There certainly has not been a lack of hype when it comes to the food scene in Portland, Maine. Just a few short years ago, the summer months were the only times you'd find tourists on every block, enjoying the food and drink options throughout Maine's largest city. But now, Portland has become a year-round destination for lovers of great plates and craft beer. This also means that creative restauranteurs are bringing new ideas and concepts to Portland. So, it would make sense that the city is home to one of the best (and hottest) new restaurants in America.

Townsquare Media
Townsquare Media

According to Down East Magazine, that new restaurant is Leeward. The restaurant focuses on fresh ingredients and fresh pasta. If you're quick to point out that Leeward isn't exactly "new", you'd absolutely be correct. Leeward opened in 2020, or at least tried to in the complicated unknown that was the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. Leeward managed to get three nights of service in before closing their doors. They pivoted their business model, survived through some challenging times, and when they reopened to guests, the whispers about how good their homemade fresh pasta was grew louder and louder.

The secret of Leeward is no more. The restaurant was named a finalist for the James Beard Awards in the category of Best New Restaurant in America. Leeward is up against restaurants from New York City, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Detroit, Chicago, and more. Even if Leeward doesn't walk away with the award, they've unofficially been "crowned" a 'must-visit' place in Portland. In a city flooded with food options, that holds weight.

Leeward has already seen a boost in reservations thanks to the James Beard nomination. The restaurant was forced to pause takeout orders temporarily thanks to the increased in-person dining interest. If you're thinking about a visit to one the best new restaurants in America, plan ahead.


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