Portland, Maine Restaurants -Hidden Gems

October 28, 2020

I always look forward to Friday, not just because it’s the end of the work week, or payday but because it means takeout! I grew up in and currently live in South Portland, just minutes and a bridge ride away from Portland. This little city of ours has gotten quite a lot of attention the past few years for its food scene. It actually makes going out to eat or ordering take out extremely challenging because there are almost too many great places to chose from! I’m going to share some of our favorite places, a few hidden gems that may not show up on your typical restaurant list. Some may be outside of Portland but I am a SoPo girl so I need to represent my hometown as well!

First up Tu Casa. This El Salvadorian restaurant is literally in a house, the decor is nothing special but the food. My goodness….so good. I love the Enchilada Salvadorena and we can’t ever go there without ordering some Pupusas which are the national dish of El Salvador. The prices are also super cheap! We usually order a ton of food and our bill is under $30. When Andrew asked where I wanted to go for my birthday dinner last year I said Tu Casa, it’s birthday meal good. ( I wasn’t able to link a website for them, I think it’s down) Located at 70 Washington Ave, Portland Maine.

Schulte & Herr is a German restaurant on Cumberland Ave. The menu serves homey food that tastes amazing, especially on a cold winters day. It’s almost magical to eat a warm plate of spätzle with a glass of Riesling while it’s snowing outside. Man I can’t wait for cooler weather. They also serve a great breakfast on Sundays and are BYOB. Located at 349 Cumberland Ave, Portland Maine.

Taco Trio (SoPo) hands down the best Mexican food in the Greater Portland area. They closed for a few months when a family member was ill and I went through withdrawals! The family member is all better now and I am now able to pick up my carne asada open burrito plate with no worries. They have wicked good daily tamale specials, a fresh in house made salsa bar and of course tacos. Located at 119 Ocean Street, South Portland Maine.

Dina’s Cuisine Flatbreads might be the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Ameera but they have the best hummus that I have ever tasted. It’s so smooth and flavorful, just perfect in every way. They also have amazing falafel and shawarma and a TON of Mediterranean sauces. It’s a perfect summer stop or actually anytime stop, I’m so glad this is on my way home from work. Located at 845 Forest Ave, Portland.

Hi Bombay! This place has been our go to for years when we’re craving Butter Chicken. Their garlic naan is perfect every time, even when it’s delivery and their Saag Panner never disappoints. They always have some sort of Bollywood movie or music videos playing when you dine in which is a bonus for me. Located at 1 Pleasant Street, Portland.

Luis’s Arepera on Forest Ave has the yummiest arepas around! The shredded chicken and pabellon criollo arepas are favorites in our house. The arepas are warm and crunchy on the outside, and filled with juicy meats, cool lettuce, and gooey cheese. They vegetarian options too! The empanadas are equally delicious but I’m always too full after eating my arepa to enjoy one, Andrew is a big fan. Located at 948 Forest Ave Portland. As of June 2022 Luis’s is no longer in business at this location. According to their website they are relocating to Gray, Maine. Stay tuned!

Bogusha’s Polish Restaurant & Deli on Steven’s Ave reminds me of some of the small restaurants that we’ve eaten in while in Europe. It’s a no fuss super casual restaurant and deli with the yummiest pierogis in Portland. Try the Bigos (Hunter’s Stew), Keilbasa and of course the Pierogi. They also have specialty items from Europe and a full Polish deli so you can bring plenty of comforting food items home with you. Located at 825 Stevens Ave. Portland.

Gilbert’s Chowder House has the perfect thick, stick to your ribs and warm your bones chowder. The place is not fancy in the least and the floor is kind of uneven but it’s the real deal. If you want New England style chowder there really is no other place, unless you’re lucky enough to have a family of fabulous chowder makers. ( my aunt Carol makes a wicked good seafood chowder) I love to get the fish chowder with lots of oyster crackers and split a clam cake with Andrew. It’s so good. Located at 92 Commercial St Portland.

All of the restaurants above are currently offering takeout and some have delivery too! Support local businesses by eating local during this crazy time, I’m sure they’ll appreciate it and you’ll get a night off from cooking. It’s a win win! 🙂

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