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 Tiqa.Read More
The 10 Hottest Restaurants in Maine Right Now, February 2015
Where you should be eating. Right. Now.
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Capitalizing on the small plates trend sweeping the city, this addition to Portland won the Eater Award for So Hot Right Now 2014. The name refers to unfiltered wine "on lees," or sediment, but that's not the only beverage of note; diners are buzzing about the cocktails on offer, as well, and there are local craft beers on draft. Expect to hear more about Krista Cole and Tony Alviar's spot as crowds catch on fully. [Photo: John Myers]
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. A year in, Central Provisions shows no signs of cooling off, with crowds huddling in nightly to avoid the snow. [Photo: Peter Frank Edwards]
Anju Noodle Bar
Owners Gary Kim and Julian Armstrong borrowed kitchen space from neighboring Black Birch to start Son-Mat Foods, which makes killer 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.
Ebb and Flow
A Mediterranean-style match-made-in-heaven between Nova Seafoods fishmonger Angelo Ciocca and seafood-specialist chef William D'Auvray. They've truly revamped the former Spread space. With a strong beverage program, great concept, and house-made everything, they're well on their way to lifting whatever curse may exist at 100 Commercial. [Photo: Nancy Angela Ciocca]
Spiritual successor to Bar Lola, slightly more casual and a la carte-style Lolita Vinoteca + Asador was voted Restaurant of the Year 2014 by readers in the Eater Awards. Guy and Stella Hernandez and partner Neil Reiter have a hit on their hands with this paean to wood-fired cooking and local sourcing.
The Lost Kitchen
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, reopening this summer in an old mill building in Freedom (she also opened a wine shop below for BYOB purchases). French hasn't lost a step: She won the Eater Award for Chef of the Year 2014.
Dutch's Breakfast & Lunch
Dutch's is bringing the heat in a city always clamoring for more breakfast and lunch options. Everything is being made from scratch, including biscuits and the satisfying Dutch Crunch bread. It's also being served up affordably and generously — you won't need to hit the vending machine before dinner if you finish one of the sandwiches. Great desserts and innovations like pretzel bagels make for happy customers, too.
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Huong's Vietnamese Restaurant
Huong's is a familiar and welcome sight for fans of the original, which was at 349 Cumberland Avenue (now home to popular German restaurant Schulte and Herr). Now as then, the pho is authentic and outstanding, especially perfect in the colder months. Multiple local food writers named this as one of their top restaurant newcomers of 2014 in our Year in Eater coverage.
Another (pan-)Mediterranean restaurant in an enormous space on Commercial St., Tiqa landed with a splash last month in the new Marriott Courtyard. Visitors have described the space as "glitzy" and "stunning," the food "delicious" and "memorable." Pull up one of the nearly 300 seats and enjoy Portland's latest high profile opening.
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SoPo Bar & Grill
This is the latest venture from Outliers owner Peter Verrill along with business partners Gary and Tasha Hurtubise. With a deli, a bar, and a restaurant, SoPo is enlivening the enormous space once held by JP Thornton's. Just across the bridge from Portland and central to South Portland, the restaurant's parking lot hardly seems large enough to hold the crowds that have been turning up.
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