Much has remained the same at The Leaky Roof Gastro Pub throughout the eatery?s 60-year history. Luckily, the old roof, which once generously admitted the elements, has been replaced, but the sounds of revelry still rattle ranks of bottles on the original bar. Patrons perch there, sipping microbrews and an extensive selection of Irish whiskeys while warmth and light cascade into the room from a three-sided fireplace.
The aroma of Guinness-battered fish 'n' chips drifts from the kitchen, where chefs use local ingredients when possible and focus on sustainability. Their constantly rotating menu has featured inventive appetizers such as garlic truffle fries, which is infused with the restaurant's own truffle oil made with locally sourced black truffles, and country-fried chicken with mirepoix peppered gravy. In addition to buying local produce, the owners support the community by working with local businesses whenever possible, taking part in Portland's composting program, and not jumping motorcycles over town hall even if it would look awesome.
The chefs at Toast & Pho use a 100-year-old pho recipe and simmer their broth for 10 hours, ensuring that the flavors of the beef bones, star anise, and cinnamon blossom fully by the time the restaurant opens at 9 a.m. Pho veterans might want to try the spot’s creative chicken-broth-based varieties, which include more unusual ingredients such as scallops and cuttlefish.
When you walk in the pink-and-blue-framed glass door at Melt Bistro and Bar, you’re immediately immersed in its laid-back, friendly atmosphere that's reflected in its casual cuisine. Corrugated tin walls illuminated by vintage-style light fixtures and a counter area covered with wooden shutters serve as a backdrop as diners share tapas such as mac 'n’ cheese and grinder sliders. The daily happy hour begins at 2 p.m., unleashing a flurry of locally brewed beers, imported wines, and specialty cocktails made with fruit-infused vodkas and tequilas. Guests can assemble their own bloody marys during weekend brunch, which starts at 10 a.m.—ideal for late snoozers or those who spend the early morning giving their rooster opera lessons. Housemade desserts such as a whiskey-maple-bacon cupcake end meals on a sweet note.
At Serratto, kids are given an Etch A Sketch upon entrance, which should keep them occupied until the food comes. Then, they’ll be distracted by the comforting, kid-friendly Italian offerings, such as individual pizzas or pasta with butter and parmesan. The menu changes frequently but local ingredients and artisan breads are a constant.
Founded by a pair of Russian emigres, Piroshki and a Pickle brings the rich, homey cuisine of the old country to a cozy cafe setting. Guests match cups of espresso or Water Avenue Single Origin coffee with flaky, made-from-scratch pastries known as piroshki, which are stuffed with eggs and Bavarian sausage or sweeter things such as poppyseed, apricot, and peach. Diners can cleanse their palates with locally-made MoonBrine pickles or use the salty treats to get horses to do their bidding.
Pudding on the Rice is an unusual dessert shop that operates on the same principles as an ice-cream parlor—a glass-fronted case full of flavored treats and a friendly employee waiting to scoop them up for individual consumption. However, the devil is in the delicious details, and he knows how to whip up a mean batch of rice pudding. Opt to gobble a panel of kitschy-named sizes, from the bite ($2) and kilobite ($4) to the mega-, giga-, and terabite ($5–$10). The variegated flavor array also comes in a variety of punny monikers, such as Cinnamon Kane, which features plump golden raisins swimming in cinnamon cream, and Ziggy's Stardust, a trip to the outer stratosphere, where fresh oranges and vanilla are harvested by gender-ambiguous musicians and David Bowie. If you're craving a more traditional treat, Pudding also serves cups of tart frozen yogurt (same sizes and pricing as rice pudding) with your choice of toppings ($0.50 each) and makes both sweet and savory crêpes ($5–$6) fresh to order.