Long known for serving the freshest of lobster and seafood, Maine has now gained a national reputation — Bon Appétit Magazine just recently named Portland as the Foodiest Small town in America. Portland continues to strengthen its reputation of a culinary hot spot for its innovative restaurants and growing number of award-winning chefs. Local foods are featured at century-old outdoor farmers’ markets, and at a variety of smaller specialty stores that offer a blend of prepared, imported and local foods.
RestaurantsGreater Portland offers a robust selection of restaurants, specialty foods and brewpubs, totaling over 200 dining choices. Our restaurant community offers a range and selection that is seen in no other area of its size. James Beard Award winning and world-class chefs with international backgrounds have settled in Portland to create an Epicurean’s collection of restaurants. Many of Maine’s restaurateurs are proud to be part of the burgeoning farm-to-table movement and whenever possible use fish, meat, organic produce and naturally grown fruit that come from local farmers, fishermen and suppliers. Breakfast is another of Portland’s specialties: early risers can start their day with the fishing crews at one of Portland’s dockside diners, while more leisurely visitors can savor brunch or lunch in one of the city’s many fine cafés and bistros. Diners in the city enjoy the view of Casco Bay from restaurants that line Portland’s harbor and its cobblestone streets. You can even find restaurants tucked away inside beautifully restored historic buildings throughout the downtown area.
Harvest on the HarborFoodies have discovered Maine’s culinary scene. Harvest on the Harbor, Maine’s premier food and wine experience, has recently been named one of the "Top 10 Seafood and Wine Festivals in North America for 2008” by Coastal Living Magazine, and one of four "Great Ideas” for fall by People Magazine. Explore the three-day food and wine event that showcases the farm-to-table culinary movement, drawing locals and travelers into a rich epicurean experience, the capstone of Maine’s working waterfronts and farmlands. In the past, Harvest happenings have included award-winning chef and cookbook author demonstrations, wine, beer and spirit tastings and seminars, live television cooking shows, a culinary marketplace (showcasing the best Maine-made products), a black tie gala by the sea, and a signature grand tasting event — all truly unique culinary experiences that can only be found here in Maine. Harvest whets attendee’s appetites with a sampling of Maine’s best culinary treasures. Visit the Harvest on the Harbor website for event details.
Microbreweries & DistilleriesThe microbrew industry is well represented in Greater Portland with nearly 20 breweries, some recognized nationally. Multiple culinary tours are offered, giving visitors an intimate experience with key local purveyors. Within the State of Maine, local brewers have multiplied in number in recent years, with several of the best located right in Portland. The popularity of local Brew Masters is best seen at several Old Port pubs, while some have successfully introduced their products to markets on a national level.
With less than one percent of the world’s vodkas being made from potatoes, uniquely Maine Cold River Vodka is produced locally — the potatoes are even harvested right in Maine. Complimentary distillery tours are offered in Freeport.
Maine LobstersSteamed, boiled or baked, served in chowder, salad or straight out of the shell, lobster is sweet and succulent — Maine’s renowned taste sensation. For more information on recipes, cooking tips and how to find the famous Maine crustacean, visit www.lobsterfrommaine.com.