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10 Unique Dishes to Enjoy in Portland, ME: A Food Lover's Guide

Discover Portland's Culinary Gems with These Unique Dishes

Whether you're a visitor to Portland, Maine or a local in search of new flavors, here are ten unique dishes that should be on your radar (listed in no particular order).

 

1. Lobster Rolls (Chipotle, Wasabi, and Curry) from Bite Into Maine

No trip to Maine is complete without indulging in a lobster roll, and Bite Into Maine takes this classic to new heights. Located at Fort William's Park with additional spots in Portland and Scarborough, Bite Into Maine offers variations like zingy Wasabi mayo, smoky Chipotle mayo, and Indian curry mayo alongside the traditional butter or mayo options.


Lobster roll

 

2. Jalisco Steamers from Portland Clam Bar

Escape the hustle and bustle of the Old Port at Portland Clam Bar, situated at the end of Commercial Street. This relaxed spot offers a serene atmosphere to enjoy their standout dish, Jalisco Steamers. This unique creation combines local steamers with braised brisket, peppers, onions, all simmered in a savory beef broth.


 

3. Duck Fat Fries and Doughnut Holes from Duckfat

Inspired by Belgium, Duckfat elevates fries to an art form by hand-cutting and twice-frying them in duck fat. The result? Incredibly crispy fries with a golden exterior that pair perfectly with their tantalizing truffle ketchup. Don't miss their equally irresistible duck fat doughnut holes served with Duckfat caramel.



 

4. Bone Marrow Toast from Central Provisions

Located in the heart of the Old Port, Central Provisions offers a cozy dining experience with an array of small plates. Among their standout dishes is the Bone Marrow Toast, featuring rich bone marrow topped with red onion jam, horseradish, and fontina cheese—an unforgettable combination of savory flavors.



 

5. Loaded Biscuit from Tandem Coffee & Bakery

Set in a repurposed 1960s gas station, Tandem Coffee & Bakery adds a twist to the classic biscuit with their Loaded Biscuit. Indulge in either the sweet version with fruit jam like strawberry or the savory option topped with cream cheese and pepper jelly.



 

6. Knishes from BenReuben’s Knishery

Knishes are a beloved traditional Jewish snack, consisting of a doughy exterior encasing a flavorful filling. At BenReuben’s Knishery, you'll discover a wide array of knish options. From classic choices like chicken and beef to unique flavors such as sweet potato and salmon, there's something for everyone. My personal favorite is the Everything Bagel knish, which pairs perfectly with their house-made salmonaise sauce. Each knish is served warm, making them not only delicious but also wonderfully satisfying.



 

7. Squid Ink Burger from Mami

For a unique burger experience, try the "Big Mami" from Mami, a Japanese restaurant that originally started out as a food truck and is now located on Fore Street. This house burger includes lettuce, tomato, pickle, American cheese, katsobushi, miso BBQ, and kewpie, all on a striking squid ink brioche bun. This black bun burger is not only a feast for the eyes but also packed with incredible flavor.


burger on black bun

 

8. Blossom Dumplings from Dok Mali Thai Kitchen

Dok Mali offers some of the best Thai food in Portland. Don't miss their captivating blossom dumplings, made with caramelized minced chicken, ground peanuts, and radish drizzled with coconut sauce. These blue dumplings are picturesque and delicious. For a broader taste, try the dumpling flight, which includes three different varieties.


Blossom dumplings and rangoons

 

9. Donuts from Eighty 8 Donuts

Eighty 8 Donuts, with both a food truck and a brick-and-mortar location in Portland, is one of my all-time favorites in a city known for its great donuts. What sets them apart is their hot and fresh mini donuts. You can get a box of 6 in one flavor or opt for the "Sugar Rush," a box of 25 featuring five different flavors. Some of their enticing options include cookies and cream, lemon zinger, and more creative choices like the 'Homer'—strawberry glaze with rainbow sprinkles—and the '007'—Maine icing, bourbon cream, and candied bacon.




10. Mashed Potato Pizza from Otto

Otto, a local chain that began as a slice shop on Congress Street, now boasts several locations. Their "Masher" pizza combines mashed potatoes, scallions, and bacon, creating a unique and popular pie that’s a must-try. If you've never had mashed potatoes on a pizza, you're in for a pleasant surprise.

Pizza with bacon

 

Portland, Maine offers a diverse culinary landscape, and these dishes showcase the creativity and flavor that make it a food lover's paradise. Whether you're craving seafood, innovative fries, or a unique treat, these spots promise a memorable dining experience that captures the essence of Maine's culinary scene.

 

Thanks for reading!

- The Maine Chick

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Welcome to "The Maine Chick," where I celebrate all things Maine, embracing the Maine way and living life to the fullest! While you can often find me exploring my hometown of Portland, Maine, you'll also catch me traveling around the globe. Follow along!

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