Scales

4.7
585 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Seafood
A traditional New England restaurant with some modern touches. Located on Maine Wharf next to the Casco Bay Ferry Terminal. Enjoy classic fried seafood as well as locally sourced land fare, while enjoying the view of a quintessential working Maine harbor.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Seafood, American
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Hours of operation
Bar & Raw Bar:
4pm to Close (Daily)

Dinner:
5pm-9:30pm Sunday through Thursday
5pm-10:00pm Friday & Saturday
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Phone number
(207) 805-0444
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Payment options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
Frederic Eliot & Travis Olsen
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Neighborhood
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Parking details
We have complimentary Valet for those who are dining with us. Parking in Portland can be difficult, so we're glad to be able to offer this amenity to our guests.
Additional
Beer, Full Bar, Wine
What 585 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.6
service
4.5
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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New England
3 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First, yea to a place that has valet parking. Then, we arrived about an hour early for our reservation and they were able to accommodate us with no fuss or muss. The food was simply excellent food, service outstanding, wine list really nice (but please add some more sancerre options). We had oysters, lobster stew, and breads for appetizers and the mackerel special (really great!) mussels, and scallops as mains. Everything very good. Busy, busy, so noise level was high - but as we were back in a corner - less so I think than people closer to the middle of the room. Wonderful and we will back.

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KF
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a group of employees in from the Midwest who just loved the sea food dishes

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RR
Denver
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

An altogether terrific evening. The halibut in browned butter with roasted hazelnuts was probably the best I've ever tasted, and it was a substantial portion. The lobster stew had the most beautifully balanced broth, and my wife tells me the fried oysters were entirely remarkable. All this, and a lovely Alsatian Pinot Blanc as well - hard to imagine how it could have been better. When busy, it's quite loud, but nonetheless a very inviting venue.

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PS
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Delicious dinner, swordfish and arctic char 5 stars. Might look to expand wine list to include more white burgundy options.

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SL
New England
5 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

Scales is always my first choice when visiting Portland. The food, location, decor, and lively scene are always a favorite. My roasted lobster never disappoints and the servers are friendly and professional. On this visit my companions ordered buttered lobster rolls and were a little disappointed that the lobster was tough. Not so with my roasted lobster. At first we were seated at the far table in the back corner far away from the other diners. We asked to be moved to a spot in the middle which was much warmer and inviting. I cannot wait to return to my favorite restaurant.

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LD
New England
2 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I come from a foodie family - yet convincing them to do an upscale meal is sometimes difficult. Fortunately I convinced them to return to Scales, their second visit in 6 months. The food is gorgeous. It tends to be loud, but so does my family. The only request would be for a main vegetarian meal. Putting together a few sides is nice, but I think a full main dish (seasonal?) would be a hit. Thanks for always being so great.

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MC
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was delicious but I got very sick after. I have Celiac and there is no mention of gluten or any indication of gluten-free items so I went with squash soup and a lobster salad thinking those should be safe (it is nice every now and then to NOT have to make a big deal about my dining restrictions). Definitely ask and do not make assumptions if you have food restrictions!

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Consistently great

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OT
New England
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and attentive service with a warm, comfortable atmosphere. We were very happy and well fed. Thank you!

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SW
New England
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Everything we had, from soup to dessert, was mouthwatering and delicious! If I could afford it I would eat their cod dish every week!

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6
New England
2 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Staff, ambiance, selections, were all GREAT. Food was all very fresh, and unique. I would say the only downfall was that there was an over use of salt in their dishes. I would still go back, just hope the message geust back to the Cheff.

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P
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great experience.....wonderful lobster and seafood.

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JD
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our first time visiting Scales and will certainly not be the last!! The steak!...oh the steak!!!! Can’t wait to return!

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OT
New England
5 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service!!

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F
New England
7 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good food but very noisy. Service was vvery good

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DS
1 review
Dined on October 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Wonderful experience. All the dishes - scallops, swordfish, fried oysters and side dishes, especially the broccolini, were exceptional. The wine list was very extensive but we would have liked to have seen some New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. Service a tad slow, but server seemed to have a lot to cover. We'll definitely be back!

