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Food Writers Name Maine's Top Restaurant Standbys of 2015

The places that won them back again and again.

Palace Diner, Biddeford.
Palace Diner, Biddeford.
Bill Addison/Eater

As is tradition at Eater, we close the year with a survey of food writers, bloggers, and industry experts. We posed eight questions, from meal of the year to top restaurant newcomers. All will be answered by the time we turn off the lights at the end of 2015. Responses have been cut, pasted, and largely unedited. Readers, please add your survey answers in the comments.

Q: What were your top restaurant standbys of 2015?

Kathy Gunstcookbook author:
Primo continues to be world class. The whole scene—the farm-raised vegetables and fruit, the animals, the house-made charcuterie, the amazing pasta. Try and have a bad meal there. I dare you. Anju in Kittery continues to get better and better. The ramen is so terrific and the broth homemade and superb. Fore Street is just always good and always there. The food is never disappointing; it feels like home at this point. Nebo Lodge is terrific. Farm-fresh food cooked simply and elegantly. Just the right amount of Maine down home and island elegance.

Rachel ForrestSeacoast Online:
I concentrate on Kittery and York so The Black Birch, The Wallingford Dram, Anju, Anneke Jans — all in Kittery. Gigi's in York Beach and Thistle Pig in S. Berwick.

Joe RicchioDispatch magazine:
Palace Diner and Mi Sen.

Karen WattersonMaine magazine:
Walter's; Eventide; Empire; Paciarino.

Kate McCartyThe Blueberry Files blog, Eater Maine contributor:
Terlingua, Eventide.

Peggy GrodinskyPortland Press Herald:
If we're talking about restaurants that make me happy when I'm not working: Ramen Suzukiya (the noodles have such perfect chew + remind me of two years I lived in Tokyo), P'o Boy + Pickles (which has terrific salads! Even though I suspect few people go there for the salads), Schulte + Herr (why does German food have a bad rap?), Bresca and the Honey Bee at Sabbathday Lake — the spot, the food, the ice cream, summer in Maine! Real joy! If we're talking places where I ate superlative meals in the past year: Miyake, Meanwhile in Belfast, Chase's Daily (also Belfast). This list is VERY much for starters. I am shamefully neglecting many wonderful restaurants and meals. How nice to have so much good food in Portland and Maine! Also, I didn't get out enough because we have too many deadlines!

Claire JeffersMaineToday:
Andy's Old Port Pub, Isa, Veranda Noodle Bar, Lolita.

Emily BurnhamBangor Daily News:
As always, Long Grain in Camden remains a true year-round treat, The Fiddlehead in Bangor continues to produce top notch, creative food, Boda is my go-to place for pre-concert snacks and cocktails, the Bagaduce Lunch is the Platonic ideal of Maine seafood, and in the opposite way, Eventide Oyster Company makes the best non-traditional lobster roll I've ever had.

Rob SchatzEating Portland Alive blog:
Walter's, Dutch's, Paciarino, Blue Rooster Food Co.

Kathleen PierceBangor Daily News:
The Corner Room, 3Crow in Rockland, Frontier in Brunswick.

Don LindgrenRabelais Books:
Palace Diner, Eventide, Hugo's, Piccolo, Blue Spoon.

Susan AxelrodPortland Press Herald:
Year ‘round: Empire Chinese for everything on the menu, but especially the soup dumplings. Sur Lie for small plates and terrific cocktails. Bistro 233 in Yarmouth for comfort food close to home. Summertime: Mine Oyster in Boothbay Harbor for wood-grilled seafood. Lobster Dock in Boothbay Harbor for traditional seafood and the view.

Paul KoenigOld Port magazine:
Novare Res for an easy, post-work meal and a beer. A1 Diner for anything on the specials board. Slab for not sacrificing quantity for quality. Pai Men because I've never been disappointed. Blue Rooster for some of the best sober and less-than-sober food around.

