-course tasting menu nightly. Inside Five Fifty-Five, exposed brickwork contrasts with wooden furnishings complemented by warm, autumnal tones giving the restaurant a rustic, warm and inviting atmosphere. It is no wonder that Maine Magazine named Five Fifty-Five as one of the most romantic restaurants in the state. Start with a simple appetiser of celery root soup with a parsley emulsion, fried capers and spiced-rye crackers, and then indulge in some comfort food with a contemporary, classy twist with the truffled lobster macaroni and cheese.
Five Fifty-Five, 555 Congress Street, Portland, ME, USA, +1 207 761 0555
Mexican restaurant Zapoteca is owned by husband and wife Tom and Shannon Bard, alongside Guadalajara-born friend Sergio Ramos. All of them are firm believers in the farm-to-table philosophy, sourcing the best of New England produce including sustainable seafood and grass-fed meat. Shannon, who is also Zapoteca’s executive chef, has crafted a menu of vibrant, traditional Mexican dishes with bold, contemporary flair based on local ingredients. Pineland Farms rib-eye steak is given a twist of zesty lime, oregano and cilantro salsa and served with a garlic chipotle potato mash, while tender pork ribs are roasted in Mezcal and finished in the kitchen’s wood oven with a spicy agave morito sauce. A visit to Zapoteca wouldn’t be complete without sampling one of its many quality tequilas – splash out on the luxury patron burdeos aneja.
Zapoteca, 505 Fore Street, Portland, ME, USA, +1 207 772 8242
From the same team that brought Portland Five Fifty-Five, Petite Jacqueline is a laid-back French bistro established in 2011 and located in the city’s West End, close to the Arts District. The restaurant, which was a semi-finalist in the Best New Restaurant category at the prestigious James Beard Awards, serves traditional French comfort food inspired by co-owner Michelle Corry’s French heritage in a vibrant, chic space. Expect classic dishes such as onion soup with Gruyere cheese, steak tartare and escargot with fennel butter, mushrooms and squash. Petite Jacqueline also offers a Sunday brunch menu perfect for lazy Sundays with omelettes, crepes, assorted pastries and, of course, the brunch classic smoked salmon and poached eggs.
Petite Jacqueline, 190 State Street, Portland, ME, USA, +1 207 553 7044
Simply put, Grace is stunning. The elegant restaurant resides in the reinvented Chestnut Street Church, built around 1857, which is a magnificent example of gothic revival architecture. With an interior designed by Tivi Design, the building, which is on America’s National Register of Historic Places, features a huge central circular bar overlooked by a two-level dining area with grand high ceilings and original grain-painted wooden pillars – a design true to both the building’s history and Grace’s modern menu. Executive chef Peter Sueltenfuss introduces eclectic and innovative fare; whet your palate with an appetiser of stuffed Maine littleneck clams. Or try the local farm pork sausage with a potato-fennel puree and pistachio-lemon gremolata before indulging in a rich entrée of creamy Maine lobster with tabasco tagliatelle and yellow foot mushrooms or a juicy Black Angus steak with local root vegetable gratin and mustard beer sauce.
Grace, 15 Chestnut Street, Portland, ME, USA, +1 207 828 4422
Local 188 was formed by executive chef Jay Villani and his wife Allison, alongside friends Pat Corrigan and Matt Purington who wanted to combine their love of food and art. The restaurant-cum-gallery quickly became a popular destination for foodies and art lovers alike, attracted to Local 188’s open kitchen, cosy lounge and airy, spacious dining room adorned with local art. As its name would suggest, the restaurant prides itself on using ingredients from Maine-based farmers, foragers and fishermen and offers innovative Spanish fare with Mediterranean influences. The charcuterie dish – barbecue smoked pork rillettes, duck confit and chicken liver pate – is perfect meat lovers, who can also try the classic paella made with chorizo, chicken, locally sourced mussels and mahogany clams. Local 188 also has an impressive wine list of over 200 varieties and a number of local ales produced by Portland-based breweries Rising Tide and Allagash.
Local 188, 685 Congress Street, Portland, ME, USA, +1 207 761 7909
David’s Restaurant, located on the edge of Portland’s Arts District, is the namesake of owner and chef David Turin who uses simple ingredients to create innovative, modern American dishes. The restaurant itself is a bohemian melting pot of new and old styles; outside a jazzy neon light bears the restaurant name and high windows give gorgeous views of Portland’s Monument Square, while inside is a contrast of exposed brick walls, retro floor tiles and warm, bistro-inspired lighting. David’s Restaurant dishes include the blackened Atlantic swordfish served with a corn and pineapple salsa and grilled polenta wholesome meatloaf with a modern twist, like the crispy cumin onions, mushroom gravy and roasted garlic potato mash. The popular dessert menu features such temptations as pecan and white chocolate torte with bourbon sauce and whipped cream and the berry and apple crisp, topped with granola and lemon zest and a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
David’s Restaurant, 22 Monument Square, Portland, ME, USA, +1 207 773 4340