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T
Seattle
1 review
Dined on October 30, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

Very noisy, may be good for the convention crowd. Scallop carpaccio was tasteless, the roe served with it made it a little better. Lobster roll was very good. Not a good date night experience!

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SF
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Excellent all the way around. A true gem in Portland.

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NG
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our second visit to Scales & introduced it to two more couples. As usual, Scales did not let us down!
Excellent service, friendly & professional staff, excellent food, taste, presentation.
A bonus to this restaurant is it's valet parking!

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PF
New England
1 review
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very creative take on seafood and local ingredients. Excellent service.
Grilled Octopus with chorizo was the best I have had...

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AS
Grand Rapids
1 review
Dined on October 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding meal! Outstanding service! Definitely a gem not to be missed when in Portland. Make sure to plan ahead and get reservations or you’ll be out of luck. Delicious!

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b
New England
24 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

This review would be close to 5 stars if it were not for a waiter who started out very strong and faded into the sunset.
The food was delicious - scallops entree is to die for and the tuna special was loved by 2 members of our party. Lobster stew was a wonderful balance between the rich, savory seafood flavor and the creamy goodness that should be lobster stew. Salads were fresh, perfectly dressed and a shareable size. Crab fritters were quite special. Only disappointment was the calamari which was surprisingly rubbery.
Now the service. Benjamin was delightful when we arrived, and good naturedly went along with our dining companions' constant questions about things that had nothing to so with the restaurant. Once our meals were underway, though, he disappeared, failing to clear our table when we were finished, tell us about dessert (2 of our party wanted dessert) or get us our check. Numerous attempts to wave him down were useless until I (too) loudly called his name as he walked nearby. At that point, all we wanted was our check, having tried to get his attention for nearly 20 minutes. He apologize for "keeping you waiting for, like, dessert" which we were never offered.
A delightful young man and incredibly good up front. Perhaps management needs to examine the customer load that waiters are expected to carry.

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K
New York Area
29 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love Scales! Dined here a year ago & was eager to return. Had the lightly fried scallops appetizer, a salad & seafood stew. Simply amazing! I only wish Scales was open for lunch too.

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BD
New England
4 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Scales has beautiful food. Fresh, interesting ingredients, great service. We all had fish. Every dish was perfect. We had a number of apps. Just wanted to try them all. Great restaurant all around.

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W
Chicago
11 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Beautiful location on the water for truly delicious seafood. The steamer clams were outstanding. Service was great. Make an advanced reservation as this is a popular spot.

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MC
1 review
Dined on October 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our server was great was able to advice the chief of my dietary needs.
She was friendly, smiled and took the time to listen to our needs.

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TH
Atlanta
5 reviews
Dined on October 17, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 5ambience 5

I have been to Scales many times and it is one of my favorite restaurants in Portland. I always like to bring my family here as it’s a good environment and the wait staff is extremely friendly. However, tonight we had my 9 month old niece.

This was mentioned on the reservation and also in the phone call with the representative from Scales to confirm the reservation. Once we arrived she was asleep and due to her stroller we were unable to put her into a high chair that the restaurant could provide. The waitstaff and our waiter specifically, John, was incredible and the only reason that we remained in the restaurant at the time. The manager on duty however, was extremely un-accommodating and extremely rude about this situation. Had she been the only person we encountered we would have opted for McDonald’s over the incredible food at Scales.

If you look to eat here DO. The food is always great and it is still one of my favorite restaurants in Portland. BUT if you have a baby who is 9 months old... make it very clear that you want to be out of the way of all traffic JUST IN CASE your baby is asleep and as the old saying goes... “never disturb a sleeping baby”

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OT
New England
4 reviews
Dined on October 17, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Scales was the last of three in the family (Street and Co, Fore Street being the others) I’ve dined at in the last month. Personally I’d rank them Fore, Scales and Street in one to three order. Food is excellent at all. I do find it odd that the servers at none of the places introduces themselves. Not sure how others feel but personally I like the name introduction. Server was very knowledgeable with regards to my menu questions.

