Whether you want dinner with a waterfront view or looking for a little oasis in the city for lunch, Portland has you covered with some great outdoor dining options. The outdoor spaces are opening as the warm weather kicks in, and we have a few suggestions in a variety of price points. Of course, it is spring in Maine, so the availability of outside seating may be weather dependent.
1. BOONE’S FISH HOUSE & OYSTER ROOM, $$$
86 Commercial St., Portland. 774-5725 boonesfishhouse.com
With large decks on two levels and an outdoor bar, Boone’s is a busy spot on Custom House Wharf in the summer season. The upstairs deck has a sunny water view and seats about 42 guests at tables, with another 10 to 14 at the bar. The upper deck opens for the season on Friday and will stay open until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (closing time Sunday through Thursday also moves to 10 p.m. in June). Boone’s offers a raw oyster bar on this floor and a happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. with half-price Shipyard drafts and house red and white wine.
2. FLATBREAD COMPANY, $$
72 Commercial St., Portland. 772-8777, flatbreadcompany.com
Eating pizza with a view of the working waterfront is a lovely way to spend some time on a summer day in Portland. It’s the sort of spot that can make you feel like a tourist in your own town – in the best way. Go now, before the (authentic) tourists arrive, so you can grab the seats with the good views near the railing. The full bar has a good selection of local beer on tap. The wood-fired flatbread – wheat-flour dough topped with cheeses, herbs, vegetables and homemade sausage and nitrate-free pepperoni – can even make you feel a bit virtuous. The heck with virtuous, it’s also delicious.
3. TIMBER STEAKHOUSE & ROTISSERIE, $$$$
106 Exchange St., Portland. 805-1469, timberportland.com
A bourbon oak barrel fence offers privacy on this patio, carved out of a space between the restaurant and a parking garage. There are 15 tables with umbrellas, plus a fire pit, cocktail lounge and comfy couches. Happy hour specials, including $5 appetizers, run from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
4. SEBAGO BREWING, $$
211 Fore St., Portland. 775-2337, sebagobrewing.com
Drinking on city sidewalks is forbidden. Unless you’re behind the gate at Sebago. The portico seating includes nine tables and offers excellent people watching until closing (at 1 a.m.). In addition to happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. on weeknights, the restaurant offers specials on late-night food and drink. Check the website for more details.
5. YOSAKU, $$$
1 Danforth St., Portland. 780-0880
If you’ve never experienced Yosaku’s serene, Japanese-style garden, complete with waterfall and pond, put it on your summer bucket list. The menu offers the usual line-up of sushi and sashimi, plus a long list of unusual rolls, tempura, noodle dishes and other Japanese favorites. The bento boxes and lunchtime specials are especially popular. Despite its location at a busy intersection with multiple traffic lights, this spot manages to feel like a peaceful oasis.