Whether you are in town for a weekend, are looking to mix up your typical lunch routine, or just need a quick bite to eat, we have your back.
79 Portland St.
The space has the cozy feel of an old friend’s dining room. Isa’s worldly, unique menu shines for lunch, when you don’t expect to start a meal with grilled octopus or lobster tostada.
2 Union St.
The restaurant at the same time feels contemporary and like a throwback. A three-martini lunch might not seem out of place, but the menu is thoroughly enticing. And despite bursts of new restaurants in Portland, Walter’s has remained revered.
THE GRILL ROOM
84 Exchange St.
While some Portland mainstays feel made for a business lunch, the Grill Room’s setting exudes something more personal. “On a very indulgent day,” says editor-at-large Rebecca Falzano, “I love sitting at the bar at the Grill Room for a burger. The tomato tapenade: yum.”
22 Monument Square
A favorite among both Portland’s business lunch crowd and visitors of the city, David Turin’s flagship restaurant in Monument Square offers elegant takes on classic dishes and a chef’s buffet with a changing selection of sandwiches, pizza, antipasti, salads, and soups.
52 Washington Ave.
This barbecue eatery has been open less than a year, and has already become a neighborhood favorite with its smoked meats and Latin American–style dishes. For lunch, you can’t go wrong with one of Terlingua’s three varieties of chili.
EVENTIDE OYSTER CO.
86 Middle St.
Amassing accolades since opening on Middle Street in 2012, Eventide is more than an oyster bar. Its well-curated menu sometimes surprises but never disappoints. If you’re only ordering one thing, Maine magazine managing editor Kelly Chase recommends picking the lobster roll.
BLUE ROOSTER FOOD COMPANY
5 Dana St.
This Dana Street eatery, open for lunch seven days a week, has limited seating, but the small menu packs plenty of variety. Cover all your bases and get the Farmer Tess sandwich with hummus and roasted beet goat cheese and a side of deep-fried Brussels sprouts.
390 Congress St.
Home of a $15 soup, salad, and sandwich combination, the Press Hotel’s restaurant delivers a classic sit-down lunch. Power outlets and coat hooks at the bar are a plus for business travelers and those looking to get work done during lunch.
505 Fore St.
Known for contemporary Mexican fare from acclaimed chef Shannon Bard, along with tequila flights—there are close to 100 varieties available—Zapoteca also offers a pared-down lunch menu with lower prices than its dinner entrees.
THE CROOKED MILE
8 Milk St.
This Old Port sandwich shop has been serving Portland lunch for more than a decade, year-round. “I love how the windows steam up in winter,” says Emma Wilson, managing director of Art Collector Maine, Portland Art Gallery, and Gallery at the Grand. “You know it’s going to be good!”
TEN TEN PIÉ
171 Cumberland Ave.
Ten Ten Pié is a bakery, ethnic market, and take-out restaurant with daily bento box specials—a rotating selection of boxed lunches. Like its steamed buns, Ten Ten Pié has a nondescript exterior that hides a welcome surprise inside.