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“Top Notch Dining in Portland” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Back Bay Grill

Back Bay Grill
65 Portland St, Portland, ME 04101-2827
207-772-8833
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Ranked #2 of 552 Restaurants in Portland
Certificate of Excellence 2014
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Doing business, Romantic, Special occasions, Local cuisine, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Wellesley, Massachusetts
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Top Notch Dining in Portland”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2014

My wife and I visited Portland ME for the first time this past weekend and had the extreme good fortune to have been directed to Back Bay Grill by a foodie co-worker in Boston. From start (calling to make a reservation) to finish (as we departed), our experience was top-notch and professional (and also warm and friendly) in every facet. First, do not be put off by this restaurant's less than desirable location away from the old Port. We chose to walk from the old Port, and on the gorgeous evening that it was, it really is quite an easy walk. The restaurant is totally charming both inside and outside - small, intimate and appealing. We were warmly greeted by the manager and directed to a perfect table in the main dining room. From there, we experience nothing but highly professional service and excellent food. The restaurant has a small but interesting craft cocktail menu (which we sampled) and a fulsome and relatively reasonably priced wine list, and we got some great advice from our server who directed us to a fabulous Oregon pinot noir. We had the Maine crabcake and a rabbit pastry dish for first courses followed by the rack of lamb (with surreal "potato salad") and duck breast for entrees - both cooked to medium-rare perfection. We split a semifreddo dessert (excellent) which was presented tastefully with a small candle in honor of my wife's birthday.

I can't say enough about the professional service - dished whisked away promptly, wine poured regularly, food served at an appropriate pace - such a pleasure to experience. This place means business in terms of customer service. We have many tremendous restaurants in Boston but I am of the belief that many of them get over-hyped by the press and often fail to live up to high expectations in terms of both service and food quality. Not so at Back Bay Grill. I thought that I would never find a restaurant that I enjoyed as much as Hen of the Wood in Waterbury VT, but Back Bay Grill is right up there with the best of them. I highly recommend it.

  • Visited June 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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309 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    261
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Portland, Maine
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“First time there”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2014

After a recommendation, my boyfriend and I decided to try it out and the experience was great!! They have a real appreciation for food with great customer service. Adrian, the manager, was fantastic and so was the bartender Liz (we only sat at the bar). We ordered crab cakes because we had eaten previously but we definitely got more than we asked for! First, they sent out an amuse bouche which was a smoked salmon mousse inside a light, puff pastry. They gave us sourdough bread and butter and then our crab cakes came out, which were cooked perfectly! They were decently sized, with the right amount of crunch and filling. We then had truffle popcorn which was offered at the bar which was very tasty for anyone who enjoys popcorn, you could eat it by the handfuls. Afterwards we got a caramel bourbon ice cream dish for dessert which was also delicious. This is a place that really focuses on the love and craft of the food, without the stuffiness feel, and above and beyond great customer service! I would recommend this place to anyone!!

  • Visited June 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Westbrook, Maine
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Never Fails to Impress”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2014

I constantly forget about holidays, so I when I called for a reservation at 5:00 on Friday evening of memorial day weekend, I was pleasantly surprised that they were able to fit my boyfriend and I at the bar only two and a half hours later. I had been to the restaurant one other time, over a year ago.
When we got there, they were just getting our seats ready at the bar, and we were seated promptly, even being a bit early for our 7:30 reservation. We ordered 2 of their specialty cocktails, a Hendrick's, St. Germaine, basil and pineapple juice and then one with prosecco and Jameson. They were both delicious and strong! After this, we were a bit concerned that our waitress had forgotten about us. We did take some time deciding on our food, but after some time with our menus cast aside, we did watch our waitress pay more attention to other guests, than we felt we received. My boyfriend and I both had experience working in fine dining restaurants, so we are a bit picky about service. I ended up flagging our waitress down, and asking if there were specials (there weren't, but this is not unusual for a restaurant in Maine on Memorial Day weekend - the first busy weekend of the summer). My boyfriend ordered the Parsnip and green apple soup and then the filet, and I ordered the foie gras, and house made papardelle with lamb confit.
The Back Bay Grill was the first place I ever had foie gras, and it was just as perfectly made as I remember. Perfectly paired with a little bit of sweet (dates) and toast, it was easily my favorite part of the meal.
After the appetizers, the waitress fully redeemed herself by being very helpful with wine selections. I explained that I usually prefer whites, but I know that lamb would usually be paired with a red, and she offered me a taste of a rose and a chardonnay, both of which were delicious, but of which I picked the chardonnay. After our neighbors food arrived, I realized that I had forgotten to order a side of the sauteed fiddleheads, and I asked that those be added to the order, which they did without a problem. The entrees and the fiddleheads arrived together, perfectly.
My boyfriend loved the filet, which was done perfectly medium, but especially enjoyed the stilton gratin that came with it. The papardelle was delicious as well, but really the star of the night was the foie gras, for me.
To end the night, we shared the creme brulee, at the suggestion of our neighbors, and I enjoyed a cappuccino.
All in all, it was a perfect evening, in a lovely environment.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, Ohio
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
51 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Great first impression of Portland”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2014

We had a business meeting at the Back Bay Grill and the food, atmosphere and service was outstanding. Flavors, preparation, quality were top notch, fine attention to detail and service - prompt but not obtrusive... chef prepared mini-bites were a nice surprise. I had scallops with Risotto with a balsalmic-pesto reduction that was fabulous.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Knoxville, Tennessee
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Amazing Place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2014

This was my second visit. The first was so memorable that I will probably never come to Portland, ME, without dining at the Back Bay. This time I sat at the bar and admired a very respectable bottle collection, as well as a lovely bartender who smiled and informed while whirling through drink preparation and food service. I had the agnolotti and a ginger mousse dessert. Every bite was sublime! As a solo diner, I have never felt more welcome.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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