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The Hottest Restaurants in Maine Right Now, November 2014

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More often than not, tipsters, readers, friends and family of Eater have one question: Where should I eat right freaking now? Restaurant obsessives want to know what's new, what's hot. And while the Eater 18 is a crucial resource covering old standbys and neighborhood essentials across the state, it is not a chronicle of the 'it' places of the moment. Thus, we offer the Eater Heatmap, which will change continually to always highlight where the crowds are flocking to at the moment. This month, we add Bao Bao Dumpling House, Bramhall, and Marché Kitchen and Wine Bar.

Did we miss your personal favorite blisteringly hot restaurant? By all means, let us know in the comments. Know of a hot upcoming opening? Hit up the tipline. The anonymous tip form is also there for all forms of correspondence.


12/6/12 Added: Gather, Yarmouth; Tao, Brunswick; Zen Bistro, Buck's Naked BBQ and David's Opus Ten, Portland.
1/3/13 Added: Otto (Arts District), Portland
2/7/13 Added: Owen's Farmhouse, Kennebunk
4/4/13 Added: In'finiti Fermentation & Distillation, The North Point, Little Tap House, Blue Rooster Food Co.,
7/11/13 Added: David's KPT, Hugo's, Seabright
8/1/13 Added: Portland & Rochester Public House, MJ's Wine Bar
9/5/13 Added: Elsmere BBQ & Wood Grill, Salvage BBQ, Boone's Fish House & Oyster Room, Portland Hunt & Alpine Club
10/3/13 Added: Piccolo, Empire Chinese Kitchen, b.good
11/7/13 Added: Seaport Fish and Orchid Thai
12/5/13 Added: Verve and Otto (South Portland)
1/2/14 Added: Top of the East and Vinland
2/6/14 Added: Central Provisions, Miyake Diner, Blaze (Bangor)
3/6/14 Added: Easy Day
4/3/14 Added: Mill 67, Palace Diner and Fresh
5/1/14 Added: Ebenezer's Brew Pub and Small Axe Truck
6/5/14 Added: Lolita Vinoteca + Asador and Timber Steakhouse and Rotisserie
7/3/14 Added: Slab, Thurston's Wicked Good Burgers, Anju Noodle Bar
8/7/14 Added: The Lost Kitchen
9/4/14 Added: Tandem Coffee + Bakery, Ten Ten Pié, Van Lloyd's Bistro
10/2/14 Added: Sur Lie, Golden Lotus
11/6/14 Added: Bao Bao Dumpling House, Bramhall, Marché Kitchen and Wine Bar

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Sur Lie

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11 Free Street
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 956-7350
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Capitalizing upon the small plates trend sweeping the city, the newest addition to Portland has gotten praise from early visitors. The name refers to unfiltered wine "on lees," but that's not the only beverage of note; diners are raving about the cocktails on offer, as well, and there are taps set up for local craft beer. Expect to hear more about Krista Cole and Tony Alviar's spot once crowds catch on.

2. Central Provisions

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414 Fore St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 805-1085
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Chris Gould's Old Port spot features a wide-ranging small plates menu, pre-Prohibition cocktails, an impressive wine program, and local craft beers on tap, all in a beautifully renovated space that captures the character of the historic building in which it resides. Bon Appétit took note, calling it one of America's top ten new restaurants in 2014. [Photo: Peter Frank Edwards]

3. Golden Lotus

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511 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 747-5322
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The jury is still out on whether the latest Chinese restaurant to hit Portland's Arts District will distinguish itself properly from owner Joe Tang's last employer, nearby Empire Chinese Kitchen. But is there such a thing as too much dim sum in a town known for complaining about a lack of good Chinese food? Check out grand opening lunch specials through October.

4. Anju Noodle Bar

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7 Wallingford Square #102
Kittery, ME 03904
(207) 703-4298
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Owners Gary Kim and Julian Armstrong borrowed kitchen space from neighboring The Black Birch to start Son-Mat Foods, which makes kim-chi now carried in Whole Foods. Their follow-up, a traditional noodle bar, is the latest worthy addition to booming Kittery Foreside, where hearty bowls of ramen pair beautifully with a variety of house-made ferments and sauces.

5. Palace Diner

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18 Franklin St
Biddeford, ME 04005
(207) 284-0015
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Chad Conley and Greg Mitchell reopened Maine's oldest diner, keeping the classic feel while elevating the menu with scratch-made diner standards, like corned beef that's brined and braised in-house using local, grass-fed beef. Bon Appétit called it one of the top 50 new restaurants in America this year.

6. The Lost Kitchen

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22 Mill Street
Freedom, ME 04941
(207) 382-3333
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When Erin French shuttered her popular Belfast restaurant The Lost Kitchen, fans clung to hints that the concept would return in the future. It finally did, as The Lost Kitchen reopened this summer in an old mill building in Freedom, which also houses the offices of the Maine Federation of Farmers' Markets. Don't hesitate to seek out French in her beautiful new space, where she hasn't lost a step.

7. Bao Bao Dumpling House

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133 Spring Street
Portland, ME 04102
(207) 772-8400
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Young chef and co-owner Cara Stadler made a name for herself with Tao Yuan in Brunswick, and her new spot in Portland was eagerly anticipated. From the design to the dumplings, there are plenty of reasons Bao Bao is packed daily, and it seems the wait is worth it.

