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


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.

The New Masters of Hugo's

John Golden

This trio is already looking beyond the confines of Hugo's with another restaurant in the works. It will be a venture called Eventide, which is revving up in the newly vacated Rabelais books store space next door. Essentially it's an oyster bar, and as Arlin Smith pointed out, "Most people don’t realize that Maine has some really great local oysters."