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John Golden

John Golden writes about food and has a highly opinionated blog, The Golden Dish.

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Posted: April 27, 2015

From the best and brightest: Favorite restaurants and dishes from Portland and beyond

Written by: John Golden

I’m often asked to name my favorite restaurant in Portland and throughout Maine.   I can’t answer that easily because I’ve had so many great dishes with great diversity at so many restaurants.  Still there are those that I go to often because they are my default picks when I’m not busily on the prowl trying other places, new restaurants and chefs who are aiming for recognition.

I don’t hesitate to list my favorites, which I go to for purely personal pleasure like Empire Chinese, Five Fifty Five, Fore Street, Back Bay Grill, Petite Jacqueline, Caiola’s, Piccolo, Earth, Central Provisions, Lolita, Sur-Lie.  Newcomers like Ebb and Flow, Isa, Rudy’s and Tiqa are gaining ground in my book, too.

Here are some of the fine dishes that I’ve had in the last year.

Pan-seared halibut at Ebb and Flow; cavatelli with lamb ragu at Piccolo and trio of desserts at Fore Street

Pan-seared halibut at Ebb and Flow; cavatelli with lamb ragu at Piccolo and trio of desserts at Fore Street

Guinea hen liver pate at Central Provisions; chocolate bread pudding at Isa and sweetbreads at Petite Jacqueline

Guinea hen liver pate at Central Provisions; chocolate bread pudding at Isa and sweetbreads at Petite Jacqueline

Bucatini with ramp pesto at Lolita; quail eggs at Boda; Tune Poke at Earth and wok-fried eggplant at Empire Chinese

Clockwise: Bucatini with ramp pesto at Lolita; quail eggs at Boda; wok-fried eggplant at Empire Chinese and tuna poke at  Earth

Swordfish at Salt Water Cafe and Juicy Chicken at Rudy's

Swordfish at Salt Water Cafe and Juicy Chicken at Rudy’s

Smoked salmon and beets at Five-Fifty Five; cheeseburger and fries at Ruski's and hake dumplings at Bao Bao

Smoked salmon and beets at Five-Fifty Five; cheeseburger and fries at Ruski’s and hake dumplings at Bao Bao

Swordfish at Natalie's and Portland's super-star chef, Rob Evans (right) dining at Central Provisiions

Swordfish at Natalie’s and Portland’s super-star chef, Rob Evans (right) dining at Central Provisions

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