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Dining Guide

Portland | Cape Elizabeth | South Portland

Price Guide
The 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


94 Commercial St.
(207) 874-2639
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily; happy hour 3 to 6 p.m.

Andy's Old Port Pub is a waterfront gathering place frequented by locals, business people, islanders and fishermen. If you're a tourist, it can be tough to find. The front door is five steps above street level and not visible from the sidewalk. Just look for the pub between Gilbert's Chowder House and the Casco Variety Store. Andy's menu includes fish and chips, burgers, homemade meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, salads, wraps and pizzas. One of the owners is vegetarian, so there are always meat-free options available. Andy's features live music and local beers on tap.

151 Middle St.
(207) 774-8668
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

For 20 years, Anthony's has been serving, as its saying goes, "a lot of Italian for not much American." Owner Anthony Barrasso makes mile-high lasagna, homemade meatballs and chicken cacciatore and other Italian fare from fourth-generation family recipes from Naples. Beer and wine are available. Anthony's has free parking and is handicapped accessible.

64 Pine St.
(207) 871-9060
Hours: 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

Aurora Provisions Café has been a West End haunt for more than 13 years. It's independently owned, with a warm and casual atmosphere. Locals come here for a breakfast of homemade granola and raspberry scones, or a breakfast panini and locally roasted Carpe Diem coffee. Lunch includes three homemade soups daily and a large sandwich selection, including house-roasted turkey breast and panini specials. Hot entrees vary between black bean burritos, chicken pot pie and quiches. Desserts are baked on site and include a choice of more than 50 brownies, bars and cookies. Lunch delivery is available, and there's outdoor seating in the warmer months.

65 Portland St.
(207) 772-8833

Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and 5 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
If you are saving up for a special-occasion dinner, this is a splendid place to splurge. It's got it all: A thoughtful menu with a variety of options that are consistently excellent, unwaveringly good service that isn't stuffy, and traditional candlelit decor with a touch of fun. The restaurant's open kitchen and penchant for welcome surprises bring a bit of drama to the experience. Back Bay Grill was honored with a AAA Four-Diamond Award in 2011. 4 1/2 STARS, NANCY HEISER, MARCH 2, 2012

543 Deering Ave.
(207) 774-4935
Hours: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

The Bayou Kitchen has been serving Louisiana-style breakfast and lunch favorites to Portland for more than 23 years -- for a reason. Until Portland has a uniquely Cajun or Creole sit-down dinner restaurant, those looking for a bayou influence must content themselves with earlier hours, but the upside of this schedule is an authentic bayou flair applied creatively to brunch favorites. 4 1/2 STARS, SHONNA MILLIKEN HUMPHREY, JAN. 14, 2013

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58 Alder St.
(207) 791-BOWL (2695)
Kitchen Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; noon to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; noon to midnight Friday and Saturday; noon to 9 p.m. Sunday

Portland's only downtown ten-pin bowling alley features fine comfort food at an affordable price. The menu ranges from design-your-own grilled pizza or mac and cheese to a twin crab and lobster cake dinner. Creative vegetarian options are also available.

390 Commercial St.
(207) 773-7070
Hours: 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Popular with locals and tourists alike, this waterfront diner is run by an actual Becky, with help from many if not all of her children. Becky's is known for hearty breakfast dishes such as "The Hobson's Wharf," which includes bacon or sausage, two pancakes or French toast, two eggs, home fries and toast. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chowders, local seafood and lobster rolls are also found on the diner's extensive menu. Seating is in booths or on stools at the giant wrap-around counter. Becky's is a favorite with local fishermen.

23 Forest Ave.
(207) 774-9698
Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Wednesday to Friday; dinner 5:30 p.m. to close Wednesday to Saturday; brunch
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Regular guests love the flamboyant, arty atmosphere and the casually elegant food at BiBo's. The roasted stuffed chicken with gnocchi is a must-try, but the entire menu is inviting. BiBo's is a favorite destination for patrons of Portland Stage Company, next door. Call for reservations.

98 Portland St.
(207) 774-0005
Hours: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily; not open for dinner.

Located near Deering Oaks Park, Bintliff's specializes in brunch featuring Maine-made ingredients, including local produce and seafood, pure Maine maple syrup, locally made wines, and coffee by Coffee By Design in Portland. It's one of the most popular brunch spots in the city. The menu features seven different kinds of eggs Benedict, four different kinds of French toast, and breakfast specialties including huevos rancheros and homemade corned-beef hash. Outdoor seating is available during warm weather. The menu includes options for kids, and beer, wine and brunch specialty drinks for adults.

BODA $$-$$$
671 Congress St.
(207) 347-7557
Hours: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesday to Sunday.

This "very Thai" restaurant offers Thai homestyle prepared entrees, Thai street vendor-inspired tapas, beer and wine, and unique cocktails such as the Thai Basil Tom Collins and the Thai Tea Margarita in a warm, casual atmosphere, with an open-air dining room in the summer. Regulars love the Miang Kum Som-oh pummelo fruit salad served on betel leaves and the seasoned Kanom-krok quail eggs. Food served until 1 a.m.. Get half off the late-night food menu from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sundays. Wednesdays from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. restaurant industry workers get 20 percent off. No reservations.

46 Pine St.
(207) 347-8267
Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday; dinner 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 4 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Bonobo is a neighborhood restaurant in the West End that offers 13-inch wood-fired pizza. All pizzas are one size (but slices are available). You can create your own or choose from more than a dozen specialty pizzas. The Bonobo, for instance, is made with mushrooms, prosciutto, spinach, leeks, fontina and cream. The restaurant also offers a small selection of soups and salads.

