Restaurants

Portland, Maine Dining Guide: A Foodie Paradise By the Sea #savortheroad

Several restaurants in Portland, Maine, made our 2015 Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide, so we were thrilled that contributor Nevin Martell was able to visit this past weekend and share his personal Portland, Maine dining guide – a city he calls a foodie paradise by the sea. Read on for delicious inspiration for your trip to the Forest City this summer. 

Walking around Portland’s charming Old Port neighborhood overlooking the picturesque Casco Bay on a simmering July afternoon, I could taste the salty tang of the Atlantic on my tongue. As the sun worked up my thirst, the sea breeze whetted my appetite with every step. Luckily, there were plenty of options for satiation nearby.

In the last few years, Portland’s food scene has undergone a stunning transformation from being staid and sleepy to an electric mix of praise-worthy culinary ventures that have rightfully earned a bounty of buzz. Much of this revolution is happening by the port. Wherever you look in its crosshatch of cobblestone streets, you’ll spot someplace to sup or sip. Don’t feel overwhelmed. Exploring the seaside district is easy to do on foot. Plus, you’ll want to walk off everything you’ve eaten, so you don’t outgrow your wardrobe by the end of your trip.

Scoring a table during the high season can be tough, so I recommend making a reservation to ensure you can eat your way through your vacation’s culinary bucket list. Case in point is Fore Street, which boasted a 45-minute wait just to dine at the bar on the Wednesday night I visited. A reservation meant skipping the hang time and digging right in. Chef Sam Hayward presides over a humming open kitchen, turning out seafood every which way, thoughtful charcuterie, offal, prime cuts, and a bounty of seasonal produce in stripped down presentations that flatter the natural flavors.

 

My meal began with perfectly plump wood-fired Maine mussels in a pool of almond-rich melted butter served with plenty of bread for sopping. That was followed by a decadent tartine starring roasted tomato sitting on a throne of buttery puff pastry and coronated with a puff of goat cheese mousse. A steaming hot, small cast iron pan arrived with seared pork belly, crispy on the top and buttery smooth throughout. Summer squash sautéed in lard, more-butter-than-potatoes whipped spuds, and horseradish-zested roasted cauliflower rounded out the array. Definitely one for the record books.

To kickstart myself the next morning, I made a pilgrimage to The Holy Donut. These aren’t your average rounds. The puffy bangles are made with potatoes, which adds heft without making them as dense as cake doughnuts. One regular round came glazed with Allen’s coffee brandy – a buzz times two – while a sweet potato doughnut was dipped in a redolent ginger glaze. Though they’re not as sweet as a Krispy Kreme, it was still nice to cut through the sugar rush with an icy cold brew from nearby Coffee By Design.

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Hit It out of the Park: Where to Eat Before a Baseball Game #savortheroad

Oh, yes! Take me out to the ballgame, but, please, skip the peanuts and Cracker Jacks. Admittedly, stadium concessionaires have elevated baseball fare to baseball cuisine. Cuban pretzel dogs and ice-cold craft beer have replaced dirty water dogs and lukewarm draft beer. All good, but I would still prefer to be wined and dined (a bit) and eat a meal sitting at a table (I can forego white tablecloths!) rather than balanced on my lap. I love America’s pastime, and I love eating out. So, let’s make a night of it!

Whether you’re embarking on a summer road trip to make a pilgrimage to some of our national pastime’s sporty cathedrals or staying put to root for your home team, we’ve rounded up nine stadiums and scouted out some of the best spots to grab a bite before the umpire shouts “Play ball!” — or after the last pitch. Batter up! Here’s where to eat before a baseball game, from coast to coast.

Fenway Park is the home of the Boston Red Sox. This storied ballpark offers hungry die-hard Sox fans everything from soup to nuts, literally. Jerry Remy’s is the undisputed go-to spot either before or after a game at Fenway; owner Jerry Remy is a legendary Red Sox broadcaster and a living local treasure. The restaurant serves up comfort food with a modern flair and an enormous craft and micro-brewed beer selection. This is Red Sox Nation. Find other restaurants near Fenway Park. 

