As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. This year, we asked the group eight questions, from Meal of the Year to Top Newcomers. All will be answered by the time we turn off the lights at the end of the week. For our first question, friends of Eater weigh in on their top restaurant standbys. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted and unedited herein. Readers, please do add your survey answers in the comments.
Local 188 in Portland's West End, the only restaurant standby named more than once in our survey. (Photo: Matthew M., Yelp]
Q: What were your top standbys of 2012?
Joe Ricchio, Food Coma TV: Eventide, Miyake, Saigon, The Black Birch, Bresca, Pizza Villa, Tulsi.
Nancy Heiser, freelance restaurant critic, food writer: With this gig requiring me to eat new all the time, I hardly get a chance to return to any restaurant. A lunch stand-by is Lemongrass in Brunswick, where when I get a Thai salad I ask for extra herbs. One can't have too much basil or cilantro. I would be a regular at Bandaloop in Kennebunkport if it were closer.
Alex Steed, Bourbon. Beer. Portland. Politics: Boda, Duckfat, East Ender, Thanh Thanh II, Nosh.
Natalie Ladd, columnist, The Portland Daily Sun: Local 188 for house paella, Yosaku for sushi every Tuesday lunch, The Armory for old school cosmos, intimate conversation, and high-brow pub food.
John Golden, The Golden Dish: My personal choices are Caiola's, Back Bay Grill, Five-Fifty Five and Fore Street. And whenever I travel to the midcoast I have to stop at Moody's for their chicken croquettes and grapenut pudding.
Kate McCarty, The Blueberry Files: My go-tos are Ruski's, Binga's Stadium (every Football Sunday), the Thirsty Pig (for happy hour), Local 188 (for drinks/apps/out-of-town guests) and Sonny's (for brunch).
Susan Axelrod, editor Eater Maine: In Portland: Eventide for oysters and everything else on the menu, J's for buckets of steamers, Otto for late-night slices; in the Boothbay region: Robinson's Wharf for lobster dinners, McSeagull's for a quick casual bite, Boat House Bistro for tapas and spectacular harbor views.