Scales

4.7
767 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.
What 767 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
4.7
service
4.6
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
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PP
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very nice evening with friends. Food, ambiance, service all very good. A go to restaurant when in Portland!

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OT
New England
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

No complaints! Great food!

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KW
Charlotte
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We changed to the bar and got exceptional service. Food was fantastic as usual. The gratin is a fantastic side. Oysters, scallops and haddock were all on par. Always a great place to eat.

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MH
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved the 4:00 to 6:00pm raw bar at the bar or lounge. Dollar oysters, three choices, and little neck clams. Had those with a bottle of Sancerre and small order (was huge) of French fries with ketchup and smoked jalapeño aioli. Could have been dinner but then had dinner in the beautiful dining room. All excellent. Will return.

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r
New England
8 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

The food was good. The coleslaw a bit heavy. Very busy and somewhat distracting

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CC
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing from start to finish in every aspect! Highly recommend. Pricey but worth every cent!

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

Scales policy of seating people only when everyone has arrived is challenging. This may lead to people underestimating their group to ensure not having to wait extended times in an overflowing bar area.

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p
New England
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

This restaurant has it all! Gorgeous space on the waterfront; outstanding seafood menu; excellent wine list; attentive wait staff; and VALET PARKING. A class act in a city full of wonderful restaurants.

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CC
New England
7 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food an service. Very nice wine list. I will definitely go back.

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U
Pittsburgh
8 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First dinner of my vacation and the wait staff was outstanding. Scallops with bacon and morel mushrooms were dynamite! Cloverleaf rolls and Cod croquettes were also out of this world!

Thanks Scales for a great dinner!

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KS
Richmond
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Outstanding fried oysters! Very noisy, hard to hear your partner speak. Great seafood on the waterfront.

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j
Miami
19 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 4

The food here is terrific. They really know how to cook fish. The surroundings are beautiful, lots of windows looking out on the fishing boats.

The problem with the evening was the service. We had a table of 8 and the restaurant was very full on a Saturday night. Our server rarely checked in with us on his own. We had to flag him down every time we wanted to order. He brought the wines and poured the first glass then I or another guest did all the refills.

I hope the automatic 20% gratuity for large parties didn't diminish the attention we were paid. I would not have left a 20% tip for that service level. I suspect I could have complained and had the tip changed but it was a rare family get together that overall went very well and I didn't want to hold up our departure with a complicated complaint.

I will go back as the service is usually exemplary but I'll be hesitant when hosting a large party.

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TC
1 review
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

The food was delicious but we felt for the money spent the portions were small. A nice side salad or bread included would have been perfect.

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DA
1 review
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

The service was wonderful, the wait staff were professional and friendly. We were seated and served promptly. The atmosphere was fun and noisy in a good way, and the view was great also. But the food was disappointing. The calimari were over cooked (tough and chewy) in the seafood stew. The duck breast was lovely, but too much grease/oil in the rice below. And the Indian pudding was not fluffy and delicious. It was too gelatinous. Also, the fruit compote was not a great accompaniment although it looked pretty. Oh, well.

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R
1 review
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our favorite restaurant in Portland Me! Excellent!

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CJ
New England
4 reviews
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

The wait staff is great and friendly but our waiter was too busy and we had to wait a little too long before he could get to us and take our order.
The salads and seafood we ate were all fabulous, but the deserts are somewhat disappointing.
It is quite loud in the restaurant. We had a view of the water, which was lovely, but I think if you were in the middle of the dining area you might feel the noise and busyness detract from your experience.

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MA
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Way too loud! Gorgeous room, delicious oysters, fabulous wine list, excellent service

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PH
1 review
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Service and food was great. The noise level was a little high for me so much so that my wife and myself could barely make out what our waitress was saying and had to ask her to repeat things. Other than that everything was top notch. Will definitely be back!

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AG
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was Superb. Loved the open loft, open kitchen feel. Great service too. You will not be disappointed.

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NL
New England
1 review
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazingly delicious food. Terrific service and beautiful space

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C
Detroit
1 review
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was excellent as always. Service was excellent also. Great dinner overall that impressed our clients.

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DB
London
3 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is the best meal I found in a trip to Portland. It was also the most expensive, but the last $30 made a radical difference. Eat lobster rolls standing up until you can afford this place once. Or just eat here, if you're that fortunate.

I wish that all reviews required a direct comparison between restaurants; that's not the business model for any review site that I know. One presumes that nature does the work, eating seafood in Maine. It in fact takes great expertise to simply not ruin beautiful seafood, and even more to produce a flawless, delicious baked halibut as Scales did. Also, each restaurant has its own supply chain, and its own practices for holding seafood, which loses magic by the hour.

