Portland, Maine, a charming New England city, is a treasure trove of culinary delights. Known for its fresh seafood, farm-to-table dining, and innovative chefs, Portland is a food lover’s paradise. But among the city’s many gastronomic gems, its delightful delis stand out. These establishments, with their mouth-watering sandwiches, homemade soups, and artisanal cheeses, offer a unique taste of Portland’s vibrant food scene. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, exploring Portland’s delis is a must-do culinary adventure. So, let’s embark on a journey to uncover the delightful delis in Portland, Maine.

The History of Delis in Portland

Delis, short for delicatessens, originated in Germany in the 18th century and were introduced to the United States by German immigrants. In Portland, the deli culture took root in the early 20th century, with many establishments serving as neighborhood gathering spots. Over the years, these delis have evolved, incorporating local Maine ingredients and culinary influences from around the world.

What Makes Portland Delis Special?

Portland delis stand out for their commitment to quality and freshness. Many source their ingredients from local farms and fisheries, ensuring that their food is as fresh and flavorful as possible. Additionally, Portland delis are known for their creativity, often offering unique twists on classic deli fare. From lobster rolls to smoked salmon sandwiches, the offerings are diverse and delicious.

Top Delis to Visit in Portland

1. Sisters Gourmet Deli

Located in the heart of downtown Portland, Sisters Gourmet Deli is a must-visit. Known for their giant sandwiches made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, this deli is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Don’t miss their signature “Sister’s Sandwich,” a hearty combination of turkey, bacon, and avocado.

2. Others! Fair Trade Coffeehouse

While Others! Fair Trade Coffeehouse is known for its ethically sourced coffee, it also boasts a fantastic deli menu. Their sandwiches, made with organic bread and fresh ingredients, are a hit. Try their popular “Maine Lobster Roll,” which features fresh Maine lobster on a toasted roll.

3. Old Port Sandwich Shop

Old Port Sandwich Shop, a Portland institution, has been serving up delicious sandwiches since 1975. Their menu features a wide variety of options, from classic deli sandwiches to creative concoctions. The “Old Port Club,” with turkey, ham, and bacon, is a crowd-pleaser.

What to Look for in a Portland Deli

When visiting a Portland deli, there are a few things to look for. First, check out the menu. A good deli will offer a variety of sandwiches, salads, and sides. Look for locally sourced ingredients and creative combinations. Second, consider the atmosphere. Many Portland delis have a cozy, neighborhood feel. Finally, don’t forget to check out the cheese and charcuterie selection. Many delis offer a range of artisanal cheeses and cured meats.


Portland, Maine, with its delightful delis, offers a unique culinary experience. Whether you’re a sandwich lover, a cheese aficionado, or simply a food enthusiast, Portland’s delis have something to offer. So, next time you’re in the city, make sure to stop by one of these gastronomic gems. You won’t be disappointed.

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