111 Cumberland Ave., Portland | 207-619-7565 | no website | $$
At the corner of Cumberland and Washington avenues, you can’t miss this brightly painted seafood shack, festooned with nets, buoys and other nautical objects. Inside, it’s clean, homey and comfortable, an ideal setting for tucking into sandwiches and platters of excellent seafood. In addition to the fish and chips, clam strips and fish tacos get especially high marks, and for gluten-free diners, there’s a separate fryer.
15 Evans St., South Portland | 207-899-4433 | docksseafood.com | $$$
It’s open year ’round, but in the warmer months, the best seats are outside, at this friendly fish market and restaurant. The menu includes chowders and seafood stews, baked and grilled seafood, however it’s the fried fish that’s the star. The prices are quite reasonable; most lunch plates, with fries and coleslaw, are about $10.
849 Forest Ave., Portland | 207-699-5657 | fishermensgrill.com | $$$
This is the place that locals know and vistors should be thrilled to discover. It’s nothing much to look at, either inside or out, but Mike Nappi’s straightforward seafood joint serves up super fresh and well-prepared fish and chips, fried clams, chowders, lobster rolls, haddock sandwiches and more New England classics.
1135 Forest Ave., Portland | 207-878-3240 | no website | $$
Susan’s has achieved cult status since it opened in 1989, and the name echoes its claim to fame. The buoys and other fishing decor straddles the line between charming and junky, but you’re not there for the atmosphere, you’re there for the fried fresh seafood. Homemade tartar sauce comes to the table in a Mason jar with a spoon, the batter encasing your haddock, clam strips or bellies is crisp and greaseless and the fish inside perfectly cooked.
20 Custom House Wharf, Portland | 207-773-4653 | portholemaine.com | $$
A waterfront icon popular with both locals and tourists, Porthole has serving hearty food since 1929. The view from outside is not of tranquil islands and lighthouses, but of fishing boats and wharf activity; in the summer, the large outdoor deck is usually packed. Food-wise, this spot finds middle ground, serving dishes like biscuits and sausage gravy or lobster benedict for breakfast, and for dinner, everything from burgers and steak to lobster dinners and fried seafood platters. The fish and chips batter is made with local Shipyard beer.
The approximate cost of two dinner entrees (not including appetizers, drinks, tax and gratuity).
$ – $15 and under
$$ – $16 to $25
$$$ – $26 to $45
$$$$ – $46 and up