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7 Best Seafoood Restaurants in Portland Maine: Top Picks for Gourmet Lovers

7 best seafood restaurants in Portland Maine HI
Looking for the best seafood restaurants in Portland Maine? Check out our guide to the top seafood restaurants, featuring fresh catches and unique flavors.

Discover the 7 Best Seafood Restaurants in Portland Maine

Portland, Maine is renowned for its vibrant seafood scene, offering a variety of options that cater to all tastes. As someone who has explored many of these restaurants firsthand, I can attest to the quality and freshness that define the local cuisine. Whether you’re a fan of classic lobster dishes or prefer innovative seafood creations, Portland has something to offer.

best seafood restaurants in Portland Maine

Discovering the best seafood restaurants in Portland is an essential part of any visit to this charming coastal city. With a range of dining experiences available, from casual joints to upscale eateries, each restaurant provides unique flavors and ambiance. Here, I list my top 7 best seafood restaurants in Porland Maine to ensure you experience the best seafood Portland has to offer.

 

1) Portland Lobster Company

 

Portland Lobster Company in Portland, Maine

I recently stopped by Portland Lobster Company, known for its New England seafood dishes. The place sits right on the waterfront, giving diners a stunning view as they enjoy their meals. It’s open seasonally, so it’s best to get there during the warmer months to fully enjoy the outdoor seating.

The highlight here is their lobster rolls, which are packed with fresh, succulent lobster meat. The casual, counter-service style makes it easy to grab your food and find a seat by the water. The atmosphere is lively, with a mix of locals and tourists soaking up the sun and sea breeze.

Not just about the food, there’s a fun bar scene at Portland Lobster Company, with cool drinks to pair with your meal. It’s an enjoyable spot to unwind, whether you’re alone or with friends. Their service is quick and friendly, adding to the overall relaxed vibe.

Rating: 4.2 (3760 reviews)
Location: 180 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101
Contact: (207) 775-2112
Website: Visit Website

 

2) The Highroller Lobster Co.

 

Highroller Lobster Company in Portland, Maine

Visiting The Highroller Lobster Co. was a delightful experience. Nestled in a cozy spot in Portland, Maine, this seafood restaurant captures the essence of fresh, local fare. From the moment I walked in, the atmosphere felt warm and welcoming, making it a perfect place to enjoy a meal with family and friends.

The menu is packed with seafood options, but the lobster rolls are a standout. Each roll is made with locally-sourced brioche, which adds a wonderful touch. The lobster meat is fresh and flavorful, reflecting the restaurant’s commitment to quality. I also appreciated the variety of drinks available, perfect for pairing with any dish.

What sets The Highroller apart is its history. Starting as a food cart in 2015, they have grown into a well-respected establishment. Their dedication to quality food speaks volumes, and it’s evident in every bite. The Highroller also offers catering services, which is fantastic for events like weddings or office luncheons. Their customizable menus mean they can accommodate any occasion.

Rating: 4.6 (4150 reviews)
Location: 104 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101
Contact: (207) 536-1623
Website: Visit Website

 

3) Luke’s Lobster Portland Pier

 

Luke’s Lobster Portland Pier offers a fantastic experience you can’t miss. It’s located right on the waterfront in Portland, Maine. When I visited, I enjoyed the 360-degree views of the harbor. The setting is both relaxing and exciting, perfect for seafood lovers.

The menu boasts a variety of seafood dishes. You can get a classic lobster roll or try the whole steamed lobster. Both were fresh and delicious when I had them. The full bar adds to the experience with a selection of cider, beers, and cocktails.

The atmosphere is laid-back and rustic. There’s both indoor and outdoor seating, which is great if you have a dog with you. They don’t take reservations, so it’s walk-ins only. I found the takeout and delivery options convenient too.

Metered parking is available right on the Pier. Just be mindful not to park in the spots reserved for marine use. The location is in the heart of Old Port, making it easy to explore the area. Luke’s Lobster stands out as a must-visit when you’re in Portland.

