Whether you’re traveling solo or with family you need to try all the best places to eat in Portland, Maine. The best way is to take a foodie tour and I’ve designed one with 10 places we (and friends) like to eat that I’m sure you will too.
Last summer I visited Portland, Maine for a women’s travel conference (Women in Travel Summit). Before I went I polled my friends on where I needed to eat. The list was impressively long. Way longer than a person could fulfill in 3 days that are already half-filled with conference activities.
So, I planned out how I could check off as much of the list as possible without dying of food overload. I created my own walking foodie tour and I’m sharing with you. If you’d like to take a Maine foodie tour without doing all the planning you can book a trip with Maine Foodie Tours or grab my custom-made foodie tour at the bottom of the page.
Foodie Tour Day 1
Every good foodie tour should start with breakfast at a local diner. I love a good old fashioned diner but the art is dying. So many people were talking about how Becky’s Diner was on their must-try list I was sure it was going to be a tourist trap gimmick. Wow! Was I ever wrong. They delivered exactly what I want in diner food and then some.
If sweet potato pancakes are on the menu you need an order of those and homemade corned beef hash. Specify that it needs to be the homemade option. It’s out of this world.
The next stop you should make is Duckfat. It’s a bit of a hike but that’s a good thing because you’re going to want to be hungry enough to eat poutine and it’s a bit of a heavier dish. When I arrived, I waited outside 15’ish minutes to be seated because there isn’t a ton of room inside. If you’re going with a group, note the space is a little small and you may need to wait a bit but it will be worth your time.
The poutine with duck gravy and cheese curds is the bomb. The cheese curds are unbelievably fresh, and if you need something crisp and non-alcoholic to pair with those fries I recommend the All Maine Tonic. However, the Sea Salt Duckfat Caramel Milkshake sounds amazing (and on my list for our next trip.)
Highroller Lobster Co.
Next up is a stop at Highroller Lobster Co. to try the infamous Lobster Taco. I’d say to make this stop only if you love lobster. If you don’t, I’d skip it and save room for something else. If you love oysters instead, I’m told a stop at Eventide Oyster Co. right across the street from Duckfat would be a good option. But back to lobster tacos. Anyone have some tips for how to eat a lobster taco on a Parmesan crisp taco shell without it disintegrating?
Mt. Desert Ice Cream
Mt. Desert Ice Cream has all sorts of fun flavors and if you can’t make a choice you can buy a flight of ice cream (four come in a flight if you don’t already know this). For the record, I loved the Vietnamese Coffee, Lemon Poppyseed with Berry Swirl, and Butterscotch Miso (favorite). The Blackstrap Molasses Banana let me down but that’s because I was hoping for more molasses flavor and a little less banana.
The Holy Donut
After ice cream you likely won’t feel like eating another dessert but The Holy Donut is just down the street. You need to stop and try these potato and sweet potato donuts at least once in your life so grab a couple to take back to your room for a late night snack. You only live once.
To end day one of your foodie tour I recommend you book reservations at Tipo. You’ll need to take a short drive (or taxi ride) but it’s worth the time. Their menu changes seasonally so they don’t have the pasta dish I enjoyed, but you can’t go wrong with any of their pasta dishes.
Foodie Tour Day 2
We’re back and ready to go for another day of gloriously tasty food in Portland, Maine. You’re not tired of good food yet, are you? I certainly hope not. We’ve got just a couple more restaurants to squeeze into half a day here. You got this.
I didn’t have Hot Suppa on the original lineup for this trip because my list of “must-go-to eateries and coffee shops” was of epic proportions but it called my name when I happened to pass by it on a walk to Tandem Coffee. (Anyone else willing to own they’ve walked 3/4 mile for a coffee shop?)
While I’m not a fan of Eggs Benedict, fellow diners highly recommended them. I loved the grits and sausage gravy over biscuits.
Tandem Coffee has several locations in the city. I went to their location that’s housed in an old 1960s former gas station. Tandem roasts their own coffee and you can buy it by the cup or take a bag of beans to go. Grab a latte and sit down for a bit before you head of to your next stop.
I’m a bit of a pizza snob after living in New York for many years, and OTTO Pizza does have good pizza. It isn’t NY Pizza but it’s delicious in its own right. The mashed potato pizza and pulled pork and mango were both spectacular.
Why yes, you do need to try 2 donut shops on your foodie tour. Everyone has their own opinion of which donut shop is better. HiFi is my favorite. I recommend buying several different styles of donuts. Salted Chocolate is one of my favorites.
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Have you been to Portland, Maine before? Do you agree with this list? What other restaurants should I try the next time I visit?