Portland, Maine has some of the tastiest restaurants. The small city is brimming with farm to table provisions and fare for every palate. This week I had a chance to visit a new spot as well as some old favorites:
UNION // 119 Exchange Street, Portland, ME
I attended a work dinner at UNION earlier this week, and honestly this was my first time hearing about the new restaurant. UNION sits in Portland’s newest boutique hotel. The Press Hotel was formerly the home of the Portland Press Herald, and recently overhauled to fit both the hotel and restaurant. Opening in late 2015, this spot hadn’t yet made it on my foodie radar. After perusing the menu on the website, I was eager to try some of the unique items. I started with a fennel and arugula salad, which had feta, baies rose buds, smoked almonds and compressed honeydew. The ingredients were very fresh and scrumptious. For the table, we ordered small plates which included ricotta gnudi, a type of inside out ravioli, which sat soaked in a delicious broth. For my main course, I had the braised beef shoulder which rested on mustard seeds, shiitake mushrooms, spinach, and pickled cipollini onions. The meat was so tender and fell apart effortlessly. I couldn’t even muster dessert, however the selections looked amazing. I scanned UNION’s brunch menu and it is now definitely on my ‘hit list’ for Sunday’s!
Vignola Cinque Terre // 10 Dana Street, Portland, ME
Vignola never disappoints! Nestled right near popular Wharf Street, the restaurant’s front entrance boasts large windows and ivy hanging delicately from the brick, as if plucked from a Thomas Kinkade painting. Visiting for a friend’s birthday brunch, we arrived late morning on Sunday. Ravenous, we ordered quickly. I decided on stuffed brioche French toast, with apple compote and topped with some fresh whipped cream. I also ordered two eggs scrambled for added protein. The French toast was cooked perfectly and not at all dry. The cream was heavily whipped and very fluffy, a perfect topper. The eggs were very peppery, but still tasty. I savored every single bite. Vignola, the Portland staple, is also just as fabulous for dinner.
Kon Asian Bistro // 1140 Brigton Avenue, Portland, ME
Sitting right on the line between Portland and Westbrook, Kon is a major favorite in the area and some of the best Asian cuisine I have ever had. Tonight I was meeting a friend and fellow employee for dinner. I decided on Kon because it is close to the airport and a straight shot to my friend’s hotel. I ordered the steamed shrimp shumai to start, then went on to a California Roll and a Sweetheart Roll. The Sweetheart Roll is a special kind of cooked sushi, which includes shrimp tempura, crab meat, avocado, and of course, rice. I always order the same thing when I go to Kon, because it is just so darn tasty. Still, by far, my favorite sushi spot in Maine!