If you've been in the Portland area in the last 100 years, you've probably eaten at Roma Cafe.

When I first came to Maine, Roma Cafe was the pinnacle of fine dining. Set in a cozy dining area in a historic house, it's a must, and now they are turning 100 this year!

The Roma Portland Facebook
The Roma Portland Facebook

Portland Old Port dove into the history of this traditional Italian restaurant. It's in the West End, and built in 1885. It seems like you are dining in a home because it was home to the Rines family. The building is called the Rines Mansion.

It wasn't until 1924 that Italian immigrant Dominic Marino moved his restaurant, Roma Cafe, into the mansion.

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In the seventies, they opened Bramhall Pub in the basement. Roma Cafe has earned its reputation as one of the best and most romantic restaurants in the city. A tradition for many was to have dinner at Roma Cafe and then head to the Magic of Christmas with the Portland Symphony Orchestra. And the pub is perfect for a nightcap.

The restaurant and building switched hands a few times over the years before Roxanne Quimby (Burt's Bees) and her son Lucas St. Clair bought it in 2010. The restaurant had stayed closed and dormant for years, with the Pub reopening in 2014. It's still one of the best basement bars in Portland.

Then in 2017, the Roma Cafe was resurrected, honoring the tradition that so many have loved about the restaurant. After hiring a local Italian chef, the Roma Cafe is starting its 100th year with traditional Italian comfort food in a setting that takes you back to when it all started.

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Gallery Credit: Jadd

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