As Maine’s largest city, Portland offers tourists and residents plenty of things to see and do while taking a break from their busy schedules.
Aside from its abundance of art museums and ferry trips around Casco Bay, many come to Portland to experience its annual food and beverage festivals or public urban and wooden parks, earning the city its nickname, “Forest City.”
Portland is also the best place to enjoy Maine’s finest seafood, from Maine lobster rolls to seafood chowder.
However, you can also find plenty of restaurants in Portland offering classic lunch or dinner favorites and international dishes, depending on where you look.
But, you may have one question on your mind: where can I find the best food to try during my stay in Forest City? I compiled this list of the top restaurants in Portland to help you make your search less stressful and let you find your new favorite spots to enjoy the best food the city offers.
43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101
The first entry on my list of the best restaurants in Portland I recommend for anyone visiting is Duckfat, located on Middle Street, minutes from the Fore River and Portland Harbor.
This casual European restaurant offers duck-fat Belgian fries and sandwiches for lunch and dinner.
They also have a covered heated pavilion for outdoor dining if you want to enjoy Portland’s fresh autumn air.
I recommend ordering their House Smoked Turkey Panini, Poutine, Cider-Poached Beets, or Beef Stew. They also serve a wide selection of beer, cider, wine, and milkshakes.
Personally, I enjoy ordering their Chocolate or Seal Salted Duck Fat Caramel shake with my fries and sandwich.
Eventide Oyster Co.
86 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101
Next up on the list is Eventide Oyster Co. You can find this oyster bar in Downtown Portland, on Middle Street.
I spent quite some time at this restaurant after exploring Lincoln Park. Although small in stature, it’s as lively and casual as the larger restaurants in the area. Their culinary team works their hardest, preparing creative oyster and shellfish dishes for all to enjoy.
In my opinion, their best dishes are New England Clam Chowder, Maine Lobster Stew, Fried Chicken Katsu Sandwich, and Fried Oyster Bun.
I recommend ordering these dishes with a side of kimchi and a Twisted Tea cocktail or Demon Slayer Sake.
414 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101
You can find Central Provisions on Fore Street, minutes from the many wharves and piers near the Portland Harbor.
This rustic yet vintage restaurant is an excellent dining option if you’re in the mood for lighter small plates. Chef Christopher Gould creates dishes using the freshest ingredients to enhance each dish’s authentic and bold flavors.
Central Provisions has an ever-changing menu, so it would be wise to try everything before switching out menu items.
I ordered their Barcelona Fries, Scallop Crudo, Tinned Sardines, and Bone Marrow Toast during my visit to Portland. I also recommend trying their Key Lime Tart for dessert.
Fore Street Restaurant
288 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101
Are you having trouble finding upscale American fare in the downtown area by the Old Port District? Then, consider stopping by Fore Street and booking your next dinner at the aptly-named Fore Street Restaurant.
This rustic restaurant has an open wood-fire grill incorporated in a sleek brick and limestone hearth. Executive Chef Samuel Hayford uses his techniques to give each dish enticing smoky flavors.
Fore Street Restaurant’s menu offers several seasonal and changing menu items bursting with flavor.
I enjoyed their Wood-Grilled Marinated Squid, Turnspit Roasted Marinated Half Chicken, Oysters, and Wood-Grilled Hanger Steak. Their bar also serves international and vintage wines to enhance every entree.
The Honey Paw
78 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101
You can find some of Portland’s best Asian-inspired fare at The Honey Paw on Middle Street. It has a bright and contemporary atmosphere where you can sample their noodles and other specials indoors or on their heated outdoor patio. They also offer takeout if you’re too busy to stay.
Consider ordering their Kimchi Ramen, Mapo Doufu, Pad Kee Mao, or Khao Soi. Try their rotating seasonal or honey soft serve if you have room for dessert.
They also serve Bahn Mi sandwiches for lunch until 4:30PM. Additionally, they list all menu items’ allergens to help patrons choose a dish they can eat without worrying about their allergies.
68 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101
Next up is Scales, a waterfront seafood restaurant located on Commercial Street, next to Casco Bay Artisans Gallery.
This spacious local eatery is the perfect place to enjoy New England comfort food on Maine Wharf 68. So, whether you come here for a nightly drink or dinner with your friends, you’re bound to find something to enjoy during your stay.
