If you get a rainy day, and feel like heading out for a little exploring, this will help to guide you on your way. This is a very personal compendium, and features just some of the restaurants, shops, and venues that we love here in Maine.
- Back Bay Grill, 65 Portland St.
Wonderful service, exceeded only by the quality of the food, makes the Grill extra special. The owner/chef, Larry Matthews, is a local Kennebunk boy.
- Harbor Fish, 9 Custom House Wharf
Best fish market by far—reminds me of Pike Place Market in Seattle.
- Standard Baking, 75 Commercial
Artisanal breads and wonderful breakfast and dessert baked goods.
- 158 Pickett Street Café, South Portland
Best bagels in Portland. Great sandwiches and breakfast, too.
- Micucci’s Grocery, 45 India St.
Old-fashioned Italian neighborhood market—you would think you were in Providence, RI. Great cheese, Italian wine, imported pasta, and high quality oils and vinegars. Get a fresh slice of pizza from the bakery in back.
- Whole Foods Market, Franklin Arterial, right off I-295
- Anthony’s Italian Kitchen, 151 Middle St.
A terrific place for a slice of pizza at lunchtime.
- Street & Company, 33 Wharf St.
Great for fish. Very cozy bar with great oysters and cold vodka. (It’s an alley ½ block up from Commercial St.) NY Times review
- Cinque Terre and Vignola 10 Dana St.
Same ownership and now under one roof, these two separate restaurants are the best in top-of-the-line creative Italian food.
- Hugo's, 88 Middle St., and Duckfat, 43 Middle St.
Duckfat for lunch is sinful. Try the Belgian fries cooked in real duckfat. Hugo’s has one of the most creative dinner menus around. Rob Evans, owner and chef of both of these restaurants, is the winner of the 2009 James Beard Foundation Best Chef Northeast award.
- Katahdin, 27 Forest Ave.
With a wood fire grill and a sophisticated atmosphere, Katahdin is an outstanding addition to the Portland restaurant scene. A new favorite next to Portland Stage.
- Dogfish Café, 953 Congress St.
Funky local bar where the food is consistently excellent, and the service is very friendly and fast. A great pre-theatre or après spot. (Near Maine Medical.)
- The Front Room, 73 Congress St.
A classic neighborhood bar with super feel-good modern renditions of traditional comfort food. Atop Munjoy Hill, this is an area kind of like Boston’s South End.
- Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St.
Outstanding entertainment venue with a wide range of offerings.
- Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Square
Impressive collection and exhibits.
- Portland Stage, 25 Forest Ave.
Professional small theatre. (½ block off Congress St.)
- Cross Jewelers, 570 Congress St.
One of the nicest and most non-commercial jewelry stores in the area. Many original designs feature a Maine motif.
- David Wood Clothier, 229 Commercial St.
Maine’s answer to Paul Stuart, really!
- Portmanteau, 3 Wharf St.
Great creative tapestry and canvas bags of all shapes and sizes.
- Hamilton Marine, 100 Fore St.
If it’s for a boat, Hamilton’s is the best in Maine.
- Carla’s, 18 Exchange St., Portland, & 30 Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport
Both stores offer a discriminating line of women's clothing with exceptional personal service.