Portland, Maine-style seafood you can’t find anywhere else

Maine

Foodies love Portland, Maine, with its ready access to New England’s freshest fish and shellfish. And lately, some big-city chefs have moved in, giving Portland’s food scene a face-lift and creating diverse and complex cuisine. The seafood is still exceptional, but you’ll find lots more options here than lobster rolls.

New england lobster boil

Foodies love Portland, Maine, with its ready access to New England’s freshest fish and shellfish. And lately, some big-city chefs have moved in, giving Portland’s food scene a face-lift and creating diverse and complex cuisine. The seafood is still exceptional, but you’ll find lots more options here than lobster rolls.

In the Fore-Front
Fore Street was the eatery that put Portland on the fresh-and-local-haute-cuisine food map. It showcases local produce and seafood, with signature dishes roasted in a large, wood-burning soapstone oven.

The ever-changing menu may entice you, but you’ll do best to turn straight to those signature dishes, the favorites of locals and specialties of Fore Street. Go for the local Pemaquid mussels roasted in the wood-burning oven with garlic-almond butter. Another great option is the whole, wood-oven-roasted Cape Cod black bass. It’s served with a fabulous red-wine reduction pan butter sauce.

To reserve a table, call as soon as possible; Fore Street keeps a third of its seats for walk-ins.

So Many Oysters, So Little Time
You thought an oyster was an oyster? Think again. The Eventide Oyster Co. showcases around 20 different varieties of bivalves every night—some local, some not. You may have to fight your way through the standing-room-only crowds to make your selection. Pick Flying Point, North Haven, Otter Cove or any of the others on the changing list, and then go wild with the cool “accouterments,” like horseradish ice and mimosa mignonette.

Not up for oysters? Feast on the New England Clam Bake, a plate of steamers, mussels, lobster tail, potatoes, salt pork and a hard boiled egg on a carpet of rock seaweed.

Boatful of Pleasure
It looks like a boat and floats like a boat, but DiMillo’s on the Water is first and foremost a seafood restaurant. Founder Tony DiMillo used to say, “The clams you eat here today slept last night in Casco Bay,” and the eatery remains famous for the freshness of its seafood.

The steamers are classic, but if you’re in the mood for something different, order fried oysters for an appetizer. They are pleasure bites, wrapped in lettuce with bacon and tarter sauce. Follow up with the creamy lobster stew—huge chunks of claw and knuckle meat in buttery sherry broth.

Go With the Flow
Ebb & Flow is a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant located in a stunning building in the Old Port. Think high ceilings, brick walls, floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Commercial Street, and a kitchen “grow wall” where you can see the fresh herbs and greens sprouting.

This is the place to get that cioppino you’ve been craving. Ebb & Flow makes the tomato-based stew with fresh shellfish and the catch of the day, and serves it with creamy aioli—absolutely delicious and amazingly fresh. The fact that one of the owners also runs a local seafood business doesn’t hurt.