428 Forest Ave.
(207) 772-9202
Hours: Daily 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The BreaLu Cafe, a neighborho
od spot with a funky atmosphere located within walking distance of USM, has been serving breakfast and lunch for more than 20 years. Favorites include the homemade corned beef hash, eggs Benedict, cinnamon raisin French toast and the Hungry Man (three eggs, home fries, two pancakes and ham steak). Build your own omelet or breakfast burrito, or try one of the daily specials. Breakfast anytime; lunch Monday through Friday.

33 Allen Ave.
(207) 878-9511
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily; happy hour 4 to 7 p.m. Closed Sundays February-August.

Bruno's offers up ten varieties of homemade pasta — including three types of ravioli, chicken cannelloni, arugula pappardelle, spinach fettuccine and spinach capellini — along with classic Italian, seafood, and American dishes. Lighter fare includes Bruno's famous steak or chicken sandwiches, clam chowder and homemade calzones and pizzas. Reservations aren't required, and there is plenty of free parking.

375 Fore St.
(207) 773-7210
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. daily.

You've got to love a restaurant that uses as its logo a lobster swigging a Guinness. ABull Feeney's is one of those traditional Irish pubs in the Old Port with a massive menu that includes everything from sweet potato fries to filet mignon. There's plenty of seafood options, and the appetizers — mussels, steamers, chicken wings, chicken fingers — make for a friendly happy hour.

58 Pine St.
(207) 772-1110
Hours: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday; 5:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; Sunday brunch 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This cozy neighborhood restaurant prides itself on using local farm-fresh produce and fish. The menu changes regularly. For Sunday brunch, choose from a variety of classic egg dishes or try an oyster po' boy. A custom-built bar and handcrafted wooden tables contribute to Caiola's warm atmosphere. Set in Portland's West End, Caiola's has a room for private dining as well as a courtyard patio for outdoor dining. Reservations accepted.

22 Monument Square
(207) 773-4340
Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
dinner 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday,
5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

David's, which serves creative American food, is a local hot spot for business lunches or dinner before shows at Merrill Auditorium or the Cumberland County Civic Center, both of which are nearby. The menu includes contemporary American dishes with European and Asian influences. The pepper-crusted sushi-rare tuna with sesame peanut soba noodles is a customer favorite. More casual options such as burgers, pasta and pizza round out the menu. Reservations are recommended.

25 Long Wharf, off Commercial Street
(207) 772-2216
Hours: 11 a.m. daily.

DiMillo's family-owned restaurant and lounge specializes in fresh Maine lobster, local seafood, choice cuts of beef and traditional Italian fare. The restaurant is a renovated car ferry docked in Portland Harbor that's been a popular dining destination and gathering place since 1982. Lobster mac & cheese is a signature item, as is the crab-stuffed haddock. From 4 to 6 p.m. weekdays, November to May, the restaurant features 3-course Early Dinner Specials for $17. Happy hour is 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, Wednesday until 8 p.m.

128 Free St.
(207) 772-5483
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily; opens
at noon on Sundays.

Deck seating is available at this restaurant located next to the Portland Museum of Art. The menu includes sandwiches, salads and burgers. Try the signature Dogfish chili, made with bison meat, steamed mussels with chorizo and tomato sauce or the Maine crab cakes. Drop by for live music Wednesday through Saturday; there's never a cover charge.

953 Congress St.
(207) 253-5400
Hours: 11:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday to Wednesday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday to Saturday; closed Sunday

This is a casual place with a relaxed atmosphere. The menu tends toward sandwiches and salads, and the prices are reasonable. The Dogfish Burger features 7-ounces of Caldwell Farms beef topped with a fried egg, bacon, pepperjack cheese, sliced tomato, mixed greens and fried shoestring potatoes. Dinner specials are offered from 5 to 9 p.m. and change nightly.

84 Commercial St.
(207) 774-3550
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The Dry Dock has been part of the Portland waterfront for nearly 30 years. Known for homemade soups and chowder, fresh seafood and filet sandwiches, the menu appeals to tourists and locals alike. Quaff a Bloody Mary on the two-story decks that look out on the working waterfront.

43 Middle St.
(207) 774-8080
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Duckfat, a bistro owned by James Beard-award winning chef Rob Evans is so called because its signature item is Belgian-style fries cooked in duck fat. Those fries — made from local, organically grown potatoes — are served in a paper cone with a choice of dipping sauces, from truffle ketchup to Thai chili mayo. What better to go with the fries than the exceptional sandwiches or the next-best-selling menu item, the milkshakes. Reservations not taken.

47 Middle St.
(207) 879-7669
Hours: Opens 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday

The quintessential gastro-pub, with a lusty, varied menu of creatively prepared fare. Must-haves include the deviled eggs (with various fillings), the lobster poutine, trout fritters, the East Ender burger and a very good lobster salad sandwich. For starters and main courses, standouts include the mussels in green curry coconut milk, nachos with lobster, smoked hen, Montreal smoked brisket and hanger steak with bacon-bourbon butter. The drinks list is extensive, with local beers on tap and bottle. On Wednesdays, the restaurant offers half off all wines sold by the bottle. 3 STARS, JOHN GOLDEN, FEB. 2, 2014

101 York St.
(207) 780-8226
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Creative Mexican fare is served in this brightly colored restaurant, located in a former gas station near the Casco Bay Bridge. Nachos, tacos, burritos and quesadillas are done with flair, including a burrito stuffed with portobello mushrooms and a taco with grilled achiote-seasoned fish. El Rayo's "chilaquiles" are casseroles featuring crushed corn tortillas, queso blanco, avocado and crema fresca, served with shredded pork or chicken. There's a full bar with Mexican drinks, and a menu for kids.

