HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND, MAINE

On our recent trip to the charming coastal town of Portland, Maine, we were lucky enough to have our youngest son, a Portland resident, as our local food guide. We are a food loving family, one that enjoys cooking at home as much as we do dining out. So we took full advantage of his expertise in guiding us on a gastronomical tour of this small New England city. Portland has gained a reputation for having one of the best food and drink scenes in America, and we were excited to get a taste! So, let me show you how to dine deliciously in Portland, Maine.

Delicious Dining Spot #1:  Scales

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | SCALES | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

We arrived in Portland just in time for dinner, where we had secured a highly-sought-after dinner reservation for a waterfront table at the upscale seafood restaurant, SCALES.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | SCALES | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Scales is located in the Old Port District of Portland, right in the heart of the Commercial District. This is Portland’s downtown, and is loaded with shops and restaurants. Since Portland is located right on the ocean, restaurants like Scales have easy access to some of the world’s best fresh seafood right at their backdoor.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | SCALES | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The view from our table

Scales’ menu includes an extensive Raw Bar selection, so we started off with some locally harvested fresh Maine Oysters on the Half Shell.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | SCALES | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I ordered the Chopped Vegetable Salad which was loaded with delicious asparagus and fresh herbs and was dressed in a yummy buttermilk dressing. I loved every bite of it and have since tried to duplicate it, rather unsuccessfully I might add.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | SCALES | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

For our main courses, all of which I got a delicious taste of, we had Pan Roasted Halibut in a brown butter with hazelnuts, peewee potatoes & lemon.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | SCALES | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Seared Scallops with sweet corn, roasted peppers, applewood bacon & corn cream. This is one of Scales’ most popular dishes.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | SCALES | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

And Grilled Octopus with chorizo & hazelnut vinaigrette & crispy yuca. I ordered this from the appetizer section of the menu but enjoyed it as my main course. We were so completely satisfied with all the delicious food that we did not have room for desert, but what I saw being delivered to neighboring tables looked delicious.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | SCALES | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Delicious Dining Spot#2:  Chaval

Night number 2 of how to dine deliciously in Portland, Maine was dinner at the wonderful West-End Brasserie, Chaval.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | CHEVAL | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

This quaint, neighborhood restaurant serves Spanish and French influenced cuisine, which is much appreciated by this Spanish family of ours. Admittedly, we often shy away from Spanish food in America, because more often than not it is a poor interpretation of authentic Spanish. But, as we quickly learned at Chaval, the food they prepare is not only delicious, it is authentic.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | CHEVAL | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

We were delighted that the charming, friendly and outgoing hostess seated our large party of 8 at an attractive round table located right in the front window of the restaurant. It was comfortable and light filled on a warm summer evening.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | CHEVAL | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

It was difficult to decide what to order because everything on the menu sounded so good. We were told that the menu changes frequently to reflect the seasons and market.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | CHEVAL | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

One of my favorite Spanish appetizers are Croquettas so I ordered these which were made with Iberico Ham, gruyére cheese and  pimentòn (Spanish Paprika) aioli. YUM!

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | CHEVAL | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

My husband tried the Deviled Eggs with boquerones (Spanish anchovies), queen olives and pimentòn.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | CHEVAL | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

And my sons enjoyed this Raw Tuna dish sitting on a bed of fresh Pineapple Purée.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | CHEVAL | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I love beets so I ordered this outstanding Stonecipher Beet Salad with Nectarines, lovage (celery tasting leaf), pickled chili, lemon, and puffed amaranth (an ancient grain).

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | CHEVAL | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

One of the entrées we enjoyed was really one of the most tender and tasty chicken dishes I’ve ever tried. It was called Free Range Chicken d’Alsace and was a chicken breast served with spaetzle, morel & oyster mushrooms and charred spinach in a riesling cream sauce.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | CHEVAL | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Several of the guys ordered this really divine Grilled Prime New York Steak and Frites with Béarnaise Sauce. I snuck a few fries. Yummy!