Their raw bar offers quality oysters, clams, and other seafood snacks. However, I recommend starting with their Crab Fritters or Salt Cod Croquettes and trying their Baked Haddock, Short Rib Pot Roast, Seafood Stew, or Fish & Chips. Their best specialty cocktail is Fly By Night.
54 Washington Ave, Portland, ME 04101
If you’re done exploring the East End neighborhood, one of the top restaurants in Portland you should consider stopping by is Izakaya Minato, located on the corner of Washington Avenue and Oxford Street.
This cozy and intimate Japanese restaurant has a high bar for traditional izakaya dinners and a back room for private events. They also offer patio tables for sidewalk dining during the summer.
Izakaya Minato offers land and sea delicacies anyone can enjoy. I enjoyed their Kamo Yaki Udon, Mochi Bacon, and Sashimi.
If you’re dining with friends, consider trying their Chef’s Choice Omakase Dinner and Japanese Whiskey Flight to add excitement to your night.
703 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102
Although finding Southern fare in a New England setting feels daunting, Hot Suppa offers many savory comfort dishes that give a piece of home to anyone spending extra time in Portland. You can find this restaurant on Congress Street, in front of 7-Eleven.
Its high ceilings and brick walls make this rustic yet contemporary eatery feel more massive as you indulge in their scratch-made regional dishes. They also have a dog-friendly patio for anyone dining outdoors.
Hot Suppa offers several breakfast, lunch, and takeout brunch options. My favorites are their HS Double Double, Cubano, Corned Beef Hash, and Barbeque Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict.
40 Washington Ave, Portland, ME 04101
Don’t know where to eat in Portland if you’re in the mood for Southwestern barbeque favorites? If so, Terlingua on Washington Avenue is your best option.
This warm and homey space offers excellent smoked meat for anyone traveling through the city’s East BaySide neighborhood. They also have four private dining areas and offer takeout.
Treat your family with shareable ceviche or deviled eggs as you await your main course. Their Smoked Brisket Tacos, Cauliflower Mac ‘N’ Cheese, Baja Fish Tacos, and Tortilla Soup are to die for, especially when paired with a classic sangria or seasonal Blue Rose cocktail.
58 Pine St, Portland, ME 04102
Located on Pine Street, Chaval is Portland’s top destination for visitors interested in quality French and Spanish dinner options.
This casual and stylish hotspot is an excellent place to wind down after a long, busy week of work or when you’re checking out Portland’s nearby attractions. Their private rooms and patio can also enhance your experience on relaxing days.
Their menus change daily, so you’re encouraged to visit to try something new every day. In my opinion, their best dishes are Coq Au Vin, Double-Stacked Burger, Pâté de Campagne, and Jamón Mangalica. In addition, Chaval has an extensive list of wines, cocktails, and spirits.
The Shop by Island Creek Oysters
123 Washington Ave, Portland, ME 04101
The Shop by Island Creek Oysters on Washington Avenue is a buzzy and modern oyster market offering some of the best seafood in town.
So, whether you want to take some home or enjoy them and other seasonal delicacies on their patio space, you’re bound to find something to enjoy for your lunch and dinner.
Despite their limited menu options, they’re ideal for casual seafood-lovers who prefer lighter portions.
Their most popular menu items are Small Scallops, Eider Cover Shellfish, White Sturgeon Caviar, and Anchovy Toast. Feel free to ask your server about their beer or wine recommendations for enhancing their specials.
72 Commercial St #5, Portland, ME 04101
You can find Portland’s best wood-fired pizzas made with organic ingredients at Flatbread Company on Commercial Street by Bell Buoy Park.
This pizzeria has an open kitchen that lets you watch the culinary team prepare your pizza using stone and clay ovens.
Their open-air seating is an excellent way to enjoy a lovely spring or summer afternoon near Portland’s wharves.
Besides pizza, they also offer entree salads and other weekly specials. I tried their Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad, Pepperoni & Mushroom Flatbread, and Veggie Pie with fresh-squeezed lemonade during my visit. Treat yourself to a Maine Root Beer Float or Brownie Sundae if you want something sweet.
390 Congress St, Portland, ME 04103
You can find another one of the best restaurants in Portland within The Press Hotel, Autograph Collection, overlooking Congress Street.
Union Restaurant is a casual yet sophisticated eatery specializing in seasonal New American dishes. Their private sun-lit spaces give it a more natural touch.
