For many folks visiting Portland, Maine, dining should be a no-brainer: fish, fish, shellfish and yet more fish. Maine’s most populous city and economic center is known for its active seaport and fishing industry, so lobsters top many visitors’ lists when visiting.
Need some help narrowing down your options? We’ve chosen five great seafood restaurants in Portland for you to check out. Granted, this is only a small sampling. Multiple trips are likely needed to experience the city’s full gamut of offerings!
The Highroller Lobster Co.
Since its beginnings in 2015 as a food cart, Highroller Lobster Co. has focused on serving Portland the very best of the titular seafood. Today at the storefront, fresh lobster and crab continue to meet their match in rolls baked daily from Southside Bakery. The menu is streamlined to focus on these two crustaceans, whether in classic roll form or incorporated into tacos or grilled cheese. Equally notable are the sauces, some of which you’d never find in a more traditional lobster joint, like lobster ghee, curried ketchup or charred pineapple mayo.
104 Exchange Street
Eventide Oyster Co.
Open ’til midnight everyday, Eventide Oyster Co. features a rotating selection of oysters, housed in a huge chunk of granite as extravagant as it is appetizing. The oysters hail from locations that sound as bucolic as they do local: Flying Point, Long Reach, Dodge Cove, and Pemaquid are just a few of these oysters’ origins. These and many, many more varieties of raw oysters obviously comprise the menu’s bulk, though other options exist, from sandwiches and stews to tuna crudo to fried oysters with squash purée.
86 Middle Street
The Porthole Restaurant & Pub
Imagine: oceanside dining for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Live (and free) music for some energetic ambience. Not to mention affordable booze thanks to frequent happy hours. Yes, the Porthole offers a laidback, casual environment. Here you can choose from a number of oceanic classics, from fried full-belly clams to lemon-broiled haddock. The twin lobster dinner might be considered this restaurant’s speciality, having been recommended by past diners as well as boasted by the restaurant itself. As for libations, try the Porthole bloody mary, made with the restaurant’s own mix.
20 Custom House Wharf
DiMillo’s on the Water
Nothing quite says ‘seafaring’ like literally dining on a boat. Enter DiMillo’s On the Water, which, as the name suggests, offers a traditional menu of seaside cuisine aboard a ship in the harbor. For dinner, past customers have singled out the fresh lobster and deep-fried fisherman’s platter as consistently delicious. For dessert, the blueberry cobbler comes highly recommended, supplying another serving of authentic Maine flavor to your meal.
25 Long Wharf
Street & Co.
Looking for a more upscale experience? Street & Co. takes reservations up to two months in advance, perhaps evincing just how special and popular a place it is. Past diners have raved about the linguine, a menu staple which can arrive at your table with mussels marinara, calamari, or shrimp in tow (to name only a few recent options). The sole francaise appears to be another hit. No matter what you choose, be prepared for the entrée prices, which hover between $20 and $40.
33 Wharf Street
By Alexander Castro