where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

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alan weinberg
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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#1 Post by alan weinberg » September 8th, 2016, 7:56 pm

one Portland night, more Boston time.

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Ron Kramer
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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#2 Post by Ron Kramer » September 8th, 2016, 7:57 pm

alan weinberg wrote:one Portland night, more Boston time.

When will you be in Boston?

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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#3 Post by alan weinberg » September 8th, 2016, 7:59 pm

did a thread a few weeks ago so this may be redundant.

Oct 3-6 Boston, Portland Oct 2.
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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#4 Post by alan weinberg » September 8th, 2016, 8:19 pm

in Portland, saw Central Provisions but won't take reservations. What about Union?

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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#5 Post by Jay T. » September 9th, 2016, 7:24 am

I ate at Union for the first time a few weeks ago and didn't enjoy it at all. It's a hotel restaurant and feels like it.

Here are my current Portland recommendations:
1. Central Provisions really is worth trying to get in. Great food and in my mind the poster-child for the current Portland dining scene

2. Emilitsa is a fantastic Greek restaurant. It's somewhat high-end rather than traditional Greek comfort food and has a good Greek wine list. It's probably my favorite restaurant in town

3. Scales is a relatively new seafood place on the water owned by the Fore Street people. I've been three times and the food has been fantastic. Some hit or miss service, but that seems to be a problem in Portland more generally (my theory is that the restaurants per capita is so high that there simply are not enough competent wait staff to go around)

4. If you love oysters and raw seafood, I recommend going to Eventide. It's a smaller seafood place owned by (and next door to) the Hugo's people, and everything they serve is impeccable.

5. Boda is a great Thai "street food" inspired restaurant. Good for sharing dishes

6. Tempo Dulu is pricey. But's it's the most interesting restaurant to open up in Portland in the past two years. It's Southeast Asian -- primarily Indonesian/Malaysian. It also has great cocktails

7. Among the classics, Hugo's and Fore Street are both still really good (I prefer Hugo's), but my favorite "special night out" place is Back Bay Grill.
Last edited by Jay T. on September 9th, 2016, 8:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#6 Post by Jay T. » September 9th, 2016, 7:28 am

I almost forgot: for some of the best sushi you can get anywhere in America, go to Miyake. It's better than anything I ever found in 7 years in San Francisco.
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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#7 Post by Ron Kramer » September 9th, 2016, 9:59 am

Alan if you are interested in meeting some locals are you up for an OL 10/5 or 6. We can do Troquet if your lodging in Boston, the burbs are easy as well.

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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#8 Post by alan weinberg » September 9th, 2016, 6:34 pm

wow, thanks all. Have to pass on off lines, reluctantly, it's a vacay w the wife and not a wine trip. Next time!

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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#9 Post by Jud Reis » September 9th, 2016, 7:15 pm

Alan - still head to Troquet for. Dinner. You will not be disappointed.

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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#10 Post by alan weinberg » September 9th, 2016, 8:13 pm

Jud Reis wrote:Alan - still head to Troquet for. Dinner. You will not be disappointed.
Troquet in Boston?

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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#11 Post by Ron Kramer » September 9th, 2016, 8:27 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
Jud Reis wrote:Alan - still head to Troquet for. Dinner. You will not be disappointed.
Troquet in Boston?

YES, Chris is a member here

http://troquetboston.com

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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#12 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » September 10th, 2016, 10:18 am

Alan, glad to see you're getting to the real "Portland". (People on this board post as if there's only one...and it's not in Maine.)

There are lots of great places in Portland..haute, as mentioned here..and less haute..ie, fun places with really good food. In my view, the food scene up there all "started" with Fore Street and their innovative and local, simply prepared cuisine. It opened in 1996 and is still as good, though the value might not be as good. I've been there many times and never been disappointed. Since it's the grandaddy of restaurants there and uniquely Portland/Maine, if I had one meal that's where I would go, for sure. Good wine list, relatively speaking, too. As Jay T. says above, the "classic" place that really hasn't lost a step in all this time.