John GoldenThe Golden Dish blog:
Empire Chinese, Caiola's, Back Bay Grill, Terlingua, Roustabout, Sur-Lie, Fore St., Tempo Dulu, Piccolo, Union, Central Provisions, Lolita, Francine's, Natalie's, Petite Jacqueline.

Novare Res Bier Cafe

4 Canal Plaza, Portland, ME 04101 207-761-2437 Visit Website

Palace Diner

18 Franklin Street, , ME 04005 (207) 284-0015 Visit Website

Central Provisions

414 Fore Street, , ME 04101 (207) 805-1085 Visit Website


119 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101 (207) 808-8700


470 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101 (207) 774-3500 Visit Website

The Corner Room Kitchen & Bar

110 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101 (207) 879-4747 Visit Website

Natalie's at Camden Harbour Inn

83 Bayview Street, Camden, ME 04843 207-236-7008

Francine Bistro

55 Chestnut Street, Camden, Maine 04843 (207) 230-0083 Visit Website

Chase's Daily

96 Main Street, Belfast, Maine 04915 (207) 338-0555

Andy's Old Port Pub

94 Commercial Street, Portland, ME 04101 207-874-2639 Visit Website

The Black Birch

2 Government Street, Kittery, ME 03904 (207) 703-2294


468 Fore Street, , ME 04101 (207) 871-9170 Visit Website

Empire Chinese Kitchen

575 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101


58 Pine St, Portland, ME 04102 (207) 772-1110 Visit Website

Tempo Dulu

163 Danforth St, Portland, ME 04102 (207) 879-8755


59 Washington Ave, Portland, ME 04101 (207) 536-4008

Blue Spoon

89 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101 (207) 773-1116 Visit Website


111 Middle Street, , ME 04101 (207) 747-5307 Visit Website

Blue Rooster Food Co.

5 Dana Street, Portland, ME 207 747 4157 Visit Website

Anju Noodle Bar

7 Wallingford Square, Unit 102, Kittery, Maine 03904 (207) 703.4298 Visit Website

Sur Lie

11 Free Street, , ME 04101 (207) 956-7350 Visit Website

Schulte and Herr

139 Cumberland Ave, Portland, ME (207) 773-1997

The Wallingford

7 Wallingford Square, Unit 101, Kittery, Maine 03904 (207) 703-4298 Visit Website

Petite Jacqueline

190 State Street, Portland, ME 04101 205 530 7044 Visit Website

Back Bay Grill

65 Portland Street, Portland, ME 04101


8136 West 3rd Street, , CA 90048 (310) 855-7184 Visit Website

Po'Boys & Pickles

1124 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04103 (207) 518-9735 Visit Website


166 DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217 (718) 488-7800 Visit Website


253 Summer Street, , MA 02210 (617) 369-0931 Visit Website


2 S Main St, Rockland, ME 04841 207-596-0770

Thistle Pig

279 Main Street, South Berwick, Maine 03908 (207) 704-0624 Visit Website

Anneke Jans

60 Wallingford Square, , ME 03904 (207) 439-0001 Visit Website


671 Congress Street, , ME 04101 (207) 347-7557 Visit Website

Bistro 233

233 U.S. 1, Yarmouth, ME 04096 (207) 846-3633 Visit Website


40 Washington Avenue, , ME 04101 (207) 956-7573 Visit Website

Long Grain

20 Washington Street, , ME 04843 (207) 236-9001 Visit Website

Pai Men Miyake

188 State St., Portland, ME 04101 207-541-9204 Visit Website


28 Preble St, Portland, ME 04101 (207) 761-2900 Visit Website


79 Portland St., Portland, Maine 04101 (207) 808 8533 Visit Website

Ramen Suzukiya

229 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101 (207) 761-0905

Eventide Oyster Co.

86 Middle Street, , ME 04101 (207) 774-8538 Visit Website


1072 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60642 (773) 772-4322 Visit Website

Mi Sen Noodle Bar

630 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101 (207) 747-4838 Visit Website

Fore Street

288 Fore Street , Portland, ME 04101 (207) 775-2717