Portland, Maine, a charming New England city known for its harbor and vibrant arts scene, is also a culinary hotspot. The city’s food scene is a blend of traditional New England fare, like clam chowder and lobster rolls, and innovative cuisine from around the world. With a plethora of restaurants, food trucks, and bakeries, Portland offers a gastronomic adventure for every palate. In this article, we will explore five of the best restaurants in Portland, Maine, that you must visit to savor the city’s unique flavors.

1. Eventide Oyster Co.

Eventide Oyster Co. is a must-visit for seafood lovers. This modern oyster bar offers a variety of fresh, locally sourced seafood in a casual, welcoming environment. The menu changes daily, reflecting the freshest catch of the day.

  • Signature Dish: The Brown Butter Lobster Roll is a must-try. Served on a steamed bun, the lobster is cooked in brown butter, giving it a rich, nutty flavor that perfectly complements the sweetness of the lobster.
  • What Makes It Unique: Eventide Oyster Co. offers a wide selection of oysters from both the East and West Coasts, allowing diners to sample a variety of flavors and textures.

2. Central Provisions

Central Provisions is a foodie’s paradise. This James Beard Award-nominated restaurant offers a menu of globally inspired small plates, perfect for sharing and sampling a bit of everything.

  • Signature Dish: The Bread and Butter, a seemingly simple dish, is a standout. The bread is baked in-house daily, and the butter is cultured and churned in-house as well.
  • What Makes It Unique: Central Provisions has an open kitchen design, allowing diners to watch as their food is prepared. The restaurant also has a focus on sustainability, sourcing ingredients locally whenever possible.

3. Fore Street

Fore Street, located in Portland’s Old Port district, has been a staple of the city’s dining scene since it opened in 1996. The restaurant’s menu is built around the freshest local ingredients, with a focus on wood-fired cooking.

  • Signature Dish: The Wood Oven Roasted Mussels are a favorite among regulars. The mussels are cooked in a wood-fired oven, giving them a smoky flavor that is both unique and delicious.
  • What Makes It Unique: Fore Street’s menu changes daily based on the availability of local ingredients, ensuring that every dish is as fresh as possible.

4. Duckfat

Duckfat is a small sandwich shop with a big reputation. Known for their Belgian-style fries cooked in duck fat, this restaurant offers a unique take on comfort food.

  • Signature Dish: The Duck Confit Panini, made with duck confit, cheese, and a cherry gastrique, is a must-try. And don’t forget to order a side of their famous duck fat fries!
  • What Makes It Unique: Duckfat also offers a selection of house-made sodas, with flavors like blueberry and cardamom, and ginger brew.

5. The Honey Paw

The Honey Paw is a non-traditional noodle bar that serves up a fusion of Asian cuisines. With a menu that ranges from ramen to wok-fried noodles, this restaurant offers a unique dining experience.

  • Signature Dish: The Lobster Wontons, served with fermented black bean and Szechuan chili oil, are a standout dish that perfectly combines Maine’s local seafood with Asian flavors.
  • What Makes It Unique: The Honey Paw offers a communal dining experience, with shared tables that encourage conversation and camaraderie among diners.

In conclusion, Portland, Maine, is a city that any food lover should visit. With its blend of traditional New England fare and innovative, globally inspired cuisine, Portland offers a culinary adventure that is sure to delight. Whether you’re a seafood lover, a fan of Asian cuisine, or just someone who appreciates good food, Portland’s restaurant scene has something to offer you.

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