Blog BaseballEats1 Jerry Remys copyYankee Stadium, in the Bronx, is now across the street from the original “House That Ruth Built.” The new stadium, completed in 2009, is a state-of-the-art baseball venue. It features 25 concession stands, more than 100 moveable concessions, and three restaurants: NYY Steak, Hard Rock Café, and Audi Club. From dry-aged USDA Prime steaks to sports and music-themed burgers and performance-cooking stations, anyone can score delicious food at Yankee Stadium. Find other restaurants near Yankee Stadium.

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Oriole Park at Camden Yards in B’more is where the Baltimore Orioles play. Built in 1992, Camden Yards is just blocks from Baltimore’s picturesque Inner Harbor and is a destination for baseball and non-baseball fans alike. Located within the Orioles’ complex is Dempsey’s Brew Pub and Restaurant, named after the team’s beloved catcher, Rick Dempsey. Dempsey’s serves up classic pub fare: a variety of Maryland crab appetizers, hearty salads, fish tacos, beer-braised pork belly, beer-can chicken, and eight signature burgers, as well as local and regional bottled craft beers and four in-house brewed, baseball-themed beers. Dempsey’s is open not only on game days, but seven days a week, year round. Find other restaurants near Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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Nationals Park hosts the Washington Nationals team. Situated along the Anacostia River in D.C.’s Navy Yard neighborhood, Nationals Park is best accessed by the city’s uber-efficient Metro system. Just east of the stadium is Yards Park and Agua 301, an authentic Mexican restaurant with a modern flair. Ceviche, soups, salads, empanadas, huaraches, and entrees that are both traditional and contemporary — and definitely not Tex-Mex. Dine al fresco along D.C.’s riverfront, and then stroll over to cheer on Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, and company.

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Wrigley Field in Chicago is the beloved abode of the Chicago Cubs. Known for its ivy-covered, brick outfield walls, old-timey, hand-turned scoreboard, and red marquee, Wrigley Field is the place for Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches. Directly across the street from the ballpark, in what is affectionately known as Wrigleyville, is Rockit Burger Bar. As one might expect, this is a burger joint — one with unexpected burgers. How about a mac & cheese attack, a huevos rancheros, or a venison foie gras burger? Find other restaurants near Wrigley Field.Continue Reading

Dine Like a Local: The OpenTable 2015 Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide #savortheroad

This travel season, you’re invited to dine like a local on your summer road trip with the OpenTable 2015 Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide – and enter our #savortheroad giveaway for a chance to win one of ten $100 OpenTable gift cards.

Compiled by OpenTable insiders across the nation, the guide highlights culinary destinations along some of the country’s most popular road trip routes and is designed to make sure vacationers don’t pass by a single savory stop on their summer travels. From can’t-miss, off-the-beaten path eateries to the restaurants that help make even the sleepiest towns dining destinations, these are the in-the-know picks to help make your road trip delicious.

To enter the #savortheroad giveaway, follow @OpenTable on Instagram or Twitter or like OpenTable on Facebook, and share a delicious photograph or video with @OpenTable on either Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter that highlights your summer road trip dining adventures using the hashtag #savortheroad. (Full terms and conditions below.)

