Attention to Portland’s coastal charm and cobblestoned ‘Old Port’ has increased in tandem with the influx of chefs and restaurant entrepreneurs who believe Portland embodies the laid-back quality of Maine life. We look at the 10 best brunch here.
Blue Spoon is serious about its farm-to-table fare, sourcing its ingredients from a sterling selection of local growers and producers. Saturday brunch at the Blue Spoon includes dishes such as poached egg salad with garlic flatbread or chorizo and kale hash. There are also twists on familiar staples such as a BLT with rosemary mayo or, perhaps, a brown sugar oatmeal brûlée with creamed dates and cinnamon. To ease your way back into the land of the living after a night on the tile or just to kick-start your morning with some extra flair, indulge in Blue Spoon’s signature blood orange mimosa or spicy bloody Mary.
Blue Spoon, 89 Congress Street, Portland, ME, USA,+1 207 773-1116
The East Ender prides itself on making food ‘the way life should be’. Owner Meg Schroeter takes farm-to-table cooking seriously. They use ‘every part of every product that comes through the East Ender kitchen’. She promises creative takes on the classic American brunch with items such as trout fritters, fried chicken and waffles with hot sauce and maple sour cream. There’s also pulled pork with green onion johnnycakes. If you are in the mood for a morning cocktail, try the ‘Pretty Girl’ margarita with elderflower liquor. Alternatively, go for a ‘Salty Bulldog’ with fresh grapefruit and lemongrass soda, or a fresh Cucumber Collins with citrus, mint, and bubbles.
East Ender, 47 Middle Street, Portland, ME, USA, +1 207 879 7669
One of the several successful ‘Rooms’ restaurants in Portland owned by chef Harding Lee Smith is The Front Room. It features a spacious open kitchen and fully-stocked bar, contributing to its relaxed atmosphere. Brunch options are based around American-style comfort food classics and the great value caters to the high demands of young professionals. Enjoy biscuits and gravy, omelet made to order or baked beans with brown bread and a basted egg. For those who arrive in time for lunch, The Front Room offers classic sandwiches and burgers as well as more adventurous selections such as grilled duck and goat’s cheese on homemade brioche. The Front Room’s proximity to Portland’s ‘Eastern Prom’ is an added plus, perfect for a post-breakfast stroll.
The Front Room, 73 Congress Street, Portland, ME, USA, +1 207 773 3366
This popular spot was founded by two Portland brothers. Their extensive research of diners and soul food venues across the United States culminated in the creation of Hot Suppa! in 2006. The restaurant is located in a beautiful building dating back to 1860, situated in Portland’s West End. It features cozy booths and cushioned bar stools. Moses and Alec Sabina serve brunch fare daily and absolutely everything is prepared from scratch. The kitchen strives to source and use local ingredients whenever possible. Order delicious waffles, pancakes, and cheeseburgers for a hearty start. Or go for a tapas-style breakfast with a plate of three sides, choosing between mac n’cheese, fried green tomatoes, and ‘Geechie boy’ grits.
Hot Suppa!, 703 Congress Street, Portland, ME, USA, +1 207 871 5005
This quaint cafe in Portland’s West End does not offer what one would consider a traditional brunch, but locals favor it as the best place in the city to pick up gourmet breakfast sandwiches. Try the succulently grilled hanger steak, Vermont cheddar, and egg on a fresh bagel or smoked turkey, avocado, smoked gouda, and egg on a bialy. With breakfast sandwiches and lunch items reasonably priced, OhNo Café offers an affordable brunch any day of the week, with beer and wine selections to boot.
OhNo Cafe, 87 Brackett Street, Portland, ME, USA, +1 207 774 0773
Run by the same team in charge of the renowned Five Fifty-Five restaurant in Portland, Petite Jacqueline has opened to huge local success. It has reached a position of equal standing to its sister restaurant, earning a James Beard Award nomination. Petite Jacqueline takes the form of a bustling French bistro in Portland’s West End, near the popular Arts District. Brunch is served on Sundays and the menu includes a variety of upmarket bistro options. These include perfectly poached eggs with salmon and brioche or sweet pain perdu topped with a six-minute duck egg and piled high with seasonal vegetables.
Porthole makes the most of its location by the water. In good weather, enjoy brunch alfresco and take in the sea air and spectacular panoramas. Porthole offers deliciously fresh Maine seafood brunch items such as lobster rolls – set to rival many other top contenders in Maine. It also serves a decadent lobster eggs Benedict. For those who prefer something a little meatier for brunch, Porthole provides classic biscuits and gravy with roasted pork belly. Or, for those seeking a sweet treat, there’s Maine blueberry and mascarpone stuffed brioche. A rustic spot that immediately puts one at ease first thing in the morning, the Porthole is second to none for its combination of great food and great views.
Porthole, 20 Custom House Wharf, Portland, ME, USA, +1 207 773 4653
Silly’s is well-known for its comfort food and quirky decor. It has been a Portland favorite since the 1980s when it was first established by the Nice sisters following a trip to Jamaica. The sisters chose to name the restaurant Silly’s as ‘it simply allowed us…to do just about anything…because it doesn’t constrict. It doesn’t mean anything and it means everything’. Silly’s current owner, Colleen Kelley, strives to uphold the whimsy that has now become the defining characteristic of the restaurant She has constantly evolved the menu and interior to reflect this sense of fun. Dolls, beaded lamps, crayons, and plastic lunch boxes are just some of details that make brunch at Silly’s so aptly titled. Start the day with three eggs scrambled with smoked pork and jalapeños or pick a gluten-free sweet treat to kick start the weekend.
Silly’s, 40 Washington Ave, Portland, ME, USA, +1 207 772 0360
Sonny’s is located in the heart of the ‘Old Port’ in the beautifully restored old Portland Savings Bank. Renovators paid careful attention to preserving the ornate antebellum architecture when incorporating the bar and booth seating designed by local artisans. Sonny’s, a sister restaurant to Local 188, serves Latin and Southwestern-inspired dishes and is popular for its cocktails and infusions. Brunch is served on Saturday and Sunday and offers eggs accompanied by green and red salsas, poblano peppers, rice, beans, homemade chorizo and grilled cornbread. Don’t forget the extensive drinks menu at Sonny’s. This place is considered to provide the best Bloody Marys in Portland.
Sonny’s, 83 Exchange Street, Portland, ME, USA, +1 207 772 7774