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“First time - very good but pricey”

Boone's Fish House & Oyster Room
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Ranked #236 of 636 Restaurants in Portland
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: American, Seafood
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Restaurant details
Good for: Scenic view
Dining options: Late Night, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Description: From the creator of Portland’s “Rooms” restaurants - Seafood on the Wharf. Boone’s Fish House and Oyster Room is a historic restaurant located on the Portland, ME waterfront. Just steps from Portland’s Old Port, Boone’s combines a perfect seaside location with the freshest local seafood for an unforgettable dining experience.The original Boone’s was established in 1898 and ran continuously until 2006. Now fully restored, and re-imagined, it boasts 2 beautiful decks, upstairs and down, serving steamed Maine lobster, wood-grilled fish & fried clams seven days a week. Upstairs holds the Oyster Room, with the ability to hold private functions of up to 150 guests and serving a raw bar and wood-fired flatbreads. Harding Lee Smith is Chef & owner with Bryan Dame as the Executive Chef and Sean Doherty as Chef de Cuisine of the Oyster Room.Discover a far-reaching array of seafood, much displayed on ice for your choosing. Pick your own lobster and, on the menu, you’ll find an extensive selection of local seafood like Maine oysters, Maine clams and fresh fish entrees. Watch the boats bring in the day’s catch while you enjoy the oyster bar or crack into a steaming hot lobster with sweet, drawn butter. For an authentic taste of Portland, the New England clam chowder or a famous lobster roll will get you started!Boone’s offers the real Maine dining experience just as it did when it originally opened. Boone’s combines a modern, rustic atmosphere with the best seafood in Portland. The spacious yet cozy dining room makes Boone’s an ideal destination for enjoying a seafood dinner with your whole family, sharing an intimate meal on a special occasion, or hosting a gathering or small event. While you’re visiting Portland, make Boone’s your first choice for enjoying a fresh Maine seafood dinner in a convenient, indoor/outdoor, and waterfront setting.
Reviewed February 9, 2014

It was a cold night when we visited, so the wood fire inside made it very cozy and inviting. Good atmosphere. We visited on a weekday night, so it probably gets crowded weekends. The bar looked great. Our server was attentive and suggested ideas when we asked (seemed to know the food!). The oysters were very good and the server carefully explained the order of the ones we ordered on the plate so we knew which was which. The food was delicious. My steak was much larger than I was expecting and the presentation was done very well. One little thing - we left smelling like wood smoke. Those with sensitivity to smoke may want to use caution - esp. in winter. Another downside was that the bathroom were freezing but it was a very cold evening.

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Thank dannop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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565 - 569 of 665 reviews

Reviewed February 6, 2014

Nice renovation and location but the service, food, and atmosphere are lacking. It will be a long time before I go back. Many of the steamed clams were about the size of the palm of my hand; way too big. They were more like quahogs that you would chop up and use for clam chowder. To their credit, they were gracious about letting me exchange them for scallops which were good. The salads were good also.

The bartender seemed to working his first day behind the bar and was very confused even though there were only a handful of customers in the entire restaurant and bar. The place is lacking in personality. It seems odd to have such big windows and the bar situated so patrons are looking out them when there is no view but an old warehouse across the ally.

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Thank Anne H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2014

My husband and I tried Boone's when they opened this past summer for a late lunch and it was fine, especially sitting outside by the water. Nothing that really knocked our socks off, but again, it was just lunch and we were outside, so who can complain?

We returned this weekend with some guests for dinner. We got there at 6:30 for a 6:45 reservation and were told the table wasn't ready yet but we could wait at the upstairs bar. That was fine, so we did. And we waited, and we waited, and we waited. Finally, at 7:10, I went down to the hostess station and asked if our table was ready yet. She said that it was being cleared and would be ready shortly. Maybe 10 minutes later an assistant hostess (who seemed pretty clueless) came up and directed us to a table that was right beside us in the pub area and which had been empty since we arrived at 6:30!!! No one had been sitting there at all. So, we were finally seated.

With regard to the menu, it's confused. It's almost like the restaurant has an identity crisis. There is fried food, but then there are flatbread pizzas, and then there are sandwiches, and then there are expensive entrees ($25-$29 range). And the way it was presented, on a glossy one page (almost looked like something you'd see at a local diner), was just not appealing. My husband ordered the seafood and meat pizza. He said that there was no meat on it and although it was all seafood it was "mushy". I had the scallops la plancha, which was one of the seafood specials for the night. It was okay, but only okay. I think there were 3 or 4 of the big scallops over a giant hash brown potato and spinach. The rest of our party had fish of various sorts and the person who had the swordfish said it was, in fact, very good. We had an appetizer of tuna tartare, which actually was surprisingly a lot of tuna, BUT then we were provided with 3 (yes, 3) little bread crackers with which to eat about a cup's worth of tartare. We did request more and the server brought of some additional crackers, but there should have been more in the first place for that amount of tuna. It was very good, otherwise.

