Owned by Big Tree Hospitality, the company that also owns Eventide Oyster Co. and Hugo’s Restaurant, The Honey Paw (Portland, ME) presents a fresh spread of Asian-fusion food that is a perfect way to treat yourself on your next trip to Portland.

The easy thing to write is that The Honey Paw’s food is amazingly delicious, but that doesn’t capture the experience of this restaurant. It’s true, the food is delicious (and the drinks are good for those of us in the 21 and over club), but The Honey Paw is able to capture a wide array of Asian flavors in a smooth meal that is guaranteed to please. Whether you’re looking for rich, decadent lobster-based broth with rice noodles, or light and tangy blue-fin tuna poke, The Honey Paw has you covered.

In addition to the lobster noodle dish and poke, we had grilled shiitake mushroom skewers and lobster wontons both of which were decadent yet light and refreshing. We also ordered the pork and crab mee goreng, a wok fried noodle dish that was decadent and rich, but overly heavy. Between all of our dishes, the vegetables, such as the shiitake mushrooms, seafood, meat and sauces all worked together to create a beautifully formed meal.

Besides that fact that every dish we ordered had us humming with approval, what truly awed me about this experience was that all of the dishes molded together in a beautifully orchestrated dance. These chefs understand Asian flavors in such a way that they are able to present an entire menu that flows and ebbs effortlessly, which is quite an impressive feat for a restaurant with a changing menu. The experience felt like a quasi “create-your-own-adventure,” but there weren’t any wrong choices. In addition to great food, The Honey Paw’s waitstaff was also outstanding. Friendly, outgoing, engaged, and thoughtful, our servers made our experience that much more enjoyable.

On paper, The Honey Paw’s flavors and service appear to be part of a fine dining experience, but what really makes this restaurant such a great destination is that it isn’t fine dining. The atmosphere is casual and easygoing. Both inside the restaurant and in the surrounding area people are buzzing and having a good time. The Honey Paw shares a city block with Eventide Oyster Co. and Hugo’s Restaurant, both of which are also popular Portland picks. This formula creates an exciting atmosphere where it is easy to wind-down, relax, and enjoy. More and more, restaurants are straying away from the stuffy layout of traditional fine dining and rather, working to cultivate environments where the vibe is chill but the food is on fire.

While at first glance this destination is a bit out of the price range of the standard college student (bring your parents!), The Honey Paw’s dining format makes it more affordable for a broad customer base. Like many Asian restaurants, servers at The Honey Paw suggest ordering a few plates and sharing them all with the table. This gives diners an opportunity to dive into multiple dishes and taste a greater range of flavors. While any one dish at The Honey Paw would be delicious on its own, sharing an array of dishes brings different flavors and textures to everybody’s plate.

Whether you’re out with friends or family, The Honey Paw delivers a unique, easygoing experience that is perfect for any weekend night.