We’re right in the middle of tourist season, and that means there are crowds everywhere you turn. If you’re tired of going to the same five places you always frequent, here are 7 new places to try in southern Maine.
Because oh yes, your favorite foodie does occasionally get out of Portland! Keep reading for 7 new places to try in Southern Maine! Maybe you’ll even find a few new favorites!
1. Luke’s Lobster
Yes, I know Luke’s Lobster is a “chain” but it fits into the Old Port quite well in my opinion. I am OBSESSED with the gorgeous setting and all those windows, by the way. I think we finally have a place that rivals the views that Scales offers.
Now, if you’re looking to avoid the tourists, Luke’s may not be the place to go, since it’s extremely well known globally. But I have to say, the fried clams are some of the best that I’ve ever had.
And let’s be honest, I do consider myself a bit of a fried clams connoisseur. These fried clams are right up there with Gilbert’s and Bob’s, which are definitely my two favorite places to get fried clams. Oh and the cocktails: super Instagrammable.
You know these are the things that matter to me! Not to mention, the double decks mean this might be the most outdoor seating available in the Old Port.
So: gorgeous views, great fried clams, tons of windows, and amazing cocktails. I’ll get back to you when I try the lobster roll but something tells me it’s pretty good!
2. Gross Confection Bar’s new bakery service
Okay, so it’s not exactly a restaurant, but it is very exciting! Gross Confection Bar recently opened up a new bakery and coffee service Wednesday-Sunday from 7:30 am-2:30 pm.
So we knew they could do dessert, and now we know, they can do pastries and bakery goods as well. Not only are these baked goods gorgeous, but they taste amazing as well.
I ordered the sausage cheddar biscuit a few weeks back and let me tell you, it’s heaven in your mouth. Go put some in your mouth this weekend and thank me later.
3. Quiero Cafe’s Second Location
I’ll admit, I made a point to stop by Quiero Cafe’s new Portland location on opening night and haven’t made it back since. You shouldn’t be surprised, really, because it’s been a busy summer!
Anyway, Quiero Cafe has opened in the old Trattoria Fanny location in the West End. It’s nice to finally have something in this spot again! And the food…it is good!
When you go (because you really need to) order the patacon plate because it is filling and a steal! Essentially, it’s a plate served on a plantain leaf, which adds a nice texture and slightly sweet flavor. I guarantee this is one spot you are not going to leave hungry.
I was definitely shocked when I learned that Bolster, Snow, & Co. was closing earlier this year. In my opinion, it seemed totally out of left field!
And then rumors about Flood’s started coming out, and it became intriguing, and quickly. So you know I had to go and try them out.
Now, I know I’m going to have to go back because I’ve only been there once. And I had every intention on ordering that “Celebrated Cheeseburger” but it didn’t happen.
I happened to go on one of the hottest days of the summer, and it was also on the same day we had a giant potluck at work for Alzheimer’s Awareness. By the way, you can donate to our team here if you’re so inclined since it’s for a great cause.
Anyway, so when I went to Flood’s for dinner, I ordered their Clam & Mussel Toast. I did watch that cheeseburger come out, and it’s quite large. But the toast is impressive as well.
I will say that you need to be a serious seafood lover (like myself) to appreciate a seafood oriented toast like this. Personally, I loved it!
I’d order it again, but here’s a tip, and I should probably follow it too: make sure to come hungry so you can try a good portion of the menu. See, there are so many new places to try in Southern Maine, aren’t there?
5. Coal’s Pizza
Yes, another chain, who am I, right? Like Luke’s Lobster, Coal’s Pizza is not really your typical chain. First of all, Coal’s Pizza is not a global conglomerate.
They started in the Bronx in 2004. The newest Coal’s location in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood is the only location in the state of Maine. In fact, it’s the only Coal’s Pizza that exists outside of New York.
More pizza in Portland, though. Why do we need this, right? Well, I disagree. Coal’s is bringing something a little different to the table, which I can definitely get behind.
You see, they make grilled pizza. So it’s not wood-fired pizza, and it’s not Sicilian pizza. It’s not like Otto and it’s nothing like Portland Pie. It’s something that’s a little bit different, meaning it fits right in with our foodie culture.
Here’s another place where I admittedly only made it in once on opening night back in June, and haven’t been back since. But I swear, when things die down a little and fall hits, I’ll be back.
Their specialty pizzas on their Instagram account are seriously making me drool every time I see them. I can tell you the grilled pizza I ordered was delicious too:
The Bayside, with fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, pistachio pesto, and arugula. Also, fair warning: the pizzas are huge! Don’t forget, come hungry.
6. Noble Kitchen & Bar
Okay, you can thank the lovely Metro Breez for this recommendation. Seriously. The Breez is a great way to get around without a car and when you need to get out of southern Maine!
Thinking about making a stop at the Garrison next in Yarmouth on it. Anyway. So Noble Kitchen & Bar is new, in that the Brunswick Hotel is newly renovated.
It looks amazing by the way! Now they have a brand new restaurant and a new menu and chef to go along with it called Noble Kitchen & Bar. I can only speak for lunch but I’ll tell you one thing: I left stuffed!
I pretty much ordered enough food for three people, even though it was just me. Because, you know, food blogging, and needing to try the menu, okay? For a starter, I got the mussels which were in a delectable curry sauce and included bacon lardons.
What I didn’t realize is Noble serves some giant portions, so the mussels could have been a meal all by themselves. So good though! Then I got the pork carnitas tacos, with a native green salad on the side. It was fresh, colorful, and plenty of flavorful food!
7. City Farmhouse Kitchen And Bar
I think I need to change my thinking when it comes to hotel bars and restaurants because they are no longer…dull? Unexciting? Corporate? At least, that’s definitely the case with City Farmhouse.
Hell, the second I walked through their doors, I forgot they were even part of a hotel. City Farmhouse is conveniently located inside of the brand new Sheraton.
It’s also 3,000 square feet, meaning it feels like it could be three different spaces. And the food…the food is impeccable. The flavors are fresh, the ideas are new, and the execution is superb.
You could come to City Farmhouse for any meal and leave satisfied. And don’t forget about their cocktail menu, because there’s plenty to go around.
At their recent grand opening in June, they served mini versions of their entire cocktail menu. Not just a sip of this or that but every single cocktail was available! It was so nice to find a place that’s a true open book.
In every possible way, what you see is what you get. So the highlights: the Seared Day Boat Scallops served on risotto were a clear crowd favorite (I personally went back for seconds and then thirds), as well as the beautiful ricotta and clover honey jam pots, served with little crusts of bread to dip in. I came hungry and left so full but so, so happy.
We all know that Portland is filled with plenty of award-winning dinners and dishes, but it’s nice to introduce these amazing new additions to the area as well!
As always, these are only a few of the new places to try in Southern Maine, and I’m sure there are more out there, but these are a few of my new favorites!