Portland is Maine’s largest city, and home to a large number of fantastic and innovative restaurants, all of which experiment with locally grown produce. Read our updated take on the city’s dining scene, and eat at the 10 best dining spots in Portland, Maine.
Five Fifty-Five opened in 2003. The restaurant highlights the very best in new American cuisine, with guests choosing between the a la carte menu, or the eight-course tasting menu. Exposed brickwork is set against wooden furnishings to give a rustic, authentic, cozy feel to the restaurant.
A selection of David's Restaurant's signature dishes | Courtesy David's Restaurant
Established in 2011, Petite Jacqueline can be found in Portland’s west end and arts district, and serves traditional French comfort food, so this is not a restaurant for those on a diet. The classically inspired menu includes onion soup with Gruyere cheese croutons, snails with fennel butter, and steak tartare. Brunch on Sunday is another fantastic meal to sample, with pastries, crepes and omelets in abundance.
David’s Restaurant can also be found on the edge of Portland’s bustling arts district. David’s, like many places, is a big fan of using simple and local ingredients, which they use to reinvent classic American dishes. This is also reflected in the restaurant’s decoration, where exterior neon lights contrast with exposed brickwork, old-school tiles, and warm interior lighting.
Bistro, Restaurant, Bar, Vegetarian, American, Cocktails, Wine, Beer, $$$
Grace | Courtesy of Grace
Grace, residing in the beautiful Chestnut Street Church, is a gorgeous restaurant that must be seen to be believed, and is a great example of gothic revival architecture. The interior was decked out by Tivi Design, while the building is also on America’s National Register of Historic Places. In the middle sits a circular bar, overlooked by a two-level dining area.
Pad Thai at Green Elephant | Courtesy of Green Elephant
The Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro has built a steady reputation for high quality, innovative vegetarian food. Its menu takes influences from a number of Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Malaysia and, further to the East, Japan. The restaurant itself is simply decorated, relying on the food to do all of the talking.
Having opened in 1992, Joe’s Boathouse is the brainchild of owner Joe Loring and Nate Chalby, the restaurant’s executive chef. The Boathouse can be found in the picturesque Spring Point Marina, in South Portland, and offers guests stunning views of the harbor as they dine on the very best in locally prepared seafood. Lobster fettuccine, blueberry barbecue pork, and Atlantic grilled salmon are just some of the available options for main courses, with a whole menu dedicated to brunch as well.
Local 188 was opened in 1999. A restaurant-gallery, Local 188 swiftly became popular with art and food lovers alike. Its open kitchen, alongside an airy and spacious dining room, adorned with local art, offers much for both groups to enjoy. The cuisine on offer is an innovative take on Mediterranean food with strong Spanish influences, and makes the best out of fresh, local produce.
Bar, Restaurant, American, Seafood, Contemporary, Wine, Beer, $$$
The Old Port Sea Grill is located in the heart of Portland’s historic Old Port district. A seafood specialist, the restaurant houses a 250-gallon salt water fish tank, filled with live Maine lobsters for hungry guests to choose from.
An iconic restaurant on Portland’s harborside, Saltwater Grille has been serving food for over a decade, led to success by enthusiastic owner Mark Loring, a pioneer in seafood catering. Each season is catered for at the Saltwater Grille, with guests enjoying a seaside deck in summer, while similarly being brought into a warm interior in the colder months.
Sebago, a popular US-based craft-beer brewery, has spread its wings in a number of areas, to serve food to the hungry patrons that frequent their bars. Each menu is different, with unique items in each area. With Portland being in the heart of Maine, it is not surprising that guest will have the opportunity to try the best in Maine lobster, which is typically served at market price.