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547 Congress St.
(207) 221-0245
Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday;
5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Check your expectations of Greek food at the door. Demos and John Regas have created a rustic, special-occasion dining experience for Portland food lovers. Mediterranean flavors appear in hyper-color at this small eatery, and if you close your eyes, you can almost feel the Greek sun on your face. Hours and tables are intentionally limited and intimate, so call ahead to avoid disappointment. 4 1/2 STARS, SHONNA MILLIKEN HUMPHREY, APRIL 14, 2012

468 Fore St.
(207) 523-2075
Hours: Breakfast 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. Monday to Friday and 6:30 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday; lunch
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday and noon to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; dinner 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. daily.

Eve's at the Garden is in the Portland Harbor Hotel, just a stone's throw from the Portland waterfront. Complimentary underground valet parking brings you to elegant, well-designed surroundings suitable for a varying clientele. Attentive service door to door. 3 STARS, NANCY HEISER APRIL 3, 2011

555 Congress St.
(207) 761-0555
Hours: 5 to 10:30 p.m. daily. Brunch 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Five Fifty-Five earns top rating for menu quality, service, originality and flavor. For those seeking a high-end dining experience that recalls bits of Napa and Manhattan sensibilities with a distinctive eye on its Maine clientele, it does not get better than Five Fifty-Five. While the pricing might prohibit this as an everyday treat, for food lovers, the experience is worth every single penny. 4 1/2 STARS, SHONNA MILLIKEN HUMPHREY, SEPT. 23, 2012

72 Commercial St.
(207) 772-8777
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

This is not pizza, but flatbread — wheat-flour dough topped with cheeses, herbs, vegetables and ingredients such as homemade sausage and nitrate-free pepperoni. Kids love the activity around the wood-fired oven. Flatbread Co. is located right on the working waterfront. It has a great deck where, in good weather, you can eat outside and watch the harbor activity. There is a full bar as well.

288 Fore St.
(207) 775-2717
Hours: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The bar opens at 5 p.m.

One of Portland's best-known restaurants, Fore Street focuses on regional cuisine with fresh ingredients delivered daily by local farmers, foragers and fishmongers. Ingredients such as hand-picked diver scallops and island-raised lamb are cooked over hardwood and applewood fires under the supervision of Chef Sam Hayward, winner of the 2004 James Beard award for Best Chef, Northeast. The menu changes daily, but customer favorites such as turnspit-roasted pork loin and Maine-grown mussels roasted in the wood oven are always available.

73 Congress St.
(207) 773-3366
Hours: Brunch daily 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; dinner 5 to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Bar open nightly until 11 p.m.

The Front Room's menu spans a good variety of dishes, from scallops to meatloaf, and from salads to a duck and goat cheese sandwich. The atmosphere is cozy and festive, and the food is all about comfort. Don't miss the skillet cornbread. Brunch is very popular at this neighborhood haunt. The restaurant does not take reservations. 3 STARS, NANCY HEISER, NOV. 13, 2011

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FUJI $$$
29 Exchange St.
(207) 773-2900
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 Monday to Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

Fuji Restaurant, a sushi bar and Japanese-style steak house, is located in the heart of the Old Port at the corner of Milk and Exchange streets. The menu includes more than 30 types of sushi and 40 types of maki rolls, as well as a variety of Japanese favorites. Sit in a private booth, in the traditional tatami room or at a hibachi table. Try the charcoal-grilled eel and takuan over a bed of rice, or the beef negemaki, scallions wrapped in thinly sliced rib-eye steak with teriyaki sauce. Reservations are not required but encouraged for parties of three or more.

1070 Brighton Ave.
(207) 772-1227
Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The Full Belly Deli is a traditional family-owned deli whose legion of fans swear by the stacked corned beef and hot pastrami sandwiches. The deli also offers a blend of kosher-style Italian and American dishes, including pizzas, calzones and dinner entrees. Hot or cold sandwiches are served on your choice of bread with a half-sour spear. Try a side of the deli's locally famous homemade potato salad with your order. There's plenty of good seating available for dining in.

92 Commercial St.
(207) 871-5636
61 Tandberg Trail, Route 35, Windham
(207) 893-0700
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Gilbert's is a casual restaurant with five chowders: clam, fish, corn with chicken, seafood and seafood chili. It also has lobster stew. Sandwiches include lobster rolls, and plates offer clam cakes, clam strips, whole clams, haddock done several ways, lobster and scallops. This is a place where locals eat. The Windham location has a different menu that includes a lot of dishes with no seafood.

GRACE $$$-$$$$
15 Chestnut St.
(207) 828-4422
Hours: Dining 5 to 10:00 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 5 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Multi-level dining and an open kitchen in the former sanctuary of the historic church offer inspiring views and modern American cuisine. A signature bar menu is available at the 28-seat circular central bar, the balcony-level cocktail lounge or the upstairs turret bar during the daily happy hour from 5 to 6:30 pm. The restaurant is popular for weddings on weekends; call ahead to avoid disappointment.

540 Forest Ave.
(207) 772-0300
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday; noon to 11:30 p.m. Sunday.

This pub and restaurant is known for its burgers and beer selection, with 65 beer taps. The beer selection includes many Maine microbrews. The menu includes a large selection of appetizers and bar munchies, from jalapeno poppers and super nachos to a half-dozen kinds of Buffalo wings. Extensive dinner and lunch menus include salads, vegetarian entrees, seafood, chicken, sandwiches and more than a dozen specialty burgers.

608 Congress St.
(207) 347-3111
Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday; dinner 5 to 9:30 p.m.; dinner only on Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m.; closed Monday.

