Michael & I are thrilled to share the next part of our 2012 favorites with you all – the best dining experiences in our beloved Portland, Maine. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all of our local favorites, only a recap of the places that we shared with you all in the last year. Upon finishing up a meal in town we more often than not talk about how lucky we are to live in a city with such incredible culinary offerings. After reading this post, I think you’ll see what we mean!
Michael: The drinks at Local 188 might have a reputation for being on the stronger side, but that far from negates the tastiness of their creative cocktails, such as the Barrel Roller.
Meredith: Grace’s Revelation (rye, Fernet Branca, orange bitters) was a favorite. I’m not sure which I appreciated more, the drink’s name or its taste.
Michael: Butter, garlic, fresh mussels, and Standard Baking bread with which to sop it all up. Need I say more, Fore Street?
Meredith: You seriously cannot go wrong with choosing a few of the assorted cheeses at Petite Jacqueline – it’s the perfect appetizer for someone who loves cheese as much as I do!
Michael: Typically, I’m pretty good at mixing up my selections when we return to a restaurant, but we’ve been to Boda a number of times, and ever since I sampled a friend’s Beef Panaeng, it’s been the only entrée on the menu for me.
Meredith: I had my fair share of exceptional main courses this year, but the Pumpkin Agnolotti at The Well at Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth was just the right blend of delicious and comforting, not to mention seasonal & locally-sourced.
Michael: Fresh strawberry cheesecake or blueberry pie. Whatever the seasonal dessert is at The Good Table, you can count on it being unbelievable.
Meredith: If we see Panna Cotta on a dessert menu, there’s more than a good chance that Michael & I will treat ourselves. Having ordered quite a few in town, we can honestly say that Caiola’s is one of our top favorites.
Michael: Two months ago, I would’ve said that there was little competition against Caiola’s Lost Bread, but after sampling the stuffed french toast at Vignola, I have to add it to the list.
Meredith: While I hold the Lost Bread at Caiola’s on the highest of pedestals, nothing beats the breakfast scramble at Local 188 – my favorite brunch in town.
Dining with Orvis
Michael: There are few things more satisfying than sharing french fries with Orvis at a red picnic table overlooking the Atlantic, at the Lobster Shack.
Meredith: We enjoyed eating outside with Orvis at a few restaurants on Longfellow Square this summer, but what was perfect for us (and our crazy friend!) was the quiet, spacious side of Sonny’s next to Tommy’s Park.
Michael: Pai Men Miyake’s lunch combos are probably one of the best lunch values in town. Double-up on the pork – ramen and dumplings – every time.
Meredith: Blue Spoon is a favorite of mine at all hours of the day, but there’s something truly special about treating yourself to a long lunch there in the afternoon. Paciarino is our go-to lunch spot for comfort food in the winter – a heaping plate some of the tastiest pasta in town is the perfect way to get through a cold winter’s day in Maine.
Michael: Repurposed buildings win out in this category. Eating (and drinking) inside an old church makes Grace that much better, and the classic exposed bricks, wooden beams, massive open space, and floor to ceiling windows of Fore Street’s space give it an awesome atmosphere.
Meredith: The branding, bright interiors, and cheerful atmospheres of both Eventide & Petite Jacqueline are two of my favorite in town.
Michael & Meredith: Kettle Cove and Crescent Beach, overlooking Richmond Island make up one of Meredith and my favorite locations in all of Maine, and it just so happens that the outdoor seating at Sea Glass has a view of it all.
Michael: It doesn’t get much more fresh than literally on the farm from which most of its ingredients come. The Well at Jordan’s Farm may be small and very seasonal, but it’s worth making the time.
Meredith: Our friends, Flight of Fancy, play music on the patio each Thursday night at Caiola’s – it’s the perfect place to be on a warm summer evening.
Michael: Fore Street has been one of my favorite meals and atmospheres since the first summer that Meredith and I moved to Maine. Its simple ingredients, prepared perfectly, will always rank at the top of my list, but this year, I’m adding Petite to the top, because there’s just something wonderful about the flavor of well done French food.
Meredith: It was truly a shame that we visited The Well just days before they closed for the 2012 season. After eating the tastiest fall meal – butternut squash soup & pumpkin agnolotti with homemade bread & butter – I’m quite positive I would have convinced Michael to make it a weekly thing.