Just off Monument Square at Portland Public Market House, a daily line of lunch-goers forms at Kamasouptra, choosing from options expected (creamy Clam Chowder) and less-so (Beer and Cheddar made with a Red Ale from nearby Sebago Brewing). Toward the waterfront, they are filing into Paciarino, where husband-and-wife chef/owners Fabiana de Savino and Enrico Barbiero prepare handmade scallops-and-haddock ravioli.
Diners looking for Latin-inspired menus hit up El Rayo Taqueria, a former garage on York Street that offers excellent fish tacos with a side of roasted pumpkin seeds—a healthier option than the usual tortilla chips. Next door at sister restaurant El Rayo Cantina, the modern Mexican menu features nearly 30 tequilas and snacks of tlayudas, hot tortillas spread with black beans, shredded cabbage, crema, and mushrooms.
At Middle Street's Bresca, Krista Kern Desjarlais is redefining the sandwich. Case in point: Her smoked trout in a kombu-flecked roll, with pickled shallots, capers, and mustard greens in Meyer lemon vinaigrette (pictured). That's not your old-timey fish sandwich. —Nancy English