Some plusses: the wood smoke smell from the open wood oven is great. Makes it feel really homey and like you are going to get some really great tasting food. The bartender was attentive and pleasant and prompt as we were waiting for our table (which was ready, apparently). This might be a good place for a casual lunch or perhaps drinks and appetizers but I wouldn't go for dinner again. Our server, on the other hand, was adequate, so no complaints there.

Negatives: the junior hostess (or whatever she was) had zero personality, and didn't seem to want to take us upstairs initially when the senior hostess asked her to - even making a face at the senior hostess when she was asked. And then I think from that point she pretty much forgot about us until I went downstairs again and reminded the senior hostess we were still waiting after almost 40 minutes. Also, the bathrooms were filthy. It's too bad, because they would have been fine if someone cleaned them once in a while. There was toilet paper in multiple spots on the floor of each bathroom, water on the toilet seat, what looked like water where someone "missed" on the floor in front of one of the toilets and they were COLD! After my first visit to the bathroom, I really didn't want to go back again, although I had to out of necessity. They are unisex so that could explain the drying urine on the floor in front of the one toilet. Pretty gross, and it wasn't like the upstairs was so busy that someone couldn't have gone in an spruced them up every so often.

I have now been to three of this chef/owner's restaurants and I'm just not impressed. It feels like he is mass-producing marginal restaurants in Portland to lure in tourists who don't know any better. The food and service at this restaurant really need work, because the building itself is pretty cool and has a great vibe. There are far better chefs in town and southern Maine who could really turn this into something great. And, of course, hire junior hostesses who actually want to do their jobs.

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1  Thank Kaotcgd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2014

The first thing I need to stop doing is comparing this place the The Grill Room. It’s not and it will never be. The newest “room” is massive! They did a fantastic job with the space, upstairs & downstairs each equipped with very large nice bar plus two full decks for outdoor seating. They are going to be seating a lot of people in the summer, this is a big step up in size and scale from the other rooms. Impressive and nice ambiance!

Getting a reservation was easy (for now); we simply called 15 minutes before showing up. The staff gets BIG points from us because they brought us upstairs and attempted to seat us in what I’ll refer to as death alley. It was a series of tables to the right that were literally on top of each other. I don’t even think I could have squeezed between the tables they tried to put us at. Thankfully my wife instantly said that the table wouldn’t work for us. The host didn’t even blink an eye and he instantly brought us downstairs to a much more favorable spot, near the fireplace. We still had a table next to us but the space and privacy was decent and WAY better than the original spot. A table should be removed from death alley, maybe even two, to provide more privacy. This space is huge, you can work that out. We also need to recognize and thank our server Shirley who was fantastic!

On to the food, I wasn’t that impressed. It is my personal belief the best burger in Portland secretly and quietly remains at The Grill Room (yes, I know, this isn’t The Grill Room) so I was pretty excited to see the burger menu here at Boone’s. I’m not a seafood guy but my mouth watered when I came across the NOB Burger which included fried oysters, a Tabasco mayonnaise, and bacon, served on a griddled onion roll. I opted to get the oysters on the side and did not eat them although my wife loved them. I still don’t know how I feel about this burger. I ate it. I feel perhaps the Tabasco mayo combined with quite the layer of pickles masked and changed the taste of the burger. I don’t know. Next time I go I plan to try the plainer burger option to make sure I’m giving this a fair shot. For now this burger isn’t on my radar as any good, I’d prefer 5 guys. The fries were thin and plentiful, very good. I also ordered the chop salad which was not bad at all. Wife had fish cakes over a spinach salad for her main course and fish chowder. She enjoyed everything and has no complaints. The bread is mini biscuits and raisin bread squares, delicious.


I’m a burger guy so that’s why I left down almost 100 bucks and a little disappointed. The menu does have plenty other items that I would like to try including an interesting Asian-ish section including fried rice and more. There are some pizza’s that look pretty good too. We love all the rooms in town and are willing to give this one another shot sometime soon but I’m already prepping the design on a tattoo that says GRILL ROOM FOR LIFE!

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Thank JayTeaBee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2014

We had a great, great dinner there. The place was beautifully done, our meal and drinks were fantastic, and the service was excellent.

I think that the many, early negative reviews were due to problems that have since been remedied. We'll absolutely eat there again, and would enthusiastically recommend Boone's to others.

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Thank Portland M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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