As to this specific visit - I started with the mussels app. Similar dish to Fire Street in that it was oven hot to the table but this version uses a cider and mustard sauce. It was excellent. Swordfish main was served on cold broccoli. Not that it was bad but definitely not what I was expecting. I should read the menu closer I suppose. The cut of fish was excellent, no grey portion like often happens. If anything this dish might have been under priced the fish was that good. My companion got the crab fritters followed by scallops. Fritters were tasty and scallops were cooked to perfection, so many places tend to overcook them. The beer menu had a nice mix of choices, not just IPAs thankfully.

The space is bright and airy, total opposite of Street and Co. There was another table of two next to us but not so close it felt intrusive as compared to Cheesecake Factory for example. Pretty noisy but manageable. Food came out quickly but not so quickly as to feel rushed, just right. I will definitely be back in the future.

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K
New England
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Made reservations 3 months ago, drove an hour to get there, it was a special occasion for us. Had very high expectations based on reviews but was underwhelmed. I felt like I was in a cafeteria, it was so loud and we were seated in a two top in a row right next to another table. Did I mention how loud it was? Conversation was almost impossible and I felt rushed. Out to eat on a Saturday night and paying 30 for an entree I do not want to be rushed. Food was good, but not great, as others have said heavy on the cream sauce. Will not be back, overall disappointed in the experience.

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AW
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had family in from Scotland who wanted to go to a good fish restaurant. We knew we couldn't go wrong with Scales! Everyone loved the food from the appetizer to the dessert. Was a great time out!

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w
Miami
243 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

we went to Portland ME to pick up a new puppy. After some research... we made a reservation at Scales. Wow what and experience. everything fresh and straight forward. the pricing was surprisingly below what we expected and worth twice as much. our server was knowledgeable and friendly and very attentive to us. next time I go to Portland ME.... going there again. first class experience

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JS
Dallas
11 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

My wife's whole fried sea bass was outstanding. She said it was a life-changing meal experience. My broiled cod was too salty, and the cabbage and leeks were swimming in butter. If you are a fan of old school Paula Dean, this was a meal for you. The service was outstanding, with a very friendly and knowledgeable waiter.

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a
Atlanta
92 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Left disappointed after dining at Scales. Neither of us could quite put our finger on it. The two salads we chose - the vinegar based dressing was so tart, you could hardly eat the salads. The crab chowder was all corn. The fried oyster appetizer was good as well as the pan seared scallops. It's all very pricey that you expect it to be worth it.

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a
New England
3 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food, service, and atmosphere were wonderful!

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MG
1 review
Dined on October 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Scales exemplifies the best of the best of Portland’s outstanding food scene. Located on the working waterfront, Scales highlights Portland’s brilliant and eclectic community. The complimentary valet parking was a wonderful surprise!

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E
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The waitress wait server whatever was exceptional
The food was amazing. 5 stars!!

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CJ
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on October 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The service was fast and the ambiance was very Old Port. We all ordered seafood. - clams, lobster, swordfish, haddock, and scallops. Each dish was served piping hot with a unique and flavorful sauce along with seasonal vegetables cooked to perfection. We'll be back!

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ND
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wow! This place was truly amazing! The service was excellent and the food was out of this world. 5 out of 6 in our party had the Roaster Lobster... Neong from Maine originally and being that lobster is my absolute favorite, this dish was phenomenal! MUST STOP ANY TIME YOU ARE IN THE PORTLAND AREA!!!

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P
New England
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

Was surprised that our meals were not that good. My husband had the stuffed lobster- it was dry and just tasted of breading. My scallops weee overly rich with the corn. Did not meet expectations.

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s
New England
11 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

An amazing location and restaurant to take a friend visiting from NC. The experience was perfect from beginning to end - boosted by the window seating we had to watch the lobster boats finish up their day.

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