It seems that everyone welcomed Eventide Oyster Co. with open mouths in 2012. The diminutive new bar/restaurant made a big impression on Food & Wine editor-in-chief Dana Corwin, so much so that it's on her national list of Best Restaurants of 2012, joined by Petite Jacqueline. And this was only a 12-item list. Corwin's trip to Portland included Duckfat, Fore Street, Standard Baking Co., and Miyake, which tells you something about the level of competition.
And who else weighed in about Eventide at the end of the year? The James Beard Foundation included Chef Andrew Taylor's Cucumber-Cured Arctic Char with Melon, Mint, and Kasha—made with Maine melons!—on their list of 12 Dishes We Loved in 2012. Eventide was also Chef Erik Desjarlais' pick of the year for Maine in Find. Eat. Drink.'s "FED Fifty," a compendium of places to eat across the country in 2013. Locally, when Eater Maine asked "friends of Eater" to name their favorites from 2012, five out of the seven people polled said Eventide, an overwhelming endorsement.
So what do we have to look forward to in 2013 besides more meals at Eventide? Will Portland's appetite for oysters ever be sated? Portland Monthly recently ran a feature about the revival of the old Boone's space by Harding Lee Smith (known for his "Rooms" restaurants). This will be classic Maine seafood (replete with seaweed-steamed lobster) and the two-story space will also bring a new oyster bar to the waterfront. Eater National's pick for the most anticipated restaurant coming to town is a place called Sonnet, the restaurant incarnation of a series of pop-ups by chef Damian Sansonetti, who is a native son with New York City executive chef experience (Bar Bolud). Sansonetti is also set to open a new cafe in the Old Port, on 5 Dana Street.
But the exciting things for 2013 won't all be sit-down. The Chinese Laundry will be a pop-up dim sum series, serving steamed buns and other small treats all over town (that is, if they can get the funding to get it off the ground—let's make this happen!) On trend with mobile eating, is also mobile drinking. Maine Cocktail Tours, billing itself as "Portland's historical walking tour and cocktail adventure" is set to begin in May.