I prefer starting my dinner with their Clams & Spicy Sausage or Goat Cheese Arancini and ordering their Faroe Island Salmon, Pan-Seared Casco Bay Sole, or Fresh Campanelle Pasta with braised lentils or roasted potatoes as a side dish.
You can also order breakfast or brunch if you prefer stopping by earlier in the day with your friends or family.
Woodford Food & Beverage
660 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04103
Do you crave enjoying Portland’s best food in a classic diner setting? Then, consider stopping by Woodford Food & Beverage when dining alone or with company.
You can find it on Forest Avenue, within walking distance from STAGES Youth Theater. This stylish restaurant specializes in regional seafood and other chophouse favorites.
Most of this restaurant’s specials are available to-go. They serve mouth-watering Seared Duck Breast, Maine Crab Cakes, Steak and Fries, and Red Wine Risotto.
You can also take their drinks to-go, so I recommend trying their Oakdale Special or Double Bourbon Old Fashioned cocktails. Finish your night right with their dark chocolate pudding for dessert.
With locations on Congress Street and Read Street, Otto is another one of the top pizza restaurants in Portland where you can dine in or order out.
Their stylish and welcoming ambiance gives it a relaxed vibe for enjoying thin-crust gourmet pies customized to your liking.
You can add as many toppings to your pizza if you choose to build your pie. However, my favorite specialty pies are their Three-Cheese Tortellini, Ricotta and Basil, Pulled Pork and Mango, and Margherita.
They also offer gluten-free crusts and vegan cheese for anyone following specific dietary lifestyles. If pizza isn’t your style, try their salads.
Street & Co
33 Wharf St, Portland, ME 04101
After touring the Old Port district, you deserve to relax and enjoy quality seafood in a cozy and rustic setting. Street & Co, located on Wharf Street, offers all that and more for avid food lovers. Its cobblestone alley look gives it a vintage feel of the city’s oldest trading ports.
Try ordering their Lobster Diavolo for Two, Grilled Swordfish, Mussels Marinara, or Sole Francaise if you’re in the mood for something different than your typical seafood spot fare.
They also offer a wide selection of beer, cocktails, and mocktails. My favorites are Cirque du Spritz, Green Monster, Starry Night, and Message in a Bottle.
100 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101
Nestled on Commercial Street, on Custom House Wharf, Solo Italiano is another Portland restaurant I recommend if you enjoy Italian cuisine.
Their intimate atmosphere incorporates a farm-to-table menu of contemporary takes on Genovese dishes crafted by Executive Chef Paolo Laboa.
With a menu that changes daily and several gluten-free dishes and pasta available, you’re bound to have a fun night dining by the waterside.
They serve exquisite Linguine Allo Scoglio, Chianina Tagliata, Capesante con Polenta, and Mandilli al Vero Pesto Genovese.
They also have an extensive wine list and traditional desserts. Personally, I love ordering their cannoli and apple torta.
671 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101
Nestled off the corner of Congress Street and Vernon Place, Boda is the best place in the Historic District where you can find quality Thai food.
This stylish and casual venue serves its food street-style, offering bold flavors for everyone visiting the neighborhood to enjoy. They’re also open until 10PM, making it an ideal spot for late-night hangouts.
Personally, I enjoy their Pork Belly Skewers, Chicken Panang, Apple Salad, and Pad Kee Mao with a side of Jasmine Rice.
Their menu also features several vegetarian and gluten-free dishes that you can enjoy, regardless of your dietary lifestyle, and several dessert cocktails and coffee.
The Highroller Lobster Co.
04102, 104 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101
If you’re interested in trying the best lobster dishes in town, come visit The Highroller Lobster Co. You can find this restaurant on Exchange Street, minutes from the Portland House of Music and Events.
This vibrant and casual destination has a diner-like aesthetic where you can sit down and enjoy your lobster and drinks indoors, on their back patio, or take them to-go.
Their signature Lobster Roll, Lobby Pop, Crab Roll, and Highfries are excellent to-go options. In addition, they offer a wide selection of cocktails, beer, and soft drinks to add extra flavor and quench your thirst on a hot day.
10 Dana St, Portland, ME 04101
Nestled in the Old Port District on Dana Street, ViA VECCHiA is another place where you can eat unique Italian dishes in Portland.
Its warm and chic ambiance incorporates velvet booths and a wrap-around bar for a more immersive dining experience. It’s an excellent option for enjoying a larger meal or trying smaller plates every night.
