For our full list of Best 75 places to eat and drink in Greater Portland, click here. To check out a map of our full list, click here.

The Benedictino, made with jamon serrano, smoked piquante, poached eggs and cabbage salad at Cafe Louis. Staff photo by Jill Brady

Café Louis

Visit chef Evan Richardson’s buzzy, exuberant South Portland hotspot, and you’ll come away with a new appreciation for Costa Rican and Caribbean cuisine and cocktails. Service here is also superb, even when the skeleton crew who operate the 1,000-ish- square-foot space are slammed with customers. Don’t ask how they do it, just order a slushy Pura Vida rum punch and enjoy. Read the review.

173 Ocean St.
South Portland
(207) 536-0169

Crispy Gai
Looking for spice and heat? Head to Exchange Street in the Old Port, where you’ll find Thai-inspired takes on fried chicken, umami-suffused noodles and fragrant cocktails. Crispy Gai is also a weekend brunch destination, with dishes like pork congee and radish-cake “tots” that might remind you of a Southeast Asian riff on dim sum.

90 Exchange St.
(207) 536-1017


Jackrabbit is a bakery and cafe from Elda’s Bowman Brown. Photo by Anna Brown


A well-deserved double-dip for chef Bowman Brown. For the past several years, he has been cementing his reputation as one of the most skillful, creative chefs working in Maine today. His fine-dining restaurant, Elda, has flourished in its enchanting and sophisticated new space upstairs at the Pepperell Mill. His prix-fixe tasting menu is equally elegant. At the street level, Bowman’s casual café, Jackrabbit, offers dishes that borrow from the same Scandinavian-Japanese palette, as well as sandwiches and pastries that deserve everyone’s full attention. Read the review.

14 Main St.
(207) 602-0359

Forage Market

Stuck between New York and Montreal, two bagel-centric cities, Portland has no shortage of excellent examples of its own. Forage Market is one of the best, especially if your goal is to order a half-dozen bagels, some Browne Trading lox, and a few milky coffees.

123 Washington Ave.
(207) 274-6800


Hot Suppa

Southern comfort food – everything from buttery grits to gumbo teeming with seafood and andouille sausage – is what continues to attract scores of brunch customers every day. Yes, you read that correctly. Hot Suppa now serves its comforting breakfast and lunch dishes from morning to mid-afternoon, seven days a week. Read the review.

703 Congress St.
(207) 871-5005

Henny Penny, a fried chicken sandwich at Indy’s in South Portland. Photo by Ray Routhier


While the Tam & Cam, a banh mi in panini’s clothing, gets all the attention at this cute, cozy South Portland sandwich shop, other sandwiches deserve your consideration – especially the traditional Cubano and the warming Kai Kata, a spicy, Asian-inspired breakfast sandwich. Japanese curry bowls are also a real draw here. Order ahead to avoid the lines.

744 Main St.
South Portland


Local 188

The shabby chic dining room and mix-and-match design aesthetic remain constant no matter when you visit, but Local 188 has oscillating identities. At dinnertime, it is a Spanish restaurant, but when the weekend rolls around, it transforms into a bustling egg-and-fried-potatoes joint that remains one of the hottest brunch spots in town.

685 Congress St.
(207) 761-7909


The cat is out of the bag about Maples, and I couldn’t be happier. With enormous English muffins, fruit scones, sprinkle-topped ricotta cookies and some of the region’s best bagels – all baked on-site – Maples is good enough to justify dropping crumbs all over the interior of your car on the drive back to Portland. Skip Maples at your own risk.

881 Route 1
(207) 846-1000


Quiche with grape tomatoes, spinach and dashi custard and sausage-jalapeno pig in a blanket from Norimoto Bakery. Photo by Tim Cebula

Norimoto Bakery

Local gastronomes have been talking up James Beard Award finalist chef Atsuko Fujimoto’s phenomenal pastries for years, and it’s rewarding to see the rest of the country catch on. Fujimoto is a masterful baker whose repertoire of treats is grounded in European traditions and techniques, fine-tuned to allow for an occasional Japanese-inspired element. Peerless fruit galettes, sticky kouign-amanns and Gateau Basque with sweet azuki bean filling? Yes, please.

