In case you missed it, I posted yesterday about what to do in Portland Maine in the winter :) Next up: where to eat and sleep while you are in Portland.
Until recently, I did not know that Portland is considered a "foodie" city. There are SO many great restaurants to try that we didn't even come close to doing it justice is one weekend. If you are looking for more recommendations, I highly recommend a blog called Map and Menu. The writers live near Portland and have tried many more restaurants up there than I have. I also got a lot of other recommendations for things to do from that blog, so definitely check it out!
On our first night, Eric and I decided to get Thai food at a restaurant called Boda. It's located right in downtown Portland, and we were able to find a parking space on the street, but they also have a parking lot. We had double great luck between our parking space and the amazing spot they gave us right by the window at our table. Boda is one of those restaurants that is a lot of fun just to be inside, even before you start eating. They also have lots of fun drinks. Eric got a funky Mai Tai type of drink and I got a Magno Madness, which was served in a martini glass. Eric started with the chicken stuffed tofu soup, and then ordered the Beef Panaeng, both of which he loved and ate before I could even attempt a photo. I ordered the Woon-Set Pat Thai, which was pad thai wrapped in an egg omelet. Unfortunately all I got was a blurry iPhoto photo, but you can get the idea...
The meal was very reasonably priced, and I think if you even slightly like Thai-inspired food, it should be on your must-go list in Portland.
Our Sunday lunch (and only lunch Portland) was spent at Sebago Brewing Company. We really just wanted to try the beer and weren't expecting much from the food. However, I ended up with a super delicious, very light on the mayo, lobster roll and sweet potato fries. Clearly, I have no complaints!
For dinner on Sunday, we had all sort of ideas of where we wanted to go. In particular, we wanted to try Miyake (Japanese) or Paciarino (Italian). However, it was really cold on Sunday. It was also a blizzard. A cold, blizzard with insane wind. It was impossible to stand outside for even a minute or two. So, our grand plans of walking around Portland (which we did the next day) were impossible on Sunday. So we ended up back at our hotel earlier than we expected to on Sunday night and since the roads were not great, decided not to go back downtown. But never fear, the amazing restaurants extend to Cape Elizabeth where we were staying! We ate dinner in our hotel at a restaurant called Sea Glass. We knew the food was going to be amazing because we had a little snack there the day earlier, and our breakfast was delicious. It definitely lived up to our expectations and I can only imagine the view in the summer months makes the food even better. I started with the vegan butternut squash soup, followed by the Gulf of Maine Seafood and Lobster Paella.
Yes, it was as amazing as it looks. For dessert, Eric and I split the Warm Callebaut Chocolate Pudding Cake. We don't usually order dessert, but it was Eric's birthday. We ordered a lot, and this meal still came to a really reasonable price (though a good amount more than Boda, this is more of a splurge meal type of place). I can't imagine anywhere we were planning to go in downtown Portland would've been more delicious, but who knows :)
Once you have ate yourself into a food coma, you will need somewhere to sleep and I have a couple of Portland recommendations. Since this trip was Eric's Christmas present to me, he found a beautiful hotel for us to stay at in Cape Elizabeth called Inn by the Sea. I consider myself a pretty good judge of hotels and this one was definitely one of the best. I've already mentioned how good the food was, and that was only the beginning of a really great hotel. Our room was beautiful, with a nice King bed, a beautiful view of the ocean and a warm fireplace. I didn't see any rooms other than ours, but I know the hotel offers lots of suites and other options so I can only imagine they are all really nice.
I've found that one of the big differences between a fine hotel and a really nice hotel is the bathroom, and this bathroom did not disappoint. I'm not kidding when I say it was the biggest/nicest shower I've ever had the pleasure of using. Seriously, I could've done yoga in the shower. Is that a thing?
Eric was smart and got the bed and breakfast package, and you really should too if you stay there, if for no other reason than the french toast. French toast with caramel sauce.
Plus, as if the food alone is not reason enough to eat breakfast there, the view is not bad either. Try to picture the gray in the background being ocean, because that is what it was when it wasn't a foggy blizzard.
Also, if you can actually afford to stay at this place in the summer, there is a beautiful beach just a short walk down the path. Since Eric and I will never be staying at this place in the summer, we checked out the beach in the winter...
That was on the "warmer" non blizzard day. Ha. My final thought on how great this hotel was: the customer service was amazing. Everyone we met there was nice from checking in, to people in the hall, to the restaurant, everyone. We also had to change our reservation after we had already made it, and they let us change with no problem and put our deposit towards our later stay. I kind of want to move into this hotel.
However, if you want a more budget friendly hotel (especially during the summer when Inn by the Sea becomes really luxury in price) or want to stay in downtown Portland, I'm going to recommend the Marriott Residence Inn. We didn't stay at this hotel ourselves, but we did see it when we were visiting downtown and the location cannot be beat. It's right on the water, and you can literally fall out of the hotel to Shipyard Brewery and Sebago Brewing Company. When it's not a freezing cold blizzard, I think you could walk almost anywhere you would want to go in Portland from here. Also, we stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn in Portsmouth, NH on the way home from our Maine trip and we were seriously impressed. I know it's not the same hotel, but the reviews are similar and I think most people would enjoy the separate living space and kitchen area. We are hoping to bring Eric's siblings up to Portland with us the next time and we will most likely stay here so that we can take the train up and not even think about driving. It also would be worth looking into the Hampton Inn, which is located right near the Marriott and actually has Sebago Brewing Company in the same building.
What do you look for in a hotel? What is your favorite hotel you have ever stayed at?