Wednesday Guest Post: Destination Portland

[ 1 ] February 2, 2011 |

©Johnna Knows Good Food

Portland, Maine, affectionately known as “The Other Portland” has become something of a dining mecca, and I’m so thankful that I live only a few hours away so that I can periodically check in and see what all the fuss is about. According to some sources, the small city of Portland, Maine has more dining opportunities per capita than any other city. To put it simply: Portland knows good food. I believe it’s worth a special trip up the coast, but I’m partial. If you are ever in the neighborhood, here are some places you won’t want to miss!

five fifty-five is located at 555 Congress St., i.e., “the main drag.” Chef Steve Corry has been named Chef of the Year by the Maine Restaurant Association, and for good reason. five fifty-five offers a Chef’s tasting menu, which treats you to an array of taste bud experiences. The meal becomes an event. My favorite entrée is the Truffled Lobster Mac and Cheese, but save room, because this restaurant serves the best desserts I’ve had in my life. And I’m something of an expert.

Green Elephant is an earth-loving vegan restaurant also found on Congress Street at 608. While a lack of steak options might scare off some diners, many local omnivores choose to dine here, as the Asian-inspired food is just too delicious to pass up. I’ve invited many meat-lovers to dine here, and have yet to endure a complaint. My favorite meal is the Siamese Dream Curry Noodle, a hearty soup with rice noodles, veggies, soy meat, and cashews in a rich coconut curry sauce. I’m also wild about their fresh spring rolls. If you are looking for the most delicious food on a budget trip, this is your place.

And if you want an authentic Maine experience, you can dine on the water – literally. DiMillo’s Restaurant and Lounge is located on what was once a car ferry that ran between Norfolk and Hampton, Virginia, and then between Newport and Jamestown, Rhode Island. Today, the ferry is docked at 25 Long Wharf. The food is impeccable Maine fare. I always go for the “Lazy Lobster,” a mouthwatering preparation of lobster meat without the work of the shell. However, the lobster ravioli in sherry cream sauce is also worthy of my loyalty.

If I haven’t inspired you to make the trip yet, I’ll leave you with an image of one of Portland’s newest treasures, and one I hope will be around for a long time. Grace Restaurant (15 Chestnut Street) is located in a circa 1856 church. The structure is one of the few remaining examples of early Gothic Revival style in the area, and has been painstakingly restored to its original majestic beauty. But the ambiance is not all you will find at Grace. You can gaze at the stained glass while savoring the Lobster Pumpkin Chowder, which is to die for. Or, if you’ve tired of my lobster recommendations, you might go for the Venison Loin and Sausage in Huckleberry Sauce. If I had my way, I would dine here weekly.

*Robin Merrill is a freelance writer who loves to write about great food, and makes a living writing about Criminal Justice Jobs.

Category: Food.Fun.Stuff., Travels

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Panama, Washington, DC and North Carolina. All four places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

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  1. Robin says:

    Thanks so much for letting me join you Johnna! Which reminds me, I’m starving! 🙂

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