The Best Restaurants in Portland, Maine

Sure, you’ll eat some tasty lobster rolls in this harbor town on Casco Bay, but you’ll also find James Beard award-winning kitchens, exciting food trucks, and world-class comfort food, like pies made with locally sourced berries topped with just-made ice cream. Whether you’re in a white-cloth dining room or slurping oysters on the waterfront, the tastes of Maine are easy to love.

43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101, USA
Poutine, that hearty junk-food favorite of Québec and Maine, has been perfected at Duckfat: Crisp Belgian fries (fried in duck fat) are piled with cheese curds from a local dairy, then drenched in duck gravy. Duck confit panini, doughnut holes, milkshakes—high-caloric indulgence is the name of the wildly delicious game here. For the more virtuous eater, the kale-and-smoked-duck-breast salad is divine, too.
288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101
Make a reservation or arrive early to score one of the walk-in tables at Fore Street, the restaurant that launched Portland’s culinary fame. Chef-partner Sam Hayward won Maine’s first James Beard Best Chef Northeast award in 2004, and since then the accolades have continued—both for Hayward and for other young chefs in Portland. Located in a renovated former warehouse with big windows facing the waterfront, Fore Street is upscale casual, with a bi-level dining room accented by brick, wood, and exposed ductwork, and with an open kitchen that has a wood-burning oven, grill, and turnspit. The flavor is pure Maine: Hayward, a pioneer in farm-to-table, began working with local farmers, fishermen, and foragers decades before it became trendy. Although the menu changes daily, the signature items always available include house-made charcuterie, wood-oven-roasted Maine mussels, and wood-grilled hanger steak.
2 Preble Street
After its humble beginnings serving slices from a back corner of a local market, Slab has moved its base of operations into a lofty space in the old Portland Public Market building, with the plus of outdoor seating when there’s good weather. A selection of craft beers, a well-curated cocktail list, generous salads, sides and stellar desserts make this much more than just a pizza joint. (That said, don’t miss the pizza.)
4 Canal Plaza, Portland, ME 04101, USA
Down an alley off Exchange Street, serious beer lovers congregate to worship at Novare Res, either at picnic tables on the outdoor patio or at communal tables in the brick-vaulted cellar space. More than 500 small-batch beers from all over the world—at least 25 of them on tap—are available to sample every day. The vast menu is divided by region and taste and style but the waitstaff (or your fellow worshippers) will be happy to steer you to a beer that suits your palate.
21 Wells Rd, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
You’ve heard of farm-to-table, but the Well at Jordan’s Farm takes it to another level: farm-as-table. Culinary Institute of America grad Jason Williams sources most of the ingredients for his daily-changing menu from what’s in season here on Jordan’s Farm, a 122-acre land trust property operated by the third generation of Jordans. Reservations are essential to get a seat at this alfresco restaurant—there are only a few at the kitchen counter as well as a handful of picnic tables and dining gazebos around the grounds. For a small donation, pick fresh flowers for the table. Bring your own alcohol, and leave the credit card behind; this is a cash-only establishment.
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