In the surging gastronomy of food-centric Maine, who would have thought that an island 12 miles out to sea would join the ranks of the culinary elite? But such a food escapade awaits the weary traveler at North Haven Island’s inimitable Nebo Lodge. Here dining on the island’s bountiful harvest is the stuff of memorable meals based on a righteous pedigree of provisions grown, raised and yielding freshness and purity that’s flawless.
As soon as I walked into Natalie’s, so smartly nestled in the posh confines of the very European style Camden Harbour Inn, I knew this is where I’d have dinner during a recent overnight stay in Camden. Until then I was conflicted about where to go.
Over the years I have gone to Emilitsa—Portland’s only worthwhile Greek restaurant —and have been impressed by the creative cuisine served in its refurbished store front dining room. As such it’s remained a rare beacon along this sparsely gentrified stretch of Congress Street where the have and have not’s co-mingle in detached tolerance.
Eventide bears no resemblance to Portland’s other so named emporium, J’s Oyster, located on a skinny stretch of Portland Harbor, where gawki
Undeniably, The Lobster Shack at Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth has one of the most dramatic settings of any lobster pound in Maine. With a stunning panorama of bold cliffs and crashing surf, this is picture-perfect rocky Maine coast.
Now known as Spread, the restaurant space at 100 Commercial Street has not been kind to its predecessors. Forerunners Oolong and Gaucho failed miserably spiraling to default for three reasons: bad food, bad economy, and bad luck.
Fortunately Spread is a winner on all counts, well on its way to a lucky charm of success. Diners can count on a stellar trio of chefs with great resumes and consummate skill to deliver a very promising meal indeed.
Consider the accidental tourist who happens upon the Danforth Inn, seduced by its coolly stylish interiors, and then proceeds to revel in a remarkable dinner beyond compare.
That in a nutshell is Carmen at the Danforth, the restaurant that opened last month at one of Portland’s most refined lodging establishments in the gentrified West End.
Restaurant hosted wine dinners are often a heady confluence of too much food and drink. To the epicurean, these can come off as testimonial dinners where windbag hosts pontificate between courses like schoolmarms teaching the abc’s. From my experience, after the fifth or sixth glass is poured and the sweet course served, I’m ready to bolt like the wildebeest.
But what if the food is superb and the wines extraordinary? Are one’s exhortations expendable?
That David’s Restaurant continues to thrive in a town that’s become an inspired collective of highly creative young chefs says a lot about this dining mainstay on Portland’s Monument Square.
Bagels, coffee, oysters, ice cream, Latin fare and star chefs are all elements of the new dining and food establishments that will arrive on Portland’s shifting culinary landscape in the weeks ahead. Let’s see who will survive and who might not.