A few weeks ago, I went up to do a book signing at the Portland, Maine Whole Foods Market. Luckily, the event was scheduled early, so I was able to meet my roommate from my college days and go out for a great dinner. My friend Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo highly encouraged me to check out Vinland, and I have to say, I was not disappointed. The meal was fantastic and the ingredients, all sourced locally, were high quality. It was also gluten free and pretty much paleo (there was some dairy and one dish had local organic corn). I don’t eat out much, but when I do, I like to make it count. I was thrilled with the meal.
“It is time for us to reclaim the dignity, beauty, and sustainability of real food, our birthright, and a blessing to our children.” – Vinland’s website.
The cocktail menu was certainly interesting. I was a little nervous about ordering the Pine Gimlet, consisting of my favorite gin, Bar Hill, plus condensed yogurt whey and pine syrup. To me, it sounded like it would either be fantastic or very strange. I can honestly say, it was one of the best cocktails I’ve had.
The menu had a good variety of intriguing dishes, especially considering the mission of the restaurant is to source all items locally and it was early May in Maine. Their mission is quite an eloquent manifesto, listed on their website. Here is the opening paragraph:
“THE HUMAN IS AN ANIMAL, and animals need food. The decline in the quality of our food began with the Agricultural Revolution, accelerated with the Industrial Revolution, and has now reached a sad and dangerous low. It is time for us to reclaim the dignity, beauty, and sustainability of real food, our birthright, and a blessing to our children.”
Next came some creative amuse courses. The first was dried fish, with seaweed and yogurt.
The second amuse was a fried beet chip. They do not use industrial seed oils for cooking. Both of these were really unique and lovely.
Next, we had the best mussels I’ve ever had. Finally, our meals came. My friend Heather enjoyed a local fish dish with Jerusalem artichokes, which was incredible (but the photo I took did not come out well). My dish was a local, grass-fed steak with parsnip fries, beets, mushrooms and a ramp.Perfection!
Anyone who cares deeply about food quality and sustainable food production needs to support this place. I would say this even if the meal was mediocre, but it wasn’t. It was one of the best meals I’ve had. I’ve already told tons of my friends to go, and now I hope my readers will all go and have a meal here. I even think it’s worthy of a special trip. Please, please check them out the next time you’re anywhere near Portland, Maine.
Below is my friend Heather and I outside the restaurant after our meal.
593 Congress StPortland, ME 04101
West End, Old Port, Arts District
Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday.
Seating starts at 5:30.
Late Nights, Friday and Saturday, 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Lunch Wednesday?–?Friday, 12:00?–?2:00.
Brunch Saturday?–?Sunday, 9:30?–?1:30.
Reservations are recommended, can be done online at their website: http://www.vinland.me
Disclaimer: All thoughts are my own. I did not receive any financial compensation or discounts for this review. I just honestly loved the place.