Downtown Restaurants, Portland Hot Spots
When A Midwesterner Does Portland
It doesn’t take a genius to know that I love eating in Portland. And it’s something that my mother knows too, even if she lives a thousand miles away. She recently made a trip to Portland to celebrate her 60th birthday, and it reminded me just how much I love this town. It’s always different when you can see your favorites through someone else’s eyes, especially because my mother thinks that I’m a food snob. Take a look at our 6 day foodie itinerary if you want to know how a Midwesterner does Portland!
Hot Suppa: Poutine and Shrimp & Grits
The first place I wanted to take my mom was Hot Suppa! and with good reason. One thing my mother loves is Southern food, and let’s be honest here, Hot Suppa! is honestly some of the best Southern food here in Portland. So after a few snafu’s with trying to open her Air Bnb door, it was time to go grab a bite. Not just any bite either…my mother’s first bite of poutine. Needless to say, she loved it. Add some fried chicken to the mix, and she claimed it was the best meal she’d ever had. Only day one, Mom…
Scarborough Fish & Lobster: Lobster, Clams, & Corn on the Cob
For day 2, I decided to treat my mom to the ultimate lobster experience at Scarborough Fish & Lobster. Yes, it’s a little out of the way, but I knew she’d appreciate it for the exact reasons that I do. So here’s what I love about Scarborough Fish & Lobster: it’s all about the lobster.
It may be no frills, but it doesn’t get better than steaming lobster coming straight out of the pot onto your table. Add in fresh steamers and sweet corn on the cob, and my mother was exclaiming this was her best birthday meal ever. She loved the ambiance, and the incredibly nice owner, who gave us as much butter as we wanted as we ended up making the world’s biggest mess with our fresh seafood. If you’re going to travel a thousand miles away to celebrate your birthday, Scarborough Fish & Lobster is just the place to do it.
The Dairy Corner: Classic Vanilla & Chocolate Soft Serve
After gorging ourselves silly on lobster, we decided to get dessert at the Dairy Corner. It’s just not summer in Maine without some ice cream, am I right? My pick every time I’m not craving mint chocolate chip is the classic vanilla & chocolate swirl.
Taking a bite of this sweet delight makes me think of all the summers I used to spend in upstate New York with my grandparents at Jack in the Box. There aren’t enough nights of summer to enjoy the deliciousness that is soft serve ice cream, and that’s a fact.
Gilbert’s Chowder House: Fried Clams and heavenly Clam Chowder
The next day it was Friday, and time to go on a boat. Before hopping on the mail boat tour (one of my favorite summertime activities in Portland!) I stopped and got fried clams and clam chowder from my go to, Gilbert’s. Somehow, I only just discovered that Gilbert’s does take out, meaning I was able to take my clams and chowder right on the boat!
Yes, it was about 85 degrees and we were eating hot clam chowder, but it was probably one of the best decisions we made during my mother’s visit. There are just no words to describe how sweet and decadent it felt to surround myself with such tasty bounty. The clam chowder is the best, and true fried clams, rather than tough clam strips taste better every time I order them. My mother was in heaven, and so was I.
Miss Portland Diner: Diner Food at its Best
On Saturday, we decided a hearty meal was a must before stopping by the legendary Yarmouth Clam Festival. Appropriately, we ended up at Miss Portland Diner, which my mom raved about. Dining in an actual dining car? That just made it even better for her. But what I love most about Miss Portland Diner of course, is the food.
It definitely wasn’t my first rodeo; I’ve been for breakfast, lunch, and dinner many a time over the years. But this time, it was all about the Irish Benedict, since it was piled high with their homemade corned beef hash. Combined with tasty home fries, it was a meal that left me stuffed for hours. Which may be a tad unfortunate, since we did go to the Yarmouth Clam Festival for clams, and didn’t end up getting any.
Portland Pie: Showing Mom the Good Life with Pizza
When we were finally hungry again, it made sense to stop by Portland Pie and get some slices. Yes, I love all of the unique pizza places: Otto, Lazzari, Slab, but when I just want a good old fashioned pizza, you’ll usually find me chowing down at Portland Pie.
Pizza is a bit of a point of contention with my boyfriend and I, since all he ever wants is buffalo chicken pizza, and all I ever want is spinach, mushroom, and onion. So we decided it was a great opportunity for personal pizzas, which my mom loved. We all left stuffed, and happy, with leftovers for later in the week. Pretty sure those leftovers made my co-workers jealous as I heated them up on Monday.
Bite Into Maine: Lobster Rolls on Lobster Rolls
On Sunday, we decided it was a good opportunity to relax a little bit. Translation: we ended up at the beach. Not just any beach, but Fort Williams, where the Bite Into Maine lobster roll truck hangs out all summer long. Being from the Midwest myself, I remember when I first had a lobster roll.
It was one of those things where I wished I’d been eating them my whole life, because they are that good. My mother had somehow come and visited me in Portland three times, and never had a lobster roll, so I knew that I had to take her to the best lobster roll in the state. Fittingly, my mom bought a shirt that said sex, drugs, and lobster rolls to eat her first lobster roll, which I think everyone who saw it appreciated. As suspected, my mom was an instant lobster roll lover. The line was long, but the payoff was even greater. My favorite moment every summer is when I get to eat a Bite Into Maine lobster roll. Here’s hoping there’s more in my future before this summer is over!
Eventide Oyster Co: All About the Oysters
You may notice that there’s an absence of oysters, which I know people must be wondering why. Though I love all shellfish, I happen to be extremely allergic to oysters. As a result, I haven’t had an oyster since I was 10, even though I really would like to. But my mom is a huge oyster fan, so I knew we had to at least try Eventide, since it is one of the premiere restaurants in the country for oysters, hands down. She decided on fried oysters, while I got a bowl of lobster stew. We quickly figured out that though the food is amazing (hello, brown butter lobster roll) it’s not the best bet for dinner since the portions are so small. Bottom line, the seafood was impeccably prepared, but I’ll stick to lunch next time.
And that, my friends, is how Midwesterners who really love seafood, do Portland in all its glory! My mom went home stuffed to the gills, and I finally got her to agree that I’m not a food snob. I really can’t complain: a week straight of eating seafood is pretty much a dream come true for me. Disagree? Let me know in the comments how you think a Midwesterner does Portland!