Kids are welcome at any and all Portland restaurants, however, there are those places where parents feel more comfortable bringing their offspring along. Here are five family favorites.
50 Wharf St., Portland | 899-0111 | bucksnaked-bbq.com | $$$
If you crave meat, Buck’s Naked BBQ offers it in all forms. With a clear understanding of Portland’s foodie sensibilities, Buck’s expands the barbecue experience to include international influences, and the menu offers a few interesting options for the vegetarian and fish-loving crowd. The atmosphere is fun, kid-friendly (in a non-obnoxious way), and the staff is hilarious. There’s even a special playroom for the little ones.
101 York St., Portland | 780-8226 | elrayotaqueria.com | $
Creative Mexican fare is served in this brightly colored restaurant, located in a former gas station near the Casco Bay Bridge. Nachos, tacos, burritos and quesadillas are done with flair, including a burrito stuffed with portobello mushrooms and a taco with grilled achiote-seasoned fish. There’s a special menu for kids and lots of family friendly picnic-table seating outside.
72 Commercial St., Portland | 772-8777 | flatbreadcompany.com | $$
This is not pizza, but flatbread – wheat-flour dough topped with cheeses, herbs, vegetables and ingredients such as homemade sausage and nitrate-free pepperoni. Kids love the activity around the wood-fired oven. Flatbread Co. is located right on the working waterfront. It has a great deck where, in good weather, you can eat outside and watch the harbor activity. There is a full bar as well, with a good selection of local beer on tap.
1140 Brighton Ave., Portland | 874-0000 | konasianbistrome.com | $$$
A huge, flamboyantly decorated restaurant with a lively crowd of diners, including families who come for the theatrical hibachi dinners, served in a separate dining room. The enormous menu reaches across the Asian spectrum, with decently prepared sushi and sashimi, spicy Thai curries and noodle dishes and Chinese stir-fry standards. Service is swift and friendly.
576 Congress St. Portland | 338-0555 | ottoportland.com | $$
This small, locally owned chain of pizzerias has three additional locations: 225 Congress St. (Munjoy Hill), 159 Cottage Rd., South Portland, and 125 John Roberts Rd. near the Maine Mall. Each location is distinctively decorated with vintage materials, and has space for small and large groups. Otto is known for unusual pizza toppings, such as mashed potato, bacon and scallions or butternut squash, ricotta and cranberry, but fans of more-basic cheese or pepperoni pies say the real genius is in the crust and sauce. Note: There is a fourth Otto outpost at 127 Main St., Yarmouth, in the Handy Andy’s store, but it has just a few tables and is primarily for takeout.
The approximate cost of two dinner entrees (not including appetizers, drinks, tax and gratuity).
$ – $15 and under
$$ – $16 to $25
$$$ – $26 to $45
$$$$ – $46 and up