March 7, 2023

First Look at Lenora in Portland, Maine

Lenora, a taco bar in Portland's Old Port, starts serving lunch and dinner today—the café opened for breakfast a few weeks ago, with a menu of tacos, a breakfast sandwich, assorted pastry, and a fruit and yogurt parfait. I've been excited for Lenora's opening for a long time, what with Rian Wyllie, the former pizza chef at Maine Beer Company, at the helm. 

The café (formerly the home of Walter's) has been beautifully renovated to be warm and airy with plenty of tables for enjoying a coffee. There's wifi and outlets at each table if you want to stay and work for a while. 

The breakfast taco ($5 or $6 with chorizo) is the perfect little nugget, as is the guava-cream cheese pastry. Weekends bring a few more brunch options: chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, and a migas burrito. 

Starting today (Tuesday, March 7), Lenora starts serving lunch and dinner! There's a large selection of tacos, tostadas, and other Mexican street food-inspired dishes available after 11 a.m. 

I went for a preview lunch on Sunday and enjoyed a glass of hibiscus tea with my lunch, while my husband had a michelada. 

I'm really excited to return for a cocktail—there's an extensive selection of drinks, most made with tequila or mezcal. The Roadrunner, with tequila, Campari, fresh pineapple, and lime, looks like it will be a fave of mine. 

We enjoyed a few tacos as a warm up—the barbacoa comes on a housemade corn tortilla with avocado salsa, pickled red onions, and cotija cheese, while the baja fish comes fried with a mango-habanero aioli and pickled red cabbage. Both delicious. 

After that, I zeroed in on the Oaxacan hot chicken torta, a spicy fried chicken thigh with cabbage slaw on a perfectly chewy bun. The spice level was just right—enough to warm you up without any pain. 

And of course I had to order the street corn. I always love the mix of smoky charred corn, creamy aioli, salty cheese, and the burst of lime juice. 

Lenora is open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., so you've really no excuse not to make it in. Whether you're looking for an espresso drink and a pastry to-go or a longer meal with all the tacos and rounds of margaritas, Lenora can meet any occasion. 

Lenora | 2 Portland Square, Portland | (207) 536-0423