Best Seafood in Portland

Maine Excels In Seafood Splendor

Maine has it all when it comes to variety and freshness of seafood fare.  The Pine Tree State's massive fishing fleet brings back a multitude of ocean denizens that grace the plates of diners - not only in Maine but throughout the country and beyond. Haddock, flounder, oysters, clams, scallops, it can all be found available on the docks of Portland and other coastal villages as well as restaurants. Portland, in particular, features a diverse offering of seaside eateries. From the casual, family friendly goodness of Susan's Fish and Chips to upscale dining perfection at J's Oyster and Old Port Sea Grill and Raw Bar, Portland accommodates all who seek expertly prepared and served seafood offerings. Just outside of Portland, places like The Lobster Shack at Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth and Lord's Harborside Restaurant in Wells also feature deliciously enticing seaside dining. No matter what your taste or pleasure, Maine has it all when it comes to the best in seafood dishes.


Street and Company
Photo courtesy of Street and Company

Street and Company focuses on the fresh and simple when it comes to their winning formula for success. Their extensive offerings of supremely fresh seafood feature simple ingredients cooked to perfection. The result are dishes that bring out tantalizing and satisfying natural flavors for diners. This restaurant is especially savvy with Mediterranean recipes, a natural complement for fish, with its emphasis on garlic, olive oil, basil and oregano ingredients. A typical meal may start out with appetizer specialties such as grilled, fresh sardines with olive tapenade or roasted, organic sweet potato with goat cheese, pomegranate and apple cider. Main dish highlights include grilled lobster on linguine, butter and garlic; blackened swordfish, or broiled Atlantic char. No matter what your choice, Street and Company raises the artistry of seafood cooking to new levels of taste.

Local Expert tip: Be sure to check out the nightly dinner specials for great dining deals.

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DeMillo's on the Water
Photo courtesy of DeMillo's on the Water

For those who equate the best seafood meals with proximity to the water, then DiMillo's on the Water is the restaurant for you. This iconic Portland eatery floats atop the busy waters of Portland Harbor, offering spectacular views of Casco Bay. It's location near the Old Port upscale shopping district makes it an even greater destination for discerning diners. DiMillo's features quality, fresh seafood prepared with continental flair. Most of their offerings – from lobster to shrimp and fish – feature catches purchased the very same day from the Portland docks. It just doesn't get much fresher. Service is a hallmark of this fine dining establishment with staff that are both knowledgeable and courteous. Top menu choices include their Pecan-Encrusted Haddock with butternut squash and cornbread stuffing, topped with a savory maple cream sauce; DiMillo's Style Lobster Mac & Cheese featuring fresh lobster with bowtie pasta in a smooth, creamy lobster Marscapone cheese sauce with Cognac; and their traditional Twin Lobsters – each weighting a tasty 1 1/8 pounds – that can be baked, stuffed or steamed.

Local Expert tip: Be sure to review DeMillo's on the Water's website for daily dinner specials. Also, DeMillo's can host large parties and dinners.

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Susan's Fish and Chips
Photo courtesy of Susan's Fish and Chips

Susan's Fish & Chips is your classic neighborhood seafood place. You know, the kind of old fashioned, streetside eatery that is no frills but features tasty, expertly prepared favorites. The prices are especially reasonable and the restaurant itself has a type of friendly, fast service charm. Nothing fancy, just seafood that will leave you satisfied and planning to come back for more. Best offerings include their Haddock Burger as well as Clam Strips, Trout, Oysters and Smelts dinners. Their dinners include a choice of French fries, pasta salad, potato salad or cole slaw. A wide selection of take out, featuring reasonable prices, are a good buy, as well. Among take out features are Shrimps, Scallops and Calamari in pint and quart versions. Be sure to sample their chowder, which is made fresh daily, and desserts featuring frappes and ice cream cones.

Local Expert tip: Check out the children's meals for great deals.

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Old Port Sea Grill and Raw Bar
Photo courtesy of Old Port Sea Grill and Raw Bar

Soon after opening its doors in the fall of 2002, the Old Port Sea Grill & Raw Bar became an instant classic on the Portland dining scene. In particular, it's extensive, attractively arranged and always fresh raw oyster bar is one of the best on the southern Maine coast. The restaurant's interior is decidedly upscale but also very intimate and comfortable. Inside, diners are welcomed by a large lounge area, a custom concrete bar and a 250 gallon salt water fish tank. However, the true star of this show is the seafood. The Old Port Sea Grill focuses on simple, fresh ingredients that bring out true, tantalizing flavors of their seafood offerings. Highlights include Local Monkfish with fennel, white wine, onions, capers, basil and cured tomatoes; Local Hake that is pan seared and served with chick peas, saffron, white wine and wild mussels; and Faroe Island Salmon that is grilled and includes roasted cauliflower, leek and pancetta soffrito, salsa verde and olives.

