Thousands of lobster rolls later, Eventide Oyster Co. still going strong

Published on January 22

Smoked mackerel at Eventide Oyster Company in Portland.

Eventide Oyster Company may well be Portland’s best-known seafood restaurant (and with a Boston outpost planned for this year, it may soon become Beantown’s).

Owned by chefs Mike Wiley and Andrew Taylor, along with general manager Arlin Smith, Eventide has been lauded by both local and national press for its updated, eclectic take on classic seafood shack cooking.

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Schulte & Herr’s homey German food is a home run
Schulte & Herr, a cozy German restaurant in Portland’s West Bayside neighborhood, knows a thing or two about defying expectations.

Published on February 12

Since opening in 2011, it remains steadfastly without a liquor license. Co-owners Steffi Davin and her husband, chef Brian Davin, instead seem (for the moment, at least) content to pin their success on homey atmosphere and the remarkable quality of their food.

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Salt Pine Social in Bath offers eclectic, playful approach to casual dining

Published on February 26

Bath’s commercial district is bookended on one side by the Bath Iron Works shipyard, and on the other by Salt Pine Social, a lively restaurant that opened in a renovated metal workshop this past October.

With a wide-ranging menu of dishes that make up a tour of chef and co-owner Eloise Humphrey’s cherished memories, the restaurant offers an eclectic, playful approach to casual dining.

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Huong’s fits in deliciously with Portland’s culinary cultural revolution

Published on April 12

Shrimp fresh rolls at Huong’s.

The Facebook page for Huong’s Vietnamese Restaurant in Portland lists it as a pho restaurant, and that’s probably a good way to think about it.

That’s not to say you should ignore its non-pho dishes; most of chef/owner Huong Le’s noodle dishes are superb. Best among these are the noodle bowls (bun) – especially the shrimp and grilled beef varieties. Her round rice noodle soup is similarly delightful.

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Chris Gould’s latest, the Italian off-peninsula Tipo, earns a tip of the hat

Published on April 30

Tipo, a new Italian restaurant in Portland’s Back Cove neighborhood, has a lot going for it – not least of which is the considerable expertise of its chef/owner Chris Gould, who also runs the James Beard Award-nominated Central Provisions in the Old Port.

Gould’s obsessive attention to detail and flair for creating intricate balance among layers of flavor are both on full display at Tipo, where he shares the kitchen with chef de cuisine Mike Smith (formerly of Scales).

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There’s magic – and sublime comfort food – at Camden’s Francine Bistro (currently closed for the season)

Published on May 14

At Francine, chef/owner Brian Hill’s mostly French bistro in Camden, dinners are special events. Inside the cozy converted cottage that houses the restaurant, you’ll find a dining room that is all charming corners and soft lighting – as if the space were genetically engineered for date nights and celebrations.

The constantly evolving menu is similarly romantic, showcasing local ingredients and Hill’s slow, methodical approach to cooking.

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If you don’t yet know of Northern Union chef Romann Dumorne, you should

Published on June 18

A roasted pork loin with spring pea and mint puree at Northern Union.

After a visit to Northern Union, a wine-focused restaurant located on a particularly green stretch of Shore Road in Ogunquit, you’d never guess that its proprietors, Matt and Lauren Wickert, had never run a restaurant before.

Their whimsical, modern design sense and self-assured beverage program make the business feel as if it has had several years to mature.

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Southwest Harbor might be the last place you’d think to look for delicious Mexican food

Published on Aug. 20

Manset, a tiny village that makes up part of Southwest Harbor, might not be the first place you’d look for skillfully executed, creative Mexican food, but thanks to XYZ restaurant, it should be.

The name, which stands for Xalapa, the capital city of Veracruz; Yucatan, a state bordering the Gulf of Mexico; and Zacatecas, a mining city in the country’s center, reflects the broad, pan-regional scope of chef and co-owner Bob Hoyt’s cooking.

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Self-taught chef turning heads at Rockland’s Suzuki Sushi

Published on Sept. 3

Suzuki’s Sushi Bar in Rockland may have been around for 12 years, but it is only now getting the recognition it deserves. Two consecutive semifinalist placings for the Best Chef: Northeast award from the James Beard Foundation for chef/owner Keiko Suzuki Steinberger have meant a lift in summer business and a whole new audience of visitors willing to travel to taste her take on sushi.

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Four stars for Chaval, latest venture from Sansonetti and Lopez

Published on Nov. 5

When the chef/owners of Portland’s Piccolo restaurant took over Caiola’s late last year, some West Enders got a little anxious about the transition. “That’s our friendly local stand-by,” friends of mine fretted.

They needn’t have worried. Chaval, Ilma Lopez and Damian Sansonetti’s new French-and-Spanish-inspired restaurant, is a delight.

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‘Coffee nerds’ use their noodles to break delicious new grounds

Published on Nov. 12

Walk down Portland’s Washington Avenue at night, and you’ll pass a restaurant in the old Nissen Bakery building that appears to have no name – just a blue neon sign that reads, “Pho.”

You’ve found Cong Tu Bot, a new Vietnamese noodle restaurant owned by chef Vien Dobui, his wife Jessica Sheahan, and their sous chef and business partner, Joseph Zohn.

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