There are hundreds of places to eat and drink in Portland, Maine. In fact, Portland is a foodie’s delight! With more restaurants per capita than any other city in the country, you can find whatever you’re craving at any given moment. Bars, lounges, cafes, coffee shops, and pubs abound here. So the only real problem you’ll have is deciding where to go.
Portland’s Downtown and Old Port area also have some of the best hotels in New England, and several boast award-winning in-house dining and drinking establishments. And here’s a tip: you don’t need to be a hotel guest to enjoy the sensational flavors at these trendy spots. Many of them have become favorites with Portland locals, too. So whether you’re planning a special occasion or just need a night on the town, consider these destinations the next time you’re out and about in Portland.
The newest restaurant on our list, ALTO Terrace Bar + Kitchen, is located on Hancock Street at the Cambria Hotel. Housed on the fourth-floor lobby level, visitors can choose indoor or outdoor dining. Both suitable options for exploring Maine’s food scene, ALTO’s elevated garden terrace is an especially welcomed oasis during the warmer months. The view is fantastic, and should the cool breeze coming off Casco Bay become too chilly, you can warm up by the outdoor fire pits.
If you’re in the mood for drinks, the bar serves local craft beer, signature cocktails, and an excellent selection of wines.
The breakfast and dinner menus are comprised of fresh, local food with a creative flair. Breakfast guests can choose from mouthwatering dishes like the Steak and Eggs, Shrimp and Grits, Buttermilk Waffles, Old Port Breakfast Potatoes, and more.
The dinner menu doesn’t disappoint, either. ALTO has a range of Greens and Bowls as well as moderate main dishes like Baked Stuffed Haddock, Blackened Salmon, and Bistro Steak. But the appetizers are destined to be favorites. Choose from Bangs Island Mussels, Fried Calamari, Fried Brussel Sprouts, and more. Or order them all and share them among friends.
Located in the heart of the Old Port is the Portland Harbor Hotel (PHH) and their featured restaurant and bar, The Harbor Bistro + Terrace. The Portland Harbor Hotel has thought of every detail, from their ultra-Maine inspired nautical accents to the local ingredients they use in their food and beverage.
The Harbor Bistro + Terrace feels effortless, a combination of lounge and restaurant where you can sit back and relax with a signature Maple Old Fashioned. Their full bar also offers a full tap list of Mast Landing Beers and various wine options.
Their bistro style restaurant serves both breakfast and dinner. Their seasonal menu takes a fresh approach to local ingredients from Maine farmers and fishermen. Some favorites from the Harbor Bistro + Terrace include their Brown Butter Diver Scallops, Northern Harvest Salmon, Butternut Squash Bisque and Maine Lobster Cannelloni.
Not to be overlooked is the large outdoor terrace; a secret oasis complete with fountains and greenery, in the heart of downtown Portland. Occasionally the terrace will be open in colder months – follow their social media for updates on seasonal events.
The Union Restaurant in The Press Hotel is a true gem in Portland’s restaurant scene. With its open kitchen and bright and contemporary setting, the Union’s upbeat atmosphere makes for a wonderful late breakfast, brunch, or dinner downtown. The primary focus at Union is on local, sustainably sourced ingredients. That means everything has been foraged, fished, or grown right in Maine. The restaurant even uses its own honey harvested on the rooftop.
The menu is extensive. And the restaurant’s award-winning culinary team has taken comfort food to new heights. For brunch, choose from chocolate croissants, Maine Lobster Eggs Benedict, Avocado Toast and more. Or grab a Caldwell Farms Burger.
Dinner guests can opt for dishes like American Wagyu Hanger Steak, Casco Bay Scallops, Handmade Ricotta Cavatelli, and more.
For a more causal feel, Inkwell Lounge at the Press Hotel is a lobby bar that is part coffeehouse, part pub, and a great place to take a break from work and/or just relax. Breakfast and coffee are served every day. Inkwell opens again in the late afternoon for drinks, small plates, and snacks.
Photo: The Portland Regency Hotel (@theportlandregency)[/caption]
The Portland Regency Hotel and Spa is a historic lodging built in a late-19th-century armory. Situated on Milk Street, it’s a charming and romantic getaway and the perfect place to stay if you want to immerse yourself in the Old-Port experience. While visitors are surrounded by some of the city’s best bars and restaurants, guests will be equally delighted with the Regency’s four drinking and dining options.
The Ironside Whiskey Bar is in the hotel’s extended lobby and features dozens of top-shelf Irish and Scotch whiskeys, ryes, and bourbons. This is definitely a comfortable and quiet spot to catch up with old friends away from the buzzing Old Port crowd. The Ironside is usually open late afternoon into the evening.
The most well-known spot for food and drinks at the Regency is the Armory Lounge. Located in the hotel’s lower lobby, it’s become a favorite Downtown hangout over the past few decades. Cozy and intimate, the Armory is known for its legendary cocktail menu. Looking for suggestions? Try the Garden Party with Beefeater gin, Aperol, lemon juice, peach bitters, club soda on ice.