My two cents.

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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#13 Post by alan weinberg » September 11th, 2016, 9:12 am

in Portland, will try Fore Street though no available reservations. Boda looks great--open past MN. Central Provisions also takes no reservations.

Clam Box and Clam Shack look good.

In Boston, Bisq, Shepard, Troquet, and Giulia all look good.

Doing my research. Thanks all.

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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#14 Post by Michel Abood » September 11th, 2016, 9:58 am

alan weinberg wrote:in Portland, will try Fore Street though no available reservations. Boda looks great--open past MN. Central Provisions also takes no reservations.

Clam Box and Clam Shack look good.

In Boston, Bisq, Shepard, Troquet, and Giulia all look good.

Doing my research. Thanks all.
For Portland, ME, sit at the bar either at Fore Street or Central Provisions. Piccolo is very good Italian, and Drifter's Wife is inventive American attached to a pretty cool wine shop (disclaimer= they buy some of our wines so I might be slightly biased). I've heard Roustabout is very good, and for local good solid food Lolita is a good choice. Eventide, Hugo's, Duckfat, all rock as well. Get some killer coffee at Speckled Ax or Tandem. I've heard good things about Vinland too, but still haven't been.
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#15 Post by alan weinberg » September 11th, 2016, 8:27 pm

blueberry pie at Two Fat Cats supposed to be good--any opinions?

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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#16 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » September 12th, 2016, 4:18 am

It's really difficult to make a bad "Maine wild blueberry" pie. (Wild Maine blueberries are wonderful...a separate animal from the plumper "high bush" ones we all get in the markets in summer.

My only experience at Fat Cats was to go in and look at the pricelist...it comes very highly recommended by an old friend from Philadelphia who has a house on one of the islands off of Portland (he once was the Phila. Inquirer's wine writer in the '80s.) He is usually right on with his reccos and has gotten to know Portland well in the last 5-6 years since buying their home.

People do have good luck getting into Fore St. My sister in law (who knows Portland well, too) was there last month with her husband--without a reservation. The bar is never reserved, I think.

The bakery under Fore St. (Standard Baking) also has wonderful baked goods, though I don't think they make pies or cakes. Breads, killer croissants and lots of sweets and savories.I really like their walnut/raisin bread. Owned by Fore St. owners.

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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#17 Post by Jay T. » September 12th, 2016, 8:11 am

I think Michel's recommendations are mostly good except for Vinland. We've been twice and will not be returning. The only reason to go is the gimmick. The actual food is bad, as is the service and the atmosphere. And don't get me started on the cocktails.
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#18 Post by Michel Abood » September 14th, 2016, 6:12 am

Jay T. wrote:I think Michel's recommendations are mostly good except for Vinland. We've been twice and will not be returning. The only reason to go is the gimmick. The actual food is bad, as is the service and the atmosphere. And don't get me started on the cocktails.
I haven't been, but I've heard good things, so I am surprised to read this. What happened?
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#19 Post by Jay T. » September 14th, 2016, 9:57 am

Michel Abood wrote:
Jay T. wrote:I think Michel's recommendations are mostly good except for Vinland. We've been twice and will not be returning. The only reason to go is the gimmick. The actual food is bad, as is the service and the atmosphere. And don't get me started on the cocktails.
I haven't been, but I've heard good things, so I am surprised to read this. What happened?
The first time we went (May 2015) was actually quite good (except for atmosphere, which was and remains quite disappointing). I wrote a review of it at the time, which you can find in the EE forum, although I think I was grading a bit on a curve. Nonetheless, we enjoyed ourselves and had some very good food at a reasonable price.

