Restaurants in Maine
You’ll be hard pressed to find many restaurants in Maine that don’t include lobster on the menu in some way—but Maine restaurants also offer plenty of grilled shrimp and crab salads, and all manner of great local produce. You can sample great seafood and farm-to-table fare at some of the best restaurants in Maine.
Fore Street is a Portland institution helmed by chef Sam Hayward, who was doing farm-to-table long before it was cool. Everything here is cooked in an open, glassed-in kitchen, and much of the menu changes daily. The big crowd-pleasers include anything roasted or grilled, such as the wood oven–roasted mussels appetizer. Leave room for dessert—house-churned ice cream made with seasonal berries from a local farm.
The Lobsterman’s Wharf is a Freeport, Maine, restaurant in East Boothbay overlooks the Damariscotta River, which feeds into the Atlantic and is decked out with antique lobster buoys, hurricane lamps, and nautical paraphernalia. It’s long been a local favorite for its hit parade of seafood greats, such as excellent clam “chowdah,” the grilled haddock sandwich, and the freshly picked crab roll. For dessert, try the homemade three-berry pie à la mode.
Hidden far off the beaten path—at the end of a country road in South Harpswell, this family-run marina-side restaurant may appear nondescript, but its fish chowder is a well-guarded local secret.
Located in the coastal fishing village after which it's named, Five Island specializes in fresh-caught crustaceans. There's no indoor seating; snag a picnic table on the dock overlooking the sea, and watch as the lobster boats come in and out of the harbor.
When chef Lee Skawinski travels around Italy each year, he's not just sourcing recipes.
Co-owner and James Beard Award–winning chef Melissa Kelly drew on two influences when she opened her Italian restaurant in this renovated 1880s Victorian in 2000.
This self-proclaimed “fine casual dining” establishment in the cozy western Maine hamlet of Bethel is open for dinner and Sunday brunch. During the warmer months, S.S. Milton features a patio with a white fence, flowers, and green umbrellas.
This red building, situated on a stretch of land between City Cove and Haley Pond, previously housed an IGA grocery store and, in 1958, even a co-ed sauna.
There’s comfort food, and then there’s Duckfat. When owner-chef Rob Evans opened this friendly all-day café just down the street from his more sophisticated restaurant, Hugo’s, in 2006, locals could not believe their taste buds—nor Evans’s near-obscene use of its namesake ingredient.
Seven miles from U.S. Route 1 (turnoff opposite Moody’s Diner) is a Teutonic gourmand paradise. Founded in 1918, this friendly family-run operation—where it appears to be Christmas all year round—does a brisk business in delicious edible products from Deutschland.
This seasonal oceanside restaurant, which is affiliated with Spinney's cottages and guesthouse, serves lobsters straight from the tank with drawn butter and bibs.
One whiff of the hickory wood–smoked BBQ, and you’ll be seduced by this roadhouse restaurant, one mile south of downtown Freeport.
Pine Tree is a summertime favorite for ice cream on quaint Main Street in Rangeley. People line up to the powder blue building and fill up outdoor picnic tables to enjoy the shop's selection of Gifford’s brand scoops in flavors like French vanilla, coffee, and mint chocolate chip.
For 50 years, the Stacy family has been serving up some of America's best dogs from this ramshackle, cabin-like red shed in Maine. The franks come steamed and are served with some very special relish—in fact, it's this now-famous condiment that keeps customers coming back.
This instant institution has been open along Highway One since 1983. The low-slung white building with a blue awning flies a series of flags along the roof, including the U.S., Canada, and of course Maine.
First, there’s the drive in, a lovely trip along the peninsula south of busy Rockland (where the Maine Lobster Festival is held every August). Down here it’s a scene from a Wyeth canvas: forests of black spruce abutting saltwater farms; the scent of pine mingled with seaweed.