Cafes in Downtown

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Stars on Ice's lineup of skaters––who have spun, twirled, and Salchowed to Olympic gold-medal podiums––dazzles audiences with an engrossing spectacle that intertwines music, intricate choreography, and sparkly costumes. Sasha Cohen, the silver-medal-winning Californian who became the first in the state to understand what ice was, fluidly floats to the song “Big Spender.” With skills that snatched two gold medals and charm that graced the pages of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People issue, Ekaterina Gordeeva electrifies the Captain & Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together.” Daunting athleticism underlies the lyricism and surprising visual references to Three Stooges films in the performance of Ilia Kulik, whose gold-medal routine in Nagano saw him slay a quadruple toe loop and eight triple jumps. Those who opt for the meet and greet will brush elbows with some of the stars at the arena, whereas at-home fans can gaze at posters inscribed by the skaters’ delicate bladework.

1 Civic Center Sq
Portland,
ME
US

At Roost House of Juice, very little goes to waste—even the pulp from their juices is compressed in a dehydrator to make raw falafel. The delicious results are in line with the café's philosophy of sustainable, vegan, and gluten-free eats. The juices themselves range from crisp blends of cucumber, apple, celery, and mint to the Red Russian, a re-imagined cocktail with Russian kale, cranberry, lemon, and ginger booch. The menu also lists enticing smoothies such as the Coconut Butter Cup, which derives its sweetness from Brazil nut milk ice cubes, dates, vanilla, and coconut and cacao butter.

Most of the produce handled here comes from local farms. Other dishes, including the housemade granola, are signature creations. And, in the interest of sustainably grown foods and wholesome lifestyles, the staff merges their beliefs with their service. They award discounts to customers who arrive on bikes or public transit, as well as those who bring reusable containers for their orders. Their Give a Hoot Juice campaign also donates part of their profits to likeminded organizations.

11 Free St
Portland,
ME
US

WIth just a bit of extra peanut butter, Wannawaf's Cheeky Monkey drove the Dispatch to a "total dessert meltdown" that "was totally worth the sugar buzz." And that's just one of the eatery's waffle creations, which also include hot dogs smothered in fixings like pepper jelly. On the flipside, sweet ingredients ? including apple-pie filling and Maine maple syrup ? crown waffles alongside scoops of Shain's of Maine ice cream. More than 25 flavors, such as raspberry truffle and coffee, can also be enjoyed waffle-less in cups and cones.

All these options, plus build-your-own waffle instructions, are all available in menus hanging from Wannawaf's ceiling. Outside, picnic tables and an ocean view await waffle enthusiasts.

15 Monument Square
Portland,
ME
US

Gelato connoisseurs Mariagrazia Zanardi and Donato Giovine moved from their native Milan to settle in Portland, attracted by the area's friendly neighborhoods, beautiful scenery, and wide-open market for freshly made Italian desserts. In the parlor of their dessert shop, a sunny-yellow and soothing-violet color scheme surrounds an appetizing display of cannoli, cakes, and frozen delicacies, while the couple works hard in the kitchen to create smooth, dense batches of gelato with time-honored recipes and methods. Each satiny spoonful of their gelato blends New England flavor with exotic European influences, with imported Italian hazelnuts and pistachios mixing with locally sourced whole milks and creams. The team welcomes guests to gather in the shop and enjoy cups and sandwiches of the icy treat, and they pour fresh espresso and cappuccino to complement the experience. Gorgeous Gelato even maintains a handcrafted ice-cream cart, its friendly old-school charm making it ideal for catering office functions, weddings, birthday parties, or the opening of another gelato shop.

434 Fore St
Portland,
ME
US

Some might say that The Gelato Fiasco is the most delicious type of fiasco there is. Joshua Davis and Bruno Tropeano would certainly agree. They began their mission to perfect Italy's favorite frozen treat in 2007. Nearly six years, two locations, and more than 1,000 flavors later, their signature gelato frequently earns plaudits from gourmands at MSNBC, Fortune, CNN/Money, and Every Day with Rachael Ray. Their new Old Port store also earned praise from taste testers on the ground, winning awards such as Best Ice Cream in Maine in Down East magazine's 2013 Reader's Choice Awards and Food Network Magazine's "50 States, 50 Ice cream Treats" accolade.

Each day, the team's trained ice cream makers whip up more than 30 flavors of gelato and sorbetto, ranging from mango and brownie batter to Maine wild blueberry crisp, espresso chip, and dark chocolate caramel sea salt. The Gelato Fiasco’s artisanal methods produce treats using only milk from Maine farms, natural cane sugar, and heaping scoops of fresh fruits, roasted nuts, and high-quality candies and confections. They also craft dairy-free sorbettos in flavors including balsamic-strawberry and chocolate noir. Gelato and sorbetto alike arrives in dishes, housemade waffle cones, or full pints to go; customers are also encouraged to mix flavors to create customized treats. Seasonal favorites are offered such as Pumpkin Pie Gelato and Fall in Bourbon County Gelato, created with Wild Turkey bourbon mixed with cinnamon-glazed peanuts and pecans. They also provide warm beverages during the fall season including God of Thunder, an exclusive house roast.

425 Fore St
Portland,
ME
US

Complete control over ingredients allows a chef to make more informed decisions in the kitchen. Chef Jeff Landry works toward complete oversight of his dishes, incorporating locally sourced vegetables and dairy products at The Farmer’s Table and butchering meats himself. The Mediterranean-tinged cuisine also incorporates local and imported cheeses as well as pastas rolled by hand in the restaurant. Roasted sweet potatoes fill the air with their earthiness and mingle with grass-fed beef brisket that is slow braised with brown sugar and local beer.

The sounds of jingling silverware drift from two outdoor patios, hinting at mealtime revelry or a knight whose fork has fallen down into his armor.

205 Commercial St
Portland,
ME
US