Whether you’re visiting for the first time and wondering where to get your food and drink on or you’re a local looking for your next hangout spot, here are 4 places to eat and drink in Portland, Maine this April 2023. From a morning spot that’s all the buzz to a new cocktail bar and restaurant with all the Puerto Rican flair, be sure to check each out.
A blend of old San Juan-meets the Old Port, Portland’s newest bar and kitchen, Papi, is bringing the heart and flair of Puerto Rico to the heart of Portland.
The latest creation of the Miranda Group, the minds behind local hotspots Blyth and Burrows and ViA VECCHiA, Papi specializes in authentic Puerto Rican cuisine with a modern twist, using local and seasonal ingredients. The menu features dishes such as mofongo, empanadas, fried pork chops, and arroz con gandules, as well as a variety of bold and innovative cocktails, beer, and wine. While there, opt for the Beef Empanada, a savory fried pastry stuffed with cheese and picadillo, and to drink, the Flantasy Fizz with ron del barrilito, palo cortado, flan, egg white, and soda water.
Drawing inspiration from Executive Chef Ronnie Medlock’s and Beverage Director LyAnna Sanabria’s childhood, every aspect of Papi reflects the vibrant culture of Puerto Rico. Prepare to be treated to the unadulterated joy and pure warmth that is Puerto Rico.
Read more about Papi from our November feature, “Portland Welcomes New Puerto Rican Bar and Kitchen”
Open Wednesday – Sunday starting at 4 PM.
Great for: Innovative and playful cocktails, bar seating, small groups, date night, casual dining. walk-ins, empanadas, a vibrant atmosphere, Puerto Rican food and flair.
18 Exchange Street
Whether on ice or preferred neat, whiskey lovers can be rest assured that they will find a home at The Independent Ice Company.
Dubbed as “an honest-to-goodness whiskey experience for honest-to-goodness people”, this April settle into the new season at The Independent Ice Company, an Old Port bar specializing in fine whiskeys from around the world and around the corner.
Drawing inspiration from the hardworking ice harvesters who converged on the frozen Kennebec River in Maine each winter, whiskey enthusiasts and spirit lovers alike can stop by and learn about their favorite spirits and/or try their sizable selection of Maine ales and signature cocktails. When hunger calls, The Independent Ice Co. is ready to serve up gastropub fare and smalls plates such as sticky ribs, center cut filets, burgers, lobster rolls and more.
With expansive patio dining (open during warmer months) and large floor to ceiling windows, The Independent Ice Co. has some of the best views of the historic Wharf Street and the people watching that accompanies it.
Open 7 days a week starting at 4 PM. Open until 11 PM Sunday – Thursday and Friday + Saturday until 11:30 PM
Great for: Whiskey lovers, late-night dining, date night, a cozy atmosphere, bar seating, patio dining, views of historic Wharf Street, people watching, exploring the Old Port, gastropub fare, Maine beer, cocktails, burgers, lobster roll, steak.
50 Wharf Street
What makes Buzz Coffee a wonderful coffee shop experience worthy of making this influential list? Where to begin?
With a home base in the Old Port, Buzz Coffee has become Portland’s cool (not to be confused with un-welcoming) underground coffee shop where local and traveling caffeine fanatics can order up a multitude of delicious beverages including drip coffee, cold brew, lattes, macchiatos and more (teas available if that’s your niche). For a bite, Buzz Coffee usually will stock up on rotating selection of pastries and baked goods from local bakers, such as Vina Anna’s. Think croissants, morning buns, brownies and more.
While limited seating is available inside, Buzz Coffee makes for a great on-the-go option especially now with the arrival of spring and warmer, sunnier weather. With their newest venture into on-the-go cold brew cans, you can pick up a 6 pack of this smooth and crushable cold brew at the cafe or at any Rosemont Market.
Enjoy fresh air and sightseeing in the Old Port with one of Portland’s best cups of coffee in hand.
Open Wednesday – Sunday 8 AM – 3 PM
Great for: Coffee, espresso based drinks, cold brew cans, on the go, baked goods, pastries, welcoming atmosphere.
19 Exchange Street
Away from the hustle and bustle of the Old Port and hidden within the quiet charm of the Rosemont neighborhood sits The Knotted Apron, a bistro and bar.
Specializing in both French and Italian inspired dishes made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients, The Knotted Apron has successfully positioned itself in the sought-after sweet spot of casual dining with an upscale feel. Operating as a scratch kitchen (which is exactly as it sounds), each dish is made from scratch, a method that is reflective of Chef and Co-owner Ryan Hickman’s time spent training under Chef Larry Matthews Jr. of Back Bay Grill, where he learnt the importance of scratch cooking and quality local ingredients.
Opened in 2020 by Chef Ryan and his co-owner Kate Harvey, today Knotted Apron’s menu matches the seasons and changes frequently to reflect the freshest ingredients available at the time. Take advantage of House Foccacia, Pork Ragù, Flat Iron Steak, Duck Leg Confit and more.
Open Tuesday – Saturday 5 PM – 9 PM
Great for: Italian, French, dishes made from scratch, date night, reservations, casual dining with an upscale feel, pasta dishes, neighborhood feel, exploring outside of the Old Port.
496 Woodford Street