8. Marché Kitchen and Wine Bar

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40 Lisbon St
Lewiston, ME 04240
(207) 333-3836
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Recently purchased by wine whiz Susan Hall of The Vault, Marché now offers dinner Wednesday - Saturday in addition to lunch service. Chef Kevin Cunningham, formerly of Brunswick Hotel and Tavern, is in charge of the kitchen, which is putting out small plates and light entrees all for under $14. The non-wine side of the bar is managed by Tom Ardia, who's making waves with his local draft beer list and inventive cocktail program. Should you find yourself in Lewiston, this is a spot worth pulling up a stool.

9. Bramhall

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767 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04102
(207) 805-1978
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Mike Fraser revived the old Bramhall Pub, dropping the "pub" but attempting to keep the spirit of the neighborhood bar alive. With an affordable and focused food menu from chef Chris Beaulieu, with respected bartender Guy Streitburger behind the beverage program, and with the haunting underground aesthetic finely polished, Bramhall is proving a welcome addition to its flourishing West End strip of Congress.

1. Sur Lie

11 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101
Capitalizing upon the small plates trend sweeping the city, the newest addition to Portland has gotten praise from early visitors. The name refers to unfiltered wine "on lees," but that's not the only beverage of note; diners are raving about the cocktails on offer, as well, and there are taps set up for local craft beer. Expect to hear more about Krista Cole and Tony Alviar's spot once crowds catch on.
11 Free Street
Portland, ME 04101

2. Central Provisions

414 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101
Chris Gould's Old Port spot features a wide-ranging small plates menu, pre-Prohibition cocktails, an impressive wine program, and local craft beers on tap, all in a beautifully renovated space that captures the character of the historic building in which it resides. Bon Appétit took note, calling it one of America's top ten new restaurants in 2014. [Photo: Peter Frank Edwards]
414 Fore St
Portland, ME 04101

3. Golden Lotus

511 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
The jury is still out on whether the latest Chinese restaurant to hit Portland's Arts District will distinguish itself properly from owner Joe Tang's last employer, nearby Empire Chinese Kitchen. But is there such a thing as too much dim sum in a town known for complaining about a lack of good Chinese food? Check out grand opening lunch specials through October.
511 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101

4. Anju Noodle Bar

7 Wallingford Square #102, Kittery, ME 03904
Owners Gary Kim and Julian Armstrong borrowed kitchen space from neighboring The Black Birch to start Son-Mat Foods, which makes kim-chi now carried in Whole Foods. Their follow-up, a traditional noodle bar, is the latest worthy addition to booming Kittery Foreside, where hearty bowls of ramen pair beautifully with a variety of house-made ferments and sauces.
7 Wallingford Square #102
Kittery, ME 03904

5. Palace Diner

18 Franklin St, Biddeford, ME 04005
Chad Conley and Greg Mitchell reopened Maine's oldest diner, keeping the classic feel while elevating the menu with scratch-made diner standards, like corned beef that's brined and braised in-house using local, grass-fed beef. Bon Appétit called it one of the top 50 new restaurants in America this year.
18 Franklin St
Biddeford, ME 04005

6. The Lost Kitchen

22 Mill Street, Freedom, ME 04941
When Erin French shuttered her popular Belfast restaurant The Lost Kitchen, fans clung to hints that the concept would return in the future. It finally did, as The Lost Kitchen reopened this summer in an old mill building in Freedom, which also houses the offices of the Maine Federation of Farmers' Markets. Don't hesitate to seek out French in her beautiful new space, where she hasn't lost a step.
22 Mill Street
Freedom, ME 04941

7. Bao Bao Dumpling House

133 Spring Street, Portland, ME 04102
Young chef and co-owner Cara Stadler made a name for herself with Tao Yuan in Brunswick, and her new spot in Portland was eagerly anticipated. From the design to the dumplings, there are plenty of reasons Bao Bao is packed daily, and it seems the wait is worth it.
133 Spring Street
Portland, ME 04102

8. Marché Kitchen and Wine Bar

40 Lisbon St, Lewiston, ME 04240
Recently purchased by wine whiz Susan Hall of The Vault, Marché now offers dinner Wednesday - Saturday in addition to lunch service. Chef Kevin Cunningham, formerly of Brunswick Hotel and Tavern, is in charge of the kitchen, which is putting out small plates and light entrees all for under $14. The non-wine side of the bar is managed by Tom Ardia, who's making waves with his local draft beer list and inventive cocktail program. Should you find yourself in Lewiston, this is a spot worth pulling up a stool.
40 Lisbon St
Lewiston, ME 04240

9. Bramhall

767 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04102
Mike Fraser revived the old Bramhall Pub, dropping the "pub" but attempting to keep the spirit of the neighborhood bar alive. With an affordable and focused food menu from chef Chris Beaulieu, with respected bartender Guy Streitburger behind the beverage program, and with the haunting underground aesthetic finely polished, Bramhall is proving a welcome addition to its flourishing West End strip of Congress.
767 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04102

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