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | CHEVAL | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

For dessert we shared a couple of these very refreshing Summer In Maine Sundaes made with fresh local strawberries & rhubarb, lemongrass and meringue. As I mentioned in this post, I duplicated this delicious desert for my husband’s recent birthday party. We loved Chaval Restaurant and would highly recommend it!

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | CHEVAL | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Delicious Dining Spot #3: Portland Farmers’ Market

As I mentioned, our family enjoys eating out a lot, but we also love preparing meals at home together. And on this recent extended-family vacation in Maine we would be doing a lot of home cooking together.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Making Vietnamese Sandwiches with Farmer’s Market Ingredients

There is no better place to source cooking ingredients than at The Portland Farmers’ Market. Founded in 1768, this Saturday market located in lovely Deering Oaks Park, runs from April to November (8am to 1pm) and is a treasure trove of wonderful food for home chefs.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | Portland Farmer's Market | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Deering Oaks Park

It was loaded with everything we needed to cook meals during a weeks stay in our waterfront rental home.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Every one of the 42 vendors at the Portland Farmers’ Market is an actual farmer who is required to grow everything they sell.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | Portland Farmer's Market | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | Portland Farmer's Market | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | Portland Farmer's Market | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | Portland Farmer's Market | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Not only was there every kind of produce available for purchase, you could also buy plants to plant in your own garden.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | Portland Farmer's Market | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | Portland Farmer's Market | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

There were also beautiful fresh flowers for sale, along with juicy, ripe strawberries.

HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND MAINE | Portland Farmer's Market | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

In addition to produce and flowers there were purveyors of cheese, sauerkraut & kimchi, honey and preserves, as well as bakers selling bread and other bakery products. Oh how I wish I had a Farmers’ Market like this one here in Lake Arrowhead!

Delicious Dining Spots Recommended by My Portland Dwelling Son…

We only had 2 days to dine in Portland before moving on to Bath, Maine where we rented a home for a family vacation. However, to give you more delicious dining options in Portland I interviewed my food-loving son for further recommendations. Here’s what he said, in his words, are Portland restaurants  not to be missed:

Eventide Oyster Company – A revival of the great American oyster bar, with a wide variety of fresh Maine oysters. Eventide offers pristine oysters and shellfish, the famed Brown Butter Lobster Roll, and a James Beard Award-winning take on classic New England fare. Fresh ceviche, crab rolls, steamed buns, craft cocktails & beer at a cool bar in the shape of an oyster shell. Difficult to get a table and expensive.

Solo Italiano – Contemporary take on classic Genovese cuisine, the chef of this restaurant is the winner of the 2008 Pesto World Championship. You are going to get authentic, northern Italian food from this chef who was also the winner of the 2003 Best Young Chef in Italy award. Enjoy hand-rolled, homemade, fresh pasta in an intimate atmosphere.

Hot Suppa – Famous for their Fried Chicken & Waffles and Corned Beef Hash, this Southern-style restaurant with a New England slant serves great Shrimp & Grits and Southern Style Seafood using fresh Atlantic catch. It’s difficult to snag a table in their small dining room because they serve the best Southern food outside of the South.

Empire Chinese Kitchen – This super-sought-after emporium of Chinese Dum Sum exercises a modern twist on the traditional. Their kitchen specializes in Dim Sum, the delectable dumplings and savory small dishes meant to be leisurely eaten family-style. Tables at Empire are hard to come by so make your reservations well in advance.

Tandem Coffee & Bakery – This is the place you head to in Portland when you want a great cuppa and a delicious breakfast sandwich. They have amazing biscuits, including their delicious Jalapeño Cheese Biscuits. Long lines but worth the wait.

I’m hungry just thinking about all the wonderful food to be had in Portland, Maine and I can’t wait to go back to experience more.

So there you have it: HOW TO DINE DELICIOUSLY IN PORTLAND, MAINE

Thanks so much for dropping in!

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All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  It’s what helps to make this blog possible. Thanks very much for your support.

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