Got a vegetarian or vegan in your dining party? The Green Elephant vegetarian bistro has a full menu of Asian-inspired dishes, served in an elegant setting, that will delight vegetarians and satisfy the most ardent meat eaters as well. The Green Elephant does not take reservations, and stops seating 15 minutes before closing.

84 Exchange St.
(207) 774-2333
Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday; dinner 5:30 to 9 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, 5:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, and 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday.

The Grill Room is all about beef, with rib-eye and sirloin topping the menu. There's also wood-fired pizza and a great variety of wood-grilled fish and meat. The space has a touch of Old World character and a comfortable, welcoming feel, with an exposed kitchen and chatty staff. Reservations are recommended, but a light bar menu also is available.

396 Fore St.
(207) 772-2739
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Gritty McDuff's is Portland's first brew pub, opening in 1988. Beer is king at Gritty's, and the quality of the brews is excellent. Pub Style, Best Bitter, Best Brown and Black Fly Stout are always available, and there are some seasonal brews as well. The menu includes a lot of sandwiches and appetizers, but there's also fried Maine shrimp, meatloaf, shepherd's pie and ale-braised kielbasa.

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703 Congress St.
(207) 871-5005
Hours: Breakfast and lunch, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Dinner, 5 to 9:15 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.

A homestyle Southern flair is the distinguishing characteristic of this breakfast-lunch-and-dinner place. Biscuits and sausage gravy and a fried-green tomato BLT are on the menu, along with comfort foods such as two-cheese macaroni and cheese with grilled kielbasa, or grilled cheese and creamy tomato soup. For dinner, stick with Southern and order the cornmeal-crusted catfish fillet or the Cajun jambalaya.

HUGO'S $$$$
88 Middle St.
(207) 774-8538
Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

***** Jan. 2014 Founded by chef Rob Evans, who won the 2009 James Beard award for Best Chef in the Northeast, this well-known Portland restaurant was purchased in 2012 by three members' of Evans' staff. In a now completely-renovated space, the dining experience is unique and exceptional with a changing menu of dishes served nightly. Some recent standouts have included local pheasant, mussel salad, cornmeal mousse, glazed parsnip, lamb leg and cauliflower risotto. The dessert menu offers such enticing choices as Maine apple, chocolate and beets and puff pastry with custard and caramel. The comprehensive wine list offers distinctive choices from all of the major wine regions. Reservations are recommended. 5 STARS, JOHN GOLDEN JAN. 6, 2014

33 Island Ave.
Peaks Island
(207) 766-5100
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

If the weather's nice, hop a ferry and take a 20-minute ride across Casco Bay to Peaks Island for lunch or dinner and a fabulous view of Portland. The inn is just a short walk from the ferry, and outdoor seating is available. The menu options here range from casual nachos, salads and burgers to pricier entrees such as seafood-stuffed haddock and lobster carbonara. The inn's restaurant is open year-round, and reservations are accepted.

5 Portland Pier
(207) 772-4828
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday to Saturday; noon to midnight Sunday.

Founded in 1977, J's is a great place to soak up local color while slurping oysters at the horseshoe-shaped bar and chatting with the fisherman sitting on the next stool. Enjoy the '70s decor and the view from the pier while digging into a steaming bowl of seafood bouillabaisse or lobster stew. The menu features only sauteed seafood — you'll find no fried anything here. Oysters are served raw, baked, Rockefeller and Mornay-style. Fresh steamers arrive daily.

JP's $$$
496 Woodford St.
(207) 899-4224
Hours: 4 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday to Saturday.

JP's is a cozy neighborhood restaurant on Woodford Street that offers a full bar and patio seating. The menu includes a broad variety of entrees that have an Italian influence as well as nightly blackboard specials and homemade desserts. Reservations are recommended on the weekends.

675 Congress St.
(207) 828-8880
Hours: Lunch 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday to Friday; dinner 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday and Sunday, 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

This Japanese restaurant and sushi bar in the city's arts district serves tempura, teriyaki and katsu dishes, plus a wide variety of sushi and sushi rolls. Udon noodle soups and dinners are on the menu as well. There is an extensive takeout menu. In good weather, the outdoor patio is a prime spot to watch the bustle of Longfellow Square.

906 Brighton Ave.
(207) 761-5865
Hours: Noon to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday and Saturday and Sunday; noon to 10 p.m. Friday.

Serving flavorful food from Puerto Rico, the islands and Central America, this is a casual-dining family restaurant. The atmosphere is homey with a touch of elegance. Try the ceviche, codfish fritters, fried plantain or empanadas to start. Entrees range from grilled meats to Cuban sandwiches and Caribbean fish and chips.

LOCAL 188 $$$
685 Congress St.
(207) 761-7909
Hours: Dinner 5:30 to 10 p.m. Sunday to Friday and 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; Drinks served to 1 a.m. daily; Brunch 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday;

Local 188's menu is thoughtful, balanced and keyed in to the unique desires of Portland foodie types -- and has been true to this concept since 1999. Its hipster reputation is not a mandate, just a nod to the area's upwardly mobile young culture. The restaurant serves excellent food in a gallery atmosphere that features work by local artists. With this mix of art and cuisine, it is a terrific neighborhood spot for a drink, a snack or a full-on dinner date. Meat-free options are plentiful. 4 STARS, SHONNA MILLIKEN HUMPHREY, JAN. 27, 2013

337 Cumberland Ave.
(207) 772-9232
Hours: Lunch starts at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday to Friday; dinner starts at 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.

