Sonny’s

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Whether you’re looking for a spot for dinner, brunch or cocktails at the bar, many locals will agree that Sonny’s in Downtown Portland, ME is a great place to go. 

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Booth seating to the left, the bar on the right, and….ta-da! Open kitchen in the back, my favorite. The vibe is laid back, but still has a bit of a trendy, chic aesthetic. 

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For a drink, I ordered their Spicy Cucumber Margarita (house infused chile tequila, fresh cucumber, fresh lime, simple syrup). I liked this drink, but, I will say, I like my spicy drinks spicy, and, I found this one a little on the mild side. Overall though, it was tasty, just not spicy. 

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Then, I ordered the Grilled Fairy Tale Eggplant (local heirloom and cherry tomatoes, house made mozzarella, israeli couscous, saffron tomato sauce). I really enjoyed this dish. The eggplant and tomatoes were fresh, and the saffron tomato sauce was really nice too, letting the natural flavors take the main stage and not adding in lots of extra salt or anything to take away from that. I especially liked the thick grained couscous pearls, it was tender and had almost a creamy quality to it. 

The Shorts:
Name: Sonny’s
Locations: 83 Exchange Place, Portland, ME
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure, the service was excellent, the food was great, and really liked the atmosphere.
Would I recommend it? Yes. It’s in a great location and you won’t leave disappointed.  

Trattoria Belvedere

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I love Italian food from the Tuscany region. And if you’re looking for a non-pretentious environment that really makes you feel like family (sorry, Olive Garden), head to Trattoria Belvedere in Murray Hill. 

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Everything here is made and served with lots of love and attention to detail. To start, we were served a complimentary Bruschetta E Pomodoro (Italian bread with tomatoes). The bread is crisp on the outside and just toasted enough to hold up the generous amounts of fresh tomatoes, lightly dressed in olive oil and pepper. 

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For appetizers, we ordered a couple of things. First, I had Mozzarella E Pomodoro (fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and basil). This was really great. The tomatoes are fresh, plump and flavorful, and the mozzarella is rich and creamy. The olive oil and basil all bring the dish together very nicely. 

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Next, I had their Grilled Calamari. The portion was generous, and the squid had a really nice char to it. I usually really prefer a nice grilled calamari as opposed to fried and breaded, so this was perfect. 

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For my entree, I had one of the specials that night, Yellowfin Tuna with sautéed spinach. This was really nice. The fish was seasoned very simply, letting the tuna shine and not get overpowered. I especially liked the sautéed spinach with had a really unique balance between crisp and charred and soft and creamy. 

The Shorts:
Name: Trattoria Belvedere
Location: 165 Lexington Avenue
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Yes, the room is set in exposed brick, warm and cozy, and the service is great. 
Would I recommend it? Yes, tasty food and very reasonably priced too.