Stand up against overcharging by avoiding this restaurant!
We ate in the restaurant section of this bar/restaurant in late July 2009. When seated at about 7 p.m., there were just two other tables occupied and maybe 2-3 people at the bar -- which seemed very unusual for a Thursday night in the summer where every parking spot on the street for half a mile around was occupied and people were packed into restaurants and bars.
The Old Port Tavern's dinner specials menu specifically made out for this day -- even with the date written on the top -- listed a "fried clam dinner, $14.95" which was the whole point of choosing this place, since I was with some diners who didn't like seafood.
I ordered that and the waitress told me, "Oh sorry, we don't have that dish." But, it was on the dinner specials menu and there obviously weren't a lot of people there to order them all before I got there. Poor planning by the kitchen?? Deceptive...
We were with several children and found out the place does NOT have a children's menu. The waitress said they could order off the bar specials menu -- which provides too much food at too high of a cost for kids. For instance, the waitress immediately said they would NOT be able to make the hot dog plate with just one hot dog at a lower cost (it comes with two, plus fries, for $7). Coupled with $1.75 for a soda, this restaurant found a way to charge $8.75 for what we needed to settle on as a "kids meal."
We ordered lemonade, which is a the straight-from-the-tap variety, and it was diluted too much, giving it a sour taste. We asked for the lemonades to be exchanged for sodas, and the waitress -- who was coping a little attitude already with the clams and kids meal omission issues -- went to make the trade. (We are not overly picky/fussy/high-maintenance diners...)
I also ordered an iced tea. This wasn't the custom-made handcrafted variety, but the made-by-the-pitcher, nothing special iced tea -- which was fine -- until I saw the bill and learned this place charges you PER REFILL -- which was not announced anywhere -- on the menu, by the waitress, or otherwise. (And the waitress was not helpful whatsoever concerning the clam special and kids menu issues, so the cap to the evening would have likely been a "scene" in disputing bill charges.)
Is it not industry standard for free refills on soft drinks? If a restaurant has the policy to charge, is it asking too much to proactively tell the diner that there is an extra cost at the time they order a refill? At $1.75 per approx. eight-ounce iced tea glass, this restaurant's hidden way to pad bills is a crime against diners.
For this reason alone, avoid this restaurant.
The hamburgers with fries ($8.95) ordered by two diners were adequate -- nothing bad/nothing special -- but the Cuban cheesesteak sandwich ($8.95) with fries was particularly good, as was the French onion soup ($5.95). The latter two choices were the main positive qualities of this restaurant, and if I really had to dig, the fact the rolls were served warm and the votive candle on the table was already lit before we were seated, were two more "positives."
Overall, any restaurant:
-Charging refills for soft drinks
-Erroneously posting specials that they did not even have that day
-Not having a kids menu (or at least offering to make smaller versions of their menu choices at lower prices for kids)
-A waitress unable to be flexible
...does not deserve return visits.
Now I can see why the place was empty on a Thursday night. Diner beware of the Old Port Tavern in Portland, Maine!