Nestled amid the cobblestone streets and independent shops of the Old Port District, 15 Exchange Grille sizzles with an ever-transforming menu of Mediterranean-inspired comfort fare. Each week, chefs whip up sandwiches, pastas, and Mediterranean comfort specialties from the freshest ingredients and market-catch seafood available. Bartenders pair the Levantine comfort food with beer and cocktails from the full bar. Tabletops checker the dining room, backdropped by exposed-brick walls and the enormous portrait of French actress Bridget Bardot staring down from her frame, goading diners into staring contests.
Modernity has permeated both Thistles Restaurant's cuisine and decor, and helped earn it a Certificate of Excellence in 2013 from TripAdvisor. The restaurant is helmed by Chef Alejandro, whose kaleidoscope of culinary skills includes dishes popular in Argentina, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Contemporary fixtures shine light down on the smorgasbord of selections, and red, black, and white accents fill the dining space just as accent marks fill the menu.
Eschewing modern mixes and thickeners, the dessert designers at Maple's transform fresh milk, eggs, and cream into a host of more than three dozen gelato and sorbetto flavors crafted in-store in front of salivating patrons. Maple's ice engineers buy ingredients directly from Maine's local family farms and embrace traditional artisanal methods such as working with microbatches and running chunky cream through a cotton gin.
Ruby Slippers Cafe and Bakery's cooks prepare homestyle American cuisine with a focus on Maine ingredients. They serve hearty breakfasts until 3:00 p.m., pairing tender cuts of steak with local eggs and topping buttermilk pancakes with local maple syrup and fruit. Pork shoulder slow-roasts for 24 hours before the meat is shredded and sandwiched between brioche buns, and fresh haddock or deep-sea scallops bake to flaky perfection. Patrons can also nibble housemade chocolate truffles and sip local wines and beers.
Frothy mugs of nine different draft beers and a belief that you can never use too many peppers complement chef Jon Russell's surfeit of steak, seafood, and pasta. He tosses hot peppers into his Peppers chicken dish and sprinkles peppercorns onto his signature steak, which is then flambéed in brandy. When taste buds are craving the saltiness of seafood and licking snowplow trails won't suffice, he grills Atlantic salmon, rubs sesame onto sushi-grade tuna steak, and weaves fettuccine around bits of lobster, shrimp, and scallops. He rounds out his menu with a selection of burgers, Mexican fare, and homemade desserts that guests can enjoy on the restaurant's patio or in the casual dining room with exposed brick and tropical stained-glass artwork.