Where to Eat in Downtown Portland, Maine

When I visited Portland, ME for the first time this March, I was instantly charmed by the way the city seemed the perfect marriage of old school and new. On one hand, it was quintessentially New England with its stunning seascapes, cobblestone streets and everyone-knows-everyone warmth. On the other hand, the city’s rich cultural offerings, eco-friendliness and diverse community lent Portland a distinctly modern feel. 

And the food.

James Beard Award semifinalists include nine from Maine

Fore Street and The Honey Paw, both in Portland, are among the restaurants named, and five chefs from four restaurants are in the running for Best Chef: Northeast.

Nine Maine restaurants, chefs and brewmasters are among this year’s semifinalists for James Beard Awards, considered the most prestigious in the American food world.

Maine’s 2016 semifinalists cover seven categories – there are 21 restaurant and chef categories in all – including Best New Restaurant and Outstanding Restaurant. The group was selected from more than 20,000 online entries.

The Honey Paw in Portland is a semifinalist in the Best New Restaurant category, which is given to a restaurant opened in 2015 that “already displays excellence … and is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.”

Modern Take on the Classic Oyster Bar

Andrew Zimmern

This is an amazing raw bar that serves a couple dozen varieties of fresh oysters and shellfish with innovative accoutrements like pickled ginger or kimchi ice. Dishes like the house-cured herring with beet ice amiably remind you that the kitchen is jamming on all cylinders and knows what it’s doing. The Eventide menu has Asian and Mediterranean flavors stamped all over it and, charmingly, it all works. Take their lobster rolls served in Chinese-style steamed buns with brown butter vinaigrette.....

The Complete 2015 James Beard Foundation Award Nominees

The 2015 James Beard Awards, hosted by Alton Brown, will be held at Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 4. Carla Hall will host our Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards Dinner, taking place at New York City's Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on Friday, April 24. Tickets to the main gala go on sale April 1, while BBJ ceremony tickets are now available online.

Announcing the Nominees for the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards, Presented by Lexus

Best Chef: Northeast

Karen Akunowicz, Myers + Chang, Boston

Barry Maiden, Hungry Mother, Cambridge, MA

Masa Miyake, Miyake, Portland, ME

Cassie Piuma, Sarma, Somerville, MA

Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, ME

Andrew Taylor, Mike Wiley took sharp turns on way to chef-hood

By Peggy Grodinsky, Food Editor

Law and academia lost out to oysters and fine dining for the two chefs and part-owners of Hugo's, Eventide and soon, Honey Paw.

Savvy restaurant-going Mainers could not have been surprised that Mike Wiley and Andrew Taylor were nominated for a James Beard award as Best Chefs: Northeast this year. If anything, we wondered what took the Beard Foundation so long. In partnership with general manager Arlin Smith, the pair owns Portland’s beloved Eventide Oyster Company and the adjacent Hugo’s restaurant on Middle Street. As locals who have waited for a coveted seat know all too well, even in the dead of winter, even on a Sunday night, even at an odd, sleepy hour of the afternoon, Eventide will be jumping. Then there’s Hugo’s (previously owned by Rob Evans), where the space and service are simultaneously posh and relaxed, the cooking intricate, elegant and assured. Hugo’s, an admiring chef friend of mine said after a recent meal, “is the real deal.” Both restaurants regularly make national and regional Best of and Where to Eat lists. And within the next few weeks, Wiley, Taylor and Smith plan to open the noodle-focused Honey Paw in a contiguous space.

The National Eater 38: Where to eat in 2015

Bill Addison

Lobster will always be Maine's king crustacean, but this nonstop-crowded bar in Portland specializes in the state's other seafood star. The menu divides the oysters, displayed over ice on a counter cut from rugged granite, into categories using local parlance: "From Maine" and "From Away." Start by slurping local gems like citrusy Pemaquids from the Damariscotta River. Accoutrements go traditional (cocktail sauce, mignonette) and inventive (ices flavored with blasts of cucumber and ginger or kimchi).

Maine's Latest Seafood Star

Sophie Nelson

In Maine, cold is good for a lot of things: wood stoves, snow, lobster, and, as it turns out, oysters all year long. As traditional growing areas to the South peter out, this clean, remote corner of the country is generating a plethora of delicious options for oyster lovers, from big, creamy, coppery Belons (a European transplant that took) to a buttery Maine original from Tauntin Bay north of Acadia National Park...

Where to Eat and Drink in Maine, a.k.a. Vacationland U.S.A.

Andrew Knowlton, Malcom Bedell and Genevieve A. Morgan

Slurp a (Few) Dozen: Oysters are the new lobster. They are what you must binge on during any trip here. Start at Portland’s Eventide Oyster Co., ground zero for Maine’s half-shell revolution. The two-year-old restaurant features a dozen of the state’s many varieties—from Glidden Points to Pemaquids—displayed in a massive granite trough. If raw is not your thing, try ’em roasted, Korean BBQ–style, even fried on a Chinese bao...

A Beginner's Guide to Maine Vacations

cntraveler.com

The first thing to know about Maine is that it’s not one fantasy... but many. Its pleasures are as subjective as they are abundant. But you don’t have to be a fifth-generation Maine visitor to feel at home here—just follow our suggestions [...]Stop here for what might be the most perfect lobster roll ever. It’s worth coming just for that, but everything else is amazing too, including the lobster stew and clam chowder.

