For a complete list of Greater Portland’s 75 best eateries, click here.
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Visit Chef Evan Richardson’s bustling and frenetic South Portland hotspot for a new take on Costa Rican and Caribbean cuisine and cocktails. The service here is also great, even if the minimal crew that runs the 1,000 square feet of space is slammed with customers. Rather than asking how they do it, order a slushy pula vida rum punch and enjoy.
173 Ocean Street
Unsurprisingly, Chef Vien Dobui was named a finalist for the 2020 James Beard Awards at this hipster, neon-toned Washington Avenue restaurant. The food here is Vietnamese, with an emphasis on small comforting plates with bright flavors. The menu is short but provides ample runway to show how modern Vietnamese cuisine could or should evolve.
57 Washington Avenue Portland
A double dip worthy of Chef Bowman Brown. Over the past few years, he has established his reputation as one of Maine’s most accomplished and creative chefs today. His fine dining restaurant, Elda, flourished in a charming and sophisticated new space on his second floor at Pepperell Mill. His prefix his tasting his menu is equally elegant. At street level, Bowman’s casual café, Jackrabbit, offers sandwiches and pastries that deserve everyone’s full attention, as well as dishes borrowed from the same Scandinavian and Japanese palettes. Read reviews.
14 Main Street
An OG of Portland’s food scene, Fore Street is one of the first local restaurants to focus on seasonality and local ingredients. Since opening more than a quarter-century ago, it has won national accolades, including James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: 2004 Northeast Award for Chef Emeritus Sam Hayward. It has kept pace with the city’s evolution into a dining destination. One of the best farm-to-table restaurants in New England. Read reviews.
Matured over the last few years, chef Christian Hayes’ seasonal upscale modern American restaurant sheds some of its sleek sophistication to reveal a glamorous punk sensibility just underneath. The food here is as spectacular as ever, both in execution and concept. The atmosphere is chic, yet cheerful and even a little rebellious. joy. Read reviews.
81 Bridge Street
Technically a “noodle bar” with mostly walk-in seating, The Honey Paw’s best dishes often don’t include pasta at all. Charred cabbage with fermented soybeans, unusual beef salad with smoked oyster mayonnaise, and super-crispy chicken wings. And did I mention the seasonal homemade soft serve ice cream?
78 Middle Street
From the classic French bistro interior to the flashes of Central and South American flavors that permeate the menu, charming might be the best word to describe Isa. Don’t miss the grilled pork chops, the roasted vegetable salad with spicy pepitas, and (if you visit on a Monday) the rabbit burrito, which is absolutely delicious. Isa is a gem.
79 Portland Street
Chef Chris Wilcox has quietly and fuss-free transformed this tiny South Portland restaurant into one of New England’s most creative culinary destinations. As you might never guess from a concise neighborhood menu, Wilcox leans towards inventive texture and flavor combinations (aged gouda and mushroom conserva with beef tartare, whipped his tahini and pickled mackerel). along with a concise drink list that both supports and strengthens. his vision. Read reviews.
171A Ocean Street
For years, local gourmets have been talking about James Beard Award finalist chef Atsuko Fujimoto’s jaw-dropping pastries. Fujimoto is a seasoned baker with a confectionery repertoire based on European traditions and techniques, adapted to the occasional Japanese-inspired element. Incomparable fruit galettes, gooey Kouign Amann, sweet red bean-stuffed gateau basque? Yes, please.
469 Stevens Avenue.
Don’t let its origins as a food truck fool you. Nura is one of the best places for Levantine cuisine, especially the smooth, garlicky hummus that is the restaurant’s signature dish. And if that’s not enough, there’s also crunchy Kermit Greens falafel (served as a platter or sandwich), spiced fries born to be dipped in garlic tombs, and coriander and cumin-infused chicken shawarma. Anyone have lunch? Read reviews.
1 Monument Way
The Wrap: Little Woodfords closes at the end of the month, Belleville opens new location