there are two places that seth and i go to on a regular basis and we know we will always get a good meal. and i have never written about either of them! in the portland food blog-o-sphere, both restaurants have gotten their fair shares of reviews, but let me tell you why i love caiola's and the port hole.
the port hole was the first restaurant i ever ate at in portland. one very raining march day, seth and i rolled in to portland to check the city out for the first time, and marya and otis took us here for lunch. i was immediately charmed by the rustic ambiance. i'm sure i got the haddock sandwich, which is served with a home made tarter sauce on fresh baked foccica bread and fresh cut french fries on the side. i'm sure i got this because it is something i order fairly regularly. they also have the most amazing fish chowder i have ever had. last night when seth and i shared a bowl it had huge chunks of haddock and was flavored with fresh herbs. for my main course last night i went with the angus burger and it did me right, though it was a little over done for my ordered temp of medium rare. i also love and adore their grilled salmon wrap served with greens that get deliciously wilted by the heat of the salmon. the atmosphere can vary widely depending on when you show up. in the middle of winter, there is nothing better than brunch with the fire going (is the fire still there after the remodel?). during the summer the deck is where its at, and you can usually find a table out there if your are in for breakfast or brunch or dinner on a week night. then there is the madness of friday nights and weekend late afternoons and evenings.
caiola's is a west end gem and my favorite restaurant in portland. we were also introduced to this place by otis and marya (they inspire us to be better foodies!). i have been here countless times for brunch and just a couple of times for dinner. i have never put anything in my mouth at this place that i didn't love. the last time we went in for brunch i ordered the lobster benedict from the specials menu. it was your typical bene with lemony creamy holindase and topped with sweet morsels of lobster meat and chantrel mushrooms. the meatyness of the mushrooms was an amazing combination with the lobster, fooling the mouth into thinking there was more lobster than there really was. seth and i frequently order the eggs tostada studded with little nuggets of chorizo. if you go for dinner it is an absolute must that you order the antipasto plate as this is likely the most awesome antipasto you will ever have, with roasted and marinated veggies, bean salads, and cured meats, usually including some breakfast sausage. it may sound strange but it is so right. the decor is simple but gorgeous, in what i think you would call french country. there is a wonderful patio out back that is so enjoyable on a summer morning with a bloody mary.
so there they are. my perspective on two of portland's great restaurants. since i just ate at the port hole last night maybe i will head to caiola's this weekend.