Rating: 4.6 (2145 reviews)
Location: 60 Portland Pier, Portland, ME 04101
Contact: (207) 550-2490
Website: Visit Website

 

4) J’s Oyster

 

J's Oyster restaurant in Portland, Maine

J’s Oyster sits on a quiet pier in Portland. This place feels hidden, yet it’s always buzzing. I was drawn in by its unassuming charm and warmth.

The food truly stands out. Their steamed clams are fresh and flavorful. Every bite took me back to summers by the coast. Other menu items like their seafood chowder and lobster rolls are equally satisfying.

Inside, the atmosphere is lively. The friendly staff make it even more inviting. It’s the kind of place where you feel right at home, whether you’re a local or just visiting.

Rating: 4.4 (2718 reviews)
Location: 5 Portland Pier, Portland, ME 04101
Contact: (207) 772-4828
Website: Visit Website

 

5) Boone’s Fish House & Oyster Room

 

Boone's Fish House and Oyster Room in Portland, Maine

Boone’s Fish House & Oyster Room offers an exceptional dining experience with fresh Maine seafood. Located on Portland Harbor, it provides stunning waterfront views. Picture enjoying a cocktail while watching boats in the harbor or a beautiful sunset.

The menu is diverse, featuring Maine lobster, fried clams, and wood-grilled fish and steaks. The baked stuffed lobster is a highlight, a dish invented by Alexander Boone in 1898. The raw bar with fresh shucked oysters is impressive and adds to the restaurant’s charm.

The ambiance at Boone’s is welcoming and versatile. The two spacious decks and dining rooms accommodate various events, from romantic dates to business meetings. With attentive staff and delicious food, it’s a must-visit for anyone in Portland.

Rating: 4.2 (1716 reviews)
Location: 86 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101
Contact: (207) 774-5725
Website: Visit Website

 

6) DiMillo’s On the Water

 

DiMillos On The Water in Portland, Maine

I recently dined at DiMillo’s On the Water, a well-known seafood restaurant located on a historic floating ferry in Portland’s Old Port. This place offers a unique dining experience with stunning views of the Portland harbor. The nautical decor adds to the ambiance, making it a memorable visit.

The menu features award-winning seafood dishes that showcase the freshest catches New England has to offer. I enjoyed their lobster roll and clam chowder, which were both delicious. The restaurant also provides options for online ordering and gift cards, making it convenient for various occasions.

The service was exceptional, with attentive staff who were knowledgeable about the menu. Dining at DiMillo’s felt like being on a mini-adventure, with the added charm of being on a boat. It’s a perfect spot for both locals and tourists looking for a special meal by the water

Rating: 4.5 (5184 reviews)
Location: 25 Long Wharf, Portland, ME 04101
Contact: (207) 772-2216
Website: Visit Website

 

7) Eventide Oyster Co.

 

Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, Maine

Eventide Oyster Co. is a must-visit in Portland, Maine. The restaurant’s atmosphere is bustling yet inviting, making it a great spot for both casual outings and special occasions. The raw bar is a standout, offering an impressive selection of oysters and shellfish that are always fresh and delicious.

I tried their famous Brown Butter Lobster Roll and it lived up to the hype. The roll was perfectly cooked, with a rich and buttery flavor that made every bite memorable. The menu also features creative takes on classic New England dishes, which adds a unique twist to traditional seafood fare.

For those looking to dine in, Eventide provides both indoor and outdoor seating options. Whether you’re enjoying the ambiance inside or soaking up the Maine weather outside, the dining experience is seamless and enjoyable. The service is prompt and friendly, making sure all guests feel welcome.

Rating: 4.5 (4314 reviews)
Location: 86 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101
Contact: (207) 774-8538
Website: Visit Website

 

The History And Culture Of Portland’s Seafood Scene

 

7 best seafood restaurants in Portland Maine

Portland’s seafood scene is rich with history and deeply influenced by Maine’s maritime heritage. From its humble beginnings to the vibrant seafood culture today, Portland has evolved into a significant culinary destination.