Maria's remains an old-fashioned Italian eatery, with substantial portions of traditional homestyle food that's moderately priced. Great meatballs, marinara, bruschetta and desserts; the rest, albeit mostly homemade, is standard fare. Families, groups and couples who are drawn to this type of atmosphere will find it a good place to kick back with some red wine and red sauce and feel completely apart from the world outside. 3 STARS NANCY HEISER OCT. 9, 2011
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43 Wharf St.
(207) 899-4494
Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday; Dinner 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Hours fluctuate seasonally.

For Gallic culture and food, try this warm, friendly space when Quebec is too far to drive. Crepe enthusiasts should love the area's only dedicated creperie, and the Merry Table also delivers excellent French classics in a cozy and rustic space. Seasonal outdoor seating is especially inviting when the weather is good. Call ahead if you want cassoulet, as that dish sells quickly. For a special treat, plan to go on the first and third Thursday of each month for French language-speaking nights. 4 STARS, SHONNA MILLIKEN HUMPHREY, APRIL 3, 2013

104 Marginal Way
(207) 210-6673
Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

This diner opened on Forest Avenue in 1949, later moved to Marginal Way, and reopened again in late 2008 about 500 yards down from its previous location. Portland native Tom Manning, who worked for Newsweek magazine, bought the diner after reading that attempts to sell Worcester Lunch Car Co. #818 were not going well. While the original diner car has been preserved, there is extra seating in an attached wing. Breakfast is typical diner fare, as is much of the lunch/dinner menu.

MIYAKE $$$-$$$$
129 Spring St.
(207) 871-9170
Hours: Lunch: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday; Dinner: 5:30 to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 5:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
10:30 p.m. Friday; closed Sunday.

Owner-chef Masa Miyake presides over Portland's temple of sushi, offering beautifully prepared and presented food in multi-course tasting menus and a la carte. The menu changes regularly, but the website has a sample. Miyake has his own farm, and sources many of his ingredients locally. At lunch, a traditional Japanese-style bento box is available. There is no children's menu.

Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Square
(207) 775-6148
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, Saturday and Sunday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday.
A popular gourmet market, deli and grocery on Portland's West End, Aurora Provisions recently took over running the museum's cafe. It's a comfortable spot to take a break from wandering the museum's galleries and sample seasonally inspired soups and salads, gourmet sandwiches, creative wraps, fresh pastries and locally- roasted coffee. No museum admission is required to dine. The menu changes daily.

551 Congress St.
(207) 553-2227
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday to Saturday; 12:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday.

At Nosh Kitchen Bar, chef owner Jason Loring uses his culinary training to take sandwiches and other deli-inspired fare to new heights. Meats are butchered, brined and roasted in-house, and served on locally baked bread. Nosh is an urban-style eatery with a casual, neighborhood environment where you can eat in, take out, enjoy drinks and just nosh. Parking is available after 5:30 p.m. in adjacent lots.

93 Commercial St.
(207) 879-6100
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

As you might expect, Old Port Sea Grill and Raw Bar specializes in seafood. Oysters on the half shell among the most popular menu items, along with other fish and shellfish standards. The restaurant boasts a huge marine reef aquarium in its lobby, host to a variety of tropical fish and live coral.

11 Moulton St.
(207) 774-0444
Hours: Lunch daily 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; dinner daily 5 to 9:30 p.m.

A local institution, Old Port Tavern is located in the heart of Portland's Old Port district in the historic Mariner's Church Building (circa 1828), which has been declared a National Landmark by the Smithsonian Institute. The restaurant specializes in steak dishes such as prime rib of beef and sirloin steaks.

127 Commercial St.
(207) 772-6200
Lunch 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday to Friday; dinner 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and Sunday, 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Olive Café brings Lebanese Mediterranean cuisine with a hint of American to Portland in a cozy and friendly atmosphere. There is something for everyone on the cafe's menu, whether you're a vegetarian, a vegan or a meat lover, including falafel, shawarma, kafta, thin-crust pizza baked in a brick oven, salads made with local ingredients, homemade soups and fish tacos.

468 Fore St.
(207) 774-3500
Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday; dinner 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday; store is open 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, and 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday.

You can't get more authentic Italian than the fresh-daily pastas and sauces served at Paciarino. That's because the owners, Fabiana de Savino and Enrico Barbiero, moved to Portland from Milan in 2008. Watch the couple cook as you feast on dishes such as pumpkin ravioli and lasagna Bolognese and listen to Italian music. Most pastas, raviolis and sauces can be purchased to take home. There's also plenty of olive oils and other imported goods from Italian producers for sale.

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1349 Washington Ave.
Northport Business Park
(207) 878-3339
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. daily

Parker's features a full-service lounge and luncheon and dinner dining daily. Ahi Tuna, homemade spinach and artichoke dip, and "dirt wings" are a sampling of the appetizers. Parker's serves salads and sandwiches, as well as a wide selection of entrees, including steaks, a house specialty. Happy hour is 3 to 6 p.m. daily, and features drink and appetizer specials.

78 Middle St.
(207) 772-0531
Hours: Good Egg Cafe, 7 to noon Tuesday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; Pepperclub 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Find satisfying and globally inspired entrees of all sorts at Pepperclub, a good choice for vegetarians and gluten-sensitive individuals as well as couples or groups with a mix of eating styles. For the most part, the food -- seafood, meat, vegetarian and vegan -- is ample and interesting, with diverse flavors. The restaurant has a comfortable, bohemian vibe. In the morning, the restaurant does double duty as Good Egg Cafe. 3 1/2 STARS, NANCY HEISER MAY 13, 2012

1124 Forest Ave.
(207) 518-9735
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily

Po' Boys & Pickles serves authentic New Orleans-style sandwiches, gumbo, sweet potato fries, and loads of other southern delicacies. Try the golden fried oyster sandwich, the tender roast beef, or the ever-popular pulled pork. Desserts include coconut macaroons and the infamous "sticky toffee pudding." Whether you're enjoying a plate of wings and a few beers while watching the game, or bringing home mufaletta and Creole sausage po'boys (with Zapp's potato chips) for dinner, Po' Boys & Pickles delivers on real New Orleans fare.

