The Corner Room in Portland,Maine has delicious and inventive Italian food. As Italians would say, the food is delicioso. It seems that my husband and I keep making return trips either by ourselves or with out-of-town guests.
We are usually lucky enough to find a parking place on the street although there is a parking garage nearby. From the outside it looks unassuming except for the overhead sign which looks like a piece of art. It’s a large metal fork with pasta that has been twirled and dangling to tempt you to enter and try some of their handmade pasta.
Upon entering, you see a building with architectural features from the past.
They have been combined with modern lighting for a casual, contemporary feel that most Italian bistros have today. There are two bar areas…one bar with flat screen televisions and the other in front of the open kitchen.
In the back, there is another open prep area where you can watch bread, pasta, desserts and other items being made. There are large windows on two sides of the restaurant with plain wooden tables and booths down the center.
It’s a perfect place for lunch with soups, antipasti, salads, pizzas, sandwiches and pasta that are reasonably priced. During lunchtime the restaurant tends to be filled with business people, locals and a few tourists that have done research on good places to eat in Portland.
The restaurant specializes in fresh, locally sourced products and makes their own pasta and bread. They usually recommend their daily specials, but we have a hard time not choosing items that we love on the regular menu. Some of our favorites are the fried squid,
arancini, the red and gold beet salad with arugula and ricotta salata cheese.
Today we nibbled on their rosemary bread dipped in olive oil while we pondered the menu.
We succumbed to the fried squid and the delicious Parmesan flan that I can’t seem to resist. It is light as air and is served with a relish of roasted tomato, onion and capers that I could eat a whole bowl of.
Doesn’t the flan look delicious.
We chose two pastas for our main courses. My husband chose the mushroom pappardella off the regular menu. I tried a bite and know why it is one of the most popular pasta dishes the restaurant serves.
I chose one of the daily specials, a tube-shaped ravioli filled with mushrooms, spinach and scamorza cheese. It had the lightest cream sauce you can imagine.
Of course a lunch in Portland would not be complete without a dessert or on this day two. We shared a glass of port to savor with the desserts. I had a terrible time choosing but ultimately decided on the chocolate tart with salted caramel. Yummy…the saltiness of the caramel with the decadent chocolate was perfect.
My husband chose the cherry tart. Sweet cherries poached in wine and then baked in a thin crispy crust. Of course it was topped with fresh whipped cream. It was great and I have to say a healthy choice…red wine and fruit. Ha, ha.
I would have to agree with Italians everywhere when I say that this meal was delicioso.