Best Ethnic Market: Micucci Grocery
The Micucci family has been importing the finest Italian foods since 1951. From a range of beautiful olive oils, to their prosciutto, mortadella, and soppressatta at the deli counter, to their reasonably priced wines, and all their other Italian delights (honey, pastas, chocolate, pine nuts, and cheese), Micucci Grocery steals the hearts of our readers. Finisci di mangiare!
45 India Street, Portland | 207.775.1854 | micuccigrocery.com
Best Ethnic Restaurant: Schulte & Herr
Wunderbar! A beacon of culture on the perpetually developing Cumberland Avenue, Schulte & Herr serves up refined, authentic German food, two or three meals a day. Their spätzle plate makes a fantastic lunch option, their potato pancakes are unquestionably best in town, and their servers are some of the sweetest, most down-to-earth people we know (who says Germans have chilly personalities?). According to us, and you, Schulte & Herr is one of the most exciting things to happen in Portland food the last few years.
349 Cumberland Ave, Portland | 207.773.1997 | schulteandherr.wordpress.com
Best Fresh Produce: Portland Farmers Market
Oh my god, you guys, it’s really here!! We had a long, hard, lingering, spirit-breaking winter, but spring (and soon, summer!) is here. And with spring come the Farmers’ Markets in Monument Square and Deering Oaks Park (there’s the winter one too, at the Urban Farm Fermentory in East Bayside, but we don’t want to think about that right now). The markets are a feast for the senses, and it’s hard to walk away without at least one vibrant bunch of rainbow chard, one round of fresh-made goat cheese, or a one package of locally raised smoked bacon. Who can resist the bounty of the land?
In Deering Oaks Park on Saturdays from 7am-1pm | in Monument Square on Wednesdays from 7am-1pm | Winter Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from December to late-April, 9am-1pm at the Urban Farm Fermentory, 200 Anderson St, Portland | portlandmainefarmersmarket.org
Best Gluten-Free Options: Bam Bam Bakery
With alt-diet foods, the primary goal is making something that tastes indistinguishable from its counterpart. Such is the case with Bam Bam. Get past the package, and these treats taste as decadent and satisfying as the quote-unquote real thing. Ask anyone who goes gluten-free what’s the hardest to replace, and the answer is uniform: dessert. Most of the options are brittle, tasteless, or excessively sweet. Bam Bam avoids those pitfalls. By any measure, their treats are some of the best in town.
267 Commercial St, Portland | 207.899.4100 | bambambakery.com
Best Italian Restaurant: The Corner Room
You’ve got to learn to pace yourself in order to enjoy a true Italian meal. Don’t gobble up that antipasti, because pasta’s on the way — but don’t slurp all that down, because the chicken marsala’s about to come out of the kitchen. At the Corner Room, Harding Lee Smith’s rustic Italian joint on Exchange Street, it’s hard to hold oneself back. The baked crespelle is a heavenly combination of ricotta cheese, braised beef, and herbs — but enjoy in moderation! You’ll want to save room for the creamy pappardelle and wild mushrooms. And maybe your friend ordered the Dopo Pizza, with pancetta, pecorino, and baked eggs, so you’ll want a bite of that. Plus some wine from the Room’s all-Italian wine list. See what I mean? It’s tough to exercise restraint sometimes!
110 Exchange St, Portland | 207.879.4747 | thecornerroomkitchenandbar.com