The second time we went this Spring, Vinland had gotten quite a bit more expensive. It's now playing in the Hugo's/Fore Street/Back Bay Grill price range, and it is nowhere near as good as any of those places, not to mention at least a dozen other places in town that are less expensive. The dishes we ordered were surprisingly similar to those the year before but executed less well, and our waitress seemed like a robot who was reciting the same locavorean script as before but with a few misfiring circuits. On flavor alone, I thought it was *fine.* But it also seemed like almost every dish would have been better if the restaurant didn't limit itself to hyper-local ingredients. Literally nothing was exceptional this time around, and a few things were a huge step down from before -- particularly the monkfish dish, which, as a composition of flavors, was quite bad. Meanwhile, my cocktail was disgusting. They recommended their version of a Negroni, but which used some sort of locally made liqueur (I think it was made from beets) in place of Sweet Vermouth and something else instead of Campari. It tasted nothing like a Negroni. That would have been ok if it was otherwise good, but this cocktail tasted strangely sour and smelled almost rotten.

I'll still concede that if you are interested in the hyper-local, gluten-free thing for their own sake, Vinland is interesting. But if I judge Vinland according to the same standards I would any other restaurant in Portland, I'd choose not to eat there again. Which I do, so I won't.
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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#20 Post by Michel Abood » September 14th, 2016, 10:12 am

Oh wow, good to know, thanks, but sorry you had a bad experience.
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#21 Post by Mont Stern » September 20th, 2016, 6:19 pm

Where are you staying? I like Troquet but if you are going for food, I would also consider Craigie on Main, Deuxave, Erbaluce, Meritage & Neptune Oyster.

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#22 Post by Peter Kleban » September 20th, 2016, 7:48 pm

We were at Street & Co. in Portland last week (and also two years ago, both meals consistent). It's definitely informal (as are most if not all of the high-end Portland foodie places AFAIK) and a bit noisy but the food is wonderful. They take reservations. Pretty much seafood only, very creative, carefully prepared. Mostly local produce. The sole was very delicate and well made. Three "small bites" (or whatever they called them) were very tasty and interesting. A very well-run resto, great organization (there were about five chefs in the kitchen area). We just had glasses of wine (I had an Albert Bichot Bourgogne Blanc '13 which was very nice), so I didn't go through the whole list, but it looked good if not very long.
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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#23 Post by alan weinberg » October 5th, 2016, 2:07 pm

good meal at Central Provisions--not special, though. Boda was pretty good, though we got there late and menu was limited. Otto Pizza was excellent.

Didn't like Bisq at all, though the Puffeney Trousseau was a nice wine.

Wonderful FRIED meal at Clam Box in Ipswich. Fun.

Loved Troquet--friendly place, great list (01 DRC RSV), excellent food.

Two more nights--l'Espalier and Giulia.

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#24 Post by Jud Reis » October 5th, 2016, 3:39 pm

Glad you liked Troquet Alan, Chris and Scott do a great job consistently...

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#25 Post by Jay T. » October 21st, 2016, 11:55 am

Ate at Fore Street in Portland on Tuesday night this week. This time of year is a great time to go. The roaring fires with meat turning on spits and a slight smokiness in the air really hit the right atmospheric notes on a cool, drizzly Fall evening.

Also, after a series of service disappointments at restaurants all over town in the past few months, we had a great, professional server at Fore Street. Middle-aged guy, seemed like he had been in the business for a long time but still enthusiastic and extremely solicitous. The newer restaurants in Portland just don't have people like him.

On the food, my wife had the roasted squid appetizer, and I had the platter of raw/smoked seafood. Both delicious. For entrees, my wife had what amounted to a really light cod stew served in a cast iron pot, while I had the pork loin with purple sauerkraut. Also both delicious.

But the best thing I had was my dessert, which was a buttermilk pie with butterscotch sauce, toffee, and espresso ice cream. It was the best dessert I've had in Portland this year. My wife's bavarian chocolate cream tart was only the only miss of the night (weird paring with lemon verbena ice cream), but the Tokaj Aszu they had by the glass made up for it.

Also, I had an awesome rye cocktail with maple syrup and walnut bitters.

