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ShermansTravel experts know where to find the best meal in town at the best price. Our restaurant reviews sift through the mountains of menus to highlight neighborhood gastronomic institutions and up-and-coming foodie hotspots – not to mention where to go for affordable, dependable fare complemented by a charming atmosphere.

Top Restaurants in Maine

Appalachian Café

This off-the-path oasis, situated near the end of the Appalachian Trail, witnesses many trail-completion victory dinners. The inexpensive comfort fare and hearty all-day breakfasts (Maine blueberry flapjacks) attract weathered hikers, deer hunters, and motor tourists alike.

210 Penobscot Ave., ME, 207-723-6720
Tags: budget | comfort food


Portland is more than a decade into a culinary boom, and its first crop of successful restaurants, such as Fore Street and Hugo's, have won national awards and glowing write-ups. Now a second culinary wave is rippling across the city, this time a collection of smaller restaurants tucked throughout the city. Our favorite Bresca, is Krista Kern Desjarlais's 20-seat jewel inside a narrow one-story building in the Old Port section. Many unforgettable dishes grace the menu-like braised black kale with pancetta and soft-boiled egg, or any one of her homemade pastas. Desjarlais has done tours at leading kitchens in New York and Las Vegas, but it's not only the technical prowess and great ingredients (a number of fantastic food purveyors reside in Portland) that make Bresca a wonderful find. It's also that each night, Desjarlais manages to build a unique sense of camaraderie and theater in her small space. Meals unfold like a well-directed show. 2009 Smart Luxury Award winner

111 Middle St., Maine, 207-772-1004,
Tags: moderate | notable chef | editor pick | smart luxury winner | great value

Hartstone Inn

Indulge in an exquisite, five-course meal in charming French-country surroundings. Celebrated chef Michael Salmon serves only the freshest “regional seasonal” fare, such as herb-crusted haddock with grilled caponata, and ends each evening with a decadent soufflé.

41 Elm St., ME, 800-788-4823,
Tags: luxury | editor pick | smart splurge | things to do


Hugo's, a Portland mainstay for years, now serves a reasonably-priced bistro menu of French Laundry-vet Rob Evans' whimsical creations in a cozy, no-frills space; flat-screens adorn the bar and the staff is as friendly (and knowledgeable) as they come. Evans' daring dishes pit ingredients like pork belly alongside jalapeno-apple marmalade with smashing results. Wash your entrée down with a glass of house-made ginger beer or a fine wine from the topnotch list. Feeling particularly adventurous? Opt for the eight-course blind tasting menu and let Evans' magic really wow you. 2009 Smart Luxury Award Winner

88 Middle St., Maine, 207-774-8538,
Tags: moderate | notable chef | editor pick | smart splurge | smart luxury winner | new american

Maine Chowder House

The panoramic views from the Maine Chowder House look out over Penobscot Bay and are almost as good as their Scottish chowder, made with smoked haddock, cream, and Maine potatoes.

139 Searsport Ave., ME, 207-338-5225,
Tags: moderate

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