May 9, 2012

Dining Guide: Old Port

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THE PRICE GUIDE reflects the approximate cost of two dinner entrees, minus appetizers, drinks, tax and gratuity.
$ – $15 and under
$$ – $16 to $25
$$$ – $26 to $45
$$$$ – $46 and up

245 Commercial St.
(207) 347-5687
Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday; dinner 5:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and 5:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; bar open later.
The Salt Exchange focuses on contemporary, small-plate dining using local, seasonal foods. The menu has been designed around sharing and sampling. It is American fare, with some French and Italian influences. A chef’s table is available. The restaurant’s extensive wine list features primarily New World wines, and wines are served by the glass, half-glass and bottle. The Salt Exchange also has a large microbrew selection and a heavy bourbon bar.

83 Exchange St.
(207) 772-7774
Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday; dinner 5:30 to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; bar open daily until 1 a.m.
Sonny’s serves New World Cuisine, featuring traditional Latin, Caribbean, African and American comfort foods. Enchiladas and tamales are made with local and seasonal seafood, cheeses, produce and meats. Fritters and empanadas are stuffed with fresh meats, vegetables, beans and grains. Local clams, scallops, mussels, haddock crab and lobster routinely appear in Sonny’s dishes.

STREET & CO. $$$
33 Wharf St.
(207) 775-0887
Hours: 5 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
This seafood bistro has been in business for 20 years, and for good reason. It specializes in local fresh seafood, and grills, blackens and broils its fish to perfection in its open kitchen. The standards on the menu include broiled scallops and halibut. The rustic atmosphere comes alive in the summer, when outdoor seating puts patrons on the cobblestone street. Some tables are reserved for walk-ins, but it’s still a good idea to make a reservation.

TWENTY MILK STREET (at the Portland Regency Hotel and Spa) $$$-$$$$
20 Milk St.
(207) 774-4200
Hours: Breakfast 6:30 to 11 a.m. Monday to Friday and 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday; lunch 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; brunch 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. Dinner 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 5 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Twenty Milk Street serves a menu the chef describes as American cuisine, with particular emphasis on prime steaks and fresh local seafood, including lobster and scallops. Lobster Benedict and Malted Blueberry Pancakes are favorites from the breakfast menu. All desserts, such as the Apricot Ginger Upside Down Cake, are homemade.


10 Dana St.
(207) 772-1330
Hours: 5 p.m. to midnight Monday to Saturday; 4:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Brunch 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Two of Portland’s best known restaurants became one when they merged in 2012. Vignola is named for a small town in Italy known for its love of food. Cinque Terre, named for five ancient fishing villages in the Italian Riviera, was dubbed one of the “Top Ten Farm-to-Table Restaurants in the U.S.A.” by, and for good reason: the owners grow produce for the kitchen on their own Grand View Farm in Greene, where they also host cooking classes and special dinners. Chef Lee Skawinski travels to Italy regularly with his staff to meet with artisanal food producers . The newly merged restaurants now have a chef’s table with a view into the kitchen. Reservations are recommended.

2 Portland Square, Union St.
(207) 871-9258
Hours: Daily 11:30 a.m. to midnight.
Located in Portland’s historic Old Port, Walter’s enjoys a loyal following of local regulars and visitors from away. Jeff Buerhaus, the chef-owner, is inspired by the flavors of Asia, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Local favorites include the crispy Asian ravioli and Cracklin’ Calamari starters. For lighter fare or after-work cocktails, visit the lounge area and wood-and-tile bar, where a bar menu is available from 2:30 p.m. to midnight.

505 Fore St.
(207) 772-8242
Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; Sunday Brunch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Dinner 5 to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday
Inventive cocktails, a rustic atmosphere and well-prepared food from a wood-burning oven all contribute to this Mexican restaurant’s authentic feel. Start your meal off with a customer favorite, the Habanero Watermelon Margarita, which has quite a little kick to it. Or order a flight of tequila from the bar’s large selection of blanco, reposado and anejo, all served with a housemade tomatillo sangrita. The guacamole, salsa and tortilla chips at Zapoteca are all fresh and housemade. Entrees range from fish tacos to enchiladas made with chicken, pork or Maine crab and shrimp.

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