All in, my best meal (of 4 in the past 5 years) at Fore Street so far.
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where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#26 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » October 23rd, 2016, 7:37 am

I think it's time to go there over Xmas time. Thanks, Jay....for the motivation.

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Re: where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#27 Post by Joshua Kates » August 20th, 2019, 4:13 pm

Resurrecting this thread, as I will be going to Boston a couple of times this fall. Any more recent suggestions--some of these places have closed, and I would prefer not to have to go over into Cambridge.
Also, any reason no Barbara Lynch restaurants in the mix? I liked no.9 Park the one time I was there and Menton's looks pretty yummy.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#28 Post by Jud Reis » August 20th, 2019, 5:00 pm

Josh - Troquet is still your best bet for very good food and the most interesting list in Boston. No 9 park is not universally loved, but we always have had excellent experiences there, and I love the room. Mention is very good, but not worth the extra tariff IMHO. If you are looking for excellent seafood, Row 34 is always a go to.

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Re: where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#29 Post by Alicia C. » August 20th, 2019, 5:01 pm

I've only been here a little longer than a year, but a few of my favorites are:

* Island Creek Oyster Bar and Eastern Standard near Fenway; or Row 34 in the Seaport
* Bar Mazana; also by the same group: No Relation (sushi bar omakase style, limited seats, tickets required) and they just opened Black Lamb (but haven't been yet); Shore Leave for Tiki drinks.
* Fox and the Knife in Southie
* Among Barbara Lynch's' restaurants, I'm still exploring them, but Sportello and The Butcher Shop (both on the more casual side) are delicious!
* I'd encourage crossing over into Cambridge and going to Puritan & Co.
* Craigie on Main is still great (also in Cambridge) or go to the new Time Out Market in Fenway to their Craigie Burger stand to try their infamous burger.
* and I absolutely adore Pammy's in Cambridge!!

All have good wine programs. Some are focused on natural wines (Pammy's, Puritan, Fox and the Knife), some are creative and geared for seafood (Island Creek and Row 34), while you'll find more traditional lists at the Barbara Lynch restaurants and Craigie on Main.

If folks are still looking for Portland, Maine recs: Drifter's Wife should be a consideration.
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Re: where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#30 Post by Joshua Kates » August 21st, 2019, 9:06 am

Thanks, Alicia and Jud!

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Re: where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#31 Post by Jud Reis » August 21st, 2019, 5:12 pm

Josh - if you do decide to cross over the river to Cambridge, do try Oleana. Ana Sortun is a wizard in the kitchen. Cragie On Main a close second.

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Re: where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#32 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » September 10th, 2019, 12:26 pm

Joshua Kates wrote:
August 20th, 2019, 4:13 pm
I would prefer not to have to go over into Cambridge.
>50% of the good food in Boston is in Cambridge (I consider Somerville part of Cambridge lol). Sort of like Boston is known as the Center of the Universe for biotech, but most of the biotech companies are actually in Cambridge.

It really isn't that far!

Although it's 3-0 in Boston's favor when it comes to legal BYOBs.
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Re: where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#33 Post by Joshua Kates » September 10th, 2019, 3:49 pm

K_F_o_l_e_y wrote:
September 10th, 2019, 12:26 pm
Joshua Kates wrote:
August 20th, 2019, 4:13 pm
I would prefer not to have to go over into Cambridge.
>50% of the good food in Boston is in Cambridge (I consider Somerville part of Cambridge lol). Sort of like Boston is known as the Center of the Universe for biotech, but most of the biotech companies are actually in Cambridge.

It really isn't that far!

Although it's 3-0 in Boston's favor when it comes to legal BYOBs.
Thanks, Ken,
Though, I know it's *not* too far. (I think we'll be staying in Brookline.) Are there any you would you would particularly recommend that Alice and others have not mentioned, especially on the high end? (We will be there on my son's birthday.)
Best,
Josh

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Re: where to eat in Boston and Portland, Maine?

#34 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » September 10th, 2019, 7:50 pm

My list is petty much the same.
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