92 Commercial St
Portland, ME 04101
I recently had the opportunity to take a road trip through New England. I had never been to Maine, and I really felt that I had to check it out while I was up that way. I have a friend from Portland (although he now lives in Philly) and so I figured that was my destination, and I was also ready to get a taste of the nightlife. Our first stop was for some chowder (and a lobster roll). I heard that Gilbert's made some of the best chowder around, so it was a no-brainer to see what they had to offer.
Located on the waterfront, this chowder house is in a pretty magnificent location. The briny sea air fills the streets and piping hot bowls of rich chowder fit the ticket quite nicely. The chowder comes loaded with clams, thick and rich without being clumpy. It was a perfect example of New England's namesake chowder. They use local clams, and cook the potatoes JUST right. It was truly one of my favorites I have eaten.
An order of steamers were next on the list. If you look closely you can see the little tongues (?) sticking out, like a tiny version of a geoduck. The steamers were fresh and delicious, if a bit on the gritty side. This was solved for the most part by the warm water served alongside the drawn butter, to wash them before consumption.
Last but not least, the venerable lobster roll. It seems everyone these days has their own version, from Philadelphia to California, but as expected, no one can do it like they do up North. The lobster is as fresh as it gets, thus the roll comes out spectacular. Served simply with some plain Ruffles and a pickle, this was simple enjoyment at its best. I only wish it were twice as big.
All in all, Portland, Maine is a pretty wonderful place. Although perhaps not a destination in and of itself, it's a wise place to spend a night or two and take in the beautiful scenery and drink some delicious craft brews.