The Old Port also hosted the most interesting developments in high-end dining. But again the experience was more the relief of consistency rather than the delight at the new. The whole appeal of Boone’s seafood is tradition. The departure of Bresca from its tiny space is easier to take with Piccolo there offering similar excellence in food from southern Europe (though more focused on Italy) and imaginative desserts. The redesigned Hugo’s is beautiful and the cuisine is still fantastic — now served with more spectacle and bit more choice in their tasting menus.

So moving forward let’s not hope for transformative developments in cuisine or anything else. That cool new pope is not really going to make the Catholic Church a force for good, but a little less of the get-rich touch-kids hate-gays approach is a nice idea. The election of Governor Michaud will simply return us to a level of competence where the government at least tries to contribute to the common good. Our city’s chefs are more than competent, and after a less-than-transformative year there is still plenty of good dining in Portland.

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