469 Stevens Ave.


In its former West End space, Omi’s was a decent spot to grab a cappuccino – not much more. However, when it relocated to a space large enough for a baker’s kitchen, it blossomed. Now in a renovated historic building in South Portland, Omi’s serves excellent layer cakes, homemade biscuits and a rotating selection of savory lunch and breakfast specials.

372 Cottage Road
South Portland
(207) 835-0145


Other Side Diner

Nominally a classic Greek diner, this cozy, welcoming East Deering restaurant ought to be known for its beautifully conceived toasted sandwiches (curried chicken salad, pork belly grilled cheese, Japanese convenience-store-inspired egg salad “sando”) as well as its simple, yet perfectly executed omelets. There’s no better place to finish a walk around Back Cove than here. Read the review.

500 Washington Ave.
(207) 772-0002

The Capotosto family will reopen the Palace Diner in Biddeford on May 30. They are, from left, in the back: son Jonathan, David’s wife, Carmel, David and daughter Paulina. In the front are sons Nicholas, Samuel and Benjamin. Photos by Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

Palace Diner

If I told you that quite possibly the best diner in the country occupies a 15-seat space, just off the main drag in Biddeford, would you believe me? In 2014, co-owners Chad Conley and Greg Mitchell kitted out a tiny, 1927 railroad dining car and immediately started making food that brought together high-quality ingredients and a captivating faithfulness to short-order tradition. Visit for breakfast or lunch (no dinner service) on a weekday to avoid waits that can extend beyond the two-hour mark.

18 Franklin St.
(207) 284-0015


The Purple House

When Krista Desjarlais bakes, the state takes notice. During the summer months, she makes ice cream on Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester, but when the weather gets cool, she fires up the woodstove in a quaint North Yarmouth cottage and bakes. In 2023, she plans to offer cafe pastries and occasional dinners, lunches and cooking classes.

378 Walnut Hill Road
North Yarmouth
(207) 808-3148
Note: The Purple House closes for the summer season and will reopen in the new year on an irregular schedule. Check the website and social media.


Call them whatever you like: hoagies, grinders, subs … it makes no difference as long as you’re ordering one from this closet-sized Washington Avenue sandwich shop. A Philadelphia-inspired collaboration between Josh Sobel and Palace Diner co-owner Chad Conley, Ramona’s gets the overstuffed, vinegar-dressed sandwich right. Not sure what to eat? Try the tuna-filled Melrose (with extra Calabrian chili spread) or the echt-Italian, cannellini-and-broccolini-packed Paulie.

98 Washington Ave.
(207) 956-7194



Rose Foods

Jewish deli standbys like crisp, golden-fried latkes; matzo ball soup and fat pastrami sandwiches (on rye, naturally) are as much of a draw as chef/owner Chad Conley’s open-crumb sourdough bagels and creative bagel sandwiches. Among the best: the Monday Morning – spread thick with chicken livers and schmaltz-fried gribenes – and the golden-beet-topped Greengrass. For now, the restaurant is takeout-only, but look for the dining room to reopen sometime this year. Read the review.

428 Forest Ave.
(207) 835-0991

Rover Bagel

These are not your bubbe’s bagels, but that’s OK. We’re all just happy that Rover returned to Biddeford. Now operating from a jaunty takeout window in Biddeford’s Pepperell Mill, Rover sells generously proportioned sandwiches like the bacon-and-honey-filled Shift Meal, as well as more straightforward classic pairings for its heavily browned and blistered bagels.


10 W. Point Lane, Suite 10-204
(207) 710-6248

Scratch Baking Co.

Locals know Scratch for its bagels (which sell out in nanoseconds every weekend morning), but the newly expanded bakery and sandwich counter is a versatile business that produces some of the region’s tastiest sweet treats: brownies and blondies, coconut layer cakes and scones – they’re all pretty fantastic.

416 Preble St.
South Portland
(207) 799-0668

Tandem Coffee/Tandem Coffee & Bakery

Apart from serving an intensely smoky roast of coffee that has garnered national recognition for founders and Blue Bottle Coffee alums Kathleen and Will Pratt, Tandem sells some of the area’s best pastries. Baker Briana Holt’s short-crusted fruit pies, miso-glazed scones and gooey, softball-sized sticky buns are three Portland foods I never want to do without.

Café & Roastery (aka Little Tandem):
122 Anderson St.
(207) 889-0235
Coffee and Bakery:
742 Congress St.
(207) 805-1887

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