This past May, I joined my parents on a week-long trip starting in Portland, Maine and then driving through Acadia National Park into Canada to visit Saint John, NB and Prince Edward Island and then back to Portland.
However, my favorite part was the weekend in Portland, Maine so I wanted to do a review of some of the things we did on this trip and also on my previous weekend trip to Portland.
In my opinion, every morning should start at one of these two places: Standard Baking Company or The Holy Donut.
Standard Baking Company
75 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101
Standard Baking Company was recommended to me by my Uber driver on my last trip to Portland. In his words, these croissants were as good as any you could get in Paris. I’ve never been to Paris so I couldn’t say if they were just as good but these were the best croissants I’ve had in my life, period. A lot of their other baked goods are also very very good but you HAVE to try the croissants. In fact, for this trip, my family and I went back three times to buy more croissants: once when we arrived, once for breakfast and once to take some back home.
The Holy Donut
194 Park Ave, Portland, ME 04102
There are actually two locations in Portland, one in downtown area and the one I went to (address above). The unique aspect of their donuts is that they use potato starch to make them. These are definitely artisan donuts with interesting flavors and they weren’t as sweet as most donuts I’ve eaten. The donuts were also airier than cake donuts but still had some density to them. I really liked the fruit flavored ones.
For the rest of our food adventures, we primarily ate *drumroll* LOBSTER!!! Now I know that couldn’t have been a big surprise. For Saturday early dinner, we went to Eventide Oyster Co. and had pizzas from Flatbread Company as a late night snack. On Sunday we stopped by Bite into Maine in Fort Williams Park and had dinner at The Porthole Restaurant & Pub.
Eventide Oyster Co.
86 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101
Now Eventide Oyster Co. is a pretty popular place. We even went pretty early for dinner but there was still a 30 minute wait so I recommend an early dinner or to put your name down and maybe get some drinks while you wait. They do take your phone number and text you when your table is ready.
Obviously, you can get oysters here but they also have other dishes and quite a few have a little bit of an Asian twist. We ordered raw oysters (something I can never resist), the Eventide lobster roll, the fried Maine oysters and battered Gulf of Maine hake. All the dishes were delicious. The lobster roll bread was more similar to that of a Chinese steam bun which was a very unique take. The sauce with the fried oysters was very flavorful and the raw oysters and hake were very good though not as unique as the other two dishes. Lastly, I also had the ET Cooler cocktail which consisted of gin, cucumber, sake and lemon soda. It was a very refreshing cocktail and I definitely recommend it if you like cucumber.
72 Commercial St #5, Portland, ME 04101
Flatbread Company is known for their flatbreads which really look more like pizzas since they’re round but the crust is probably more similar to that of a flatbread. This was actually my second time ordering flatbread from them as my brother and I had done so on a previous trip but we always ordered out instead of dining at their establishment.
To my knowledge, they actually have numerous locations around New England but the one in Portland is definitely busy. When we went to pick-up our order there were a lot of people still waiting for a table, so I suggest ordering takeout via their online ordering system or by phone. Just as delicious but without the long wait. And you can pick-up a local beer to go with it. I had a flatbread I ordered the first time around but I can’t remember which one and the one I got this round was not quite as good but mostly because I don’t prefer caramelized onions on my pizza. However, my brother always gets Jay’s Heart which is something like a margherita pizza and its always delicious.
Bite into Maine
1000 Shore Rd, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
So Bite into Maine is actually a small food truck in Fort Williams Park but it had my favorite lobster roll of the weekend. In fact, my parents even went back to have another before they departed for the airport. They have normal styles such as Maine or Connecticut style and then they have more interesting ones like curry or wasabi. Between us we tried the Connecticut style, the curry and the wasabi and all were amazing.
The actual rolls are nothing fancy but the lobster is plentiful and a good size, not too big or too small. They have a few picnic tables you can eat at or really you could take it anywhere in the park as there are a lot of grassy areas and beautiful views of the coast. Keep in mind it is a lobster roll so it’s not the cheapest item but for the amount of lobster you get, $17.95 per roll isn’t too bad.
The Porthole Restaurant & Pub
20 Custom House Wharf, Portland, ME 04101
The Porthole is right on the harbor and has both inside seating and outside seating and if you’re lucky, sometimes live music. On this trip we came for dinner but on my last trip, I stopped by here for breakfast.
I’ll start with my breakfast experience. For breakfast, we chose to sit on the outside patio which is quite large and overlooks the harbor. I had one of the best omelets here, the Casco Bay Omelet with Maine lobster and crab meat. They were VERY generous with the seafood. I expected mostly egg with a little seafood but it was full of lobster and crab and absolutely wonderful.
On this trip, we stopped by for dinner and had quite a lobster feast. We ordered the twin lobster (only $25), the lobster roll and the crab cakes. The twin lobster also included potatoes, corn and dinner rolls. My mom and I shared this dish but she told me she could’ve eaten the whole thing on her own and if she ever came back, she’d do just that! The lobster roll was adequate but not my favorite on this trip and the crab cakes were quite sad… I do not recommend them. They were pretty thin cakes and a little mushy. If you do stop by here, the whole lobster is the way to go and we saw many other customers also ordering either the single or twin lobster.
These were all the places we went to on this trip but I wanted to also mention one other place that I tried on a previous trip and that is J’s Oyster.
5 Portland Pier, Portland, ME 04101
My brother and I came here for lunch and I had raw oysters and a lobster roll which were both good but my brother had the fish chowder and he brings it up every time we talk about Portland so it must be pretty good. The restaurant is also on the harbor but it is a bit more cramped than other places but has great atmosphere. We didn’t make it back on this trip but maybe next time!
Portland is actually known for quite a few craft breweries and there are beer tours you can join or you can visit the breweries on your own. On this trip we didn’t really intend to do stop by any breweries or tasting rooms but found ourselves at a Shipyard Brewing tasting room during some down time. On my previous trip though, I joined the brewery tour at Allagash Brewing Company.
Shipyard Brewing Tasting Room
86 Newbury Street Portland, ME 04101
The Shipyard Brewing Tasting Room is in downtown Portland and has both a tasting room and a brewery store. There were a fair amount of tables and seats and a surprising amount of people considering it was 11 AM when I was there. We got beer flights to try out various beers since neither my brother nor I have had any of theirs before. None of them really jumped out at me but in general, if you’re in the Maine or Eastern Canada, I recommend trying any blueberry beers since the area is known for growing blueberries and the beers are quite good.
Allagash Brewing Company
50 Industrial Way, Portland, Maine 04103
The great thing about Allagash Brewing Company is that they offer free brewery tours though I recommend you reserve before hand. They’ll walk you through their brewery, explaining their operations and at the end you get to taste some of their beers, ALL FOR FREE. I wanted to visit here because I’ve had Allagash White back home in bars and really like it so it was great to learn more about the company. Afterwards, you can also grab some bottled beer to go which is what we did and had later with our flatbread. If you have the time, I’d definitely stop by. After all, it’s a free activity! Also, nearby are other local breweries you can stop in to try.
All in all, there are a ton of great places to eat and drink in Portland, Maine and don’t let the smaller town/city vibe trick you. A lot of these places are fantastic and have a WAIT. For the more popular restaurants, I definitely recommend you head over early so the wait won’t be as long. Also, I’ve only gone before the season starts so I imagine that during the season it must be so much crazier. Keep that in mind when you’re planning your food and drink adventures.
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