Origins And Evolution Of Local Seafood Cuisine

Portland’s local seafood cuisine began with the Native American tribes who first settled in the area. They relied on the abundant coastal waters for sustenance, harvesting clams, lobsters, and fish.

European settlers built on these foundations, bringing their own fishing techniques and recipes. By the 19th century, Portland had developed a thriving fishing industry. Lobster, once considered a poor man’s food, gained popularity and became a delicacy.

Lobster shacks and clam bakes started becoming common. As refrigeration technology improved in the 20th century, seafood became even more accessible. Today, Portland is known for its diverse seafood offerings, blending traditional techniques with modern culinary trends.

Influence Of Maine’s Maritime Heritage

Maine’s maritime heritage has played a crucial role in shaping Portland’s seafood culture. The state’s long coastline and rich fishing grounds provide a bounty of fresh seafood.

Lighthouses and fishing boats are iconic symbols of Maine’s coastal communities. These seafaring traditions influence the ways seafood is caught and prepared.

Maritime festivals and seafood events, such as the famous Maine Lobster Festival, celebrate this heritage and bring people together. Portland has also maintained a strong commitment to sustainable fishing practices, ensuring that its seafood culture will thrive for future generations.

 

Key Ingredients And Local Specialties

 

7 best seafood restaurants in Portland Maine illustration

Portland, Maine is renowned for its fresh, high-quality seafood. I’ll highlight the sources of these ingredients and the dishes that make Portland a top destination for seafood lovers.

Fresh Catch Of The Day

The restaurants in Portland pride themselves on offering the freshest seafood. Daily, local fishermen bring in lobster, clams, scallops, and an array of fish like haddock and cod. These catches provide a taste that’s unmatched.

Lobster is a staple and can be found in nearly every seafood restaurant. It’s often served as lobster rolls, a simple yet iconic Maine dish. Clams are commonly used in clam chowder, another local favorite.

Menus often list a “catch of the day” reflecting the freshest available seafood. This could be a perfectly grilled piece of fish or a mixed seafood platter. The dedication to fresh and local produce ensures a remarkable dining experience.

Signature Maine Seafood Dishes

Several dishes have become synonymous with the Maine seafood scene. Lobster rolls are iconic, featuring juicy lobster meat nestled in a buttered roll. This dish, often enjoyed with a side of fries, captures the essence of Maine.

Clam chowder is another must-try. Rich and creamy, it’s made with local clams, potatoes, and a touch of bacon for added flavor. Some restaurants add their spin with additional herbs or a different type of broth.

Scallop dishes are frequently seen on menus, highlighting the sweet and tender nature of this shellfish. Prepared in various ways such as seared or baked, they are always a delight.

By focusing on these essential ingredients and signature dishes, visitors can get a true taste of what makes Portland’s seafood scene so special.

 

Pairing Seafood With Local Beverages

 

Fish and chips and local craft beer

Choosing the right beverage can elevate your seafood dining experience in Portland, Maine. Local brews and wines offer unique flavors that complement various seafood dishes, creating a harmonious balance of taste.

Popular Local Brews And Wines

Portland is renowned for its craft beer scene. Allagash Brewing Company is a local favorite, known for its Belgian-style ales. A crisp Allagash White, with its citrusy and spicy notes, pairs excellently with a fresh lobster roll. For those who prefer a hoppier beer, the Lone Pine Brewing Company offers the vibrant Portland Pale Ale, which complements grilled seafood.

Maine Mead Works produces a range of meads that offer a sweet alternative. Their dry hop mead pairs well with oysters, providing a floral and slightly honeyed flavor.

In terms of wine, Cellardoor Winery offers locally produced bottles that are great with seafood. A glass of their Pinot Gris, with its green apple and citrus notes, is a perfect match for seared scallops.

