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“Some great selections” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Caiola's

Caiola's
58 Pine St, Portland, ME 04102-3855
207-772-1110
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Ranked #47 of 540 Restaurants in Portland
Cuisines: American, Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Dinner, Reservations
Illinois
Top Contributor
557 reviews 557 reviews
438 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 170 cities Reviews in 170 cities
370 helpful votes 370 helpful votes
“Some great selections”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2009

The place is small and we did not have reservations, but we were able to sit at the bar and order food. We had a couple restaurants we wanted to try so we stuck with appetizers. They were delicious. Entree menu looked to have some very interesting options also. Good place for foodies that are looking for freshly prepared options.

    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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226 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    133
    58
    20
    7
    8
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Sewell
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Go only for the food”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2009

Go to Caiola's only for the food, not for the service. If you're in a hurry or can't sit still for long, this isn't the place for you. However, the meals my husband and I had were really very good. He had a Greek salad and the bronzino (bronzini) whole fish. I had the white anchovy appetizer and the paella. He said his salad was very tasty and not too large to ruin his appetite for the main plate. The piece of fish he received was quite large, properly cooked, and was served with mussels. My anchovy appetizer was very tasty, though the six fillets were over-powered by the other flavors on the plate: roasted red pepper, mild aioli, caper berries and caper buds, green and red onion, and bruschetta. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the flavors together. The paella had chorizo, chicken, shrimp, clams, and mussels --in spite of a plethora of additional mussels, though, I was served 6 that had not opened; that was disappointing -- and the rice was pleasantly sticky but not clumpy. We were too full for dessert.

The service undid the pleasant food experience, though. Slow service -- slow to be acknowledged, slow to have someone else's leftover bread bowl removed from our table and replaced with fresh bread and butter, slow to provide us with the correct utensils for our meal (meal served first THEN the silverware had to be fetched), and slow to bring a separate plate for all of our seafood shells.

We did overhear that the restaurant is remodelling in a month - knocking down a small room in the back of the restaurant with only 4 - 5 tables in order to expand. I hope this gives the wait staff more room to maneuver around each other, which might help speed up service or distribute stations more efficiently. I hope they also train their bussers to be more efficient and attentive; the one on duty the night we were there was in stroll mode and didn't seem to lift more than a handful at any one time.

    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Massachusetts
Top Contributor
148 reviews 148 reviews
111 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 56 cities Reviews in 56 cities
89 helpful votes 89 helpful votes
“Extraordinary!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2009

Fabulous food! Not cheap but worth every penny. A vacation for the palate. preperation and presentation are first-rate. One of the best in Portland and worth seeking out as it's not in the main downtown area. it's close by so it takes just a few minutes to get there.

    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Rockingham, Vermont
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“We Happily Gorged!"”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2009

My daughter and son-in-law are both excellent chef's, but they let me pick a restaurant of my choice in Portland. I checked trip advisor and decided this restaurant was unique enough to try for my 61st birthday. We all loved it. Everything was great, from the initial phone conversation from Vermont to the final birthday dessert (which five of us shared). My five year old grandaughter felt welcomed and they catered to her needs even what she wanted wasn't on the menu. (Shrimp cocktail-Hey! She is the daughter of two chef's after all!). I only gave it four bars for atmosphere because there was no A/C. My daughter LOVED the Cilantro Stinger. She and my sil had four app's which we all shared. The antipasto is large enough for one person for an entire meal. The crabcakes which I had for my appetizer were the best my daughter said she has ever tasted.

My husband couldn't be here on this trip, but he wants to go to Caiola's when we visit my son in Portland this fall.

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Sebago Lake/Lowell, MA
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Extraordinary Dinner Last Night!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2009

Easily the best restaurant meal that we've ever had. We had brandini (a type of sea bass) and mussels--both skillfully prepared and served. For dessert, a semi fredo (unchurned ice cream) with poached peaches. All in all, a memorable and remarkably affordable meal. Wines by the glass are inexpensive but good, and the coffee is as good as it gets.

Seating is tight, but you don't really hear other conversations and we could easily talk to one another. Service was professional, and unobtrusive.

Why go anywhere else in Portland? I would have been happy with anything on their fairly lengthy menu.

    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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