The beautiful coastal town of Portland, Maine has that majestic New England charm that draws tourists there in droves in the summer months. I visited recently for the first time to celebrate my best friend’s bachelorette party. The weekend plan was straightforward: have a few nice meals, enjoy a harbor boat ride and picnic, and dance the night away.
While the agenda sounded simple enough, we had to take into account that one partygoer and I are both gluten-free. While I happen to be gluten intolerant and our guest has Celiac disease, we had to make sure there were enough dining options for us to feel comfortable — and full — all weekend long.
Given I hadn’t had the pleasure of visiting Portland before, I was astounded by the number of gluten-free options in the city. Most of the restaurants we researched offered designated gluten-free menus, while others offered gluten-free bread, baked goods and desserts.
Below is my gluten-free guide for visiting Portland:
Situated in the middle of town, the historic Portland Regency Hotel carries gluten-free bread. I had the pleasure of enjoying toast in the morning with my eggs and bacon on one day, and sampled a gluten-free turkey club sandwich outside in the hotel’s front courtyard on the other.
If you’re looking for a casual atmosphere with great cuisine, minus the fuss, check out the Portland Lobster Company. On most nights, there’s a live band playing while you dine on your delicious lobster. Ordering is the best part about the spot; diners can place their order at the counter and will be summoned by lobster buzzers to notify them of when their meal is ready.
Have a sweet tooth? Then Bam Bam Bakery is a must-stop. Everything here is homemade and gluten- and dairy-free. The owners and bakers will amend additional ingredients so that customers are healthy and happy. Try all goodies, including cupcakes, cakes, muffins, cookies, and bread.
This local pizza joins has a variety of options to choose from to cater to those who are gluten-free, as well as vegan and vegetarians. Depending on severity of your allergy, they can make it in separate oven; they also offer gluten-free cider and wine.
There is no better date spot than the Bar of Chocolate. Try one (or two) espresso martinis with a side of flourless chocolate cake. Just prepare to wait a while for a table, since this place is quite the popular late-night destination for couples and big groups.
Kristen Oliveri is a special contributor to The Daily Meal.