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Industry Experts on their Top Restaurant Standbys of 2014

These places drew local food writers in again and again.

Blue Rooster Food Co., Portland
Blue Rooster Food Co., Portland
Adam H. Callaghan

EOY SmallAs 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 running the gamut from meal of the year to top restaurant newcomers. Their answers will appear throughout the week. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein. Readers, please do add your survey answers in the comments.

Q: What were your top restaurant standbys of 2014?

Mister Meatball, writer:
Enio's, SoPo. Petite Jacqueline, Portland.

Rachel Forrest, Seacoast Online:
The Black Birch in Kittery is still my perennial favorite. It has everything I want in a restaurant—great beer list, improv cocktails concocted to fit my mood, terrific food (brick chicken), quirky staff, and guests who span all demographics. It always feels like home but so much better because I don't make food or drinks that well and they have better LPs.

MC Perkins Cove. I love the view and lively bar scene along with Asian-influenced food from Mark and Clark. It's the most fun in the cold season.

When Pigs Fly Pizzeria. Chef Rob Martin's new menu asks us to try some new combinations in both the small dish menu and atop a pizza. They also have a great beer list.

John Golden, The Golden Dish:
Empire Chinese, Boda, Back Bay Grill, Fore Street, Five Fifty-Five, Petite Jacqueline.

Rob Schatz, Eating Portland Alive:
Petite Jacqueline, Katahdin Restaurant, and Blue Rooster Food Co.

Emily Burnham, Bangor Daily News:
In Portland, you just can't go wrong with Boda. On more than one occasion I have gone in there with a group of five or six people and ordered everything off the small plates menu. Great cocktails, friendly service. It's everything I want in a restaurant.

In the Bangor area, there are two places that are my go-to for quick, inexpensive dinner: Yoshi, a sushi restaurant in Brewer that's by far the most fresh and creative in eastern Maine, and Nocturnem Drafthaus, where in addition to fabulous beer there's a small but solid menu that runs the gamut from burgers and chicken wraps to Korean barbecue.

Joe Ricchio, Maine Magazine:
Huong's, Long Grain, Palace Diner, Tu Casa, and Taj.

Kate McCarty, The Blueberry Files:
Eventide, Central Provisions, Sonny's, Blue Spoon, Salvage.

Kathleen Pierce, Bangor Daily News:
For the first half of the year, the dearly departed Portland and Rochester; for the latter, Bao Bao Dumpling House. DiMillo's will always float our boat, especially the sumptuous lobster stew. When on the Midcoast, Cafe Miranda in Rockland seldom disappoints.

Susan Axelrod, Maine Today:
Empire Chinese. I swear that food is laced with crack. Bonobo. The taleggio pizza with smoked tomato sauce and arugula is killer. Caiola's. I can't get enough of the Caesar salad with spicy fried oysters.

Michael Cain and Meredith Perdue, Map and Menu:
Hunt + Alpine, The Well at Jordan's Farm, Scratch Baking Co., and Long Grain.