In Case of the Mondays in Portland, Maine

Where to Eat on Monday in Portland Maine

The very month that Bon Appetit magazine had named Portland, Maine, its Restaurant City of the Year, I had come to eat. But because it was Monday, most establishments were closed.

 

Wanting to dine out on a Monday in a food destination when everything is closed is a predicament that many leisure and business travelers can relate to: extending that weekend all for naught; recognizing on a work trip that the one saving grace—the coveted meal at the end of the day—sits uncooked behind a closed sign.

 

Walking the city that Monday afternoon made things worse. Every darkened establishment seemed to be rubbing in the fact that I wouldn’t eat there.

 

Then I walked down Middle Street and discovered that on one block, between Franklin and India, five of Portland’s top kitchens reside. Some had won James Beard awards; other had been finalists. But something was different on this culinary block: Four of the restaurants—Honey Paw’s new Asian-inspired eatery, the delectable creations at East Ender, the beloved Even Tide, and Duckfat, the popular Belgian fry shop—were open.

 

Hearing the question Got a case of the Mondays? warrants the middle finger, but In Case of the Mondays in Portland, Maine, requires a diner to head to Middle Street.

 

This is not a review of four restaurants. This is just an essential tip worthy of an article.

 

To tackle the street appropriately, begin at Eventide. While the name sounds mediocre, you’re beginning here because it’s guaranteed to have a crowd. Put your name on the waitlist. Though Eventide happened to be one of two restaurants that every single website consulted and every single person polled on the streets had recommended to me—Probably 14 out of 14 endorsements; Scales was the other—I didn’t see all the fuss. It’s certainly worth a visit, especially on a Monday, but their brown-buttered lobster rolls were small, a touch too soft, and no better than the dozens of fuller-sized lobster rolls that I had enjoyed up the coast. The Asian-influenced clam chowder, however, with whole clams and seaweed in the bowl was best in the state.

 

While waiting for the Eventide hostess to text me that my seat was ready, I crossed over to Duckfat for fries cooked in, well, duck fat. While we’re still just talking fries here, the sauces were superb. (They have raved-about sandwiches, too.) Take it to go. (While Duckfat also has crowds, fries and sandwiches to go make more sense than slurping up oysters and raw fish on the lawn next to Honey Paw.)

 

If you’re still hungry, duck into East Ender for a rotating menu of some of the state’s finest seafood and produce, or Honey Paw for noodles or dumplings.

 

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Posted on by Noah Lederman in I Ate What?

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