June 14, 2012

2012 Audience Readers' Poll: The Winners

THE TOP THREE VOTE GETTERS are listed in each category: First place, second place and honorable mention. In the event of a tie for first or second place, an honorable mention award was not given. In the category of Best Tattoo Parlor, there wasn't a clear winner for honorable mention.

20120530_Poll
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Best Place for Family Entertainment: International Cryptozoology Museum

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Best Take-Out Restaurant: The Buttered Biscuit

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BEST TAKE-OUT RESTAURANT

The Buttered Biscuit

347 Cottage Road, South Portland

799-5005; on.fb.me/L3dFRm

Check out the daily specials on The Buttered Biscuit's Facebook page, and you'll know this isn't your typical pizza and burgers take-out place: Chicken pot pie, scallop cakes, chicken noodle soup, pasta with sundried tomatoes. Sounds like we all have another reason not to cook dinner.

Second place: Amato's, various Maine locations

Honorable mention: Ken's Place, Scarborough 

BEST DINE-IN RESTAURANT

Fore Street

288 Fore St., Portland

775-2717; forestreet.biz

For the better part of two decades, Fore Street has had a national reputation as a fine dining spot. Not only is the food great -- with an emphasis on local products -- its location makes it perfect for starting after-dinner strolls along Portland's waterfront.

Second place: David's, Portland and South Portland

Honorable mention: Texas Roadhouse, Scarborough 

BEST OUTDOOR DINING

The Lobster Shack at Two Lights

225 Two Lights Road, Cape Elizabeth

799-1677; lobstershacktwolights.com

The Lobster Shack is everything most people want in a trip to Maine, rolled up in one neat package: Lobster rolls, fried fish, incredible ocean views, crashing surf, dramatic rock cliffs and nearby lighthouses. Parking in this residential area is limited, so considered going during off hours if you can.

Second place: Flatbread Company, Portland

Honorable mention: Saltwater Grille, South Portland 

BEST RESTAURANT FOR VEGETARIANS/VEGANS

Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro

608 Congress St., Portland

347-3111; greenelephantmaine.com

This vegetarian restaurant has a definite Asian flair, with items such as peanut curry, Thai basil fried rice and organic green tea noodles. If your idea of vegetarian food is vegetable lasagna, this is probably not the place for you.

Second place: Pepperclub, Portland

Honorable mention: Silly's, Portland 

BEST ICE CREAM SHOP

The Gelato Fiasco

74 Maine St., Brunswick

425 Fore St., Portland

607-4002, 699-4314; gelatofiasco.com

The folks at Gelato Fiasco say they use only Maine milk and natural cane sugar for their gelato, an Italian type of ice cream. The flagship Brunswick store has been open since 2007, but a new Portland location in the Old Port just opened this year. You can also get Gelato Fiasco's product at area stores, including some Hannford and Shaw's supermarkets.

Second place: Beal's Old Fashioned Ice Cream, various locations

Honorable mention: Red's Dairy Freeze, South Portland 

BEST COFFEE

Dunkin' Donuts

Various locations in Maine and elsewhere

dunkindonuts.com

Dunkin' Donuts coffee is good ol' reliable joe, no question about it, and you can find a shop almost everywhere you go.

Second place: Coffee By Design, Portland and Freeport

Honorable mention: Starbucks, various locations 

BEST BAKERY (TIE)

Scratch Baking Co.

416 Preble St., South Portland

799-0668; scratchbakingco.com

Standard Baking Co.

75 Commercial St., Portland

773-2112; StandardBakingCo.com

Two great bakeries with two different vibes. Scratch is a cool little neighborhood place over by Willard Beach, a place where people walk in for bread for dinner or bagels for a beach-side stroll. Standard Baking is on Portland's waterfront, and provides baked goods and sweets to a slew of area restaurants as well as to general folks like us.

Second place: Dunkin' Donuts, various locations 

BEST FOOD CART

Eric's Pizza Express

Commercial Street near the Maine State Pier, Portland

facebook.com/EricsPizzaExpress

These seem to be booming times for food carts and food trucks in southern Maine. Just wander into Fort Williams Park this summer to see what we mean. For the second year in a row, the winning food cart is run by Eric Hughes, a young man in his early 20s who dreamed about serving pizza from a cart -- and made it happen.

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Best Live Music Venue: State Theatre

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Best Dine-In Restaurant: Fore Street

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Best Outdoor Dining, Best Lobster Roll: The Lobster Shack at Two Lights

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Best Live Theater: Portland Stage

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Best Bowling Alley: Bayside Bowl

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