Food is a central tenet of Off the Maine Road. It’s what brings Mainers together. Some treats are uniquely Maine, while other delicacies come to the Pine Tree State from all around the world. Today, we’re going to travel to Tokyo…well not really. We’re going to the Old Port, on Exchange Street, to Fuji Restaurant. As cliché as the name sounds, this is no ordinary eating establishment. The restaurant divides itself into 3 parts (longtime readers know that I like lists):
- Standard “western” booth seating
- Tatami mats
- Hibachi (which is downstairs)
Of course, the take-out option is always available.
Fuji Restaurant’s Hibachi grill.
During the few visits I made to Fuji, I had the opportunity to sample each seating option, and try many of the dishes. After a long day walking around the Old Port, it was a welcome treat to sit around the hibachi table and watch a culinary experience unfold right before my eyes. Hibachi portions are generous, and include an appetizer, soup, salad, rice, vegetables, and your choice of poultry, meat, fish or seafood. While not part of the traditional Japanese cuisine, fresh Maine lobster is also available. Sushi is fresh, and quite tasty. Of course, I wanted to sample everything on the menu, but due to time constraints (and budget), was unable to. That being said, I encourage you as readers to head out and enjoy Fuji’s take on Japanese cuisine! Feel free to comment below any new discoveries you made at the restaurant!
That wraps up today’s edition of Off the Maine Road. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook for daily updates, Maine-worthy articles, photos and more!
I thought I would start this post with a brief lexicon for non-Mainers.
Portland – the largest city in Maine. An active shipping port for lobster, hence the name. (Oh, and did I mention that it’s on land?)
The Old Port – a district of Portland, Maine, known for its cobblestone streets, 19th century brick buildings and fishing piers. (Source: Wikipedia).
That’s all you need to know for now. So let’s dive into why this small area has become one of my favorite places in Maine.
I like lists. So I’m going to list the top 10 reasons why The Old Port is the best place to visit in Maine. (Reference to The Late Show with David Letterman.)
- You get to walk around feeling like you’re in the 1800s. How cool is that?
- Let’s go back for a second. You can walk. No need for Uber (although there is Uber in Portland), just your own two feet.
- You can take a ferry and explore islands such as Peaks Island and Great Diamond Island.
- There’s a crazy festival at the beginning of June where you can savor food, enjoy live music, and even ride a ferris wheel.
- There’s hibachi and sushi at Fuji Restaurant. And it’s pretty darn good.
- It’s the perfect stop on the way to Freeport, Brunswick, or Acadia. Or if you’re stopping on your journey south, you can have a bite to eat before heading towards Kennebunk and Kittery.
- There’s Cool As A Moose, one of 4 locations in Maine. What are the other 3, you may ask? Well, there’s Brunswick, Freeport, and Bar Harbor. (Good trivia question, by the way). I’ve had the privilege to visit 3 of them – Brunswick is still on my to do list. And of course, there’s a Life is Good shop as well, because who dares to despise a store with the main focus of happiness?
- There’s the Flatbread Company, which is known for their thinly-crusted goodness.
- It’s the home of the Portland Sea Dogs, at Hadlock Field. Enough said.
- There’s not one gelato place, but two. (Read more about the “Gelato Wars” here.) For the past couple years, Gelato Fiasco (my personal favorite – more on this to come in a future post) has risen to become a gelato superpower, extending their empire from their flagship store in Brunswick. There’s also Gorgeous Gelato, if you want to sample more than one serving of this Italian treat. (I once told a friend who was visiting Portland to head to Gelato Fiasco as a must-visit place. Sure enough, they stopped at Gorgeous Gelato and settled for their frozen delicacy. We spent the next few months recreating the “Gelato Wars,” basing our arguments on articles like the one above.)
The greatness that these 21.31 square miles of land has cannot be contained in a single blog post. So, there will definitely be more of the different attractions in this classic Maine city!
Cool As A Moose in Portland.