It seems like every TV food show, every visiting celebrity and every travel writer who comes to town finds their way to Becky's. So the place gets a lot of hype. But there's a reason all that hype started in the first place -- it's a genuine local institution, a great diner with a very local vibe.
If you are saving up for a special-occasion dinner, this is a splendid place to splurge. It's got it all: A thoughtful menu with a variety of options that are consistently excellent, unwaveringly good service that isn't stuffy, and traditional candlelit decor with a touch of fun. The restaurant's open kitchen and penchant for welcome surprises bring a bit of drama to the experience. Back Bay Grill was honored with a AAA Four-Diamond Award in 2011.
The drive to Phat Boys includes apple orchards and antiques, and it is a pleasant way to spend a weekend morning. Breakfast is hearty, abundant and exactly as expected, with none of the typical weekend waiting present in many local diners. For those who crave country-fried steak and sausage gravy, go here, because it does not get any better.
Delicious, high-quality, homestyle German food, most of it made in-house, served in a storefront restaurant in downtown Portland. The proprietors bring skill, personal attention and passion to their small eatery, which fills an ethnic gap in Portland's celebrated culinary scene and offers a very good value to boot.
Check your expectations of Greek food at the door. Demos and John Regas have created a rustic, special-occasion dining experience for Portland food lovers. Mediterranean flavors appear in hyper-color at this small eatery, and if you close your eyes, you can almost feel the Greek sun on your face. Hours and tables are intentionally limited and intimate, so call ahead to avoid disappointment.
Over the years, Marcy's has consistently served low-priced diner food quickly and with a smile. It has been a sort of oasis of comfort food in downtown Portland as more upscale eating options have come to town. The place also has lots of creative daily specials, which are usually posted on the Marcy's Diner Facebook page.
Yellowfin's is a terrific option for pedestrians in the Ocean Park neighborhood. Near the beach, Yellowfin's also offers a nice respite from the rowdier Old Orchard Beach establishments.
Find satisfying and globally inspired entrees of all sorts at Pepperclub, a good choice for vegetarians and gluten-sensitive individuals as well as couples or groups with a mix of eating styles. For the most part, the food -- seafood, meat, vegetarian and vegan -- is ample and interesting, with diverse flavors. The restaurant has a comfortable, bohemian vibe.
It's hard to find a better-preserved piece of food Americana than Fat Boy Drive-In. Or a cheaper one. The food is classic drive-in fare, priced really low. A regular hamburger is just $1.65. The signs look old-fashioned too. Nothing glitzy, just a straightforward "FAT BOY" in black letters.
Nuthin' finer! The Maine Diner is a family-run celebration of good food and community. While offering a range of diner favorites, the diner also combines higher-end ingredients with a down-home sensibility. It's great food, served by happy staff.