From its forests and farmland to its coasts and clean ocean waters, the great state of Maine offers a bounty of amazing things to eat. The best place to get a taste of all this delicious action is the sweet little seaside town of Portland. For a city with a population of fewer than 70,000 residents, Portland has more than its fair share of excellent restaurants and food-focused shops.

Hungry for the freshest flavors of New England? Keep reading as we take a look at what, when and where to eat in Portland, Maine.

Lobster and Seafood

lobster

If you’re a foodie, the first thing that comes to mind when somebody says “Maine” is lobster. And, you will not be disappointed if it is fresh lobster and seafood that you seek when visiting Portland. The city’s Old Port district has garnered quite the reputation for a number of destination dining establishments and active waterfront and thriving fishing trade. Among the most highly recommended establishments for lobster, oysters and all sorts of great seafood are Maine Lobster Shack, Eventide Oyster Co., J’s Oysters and Japanese restaurant Miyaki (a must if you love sushi!). Just south of the city at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth is the legendary Bite Into Maine lobster roll food truck.

Don’t fret, these are just to name a few. There are many more hot spots in and around town!

Baked Goods

fresh baked bread

Crisp autumn mornings, snowy winter days, drizzly spring afternoons, and long summer evenings add up to the perfect conditions to enjoy baked goods any time of year. And to be sure, Portland provides with homey and welcoming bakeries and cafes for quick pit stops and longer sessions for when you want to get lost in a good book or carried away in your conversation. The tastiest of the treats can be found at these independent bakeries and cafes: Dutch’s Breakfast and Lunch for sourdough, biscuits, bagels, croissants and more; Standard Baking Co. for seasonal and freshly baked breads, rolls, and pastries; the Holy Donut for Maine potato donuts (the maple bacon is off the hook!); and Tandem Coffee + Bakery for house-roasted coffee accompanied by buttery baked goods served in a 1960s ex-gas station.

Fancy Schmancy

fancy restaurant

Found the lowest airfare to Portland with plans to splurge on a special occasion, or simply hoping to splash out at a nice restaurant? You’ll be spoiled for choice with a wealth of fine dining, upscale, and innovative places to eat. Any list of the most celebrated Portland restaurants is sure to include Duckfat, where James Beard Award-winning Chef Rob Evans drives foodies quackers with his hand-cut Belgian style frites fried in duck fat. Ditto Fore Street, where Chef Sam Hayward (another James Beard Award winner) does up seasonal farm-to-table dishes in his open kitchen and from his wood-fired hearth. More fantastic farm-to-table fare can be had at Local 188, a stalwart of the Portland dining scene for two decades, this tapas and Spanish style eatery pioneered farm-to-table in Portland. Keen for more tapas/small plate eats? The much-lauded Central Provisions has what you seek (reservations strongly recommended). For fine French cuisine, head to Scales.

When You’re Cravin’ East Asian

sushi restaurant

Believe it or not, Portland has some of the most highly crave-worthy East Asian restaurants in New England. As mentioned above in the Lobster and Seafood section of this post, Miyaki serves topnotch sushi with fresh and locally caught fish and seafood. For flavorsome and authentic Vietnamese (with a touch of Mainer comfort), go to Cong Tu Bot. “Nondenominational noodle bar,” the Honey Paw produces full-flavored and sometimes fiery dishes to die for. Lobster wontons anyone? Or how about smoked lamb with a Burmese coconut curry sauce?

Got a favorite place to eat in Portland or anywhere else in Maine? Leave a comment about where you think the best food in the area is.

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About The Author

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, curator, and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, tikichris.com. Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world. He's called London home since 2001.