Saltwater Grille in South Portland gets appearances right, but serves indifferently overcooked seafood too long in the supply chain. DeMillos is the Portland classic, delivering what locals and out-of-towners expect at expected prices, setting a bar that is nevertheless low. Their steamers are good but lack magic; the lobster is moments overcooked, but that taste is probably from too long in the tank. If one simply wants the best steamers and lobsters Maine can deliver, drive an hour north to Five Islands Lobster to dine on the docks when they are open. For impeccable seafood in Portland, cooked with the skills one would expect from a Michelin restaurant in France, dine at Scales.

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JD
1 review
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

Scales is a good seafood restaurant and raw bar if you have money to burn and want consistently excellent food and service. It tries to be authentic but you are paying for the location and the service. The restaurant is huge and is usually busy, I applaud the owners business acumen. I have had better seafood from a shack on a pier in Maine for 1/4 the price of scales and that experience was far more authentic. The service at Scales is great, the location is convenient, but the food is so overpriced for what it is, it's hard for me to get over that. Fresh seafood needs no dressing up, no fancy sauces and scales usually adheres to this philosophy, which I respect. It's just an over engineered and manufactured experience for me. It's done very well but it's didn't blow me away. That might be fine for your average tourist from New Jersey but as a Mainer who just wants the best food I was a bit unimpressed. For the money there are better restaurants in Portland. I would choose Fore Street and Street & Co. over Scales if you wanted to stay within the same family. Three out of five clams.

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DC
1 review
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Been a huge fan since it opened. A first choice spot out of all the great resturantes in Town when ever we have family and friends visiting. If you haven't enjoyed their venue you are missing some great food and a lively dining experience...great seafood and the short ribs are to die for...

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MS
E. Tennessee
6 reviews
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

When in Maine, it’s likely sacrilege to order anything but seafood. Scales is on the water at one of the wharfs and Fresh whole fish on ice greet you when you walk through the door. Little pools containing fresh lobster await their fate by the open kitchen. The bar and raw bar are combined but appeared to be a favorite spot among locals. This restaurant has a great atmosphere and vibe.

As for the food, The pan roasted lobster was to die for! And the Halibut was as fresh as possible. I’m sure anything else on the menu would be just as good. Finish your evening with the marscapone cheesecake or the Baked Alaska for Two to complete the perfect Portland dinner experience.

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OT
New England
4 reviews
Dined on May 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is one of the better restaurants in Portland. The food is always incredible. The servers are friendly and the restaurant has a great vibe and nice views. I would recommend this place to anyone with one caveat, do not let them very sweetly bully you into placing a complete order. Since its opening they have still not mastered coursing out a meal. I’m not saying your entrees will not all come together, they will, I’m talking about not feeling like you are being rushed through dinner. There are so many amazing starters but they comes out very quickly and right on top of one another to the point where the servers are often looking for table space to put them down. Even when I specifically ask, and I always do, to not rush the dishes out, the message doesn’t stick. Unless you’re in a hurry, order what you want to start with, then order more, then drop your entrees in. That’ll make it the perfect meal.

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PF
New England
2 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome oysters. Fantastic Seafood stew. Terrific ambiance

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DS
New England
1 review
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

First time eating at Scales. Food was over the top excellent!

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OT
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Have been here twice now and will come back every year just for this amazing establishment ❤️

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T
Miami
9 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and great service. Thanks for making Mom’s birthday special.

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p
Caribbean
25 reviews
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous food.
Happy hour and good deal.
Lovely setting and staff

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JL
1 review
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The scallops were amazing! So we’re the frappes! We will be back.

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KM
New England
3 reviews
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Food was excellent, great service. On a busy it night it is very noisy.

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JB
Chicago
10 reviews
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous meal from beginning to end. Little necks, steamed clams, lobster chowder, halibut & scallops. All so fresh & delicious. Scallops were one of the best dishes I've ever had. Cooked perfectly. Superb service. Just can't say enough about this restaurant.

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DC
New England
4 reviews
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely setting, knowledgeable and attentive staff, superb food, and worth every penny of the price. Overall, Scales is perhaps the best restaurant in Portland.

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OT
New England
1 review
Dined on April 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

As always, the food and service were excellent. Benjamin was a fantastic and attentive server without being intrusive and the valet parking is an amazing benefit.

The decor and overall ambiance are always lovely and interesting. The only drawback is that the noise level can be a little excessive due to the vaulted ceilings and warehouse style atmosphere. It can make it difficult to hear the staff or even your dining companions.

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DD
New York Area
1 review
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The staff was outstanding; the food superb

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OT
1 review
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful staff food and service.

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SS
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything about Scales was incredible. We went for a birthday celebration, and a card was on our table to greet us for it. Dinner was perfect, food was cooked to perfection and had so much flavor. Our waiter was great, he was always quick and tended to every need. Dessert was worth it too. Set right on the water, it's in a wonderful spot in Portland. Will definitely be returning on our next trip from Boston.

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FW
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a wonderful experience in all respects. Atmosphere was really cool, wait staff was outstanding and food was delicious.

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