571 Congress St.
(207) 772-7999
209 Western Avenue
South Portland
(207) 347-3000
435 Cottage Road
South Portland
(207) 767-3599
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

With sweet dipping sauces, plump dumplings, fresh Maine shrimp and a terrific range of curries and noodles, Pom's Portland location stands out as a full-service Thai restaurant. It's always fresh, and a sushi bar is popular with First Friday Art Walk patrons. This restaurant is one of three operated by Rattanaphorn Boobphachati, who has created something of a Thai dynasty in the Greater Portland area.

51 York St.
(207) 772-1231
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

Portland Pie Co. specializes in gourmet pizzas, such as the Old Port with pepperoni in a three-cheese blend, or the Dead River, with spinach and roasted red peppers. Folks who prefer chicken on their pizza shouldn't miss the Harbormaster, which is loaded with chicken smothered in barbecue sauce, caramelized onions and smoky bacon. But don't neglect the rest of the menu. The specialty sandwiches, wraps and calzones are also solid options.

180 Commercial St.
(207) 775-2112
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. SEASONAL

Portland Lobster Co. is primarily a seafood restaurant, with some of its most popular dishes being, not surprisingly, lobster dinners and lobster rolls. The restaurant doesn't take reservations except for large parties. There's often live music and the restaurant is dog-friendly, offering dog treats and water bowls to canine customers, which are allowed on the deck overlooking Portland Harbor.

(207) 774-2972
Hours: Dinner from 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

Ribollita's long-standing reputation is well-deserved. Order handmade pasta (especially the gnocchi) in this rustic, romantic neighborhood trattoria, and have it served by friendly and food-loving staff. The signature ribollita soup is outstanding, and each of the exclusively Italian wines show thought in both selection and price point. For some of the best Tuscany-inspired dishes in the area, Ribollita is the place to go. 4 STARS, SHONNA MILLIKEN HUMPHREY, MARCH 10, 2013

72 Commercial St.
(207) 761-4446
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily (upstairs dining room closes from 3 to 5 p.m. and after 11:30 p.m.).

Ri-Ra is a chain, but a small one, with 11 locations along the East Coast. It has a great location, overlooking the waterfront and the Casco Bay Island ferry terminal. The menu has a large selection of Irish pub fare, including fish and chips, shepherd's pie and bangers and mash, but it also features bistro fare.

330 Fore St.
(207) 772-5656
Hours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday to Saturday; noon to 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

Rosie's is a neighborhood tavern in the Old Port that's been a favorite of locals since 1987 and is sometimes compared to Cheers. The pub is known for its calzones, half-pound burgers and jumbo whole wings, but also serves homemade soups, chowders and "all meat" chili. Try the house brews, pale and brown, known as Hooker Ales.

245 Commercial St.
(207) 347-5687
Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday; dinner 4 to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday; bar open later. Happy Hour 4 to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

This stylish downtown bistro offers compelling fare done in the haute American style of contemporary classics. At lunch the varied menu offers such dishes as a fish taco, chicken club, and excellent char-grilled burger among the standouts. The dinner menu offers a very good dining experience; chef Adam White's inventive combinations hit the mark. A must have with cocktails are the chef's black pepper and truffle potato chips. The drinks menu includes inventive cocktails and a special collection of American bourbons and whiskeys. The restaurant offers free parking at dinner in the adjacent parking lot, a great convenience in this heavily trafficked area. 4 STARS, JOHN GOLDEN, FEB. 18, 2014

155 Riverside St.
(207) 775-6538
Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 4 to midnight Friday and Saturday.

Seasons Grille offers steaks, seafood and specialty dishes. There is also a casual fare selection that includes burgers, wings and fried seafood. Enjoy live music in the lounge on Friday nights, and karaoke on Saturdays. Weekday happy hours are 4 to 7 p.m. and feature half-price flatbreads and $2.50 drafts.

211 Fore Street
207.775.BEER (2337)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. everyday
201 Southborough Drive
(207) 874-2337
Hours: Same as above.
29 Elm St.
(207) 839-2337
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Monday to Saturday; 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday; happy hour weekdays 4 to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close nightly

Sebago Brewing Company has been serving locally crafted beer since 2000. It's a popular place for business lunches, a dinner date or meeting friends for a casual night out. The Portland location is a short walk from Merrill Auditorium or the civic center, so it's also a good place to meet before or after a show. The menu includes fresh seafood, steaks, sauteed pasta dishes and salads, as well as burgers, sandwiches and a large variety of appetizers. The full menu is served until closing time.

18 Monument Square
(207) 772-2626
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday to Friday; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.

Shay's Grill Pub offers an upscale take on classic pub food, focusing on fresh ingredients and simple preparations. With nightly drink and food deals as well as outdoor patio dining, Shay's is a good place to grab a meal before catching a show at one of the various venues around town.

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40 Washington Ave.
(207) 772-0360
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Silly's is a funky, colorful place with a creative, eclectic menu, located at the base of Munjoy Hill in the city's East End. The Abdullah Wraps are over-stuffed wraps with names like Inner Peace (spinach, cheese, scallions, smoked pulled pork and barbecue sauce) and the Diesel (American cheese, coleslaw, pickle, chips, smoked pulled pork and barbecue sauce.) Dinners, burgers and pizzas are equally creative. The milkshakes are a specialty too, including the "Elvis" with peanut butter and banana. At Silly's with a Twist, just next door, a full bar offers a surprisingly good wine list and fun cocktails, many served in tin "prison" mugs.

