OystHers on the half shell at OystHers Raw Bar & Bubbly. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Maybe you have hard-to-please guests coming to town that you’ve already taken to all the Fore Street-type places. Or maybe you’re looking for a new spot to celebrate a special occasion. Or just have dinner tonight. Whatever your dining dilemma, we’re here to help, with a roundup of all the restaurants that Portland Press Herald Dine Out critic Andrew Ross has given four or more stars to in the past year.

For more options, see Ross’s latest list of the Best 75 restaurants in Greater Portland or read all of his reviews here.

OystHers, Bath

After their father died, sisters Lauren and Sadia Crosby reunited and opened this restaurant to carry on his legacy as a lobsterman. They converted the former tattoo shop into the seaside eatery it is now. In addition to serving the oysters that they grow and harvest, they offer sliders, salads and charcuterie boards.

Fish tacos with pico de gallo, saffron-infused pickled onions and fresno aioli at A&C Soda Shop. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

A&C Soda Shop, South Portland

This modern diner with a retro feel impressed Ross with its herbal tonic fizzes and boozy floats – some of the ways owner Joe Fournier has sought to update the classic diner experience. But it was the attentive service that wowed Ross the most.

Seafood paella at Paella Seafood on Forest Avenue in Portland. Michele McDonald/Photo Editor

Paella Seafood, Portland

A fire in its original building caused the restaurant to relocate, as well as rethink and update its menu. The focus is on seafood dishes that incorporate flavors of both the Mediterranean and Maine, and Ross declared its paella the best that he’s eaten in Maine, “no question.”

Duckfats’s cauliflower panini with charred cauliflower, sunchoke puree and pickled mustard greens accompanied by Belgian frites with sauces. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Duckfat, Portland

Receiving a rare 4.5 stars, Duckfat has been a tourist attraction for nearly two decades, consistently wowing crowds with its well-trained staff and wide-ranging menu. The french fries are a must-have, but Ross emphasizes that the salads and the milkshakes should not be ignored.


Sue Cole helps customer Lee Proscia, of Freeport, who stopped in for a bagel and sweet treat at South Freeport Village Market. You can get breakfast, lunch or dinner at the market. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

South Freeport Village Market, Freeport

This neighborhood market was recently taken over by Big Tree Hospitality, owners of such Portland favorites as The Honey Paw and Eventide, which respectively received 4 and 4.5 stars when Ross visited years ago. Here, Ross raves about the classic stuffed sandwiches and blueberry muffins. He also noted the market’s accessibility, offering made-to-order meals all day in addition to having grab-and-go options.

The Pistachio & Pickled Fresno pizza with a herbed cream base, cheese, toasted pistachios, pickled Fresno chilies, scallions, sweet-and-spicy sauce and pecorino at Peng’s Pizza Pies. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Peng’s Pizza, Biddeford

The owner and head chef of the pizzeria, Chris Daniels, doesn’t like to talk about “style” with regards to pizza. He derives his inspiration from a few different sources that come together to resemble New York, Neapolitan and New Haven pizza. His rejection of labels permits him to create never-been-done-before pizzas with unorthodox toppings (like pistachio and chili peppers) that create a whole new experience.

Owner Betsy English adds shredded cheese to a pizza at Quanto Basta. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Quanto Basta, Portland

Another boundary-pushing pizzeria, this restaurant serves classic Italian appetizers in addition to its pies. Owner and chef Betsy English excels in the creation of the crust, making an airy yet chewy sourdough masterpiece that she pairs with exciting toppings that’s gotten the neighborhood’s attention.

The Alna Store’s ditalini pasta with lion’s mane mushrooms, Romanesco cauliflower and romesco sauce, one of the dishes that helped push the restaurant to the top of our Dine Out list this year. Photo by Jasper Ludwig

The Alna Store, Alna

A 4.5 rating and a rave review for a restaurant in an old general store and gas station might seem surprising, but this 120-year-old space has been reinagined as a bespoke vessel for an ever-changing menu and “dreamy” dining experience. The location is remote, surrounded by nature preserves and farmland, and relies on a DIY attitude from its charming and ambitious staff.

Little Pig’s Grilled Lao Sausage. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Little Pig, Portland

“Thai-ish” is part of the restaurant’s tagline here, as the owners and chefs Piyathida and Michael MacDonnell frequently toy around with a variety of ingredients, infusing southeast Asian cuisine with flavors from Maine. Despite the small size of the space, Ross predicted it would quickly become a staple of Portland’s dining scene, deeming it “some of the very best Thai food in New England.”

In a Silent Way’s butter lettuce and shaved yellow zucchini salad. Photo by Chandler Sowden

In a silent way, Wiscasset

As the name suggestions, the atmosphere here is on the slower, quieter side. There are only two staffers, owners Chandler Sowden and Zack Goodwin, who encourage diners to sit for longer than usual and enjoy their beautifully crafted dishes.


Veggie Paella at Dara Bistro.

Dara Bistro, Cumberland

A secret of Cumberland no more, this restaurant has been in the breakfast, brunch and lunch game since 2017, only adding dinner service last summer. The plates fuse the cuisines of New England, the South and classical European bistros while using local produce, some of it coming right from the neighborhood.

The non-alcoholic Lulo Lemon Spritz at Papi in Portland. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Papi, Portland

Papi brings Puerto Rican flavors to Portland, blended slightly with the aesthetic and style of New York’s Lower East Side. The daring decor and food combinations (olives in flan!) bring to mind an exhilarating trip to Old San Juan, while not stepping foot off Exchange Street.

Some of the offerings, on ice, at SoPo Seafood. Photo by Josh Edgecombe

SoPo Seafood, South Portland

Outstanding oysters with polished shells and a “Spoons” section on this menu (for indecisive folks who want just a bite of multiple dishes) make the restaurant a standout for light fare in South Portland. There’s a fish market in house for patrons to take ingredients home and re-create recipes later.

Diners outside at Nebo Lodge on North Haven. Photo by Kelsey Gayle

Nebo Lodge, North Haven

Visitors to this restaurant must arrive by water taxi, ferry or skiff and can spend the night at the lodge if they want to fully relax after the meal. Cocktails and European bistro-style cooking are at the heart of the menu, but the chefs offer additional “wildcard” dishes to keep things flexible on the island, where ingredients are not always on hand.

Parisienne Gnocchi with maitake mushrooms at Bistro Leluco. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Bistro Leluco, South Portland

Ross was impressed by how quickly New Yorker owners Michelle Trizzino and Antonio Rappazzo found their niche in Maine’s restaurant scene. They have “hit the ground sprinting,” he said, with their infusion of French and Italian flavors with Maine ingredients in their modern dishes. He puts Bistro Leluco (its name a combination of their three children’s names) up as a contender for the best restaurant in its area.

Yakitori-style skewers, cocktails and other treats from Bar Futo, a Japanese-inspired bar and grill opening Friday on Fore Street. Photo credit: Catherine Dzilenski

Bar Futo, Portland

A 6-foot oven that burns 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and a menu section entitled “Secret Chicken” are big draws for customers and admirers of this Japanese restaurant. Creative and refreshing drinks complement the cuisine and prepare guests for the delicious chill of the big portion of Japanese shaved ice served for dessert.

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