Leeward is a new pasta place in Portland that is SOOOO good. Since opening in 2020, it has already been nominated as a best new restaurant by the James Beard Foundation, a major honor that speaks to the excellence you’ll taste on the plate. The atmosphere is just as appealing as the cuisine. ‘Pasta and happiness’ is the motto at Leeward and it shines in the Italian family feel that husband-and-wife team Jake and Raquel Stevens have curated. Their tenures at nationally acclaimed restaurants on both coasts prepared them well for creating the menu and experience that makes Leeward irresistible. Expect fresh and seasonal ingredients in authentic Italian pastas and traditional dishes

Even though Leeward is pretty new, it's not easy to get a reservation. My husband and I have taken to picking random nights a month in advance just to get a table. When you're lucky enough to get there, try the charcuterie board - the little fried dough balls are the best thing in the world!

The dining room on Free Street is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Takeout ordering is on pause but stay tuned to @leewardmaine for updates on availability and the current menu.