There’s a reason why TripAdvisor named Portland, ME one of the top 10 destinations in the US. Whether you want to immerse yourself in nature or enjoy the flourishing arts scene, it’s a wonderful place to explore with loved ones, especially since it has so many nom options available in the city. So, here are a list of must-try restaurants for you guys. Use it to plan your itinerary or share it with someone who’d benefit because sharing is caring.
Three words: lobster grilled cheese. Served on english muffin loaf with gooey jarlsberg and cabot, High Roller’s grilled sammy contains chunks of succulent lobster that’s so delicious, you may shed tears of joy. Get it with a side of lime mayo for a truly satisfying meal that’ll hit the spot. That’s not all though! They have everything from lobstah tacos to fried lobby pops so get your splurge on. And by the way, fries are non-negotiable. They’re seasoned with Old Bay and served with a side of curried ketchup so that’s a must because what’s a sandwich with no fries? Sadness. They also have an impressive drink menu featuring beer from local breweries so go all out.
Craving Japanese food in Portland? You’ll be happy to know that Mami’s got your back. After trying their food, it comes as no surprise that they were recently awarded the title of “Best Japanese Restaurant in Portland.” Chef Austin Miller and his wife Hana Tamaki originally started their business as a food truck, but due to their immense popularity, they’ve since expanded to a brick and mortar location on 339 Fore Street.
Must try dishes include their okonomiyaki (a Japanese pancake of sorts, made with pork belly, seasonal veggies, cabbage, and other magic), their poke don (a vibrant rice bowl with fresh salmon, avo, cucumbers, and more) and their nikuman (housemade steamed buns stuffed with the freshest protein available). This fast casual spot has a trendy vibe to it, and it’s a great place to grab a quick meal on the go or enjoy date night.
Looking to indulge your sweet tooth? Head to HiFi donuts for noms that will seriously impress. They have three different kinds available (yeast, cake and cruller), and you can’t go wrong with anything you get. Whether you want to stick with a classic or try something a bit more adventurous, they got your back. On top of 30+ flavors, they have a wonderful breakfast and lunch menu with affordable sandwiches that will leave your tummy oh so satisfied. Pro tip: try their Peri Peri chicken or their breaded eggplant!
IMHO, HiFi Donuts has the best donuts in Portland, but if you’re vegetarian/vegan, you won’t be able to indulge since they fry their donuts in lard so I’m listing Holy Donut as an alternative. They’re known for their potato donuts, and they have a solid selection of veg & gluten free options available. They sell out often so make sure you get there earlier than later, and note that each location closes once they’re out of donuts so you may want to call in advance.
If you love macarons as much as I do, you need to try Suga Suga, no ifs, ands or buts. Tara, the beautiful owner, sells French macarons and cookie sammies with a twist – think unique flavors like cider donut, maple ginger and more – at Fork Food Lab. She bakes everything fresh each morning in small batches to ensure quality, and it makes all the difference in the world. The texture is unlike anything I’ve ever had, and it’s something I legitimately miss now that I’m back in the DMV. She collaborates with Cellardoor Winery often for fun pairing events, and she has one coming up on October 30th so mark your calendars, friends. The theme’s Game of Thrones so it should be a goodie!
There’s a reason why everyone and their mom raves about Eventide. Located on 86 Middle Street, I guarantee their food will give you all the feels…and you’ll most likely have to wait for a table because they’re always busy. It’ll all be worth it when you bite into their famous brown butter lobster roll though! It’s small so you’ll finish it in 3-4 bites, but it’s so worth the money.
Is it the best lobster roll in Portland? TBD, but it’s pretty damn good. Other must try dishes are their fried Maine oysters and their Maine lobster stew. Both were delicious, but the stew was phenomenal. If you enjoy Asian flavors, you definitely need to order a bowl for yourself because the coconut and green curry notes were out of this world.
Pronounced “oh,” this restaurant specializes in cajun cuisine and is a local industry favorite. The space is fairly small, but the ambiance is intimate, warm and inviting. Their menu’s short and sweet, but everything listed is gold. They’re known for their chicken and waffles, but they do a mean sweet corn bread and shrimp & city grits. Like Mami and High Roller, Eaux first got its start as a food truck, and chef Evan Richardson’s been (unsurprisingly) killing the game.
This dessert bar is everything and then some. I don’t know how to explain the vibe, but it’s romantic, sexy and magical all rolled into one. Plus, it smells like unicorns and rainbows when you walk in so you know you’re in for something truly special right off the bat. Their menu is so on point that it’s hard to choose, but you have the option of getting tasting boards so go with a group if you can. I tried their pistachio profiterole and their brown butter carrot cake, and both were exceptional. Suffice it to say, presentation was on point, and everything tasted just as delicious as it looked. Pro tip: go during their happy hour (5-7PM) to get select desserts for $5 a pop!
Who knew Portland, ME had such great Sichuan food? Located on 612 Congress Street, their noms will light your tastebuds on fire! Most of their dishes can be prepared sans meat so bring your vegan friends with you. Recommendations are as follows: their veggie dumplings, (stuffed with shitake mushrooms, cabbage and noodles, served in chili oil), mapo tofu, spicy sour soup noodles and poached fish in fiery sauce. For those of you looking to get max bang for your buck, get their lunch combination: one entree + one side dish for $10. They also have bomb happy hour deals so take advantage and go between 2:30-6, Monday through Friday and all day Sunday.
Alright Nomsters, I hope you enjoyed reading about my favorite places in Portland, ME. Have you visited yet? If yes, share your recommendations below! If you enjoyed this post, make sure to check out “Eating Through Las Vegas,” “Top 10 Best Restaurants in South Korea,” and “The Best Restaurants in Tampa, FL.”