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, 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; Bar open daily until 1 a.m.

Sonny's serves flavorful, well-prepared Latin-fusion cuisine in a funky, comfortable space that's as popular with those seeking well-mixed cocktails and inventive bar snacks as lunch or dinner. The bar specializes in infusions, displayed in large glass jars and after 8 p.m., the lights dim and the joint gets jumping with nightowls settling in for the evening.

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 is a Portland icon, and for good reason. It specializes in local fresh seafood, and grills, blackens and broils fish 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. The restaurant typically seats up to 85, and some tables are reserved for walk-ins, but it's still a good idea to make a reservation.

1135 Forest Ave.
(207) 878-3240
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday.

Susan's Fish-n-Chips is a local treasure on outer Forest Avenue, having achieved local cult status since in opened in 1989. The buoys and other fishing decor straddles the line between charming and junky, but you're not there for the ambience, you're there for the fried fresh seafood. The staff is friendly and welcoming, portions are great, and the price is right. 4 STARS, SHONNA MILLIKEN HUMPHREY, JULY 28, 2013

88 Exchange St.
(207) 775-4259
Hours: Lunch and dinner 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday; dinner only 3 to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Specializing in northern-style Indian food, Tandoor remains a staunch presence in the Old Port, ready with primarily northern Indian standards. Although undeniably kitschy, Tandoor is also undeniably homey and welcoming. For an affordable and tasty Indian feast, Tandoor is a solid downtown option. No children's menu. 3 1/2 STARS, SHONNA MILLIKEN HUMPRHEY, DEC. 2, 2012

241 Commercial St.
(207) 772-3310
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. daily.

Locals come here for the large variety of burgers and sandwiches, and for the 36 varieties of draft beers, many of them from Maine microbreweries. Daily specials are always available, as well as award-winning chili, pizza, homemade chowders, soups, salads and other pub fare. Three Dollar Deweys also has a full-service bar.

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.

For solid steak-house, American bistro-style fare, the kitchen excels with simple yet well-prepared dishes. Their unique stone-heated bread basket holds a delicious house-made cranberry wheat bread. The lobster stew is classic, and steaks and chops are simply prepared in the Continental style. Fillet of beef from heritage Piedmontese beef is highly prized, as are grilled local lamb chops and Kurobuta heritage pork chops. Desserts are house-made, and the wine list is well represented with bottlings from the major wine-producing regions. Also worth noting: Valet parking is offered free to dining room patrons, a handy amenity this winter when parking in the Old Port is hampered by ice- and snow-covered streets. Note: the full menu is also available in the Armory Lounge downstairs. 3 STARS, JOHN GOLDEN, JAN. 12, 2013

9 Veranda St.
(866) 605-8960
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Portland is known for having a huge number of Thai restaurants, so it can be tough for a place to stand out. Veranda Thai became popular fast, in part because the food is noticeably fresh. For an appetizer, try the pork-filled dumplings made with homemade dough. Entrees include the usual curries and stir-fries, as well as specialties such as salmon curry and ginger haddock. Most of the food is Thai, but there are also a few Vietnamese dishes, including pho and a barbecued pork chop or grilled chicken marinated Vietnamese style.

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. 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 artisanl 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. His menus are seasonal, accented by daily specials that add unique twists to traditional Maine ingredients. 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.

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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

At Zapoteca, you'll find fabulous cocktails, varied appetizers from chipotle pork tacos to mussels with a Mexican twist, and substantial and delicious entrees that bring gourmet flair to south-of-the-border cuisine. The restaurant boasts excellent service in a chic and thematic atmosphere that's uncluttered and comfortable. The bar boasts more than 80 tequilas and tasting flights are a specialty. 4 STARS, NANCY HEISER, SEPT. 4, 2011


525 Ocean House Road
(207) 799-4663
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

This is the restaurant where Cape Elizabeth locals gather all year long, joined by visitors during the high summer months. The regulars just pick their own tables and wait for owner Lisa Kostopoulos to tell them the specials. Breakfast and lunch are slightly fancy diner food, including some of the best clam chowder around. The regular dinner menu is a mix of Maine and Greek food with everything from fresh lobster to lamb souvlaki.

337 Ocean House Road
(207) 741-9191
Hours: Open 7 days 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

This family-owned restaurant serves specialty gourmet pizza with homemade sauce, thick calzones, meaty burgers and authentic gyro sandwiches. The menu also features grilled choices, such as cheesesteaks and heated subs. For those interested in eating light, salads like the large chicken Caesar make a meal in themselves. There are daily lunch and dinner specials, and wine and beer are available. Delivery is free in the town of Cape Elizabeth.