Dinner and lunch are also served, and the menu features pub favorites like Pan-Seared Salmon, Maine Jonah Crab Cakes, Fish & Chips, Baked Lazy Man’s Lobster, and plenty more.
In the warmer months (and weather permitting), dine al fresco in The Regency’s enchanting Garden Café. Framed by flowers, trees, and gentle ocean breezes; the Garden Cafe presents itself as a fabulous destination for catching up with friends or colleagues over delicious fare.
Wayside Tavern is a casual neighborhood restaurant and pub located within the charming Francis boutique hotel in Parkside. You can belly up to the bar or choose a cozy spot away from the crowd in this inviting home-away-from-home, but either way, you can expect a pleasant evening.
Creating an upscale tavern menu that does not disappoint, guests can start the evening with a Grapefruit Daiquiri, an Irish coffee, or a housemade cordial, among other drinks.
The Foie Gras Truffles are two signature dish (and a customer favorite) at the Wayside. Rolled in sweet maple-candied almonds and garnished with hot pepper jelly, this is one union that will ignite your taste buds. Guests will be equally impressed with the Beer Battered Cod Cheek, Salt Cod Mantecato with olive tapenade, or the Broiled Maine Oysters with garlic and chili butter.
The Wayside has become a popular spot with travelers and locals, and hours are limited. So if you’re planning on dinner, reservations are highly recommended.
Housed inside the Hyatt Place Hotel, Glass Lounge is a craft cocktail lounge with a small plate menu, locally crafted beers, and high-end liquors. With its floor-to-ceiling windows, guests get a front-row view of bustling Fore Street. Glass has a decidedly posh feel without being pretentious, and patrons will no doubt feel comfortable in both evening attire or casual dress.
The location and setting are well worth the trip, but visitors to Glass are always impressed with the lounge’s thoughtfully created cocktails. The bartenders here are phenomenal, whipping up top-shelf drinks like Rosemary’s Baby (rosemary infused Hendrick’s Gin, muddled strawberries and basil, fresh lemon sour, and balsamic vinegar reduction pearls) and Snow White’s Poison (calvados, lemon, habanero-ginger syrup, sparkling cider topped with an apple-coconut foam).
Glass Lounge is also the place to go if you’re looking for a light, shareable snack. The menu is lively and ever-changing but typically includes small plates of Lobster Deviled Eggs, Shitake Mushroom Turnovers, Duck Confit Tacos, and other delights. You can also build your own charcuterie board.
Canopy by Hilton is one of Portland’s newest destinations for travelers. Located on the corner of Commercial and Center Streets, the hotel has two food and drink options.
The first is the Salt Yard. An all-day cafe and bar, Salt Yard is a bright open space at street level that seats around 50 guests. The cafe features barista-made beverages, grab-and-go hot breakfasts, complimentary Wifi, and more. The restaurant has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for family dining or a suitable spot for your next business lunch.
Lunch and Dinner guests can enjoy a classic American menu of curated sandwiches, flatbreads, soups, salads, and more. The Salt Yard is open for breakfast and lunch and Wednesdays through Sundays for dinner.
The real jewel of Canopy, however, is one of Portland’s few rooftop bars, Luna. Situated on the hotel’s top floor, Luna is an exciting destination with a beautiful view of Casco Bay, Portland’s working waterfront, and the surrounding city lights. Offering artisanal cocktails and shareable plates, Luna is the perfect place to go out on the town, celebrate a special occasion, or enjoy a first date. There’s an extensive wine menu, a selection of craft beers, and an array of top-shelf spirits, and Luna’s mixologists will be happy to craft something special just for you. As a side note, those who want to enjoy a fun night will find some delicious mocktails here.
When it’s time to grab a bite to eat, guests will find Luna’s shareable plates as delightful as the cocktails. Munch on Orange Furikake Popcorn or Truffle Fries. Or choose from French Onion Rangoons, Maine Oysters, Burrata, Pork Belly Bao, Luna’s Signature Charcuterie Boards, and other delicacies. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Maple Goat Cheese Cheesecake, Tiramisu Mousse, or Local Honey Cake.
Perched on the 15th floor of The Westin Portland Harborview hotel, you’ll find Portland’s oldest and most iconic rooftop lounge— Top of The East. Open since the 1960s, the Top of The East offers small plates, craft libations, and a panoramic view of Portland. On a clear day, you can even see all the way to New Hampshire.
These days, the East has transformed itself into a vintage night spot, with a menu that gives a nod to yesteryear. Guests can order wine, local brews, or cocktails like the Toasty Ol’ Fashioned (Toasted Pecan Infused Knob Creek Bourbon, Angostrua Bitters, House Simple). Or sip on a Final Word (Hardshore Gin, Green Chartreuse, Fresh Lime, Maraschino Liqueur). These are just a couple of the East’s heavenly cocktails. Visitors will also find an excellent selection of low-ABV cocktails and mocktails.
If you’re feeling hungry, stay and enjoy a plate or two of delectable (and shareable) dishes. Just enough to satisfy, choose from Crispy Duck Wings, Carmelized Onion Crab Dip, Harissa Roasted Shrimp, Charcuterie Board, and more.