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“Great food, charming staff, good value”

Congress Bar & Grill
Ranked #147 of 627 Restaurants in Portland
Cuisines: American
Dining options: Late Night
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night
Hillsborough, NJ
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Great food, charming staff, good value”
Reviewed July 14, 2013

We found this thanks to reviews on Trip Advisor, stopping for a late Saturday lunch while on the road to Downeast Maine. There were four blackboard specials and a regular menu as well. We chose two of the specials -- an excellent crab cake with spinach salad, and a gyros wrap with sweet potato fries and a side of grilled zucchini. The crab was fresh, not breaded or filled, and nicely browned; we were both very pleased. The interior of the restaurant seemed a bit dark, so we chose to sit outside as it was a beautiful day. We were the only ones outside (perhaps because of the late hour), but the staff came out to serve us quite cheerfully. However, as the only ones seated outside, we were approached twice by passersby requesting a small handout -- but we had used all of our change on the parking meter; they were not unpleasant or persistent when we refused. Overall, we enjoyed our lunch very much and would happily return.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Pat800
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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84 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    38
    36
    7
    2
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
New York
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Surprisingly good!”
Reviewed July 5, 2013

Although this seems like a bit of a local dive spot, the food was great. We ordered the Greek salad with calamari and the pulled pork quesadilla. Both were delicious and had some left to take home. Service was also great.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank Tammy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Maine
Level 6 Contributor
568 reviews
452 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 218 helpful votes
“Dependable with Occasional Excellence”
Reviewed June 16, 2013

This was my umpteenth time at this restaurant. The food and service are fast and friendly. I still call this place "Norm's," like many of us do who remember it in its prior incarnation. However, the food has actually improved since then, though the atmosphere is essentially the same: darkly lit with a nice, unpretentious ambiance...... and for a "straight" bar and restaurant..... there are always lots of gay guys around. I call it the "gayest straight eatery in the city." This makes for a fun party atmosphere, yet the bar is separate from the dining room, so one can 'get away' a bit more if one wants to- though not from the festive noisiness altogether. I went with an old friend on Pride evening, and surprisingly it was rather "straight" in there. One just never knows!

On this trip I ordered the yummy calamari appetizer. My friend had a good size chicken burrito with all the fixings. Both were very good. But I started with the creamy lobster stew with grilled baguette on special (and finished it). I was gastronomically pleased and surprised by how delicious this stew was- and not too salty. There were claws and big chunks of lobster meat in there! It was so convincing that my friend didn't hesitate to order his after the fact. The waiter was pleasant, competent and handsome, and when the ordering went to 'late night menu only' we weren't sure we could get another order of the stew.... but our waiter came through and earned himself a nice tip. That stew was truly outstanding. Another great meal at this place who's new name I dislike.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank James F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gorham, Maine
Level 2 Contributor
1 review
“BEST Place Ever!”
Reviewed April 17, 2013

We go here at least once a week for the mussels, sweet potato fries and more. Never has there been a time where the food was not perfect. Great prices and people watching!

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank greeneyes147
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waterboro, Maine
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“I love this place!”
Reviewed March 4, 2013

If you're looking for a place with great cocktails and really good food, come here! Everyone is very friendly, and the menu is very creative as are the daily blackboard specials. I just had a spinach salad with the best fried oysters I ever had. My companion had the fish and chips, and he was blown away by the quality and portion size.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank BARRY M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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