The OpenTable 2015 Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide includes more than 100 restaurants in quiet hamlets and bustling metros popular with road trippers, in regions including California, the Midwest, New England, the Pacific Northwest, the South, and the Southwest. Recommended restaurants include:


CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP

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SAN FRANCISCO: Zuni CaféBar Crudo, and Trestle
SANTA CRUZ: LailiLa Posta, and Oswald
CARMEL: Mundaka
MONTEREY: Sardine Factory
BIG SUR: The Restaurant at Ventana
and Sierra Mar-Post Ranch Inn
SAN LUIS OBISPO: Granada Bistro
SANTA BARBARA: The Lark and Bouchon
VENICE: Gjelina and Joe’s Restaurant
LOS ANGELES: Pizzeria Mozza
and The Factory Kitchen
SANTA DIEGO: Juniper & Ivy and Bottega Americano
DEL MAR: Cucina Enoteca

SOUTHWEST ROAD TRIP

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MIDWEST ROAD TRIP

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OKLAHOMA CITY: Ludivine and The Metro Wine Bar and Bistro
MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL: Heartland RestaurantSpoon and Stable,
and The Bachelor Farmer
SIOUX FALLS: Minerva’s
FARGO: Mezzaluna
OMAHA: Boiler RoomModern Love, and V. Mertz
KANSAS CITY: Blvd TavernCafe Trio,
and Gram & Dun
WICHITA: Wine Dive
CHICAGO: Fat RiceBoeufhaus, and Parachute

PACIFIC NORTHWEST ROAD TRIP

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BEND: DRAKEAriana, and 900 Wall
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND: Hitchcock
SEATTLE: WestwardRockCreek Seafood & Spirits, and Brimmer & Heeltap

SOUTH ROAD TRIP

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NORTHEAST ROAD TRIP

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BOSTON: Myers + Chang
CAMBRIDGE: Alden & Harlow and Oleana
PROVIDENCE: Local 121Gracie’s, and Hemenway’s
NEWPORT: Fluke Wine Bar & Kitchen22 Bowens Wine Bar and Grille, and The Mooring
EAST HARWICH: Twenty Eight Atlantic
DENNIS PORT: The Ocean House
ROCKLAND: Primo
KENNEBUNKPORT: Ocean and Earth at
Hidden Pond

PORTLAND: GraceHugo’s Restaurant,
and Fore Street
MANCHESTER: Hanover Street Chophouse and Cotton

Map your route, make your reservations, and start restaurant road tripping. Then, share your summer road trip eating adventures with OpenTable using the hashtag #savortheroad to enter our gourmet giveaway. Continue Reading

August Restaurant Weeks: Where to Dine for Less

Blog August Restaurant Weeks Casa Lever copyAugust is almost upon us — bringing with it even more summer restaurant weeks. We’ve rounded up where to dine for less in the coming month!

* Baltimore Restaurant Week lets you dine out more in B’more with $15 lunches and $20 + $30 dinners through August 2. Book a table.

* Howard County Restaurant Week has local flavor at fabulous prix-fixe prices through August 3. Book a table.

* New York City Restaurant Week has $25 lunches + $38 dinners at more than 300 restaurants, including Casa Lever (which will be offering its red beet tortelli with ricotta, spring English peas, Pecorino fondue, and raspberry-pickled red pearl onion, pictured), through August 14. Book a table.

* Hudson Restaurant Week brings $13 and up lunches + $25 and up dinners through August 7. Book a table.

* Baltimore County Restaurant Week is cooking up $15.15, $25.15, $35.15 lunches + dinners, July 31-August 15. Book a table.

* COOLinary New Orleans has delicious two- or three-course lunches for $20 or less, three-course dinners for $39 or less, and all-new $39 or less prix-fixe brunches, August 1-31. Book a table.

* Houston Restaurant Weeks stretch for five delicious weeks of $20 lunches, $25 brunches, and $35 + $45 dinners, from August 1-September 7. Book a table.

* Miami Spice has sweet dining deals with $23 lunches + $39 dinners, August 1-September 30. Book a table.

* Center City District Restaurant Week in Philadelphia starts soon. Don’t miss $20 lunches + $35 dinners, August 2-14. Book a table.

* Downtown St. Louis Restaurant Week is your gateway to $25 dinners, August 3-9. Book a table.

* Pittsburgh Restaurant Week invites you to dine on three-course prix-fixe meals + $20.15 specialties, August 10-16. Book a table.Continue Reading