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Claire Jeffers

Claire Jeffers is a freelance writer living in Portland, Maine. Follow her on Twitter: @claireeats

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Posted: June 4, 2014

One of Portland’s best drinking deals: Wine Time at Blue Spoon

Written by: Claire Jeffers
The Bitter Bee is a server-recommended house cocktail made with barenjager, Fernet Branca, angostura bitters and lemon juice for $12.

The Bitter Bee is a server-recommended house cocktail made with barenjager, Fernet Branca, angostura bitters and lemon juice for $12.

Munjoy Hill’s mainstay bistro is a cozy, chic nook that keeps people coming back.

Blue Spoon is kind of like the middle child of Portland’s food scene. And this is a good thing. It wasn’t the first, it certainly won’t be the last, but somehow (great food, stellar atmosphere, superb drinks) Blue Spoon flies quietly under the radar, away from the latest gastronomical hype.

And yet, this intimate bistro atop Munjoy Hill continues to be the epitome of good eating (and drinking).

Late spring and early summer in Portland might be Blue Spoon’s shining season. While its signature happy hour, Wine Time, is available year-round from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, there’s something more appealing about a $2.50 glass of red (or white) outside on a patio. It doesn’t get much better than this.


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Small bites are available during Wine Time, like the popular meze plate, which is a generous serving of charcuterie, cheese, olives, nuts, fruit and smoky grilled flat bread. Or, after 5 p.m., you could order Blue Spoon’s award-winning Bistro Burger, which was named one of the top 10 burgers in New England by the Boston Globe.

The wine list is brief and approachable – something that’s becoming more and more common these days. Instead of a lengthy catalog of wine bottles you can’t pronounce, the list at Blue Spoon is a testament to the importance of a well-curated selection of wine that won’t scare away customers.

Blue Spoon’s cocktails are on the more expensive side – $12 each – but if you order one of its contemporary cocktails, such as the Bitter Bee, worries about breaking the bank for a cocktail will quickly fade. The Bitter Bee, made with honey liqueur, Fernet Branca and angostura bitters is easily one of the best cocktails on the peninsula. Resisting the urge to order a second (or third) will be difficult.

It’s easy to stop by for Wine Time, but reservations are recommended for dinner, especially Thursday through Saturday. The crowd is low-key, patient and excited about food. Diners tend to linger, and you can hardly blame them. Blue Spoon is cool, charming and laid back – just like any well-behaved middle child.

Perched at the top of Munjoy Hill in Portland, Blue Spoon continues to earn its reputation for good food and drink. Claire Jeffers photos

Perched at the top of Munjoy Hill in Portland, Blue Spoon continues to earn its reputation for good food and drink. Claire Jeffers photos

Blue Spoon

WHERE: 89 Congress St.
PHONE: 773-1116
WEBSITE: bluespoonme.com
HOURS: Lunch 11:30 to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday; Wine Time 4:30-6 p.m. Monday to Saturday; dinner 5 to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 5 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; brunch 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; closed Sundays.
SPECIALS: $2.50 glass of wine during Wine Time.
AMENITIES: Outdoor seating (three or four tables), bar seating, lots of natural light, two bathrooms, across the street from Rosemont Market and soon-to-be Lolita.
PARKING: Street parking.
BOTTOM LINE: Blue Spoon has been part of the Munjoy Hill community for years. It’s a place people rely on for brunch, lunch, dinner and Wine Time, its signature happy hour from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Wine is served by the glass for $2.50 and small plates are available for munching. For an authentic Portland experience, climb the Hill and check out Blue Spoon.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Call ahead.

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