40 Bowery Beach Road
(207) 799-3134
Hours: Breakfast 7 to 11 a.m. Monday to Friday; brunch 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; lunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday; dinner 5:30 to 9 p.m. daily Sunday to Thursday, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Light fare served in the fireplace lounge 4 to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

For stylish seaside dining in one of Maine's premier inn resorts, Sea Glass offers a menu of admirable dishes that are well prepared in a kitchen overseen by chef Mitchell Kaldrovich. The wine list is extensive and offers superb choices in all price ranges. Best dishes include gaucho steak, mushroom tart, roast chicken under a brick and any of the desserts by pastry chef Karen Voter. 3 STARS JOHN GOLDEN NOV. 12, 2013

21 Wells Road
(207) 831-9350
Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. SEASONAL
The setting is special and the food is a locavore's delight, almost all of it sourced from Jordan's Farm or nearby. This freshly harvested flavor translates to splendid entrees and sides that are prepared simply to let the ingredients shine, which they do. Seasonal, memorable al fresco dining -- the kind of spot we are lucky to have in our rural state. BYOB. Cash only. 3 1/2 STARS, NANCY HEISER, SEPT. 2. 2012


71 Ocean St., Mill Creek
(207) 799-5418
Hours: Open at 11 a.m. Tuesday to Saturday.

Bridgeway Restaurant, established in 1956, is conveniently located in Mill Creek, just over the Casco Bay Bridge. Take advantage of one of the daily lunch or dinner specials, or try the fresh haddock, lobster rolls and fried clams — all customer favorites. Take-out is available. There is a full bar and free on-site parking.

(207) 347-7388
Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Serving thoughtfully prepared American bistro fare handled with skill and intelligence, this engaging bistro has many standout dishes at prices that are very moderate for the high quality of the fare. For starters and first courses, the duck canapés are a favorite as are the crispy vegetable pot stickers and the beef tenderloin carpaccio with capers. All the entrees offered are excellent including the house-made pappardelle, rack of lamb, pan-seared salmon and a classic burger. A special burger is also offered topped with a medallion of seared Hudson Valley foie gras. Desserts are house-made, and don't miss the lemon crème brulee or beignets with caramel sauce. 4 1/2 STARS, JOHN GOLDEN, FEB. 9, 2014

45 Western Ave.
(207) 828-2001
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Jewel of India, a family-owned restaurant in Biddeford known for its fresh sauces and house-made ingredients, recently opened a second location just a short drive from the Maine Mall. Prem Sharma prepares entrees and desserts, while his father presides over the traditional tandoor oven, baking tasty breads stuffed with potatoes, onions, ground lamb and other ingredients. Dinner entrees include dishes made with chicken and lamb, served with a full range of curries. For lunch, try the chicken curry or Guru's vegetable delight, or check out the popular buffet.

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1 Spring Point Drive
(207) 741-2780
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday; brunch 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, then dinner 5 to 9 p.m.

Located at the Port Harbor Marina with a good view of downtown Portland, Joe's Boathouse leans toward the seafood side of the menu, as is appropriate for its location. But there is plenty there for the meat eaters, too. A lot of people with boats at the marina eat here, and locals come in as well. It is a great place to eat and chat, watch the view and relax.

50 Maine Mall Road
(207) 772-0006
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Nara Sushi Restaurant, located between the Maine Mall and the jetport, serves authentic Korean and Japanese cuisine. The menu includes a mix of Japanese teriyaki, tempura and noodle dishes alongside Korean specialties such as Bibim Bap and Seng Sun Chi Ge, which is Korean vegetables and fresh haddock cooked in a spicy bean broth. The restaurant has a dining room as well as a traditional Japanese tatami room and a sushi bar. Nara offers a full bar and a complete wine list as well.

125 Western Ave.
(207) 871-7000
Hours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday to Friday; 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday and Sunday (breakfast menu available until 3 p.m.).

Sea Dog Brewing serves creative pub fare from fish and chips and lobster rolls to grilled New York sirloin. Sample the award-winning line of year-round and seasonal beers, such as Sea Dog Blueberry Wheat Ale. For families, there's a game room, kid's menu and hand-crafted root beer. Breakfast is served on weekends, and features a make-your-own martini bar.

18 Ocean St.
(207) 799-0811
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to close Wednesday to Friday; 8 a.m. to close Saturday and Sunday; closed Monday and Tuesday.

An old South Portland favorite, serving breakfast Saturday and Sunday starting at 8 a.m., and lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday. The breakfast menu includes homemade sausage, corned beef hash, eggs benedict and pancake specials. For lunch or dinner, sample the jambalaya, pierogies, shrimp raviolis, pan-seared salmon, baked haddock and seared hanger steak. There are happy hour specials from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, with half-price appetizers and, depending on the day, $4 house wine, $2.50 bottled beer and $5 well drinks.

433 Cottage Road
(207) 767-2300
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily; breakfast

Eric Bruneau owns and manages this family-style neighborhood restaurant that serves pizzas, salads, and hot and cold sandwiches. Homemade Greek salad dressing, along with his special Italian dressing, are customer favorites. Generous servings and a "Cheers"-style atmosphere mean that you can always expect a team dinner or a celebration to roam in at anytime. Great quiet spot to enjoy the Sunday paper. Check for specials on Facebook.

175 Benjamin W. Pickett St.
(207) 799-2245
facebook page
Dining Hours: Noon to 9 p.m. daily; happy hour 4 to 7 p.m.
Spring Point Tavern is a gathering place frequented by locals and Southern Maine Community College students. The menu includes burgers, homemade fries, chicken fingers, pulled pork sandwiches, haddock sandwiches, clam cakes and crab cakes. Spring Point Tavern also features Trivia Tuesday, a DJ/karaoke on Friday, and a live band every Saturday night. The tavern has more than 25 types of beer in the bottle or on tap.

449 Westbrook St.
(207) 822-9999
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Wild Willy's burger patties are made by hand every morning, using fresh 100-percent certified Angus beef. Or try a bison burger, which is lower in fat, cholesterol and calories. This Western-themed restaurant also serves chicken sandwiches made from trimmed, skinless chicken breasts raised without hormones. Side orders include hand-cut french fries, sweet potato fries and onion rings. Wash it all down with fresh-squeezed lemonade or a frappe made with Gifford's ice cream. Children's menu available. Dine in or take out.

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