The People's Best New Chef 2013

F&W Editors

New England Region Winners Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley:

Why they're amazing: Their restaurant combines the best of old-school Maine oyster bars with updates like cleverly flavored sauces (kimchi ice) and fried oysters served in steam buns, Korean style.

Culinary School: Both are self-taught. 

Background: Taylor - Daniel's Broiler, Rover's (Seattle), Clio (Boston), Hugo's (Portland, ME). Wiley - Elk Creek Lodge (Meeker, CO), Black Cat (Boulder, CO), Hugo's (Portland, ME)...

Eventide and 5 other great Portland Oyster Bars

Heather Steeves

Adding to its numerous accolades, Portland’s Eventide Oyster Co. was recently named to Food & Wine magazine’s list of “America’s Best Oyster Bars,” coming in at #2 out of 21. The oysters at Eventide, all on display in a granite trough on the bar with wooden markers to tell you what’s what, are $16 for six or $29 for 12 ($2.30 each). Eventide will give it to you fancy, pure, raw, roasted, local — any way you could want your slimy, briny treats. Food & Wine got it right, but we have suggestions for some additional places to slurp.

Top 50 New Restaurants

Doug Merriam

In a state where lobster is king, Eventide’s dedication to the mighty oyster is a bold move. The menu lists around 20 different varieties displayed in a massive trough of Maine granite on the bar. All are pristine and offered raw with creative “accouterment” like kim chee ice or a mimosa mignonette (yes, you can still get cocktail sauce). There is lobster here too, only Eventide’s take on a lobster roll comes in a Chinese bun and is offered with not just mayo, but a brown butter vinaigrette or hollandaise.

Stout stuff: Portland’s newest brew adds notes of bivalve

Meredith Goad

Slurp down a half dozen oysters on the half shell and chances are you'll be washing them down with a beer. But how many people have tried oysters in their beer? You'll soon get your chance, becasue Arlin Smith of Eventide Oyster Co. and Chresten Sorensen of Bunker Brewing Co. have been collaborating on an oyster stout using Maine Winter Point oysters...

America's Best Oyster Bars

F&W Staff with Eric Steinman

This restaurant in the Old Port district specializes in Maine oysters, including Winter Point Selects, a variety raised by the renowned harvester John Hennessey, in West Bath. “The Winter Points are about an inch and a half in size and have a very clean, bright and briny taste,” says Eventide co-owner Arlin Smith. “A smaller oyster is special because it has amazing salinity.” Hennessey also provides the restaurant with big, meaty seven- to 10-year-old oysters, which chefs Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley roast in a thick, Korean-style barbecue sauce. The caramelized oysters are served in their shells, topped with coleslaw, crispy fried potato strings and a drizzle of chile oil

Portland Chefs Nominated for 'Best New Chef'

Meredith Goad

Food & Wine magazine runs the annual contest, which allows the public to vote for one of 100 outstanding chefs from 10 different regions. Chefs Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley of Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland are in the running for the title "The People's Best New Chef". The nominees are allowed to campaign for votes, and the Eventide group is taking the challenge seriously - kind of. They produced a humorous, professionally done video for their website, with a link that goes to the contest's voting page.

Portland oyster bar lovingly tweaks Maine’s classic dishes

Jonathan Levitt

Kitchens here were once flush with emblematic dishes — chowder, baked beans, fried whole belly clams — elemental foods prepared for generations in the same way. Not anymore. These days a trip along the coast in search of real cooking is too often met with overcooked lobsters, fries from the freezer, and chowder as thick as mashed potatoes. But times are changing. At Eventide, a new oyster bar in the Old Port here, the good Maine food is once again made from scratch.

Dine Out Maine: At Eventide Oyster Co., Hugo’s team sets the bar high

Shonna Milliken Humphrey

Eventide Oyster Co. is impressive for its variety of oysters and clever oyster accoutrements, as well as the carefully prepared non-oyster menu items. The Eventide oyster bar concept is as cool as the team of owners, and I recommend this restaurant for any oyster lover seeking a step left of ordinary. The price point skews a little high, but so does the quality.

JBF Trip Planner: Portland, Maine

Anna Mowry

The new owners of Hugo's knew what they were doing when they opened this sibling oyster bar next door. There they offer a daily list of more than a dozen raw oysters from Maine and beyond, as well as a smartly edited menu of seafood standbys like New England clam chowder with salt pork; lobster rolls dressed with hollandaise, house mayo, or brown butter vinaigrette; and crudi.

Oysters Ascendant

Sarah Karnasiewicz

Since opening this summer, this bright, inviting spot has quickly established itself as the pearl of Portland's Old Port. Grab a seat at the bar hewn from cement and Maine granite, nosh on house-made pickles and a cup of chowder, and browse the selection of oysters arrayed on crushed ice: 18 enticing varieties, nine from Maine and nine "from away." Don't neglect the top-notch cocktails, like the surprising and simple celery gimlet.

Eventide Brings It For Oyster Lovers

Susan Axelrod

Dark, serious Hugo's is all about exquisitely prepared food, plated with precision. Its brand new sibling just next door, however, is bright and bold, with a great granite trough of oysters as its centerpiece and a rustic, casual menu. Owners Andrew Taylor, Arlin Smith and Michael Wiley say they had the concept for Eventide Oyster Company in mind when they bought Hugo's in May from Rob Evans.