Matching Flavors For An Enhanced Dining Experience

Balancing flavors between the beverage and the seafood dish is essential. A buttery chardonnay from Oyster River Winegrowers complements the richness of Maine lobster, creating a smooth and luxurious pairing. The wine’s subtle oak undertones enhance the lobster’s sweetness without overpowering it.

For a more robust pairing, try a porter from Shipyard Brewing Company with grilled salmon. The roasted malt and chocolate notes provide a rich contrast to the savory flavor of the salmon.

If you prefer a lighter drink, Hardshore Distilling Company’s gin, with its herbal and citrus notes, pairs beautifully with shrimp cocktails. The botanicals in the gin enhance the shrimp’s natural flavors, making each bite more delightful.

By thoughtfully choosing beverages that complement the seafood, you can elevate your dining experience and enjoy the full spectrum of Portland’s culinary delights.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

7 best seafood restaurants in Portland Maine illustration #4

Portland, Maine, offers a splendid array of seafood dining experiences. From waterfront locations to local favorites, here’s what to know about enjoying seafood in this coastal city.

Which are the top seafood restaurants located on the waterfront in Portland, Maine?

For those who love dining with a view, Luke’s Lobster Portland Pier and Portland Lobster Company are highly recommended. Both offer fresh seafood and stunning waterfront scenery, making them popular choices for both locals and visitors.

Where can you find affordable seafood dining options in Portland, Maine?

Affordable seafood is easy to find in Portland. J’s Oyster is a great spot known for its relaxed atmosphere and reasonable prices. Another affordable option is The Highroller Lobster Co. with its casual setting and delicious seafood choices.

What type of seafood is Portland, Maine most known for?

Portland is renowned for its lobster. The city has numerous eateries that specialize in this Maine delicacy. Luke’s Lobster Portland Pier and The Highroller Lobster Co. are just a couple of the places where lobster is a standout.

How does Portland, Maine’s seafood dining scene compare with the rest of Maine?

Portland’s seafood scene is particularly vibrant and diverse compared to other places in Maine. With a higher concentration of top-rated restaurants per capita, Portland offers a mix of upscale and casual dining that stands out. It’s a culinary hub for seafood lovers.

What are the local seafood specialties in Portland, Maine?

Local specialties include lobster rolls, oysters, and clam chowder. Boone’s Fish House & Oyster Room is famous for its oysters, while Portland Lobster Company serves up some of the best lobster rolls in town.

What is the most popular fish served in restaurants in Portland, Maine?

Haddock is one of the most popular fish choices. It’s featured in many local dishes and is a staple at many seafood restaurants like J’s Oyster. This mild, white fish is often served baked, fried, or in chowder.

 

 

Picture of Mark Beale - Author Bio

Mark Beale - Author Bio

Mark has an extensive background in the Maine Hospitality Industry, having owned the Ledges By The Bay, a boutique oceanfront hotel property, in Rockport Maine, for 40 years. He sold the property in 2016 but remains well-versed in the Maine Tourism industry and has written a number of Maine travel-related articles for various blogs and publications over the years.

Mark founded the TakeMe2 Travel Guides platform, an online travel guide initiative, designed to promote tourism in Maine, New England and in other key states – by providing in depth, unbiased information to potential tourists and travel consumers. TakeMe2 currently features the TM2Maine.com website.

Mark is also currently a stakeholder in VONT, a digital marketing agency in Westbrook, Maine, where he leads VONT's search engine optimization (SEO) practice.

Mark is versed in a number of digital information technologies including web design and development, digital video, electronic design and digital imaging technologies as well as internet marketing tactics such as blogs, web properties, and other smart media such as AI chatbots for content, image and video enhancement. One of his primary tasks at VONT is to find the successful application of these new information platforms in marketing and then teach VONT's marketers how to use them to create marketing campaigns more efficiently, creatively and cost effectively.

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