Local Expert tip: Look for great Happy Hour deals on their website.

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Portland Lobster Company
Photo courtesy of Portland Lobster Company

This place is the real deal for lobster lovers. Nothing fancy, just a casual, friendly place on the Portland waterfront serving up some of the best lobster and seafood available in Maine's largest city. The lobster, in particular, is a standout. It is consistently fresh, succulent and made to order. Variations include their classic Maine Lobster Dinner served with baked potato or French fries, corn on the cob, homemade coleslaw and drawn butter. Also worth diners' indulgence is the Downeast Feast with lobster, steamers, corn on the cob, homemade coleslaw, French fries or baked potato and butter. Portland Lobster also features a nice selection of other seafood offerings including Fried Haddock, Fried Maine Shrimp, Fish and Chips and Lobster Roll. The Portland Fisherman's Platter is a real treat with Maine Shrimp, Clams and Haddock. Prices are reasonable and the atmosphere has a welcome summer barbecue feel. Great for adults and families.

Local Expert tip: Portland Lobster Company's outside patio dining is a great summer treat.

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Gilbert's Chowder House
Photo courtesy of Gilbert's Chowder House

Gilbert's Chowder House features a relaxed, comfortable but upscale atmosphere that is a fine choice for seafood dining in Portland. The offerings are what you would expect for such an eatery but the meals are prepared with time-honored recipes and seasonings. The result is an eatery experience that, while not overly remarkable, satisfies for those seeking honest Maine seafood. Families, in particular, will find give “thumbs up” for the menu which caters to both adults and children. Menu highlights include Gilbert's award winning chowder, fresh and thick with creamy broth and clams. Other chowder variations include fish, corn with chicken, seafood and seafood chili. Chowder is also available as part of Gilbert's take out menu. Maine Scallops, Fresh Haddock, and Clam Cake Plate are all good choices, as well. Entrees are served with French fires or rice pilaf and cole slaw. An outside patio allows for warm weather dining while gazing upon the busy Portland waterfront.

Local Expert tip: Gilbert's chowder for take-out is always a good deal.

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The Lobster Shack at Two Lights
Photo courtesy of The Lobster Shack at Two Lights

There are few places that compare to The Lobster Shack at Two Lights for both delicious seafood fare and surrounding scenery. The views from this modest, casual establishment in beautiful Cape Elizabeth are truly worth savoring with rocky shoreline, the steady rhythm of waves, the nearby lighthouse and foghorn, and intoxicating fresh sea breezes. Equally pleasing is the fresh off the boat seafood offerings at this remarkable eatery. All of the favorites are here including Lobster Roll, Lobster Dinner, Haddock Plate and Shrimp Plate. The Lobster Stew and Clam Chowder are both thick and hearty with lobster and clams in every bite. Vacationers, especially, are in abundance at The Lobster Shack during the summer season. Families can be seen enjoying the shoreline vistas from picnic tables while sampling the diverse menu. Inside, there is a cozy dining room for more intimate dining.

Local Expert tip: Be sure to avail yourself of The Lobster Shack's outside picnic tables for the full lobster by the sea effect!

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J's Oyster
Photo courtesy of J's Oyster

For oyster lovers – as well as fans of local seafood specialties – J's Oyster is a little bit of heaven right in Portland. Owner Janice "J" Noyce has gone to great lengths to create an upscale eatery that is also comfortable, friendly and, most of all, specializes in great seafood. Just about every oyster specialty can be found at this restaurant, located right alongside the Portland Pier. Menu favorites include Baked Stuffed Oysters with a moist, flavorful stuffing; Oysters Rockefeller with spinach, cheese and bacon; and Oysters Mornay with hearty Swiss cheese topping. J's Oyster also does a fine job with other seafood classics such as their exquisite Broiled Haddock Filet served with rice, Scallops with Lemon and Dill served over Angel Hair pasta, and their special Crabby Janice – a classic crab casserole with spinach and crumb topping. During warm weather, dining on J's Oyster's patio overlooking Portland Harbor is a real treat. The wait staff is efficient and polite.

Local Expert tip: Check out J's Oyster's dinner specials, offered on a daily basis.

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