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Fore Street, Portland

288 Fore Street
Portland , Maine
Tel: 207 775 2717's insider take:

When people who don't have a date with the bingo table start lining up for dinner at 5 pm, you've probably found a first-rate restaurant. Fore Street is a superpopular Old Port joint steered by superstar chef Sam Hayward, who has earned acclaim from the James Beard Foundation and Gourmet, among others. A discreet metal sign outside marks the brick-and-wood façade; inside, an open kitchen with an 800-degree oven and a glassed-in cooler brimming with organic salad greens is the focal point. Hayward designs a new menu every day, but it's a good bet there'll be mussels roasted in almond-and-garlic butter, and dry-rubbed pork loin with tangy sauerkraut. As for that oven, he uses it to cook specialty dishes such as a whole-roasted Atlantic sea bass stuffed with herbs. Finish things off with the cheese course of New England triple-cream and Maine Caprino. And leave the finery in your hotel room: The servers wear jeans and you should, too. Sister restaurant Street & Company is another good bet, where Hayward's fellow chef and business partner Dana Street prepares what is arguably the city's best local catch (33 Wharf St.; 207-775-0887).

Open Sundays through Thursdays 5:30 to 10 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 5:30 to 10:30 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.