Where to Eat in Portland, Maine Right Now
The gist: Drawing on Japanese restaurant experience in San Francisco and Tokyo, husband-and-wife team Thomas Takashi Cooke and Elaine Alden opened this wildly popular spot on Washington Avenue in 2017.
The food: Izakaya Minato’s mix of small and medium plates are fun to share and make it easy for solo diners to enjoy a variety of bites. Pair garlic edamame; cucumbers with pickled plum paste; and fried tofu with jalapeño soy sauce and bonito with cocktails such as Plum Vesper (spicy plum sake, gin, vodka) or any number of sakes on Alden’s well-curated list. Add wild mushroom okonomiyaki (cabbage pancake), bacon-wrapped mochi, buta kimchi bento (pork, cabbage, and kimchi sauté), and Kamo Yaki Udon (stir fried udon noodles with duck breast and seasonal vegetables) to build a bigger meal.
The cost: Menu items run from $3-15, cocktails average $11, and beer, wine, and sake (by glass and bottle) go for $4-56. Gift cards, cool tees and totes, sake cups crafted by Takashi Cooke himself, and more are also available.
How to order: Email email@example.com or call 207-613-9939 to make a reservation for heated outdoor dining (BYO blanket!), or order takeout online or delivery via Carhop.