Wow, I have never consumed so much lobster in my life and I couldn’t be happier about it. While I had visited Maine a few times when I was younger, our friend’s wedding brought us (and half our friends from Denver) to Portland for an epic fall wedding weekend.
We squeezed in a lot during the few days we had but in this post, I want to map out all the restaurants we visited, all the chowders and oysters I sipped, and of course the best lobster and lobster rolls.
Most restaurants in Portland don’t accept reservations or not until at least 2 weeks out. Check each website and always call in ask I have tried to note each restaurant’s policy here as well.
Where to Eat in Portland, Maine
Luke’s Lobster – This well-known lobster spot has the best bayfront view IMO (see image below). The menu is simple and sticks to really all you want lobster, crab, shrimp, and haddock. The lobster corn chowder is a little different but delish. The clam chowder is good but nothing to write home about, but I would order it again. The lobster rolls (pictured above) are delish and come extra stuffed with the 8oz. I asked for extra butter and gobbled this roll right up.
Reservations? Nope, walk-ins only but lots of seating!
Scales – I don’t know how we pulled off the last-minute reservations at Scales but we did and it was FABULOUS. Scales is my number one must-eat while in Portland. The restaurant is huge with lots of big tables so great for groups too. Everything we had was phenomenal.
The steamed lobster was just perfect. The octopus was divine, better than any I had in Spain! Our friends had the Tuna, Scallops and the fried whole fish loved them. If you like Mescal try the Chupacabra cocktail! Also, the fig and goat cheese cheesecake is totally different and worth an order too.
Reservations? Yes! You can make a reservation in advance and I suggest you do.
Street & Co – This spot came highly recommended and is so cozy and very “Maine” feeling on the inside. The cocktails were great as was the bread, seriously this bread is so good. They had a larger selection of oysters than Scales but honestly, every oyster we had was just so delicious might as well order them all.
The octopus was good but I thought Scales were better. The Mussels are a must so you can dip your bread into the yummy buttery garlic broth after. A few of us got the Lobster linguine and I feel it was just okay especially in comparison to my steamed lobster at Scales. A friend ordered the special which was cod with mushroom risotto and it was by far the best thing we ordered. I will never think of Cod the same again.
Bottom line, still make a resy but skip the lobster linguine and try something else’s here are you will likely be on lobster overload anyway!
Reservations? Yes you can make a reservation in about 2 months in advance.
Eventide Oyster Company – With no reservations available, our game plan for Eventide was to just go and try and put our name down. We tried at 3 pm and were told a 1 1/2 hour wait, again at 5 pm it was a 3-hour wait. After a few friends who got in raved about it, we were determined to try it again. Some friends got in line around 10:20 am and we ended up being the 3rd group to get sat when they opened at 11 am. For reference By 11 am I would say there were at least 15-20 groups inline. Is it worth it? YES!
Wow, these lobster rolls are ridiculously good. Yes, the lobster is yummy but the roll is kind of like a boa bun/Sister Schubert roll that really takes it to the next level of goodness. These rolls are small and I could have easily eaten two. The chowder was the most unique we tried but not a good traditional chowder in my book. Our friends also loved the fried oyster rolls and crudo. We also tried the “Puffs of Lobster ” which are essential pork rinds but lobster. Again we had oysters and all of them were so good!
While we waited I shopped and grabbed a smoothie from “Juiced” my body needed some fruits and veggies after a seafood and carb overload.
Reservations? – Yes! but they go fast. If you didn’t get one just go and drop your name then go shop/drink nearby till they text you.
Portland Lobster Company – This casual spot is great for grabbing drinks and seafood right on the main drag with a harbor view. This was the first spot we went right when we landed and it did not disappoint. I loved the traditional chowder and the lobster roll hit the spot. They also have live music almost every night so they perfect spot before or after dinner.
Reservations? No reservations
Where else? We, unfortunately, didn’t get into eating at Central Provisions it’s not as seafood-focused but still highly rated. Cong Tu Bot just made the NY Times best restaurant in the US again not seafood-focused but Vietnamese. I also really wanted to visit the Lobster Shack at Two Lights lighthouse outside of Portland since we didn’t have a car this wasn’t too convenient – but supposed to be the best! Another lowkey lobster spot on the water we didn’t make it to was J’s Oyster – other friends visited and loved it! Fore Street also looked amazing but V expensive.
Portland and Maine in general is a food lover’s dream – I cant wait to go back? Did I miss any of your favorite spots in Portland? Let me know in the comments