Best Latin American Restaurant: El Rayo
The news broke earlier this month that the El Rayo empire is evolving. The Cantina has closed to make way for a parking garage, the Taqueria will likely move to a different location in Portland by winter 2015, and a 4,500-square-foot outpost in a former gas station in Scarborough is slated to open next month. Honestly, we don’t care where we get our favorite Mexican fix; as long as they keep serving the same pescado tacos, chilaquiles, and Mexican-style corn-on-the-cob, we’ll keep digging in. With a Caipirinha on the side, please.
101 York St, Portland | 207.780.TACO | elrayotaqueria.com
Best Lobster Roll + Best Seafood Restaurant + Best Patio/Outdoor Bar: Portland Lobster Co.
There are two kinds of seafood restaurants in Maine: fine dining rooms serving nice wines accompanying poached fish in delicious sauces, and oceanfront spots pouring good beer to wash down seafood both breaded and fried. Portland Lobster Co. is the latter, and the best of its ilk, serving old standards of high quality, including a top-notch lobster roll overflowing with meat. Every meal comes with a view of Portland Harbor from under tent-sheltered tables so you can enjoy your fisherman’s platter (and live music every day throughout the summer) whether it’s sunny or cloudy. Place your order soon, so you can quaff a brew and wait for your plastic red lobster to buzz, letting you know dinner’s been caught for you.
180 Commercial St, Portland | 207.775.2112 | portlandlobstercompany.com
Allagash Brewing Company: Pouring great pints since 1995, and this year's winner of Best Maine Beer.
Best Maine Beer: Allagash Brewing Company
A mainstay of Maine’s craft beer revolution, and collaborator, mentor, and training ground for many an aspiring brewer, Allagash Brewing Company has set a standard for beer aficionados to aspire to, whether creating recipes or quaffing a cold one. With six year-round beers and countless special varieties coming out all the time, there’s sure to be a delicious Allagash with your name on it. For our part, we recently discovered the Interlude, a specialty brew with limited annual release. A farmhouse ale aged in red wine barrels, it’s dry, slightly tart, and absolutely delicious.
Best Neighborhood Store: Rosemont
The most lovable, convenient, and precious chain in Portland, Rosemont wins again for best neighborhood store. Enough time has passed since this little local grocer opened shops on Brighton Avenue and Munjoy Hill, and anyone paying the slightest attention to demographics can see how those neighborhoods have since flourished around them. This year their Commercial Street store expanded from a produce market to a full-on grocer and sandwich shop, helping make it possible to spend the entire day in that lovely little corner of town.
580 Brighton Ave, Portland | 207.774.8129 | 88 Congress St, Portland | 207.773.7888 | 5 Commercial St, Portland | 207.699.4560 | 96 Main St, Yarmouth | 207.846.1234 | rosemontmarket.com