Scales Restaurant in Portland: Home of the best steamers we’ve ever tasted

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An overnight stay at the Press Hotel in Portland, Maine, which features a wall of typewriters, allowed for a fine dining weekend for this roving foodie. Courtesy Photo


Our foodie adventure this week is in Portland, ME, which is an easy two-hour drive from Manchester.  This could easily be done in one day but we decided to stay for two nights.  We stayed at the Press Hotel in Portland, which is an old printing factory.  As you enter the hotel, you see a typewriter which works and you can send a postcard out.  There is also a wall of real typewriters on the wall.  For those of you that don’t know, a typewriter is what was used instead of a computer.  The Press Hotel is part of the autograph collection of Marriott Hotels and is in the center of Portland.  It is a perfect location to walk to the restaurants and no car is needed.  There will be three reviews on separate days. This is the first dinner review.  

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In 2018, Portland was named the top food destination in the country and in the same year, Bon Appetit magazine named Portland as the restaurant city of the year.  So the question begins, what restaurant should we try?  We decided to start our adventure at Scales Restaurant as we are in Maine and decided we should have seafood.  Scales is owned by the same people as Fore Street, meat-centric and Street & Company (Italian Seafood).  We made reservations three weeks out and glad we did.  The place was hopping and very, very loud.  We have been there before and requested outside seating.  It was very comfortable and the noise level was perfect.

We began with a dozen oysters which consisted of Basket Island from Casio Bay, Empress from Freeport, Maine and Fairwell from New Castle, Maine.  They were all delicious and each one had a bit different taste.  Glad we tried a dozen for the variety.  At $2.50 each, we thought this was a very fair price.

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Instead of getting a main meal, we decided to just go for appetizers as to try more things.  The next thing we tried was the Halibut Ceviche with roasted pineapple, hot sauce, jalapeno and corn crisp.  This was so fresh and the flavors blended together nicely.  There was just the right amount of heat but not so spicy as the corn crisp cut down the spiciness.

Our next dish was the tuna crudo.  While it was very good, the one that we had at Row 34 was life-changing.  A decent portion for the price.

The winner of the evening was the steamers.  Not sure what they did but these were the best steamers we ever had.  It was simple with white wine but the taste was delicious.

The last dish we had was the fried whole bellies with fries and coleslaw.  The clams were large, fried perfectly, not oily and a perfect plate to share.  

There’s always room for dessert, especially the coffee/blueberry/vanilla ice cream.

You think we would be stuffed by now but we wanted to try the special ice cream of the day.  It was a coffee/blueberry/vanilla combination and we were both fighting with our spoons.

Scales, located at 68 Commercial St, Portland,  only serves dinner from Monday-Sunday.  Definitely worth a drive for a special night out or just for something different to do.