Where To Get a Table in Portland

The Boston Globe has recommended a set of restaurants in Portland that “you can actually get into”.

None of that, however, is any reason to eschew the city and its extraordinary feasts all summer. Instead, it’s a perfect excuse to branch out and try some spots that may not currently be on the hot list, but are spectacular nonetheless. Whether it’s because they’re new and not yet discovered, older and no longer the flavor of the month, a local secret, or off the beaten path, these are some of the best places you can actually get into right now. And yes, some of them even have parking.

Highlighted in the article are Baharat, Flood’s, Isa, Otto, Pai Men Miyake, Piccolo, Tipo and Union.

Reviews: The Well, Pizza Villa

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed The Well, and

Now celebrating its 10th season, The Well at Jordan’s Farm has become one of the area’s biggest seasonal draws, with dinners selling out a month in advance and impromptu visitors scrambling for the dozen (or so) seats chef Jason Williams saves for walk-in diners. Whether you’re eating a five-course chef’s tasting menu in the tiny trailer kitchen or the family-style feast in one of the large or small gazebos, The Well is as strong as ever – perhaps more so, now that it has begun offering its own list of astutely chosen wines, ciders and beers.

the Press Herald has reviewed Pizza Villa.

My pizza had a nice crispy and rich crust, with a uniform golden color. The chunks of mushroom were definitely fresh, and the homemade sausage was browned and had a spicy, peppery flavor. The cheese was pleasantly stringy, but not too much so. I ate just about the whole thing.

First Look at Monte’s

The Golden Dish has published a first look at Monte’s.

The store is a marvel of spic and span steel counters and appliances with those massive pizza ovens lining the kitchen wall. The display shelves add another modern element to the look of the shop holding dry goods that include fine olive oil and vinegar, wine, condiments (very good brand of imported capers), pastas from Italy. Local foods abound too with seasonal vegetables and fruits like local strawberries, creams, butter, etc. Think of it as a modern version of Micucci Grocery with a more artisanal approach and a larger lineup of specialty and prepared foods.

Reviews: Sichuan Kitchen, Bánh Appétit, The Whiskey Barrel

The Golden Dish has reviewed Sichuan Kitchen,

Each time I’ve gone to Sichuan Kitchen the food has been better than the last time. Though in the beginning the dishes were dull looking and brown, the kitchen now presents beautifully arranged plates with meticulously prepared food.

The last visit a few weeks ago was for a Chinese-style banquet. The dishes sparkled with decorous presentation and unique flavors.

the Press Herald has reviewed Bánh Appétit, and

Le said the traditional banh mi has proved to be the most popular sandwich. It’s made with Vietnamese sausage, Vientamese ham, mayonnaise, pork pate, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, cilantro and peppers. The traditional sandwich is just $5, as is the tofu version. My barbecue pork sandwich – filled with tender, well-seasoned meat, along with all the pickled veggies, cucumber and cilantro – cost $6, also the price of the chicken banh mi. If you prefer beef or shrimp, it will cost $7 – still a deal.

the Press Herald has reviewed The Whiskey Barrel.

All four of my visits were fabulous, thank goodness. Owner Jay Ferrara is technically a first-time bar owner but doesn’t come across as one. The Whiskey Barrel is the culmination of his longtime dream to open a country music bar, and he’s deeply involved in every decision, from handpicking the live music acts to greeting patrons (many of whom already have become regulars) by name. Despite living in Massachusetts, he’s a steady presence in the bar.

Review of Dutch’s

The West End News has reviewed Dutch’s,

With a slight shortage of breakfast options on the peninsula, especially given the profusion of culinary choices in Portland ….. Dutch’s fills an important downtown niche for working stiff urbanites, students, and for those “from away.” As good a breakfast and lunch diner gets here- this is probably it. I will go back. Dutch’s impressed me more this time than from my first visit, a few years back. They’ve stepped-up their game: their product, and their space.

and the Maine Sunday Telegram has explored the food at Hadlock Field.

F&W: Best Coffee in Portland

Food & Wine recently published an article on their search for the best coffee in Portland.

As you might expect from a city with so many dark, cold days on the annual calendar, there’s no shortage of coffee in Portland. Who, however, was doing it best, or better than most? To answer that question, I scheduled stops at five prominent local roasters: Tandem Coffee, Coffee by Design, Bard Coffee, Speckled Ax, and Rwanda Bean, as well as the following shops where fine coffee was said to be sold: Coffee ME Up, Little Woodfords, Union Bagel and Rose Foods.

Reviews: Eaux, Blue Spoon Cafe, Luke’s

Portland Magazine has reviewed Eaux,

Tonight’s special is the Étouffée ($22), a lovely presentation with the fiddleheads curled in a fragrant base. But it’s the gorgeous golden-fried soft-shell crab resting atop the bowl that takes center stage. There’s no lobster analogy for the soft-shell crab, and it’s a brilliant pairing with the fiddleheads, whose season also is fleeting—almost a bump of the supernatural.

the Press Herald has reviewed Blue Spoon Cafe, and

Of course, I did, partially because this became the day I fell in love with dill. I finally understood what’s been missing from every chicken salad I’ve ever eaten (and there have been quite a few), not to mention the magnitude of putting it on some of the best sourdough bread on the planet.

The Golden Dish has reviewed the Luke’s Lobster.