If you decide on booking your next dinner here, consider trying their Veal Ossobuco, Lumache, Ravioli, or Cod Crudo.
My favorite cocktails are their Hi-Line, Rattleskull, and Sugar Plum Cup. However, you can also try one of their dessert wines with gelato or cheesecake.
89 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101
If you find yourself walking through Portland’s West End neighborhood, consider treating your friends to dinner at Blue Spoon, found on Congress Street.
This cozy and social restaurant embraces Italian and New American cuisine for seasonal enjoyment. Their bar also serves beer on-tap, so you can relax here almost every day of the week.
Since Blue Spoon has a seasonal menu, you should consider trying as many dishes as you can before they change.
In my opinion, you should try their Blue Spoon Burger, House-made Mushroom Fettuccine, or Salmon after ordering Angus Beef Tartare or Charred Carrots as a starter.
Little Tap House
106 High St, Portland, ME 04101
After spending a day at the Portland Museum of Art, you deserve to unwind and enjoy farm-fresh food in a cozy setting.
Thankfully, Little Tap House, by The McLellan House on High Street, offers this hospitality for anyone passing through. Its rustic aesthetic meshes well with the locally-brewed craft beer they serve.
Little Tap House hosts happy hour every 4PM to 6PM every Tuesday through Saturday, and you can enjoy shareable plates with your colleagues.
I ordered a Lobster Mac & Cheese and Icelandic Cod during my last visit. Their bar is open until 10PM, so don’t forget to try a West End Mimosa or Back Nine cocktail.
47 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101
Are you having trouble finding somewhere to enjoy a casual dinner or an excellent option for private events? Then, stop by Middle Street and book your next reservation at East Ender.
Its rustic tavern-like appearance, decorated with brick walls and assorted flora, gives it a charming vibe for enjoying American pub favorites.
East Ender offers several hot and cold dishes for you to sample. Consider ordering their Braised Short Rib Sandwich, Chickpea Patty Melt, Oysters on the Halfshell, or Swordfish Steak & Fries.
They serve a wide selection of beer, wine, cider, and cocktails for enhancing any meal. Personally, I love their Hot Purple cocktail.
27 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101
Katahdin Restaurant is a relaxing American bar and grill found in Portland’s Arts District, overlooking Forest Avenue.
Their skilled culinary team prepares this destination’s dishes over wood-fired grills to bring out more authentic flavors as you dine. Additionally, they use locally sourced, organic ingredients from local farmers to ensure quality.
Like many of the other top restaurants in Portland, you can count on finding appetizers and entrees. I recommend starting with their Maine Crab Fritters and ordering their New York Sirloin, Shrimp Risotto, Wood Fire Grill Special, or Double Thick Pork Chop. Feel free to ask your server about their best beer and cocktail specials.
The Front Room
73 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101
Last but not least on my list of the best restaurants in Portland is The Front Room, located off the corner of Congress Street and Howard Street, by Good Theater and St. Lawrence Church.
This quiet restaurant offers contemporary takes on American comfort food crafted by Chef Harding Lee Smith to satisfy anyone looking for brunch or dinner.
After starting with their pork belly or fish sticks, I recommend ordering their Chicken Pot Pie, Reuben Sandwich, Casco Bay Scallops, or Grilled Meatloaf. Don’t forget to add a side of roasted potatoes. If you stop by for brunch, try their Muddy Moose or Maine Maple Coffee cocktails.
As you can see, Portland has several restaurants serving their best signature dishes you can enjoy during their annual festivals.
Even if you aren’t in the mood for lobster, you can find one of your favorites or something new. Hopefully, this list can help you narrow down where to eat in Portland.
Are you looking for something else during your trip to the New England states? Then, consider Checking out this list of Boston’s best pizzerias.
Did I leave anything out on my list? Leave a comment below about your favorite Portland restaurants, and I’ll check them out!
Best Restaurants in Portland
- Eventide Oyster Co.
- Central Provisions
- Fore Street Restaurant
- The Honey Paw
- Izakaya Minato
- Hot Suppa
- The Shop by Island Creek Oysters
- Flatbread Company
- Union Restaurant
- Woodford Food & Beverage
- Street & Co
- Solo Italiano
- The Highroller Lobster Co.
- ViA VECCHiA
- Blue Spoon
- Little Tap House
- East Ender
- Katahdin Restaurant
- The Front Room
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