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.
This tantalizingly retro white cement block of a restaurant enjoys a great waterside location off Commercial Street. Simply emblazoned on the outside with a bright blue J, this lively sports bar has been a favorite hangout since 1978, and not much has changed, including the staff.
Live and cooked lobsters are the draw at this low-key waterfront seafood shack, operated by the nation's oldest fishermen's cooperative.
Pronounced "kay-o-las," this restaurant in Portland's tree-lined West End area specializes in down-to-earth New American food with splashes of Mediterranean influences.
Cod End consists of a cookhouse, fish market, and dock, all packaged into one locale. The outdoor deck is scattered with picnic tables, which is the preferred place to sit, weather permitting. Indoor seating and a to-go menu are also offered.
French country-style comfort food
This candy store and restaurant has been a pillar of the Cape Neddick area since 1896, thanks mainly to their homemade saltwater taffy, fudge, and other sweets, all prepared in full view of the customers. Founder E.A.
Thousands of miles from the Mexican border, in a residential neighborhood two blocks from Brunswick’s main drag, this funky cantina belies every cliché about dining in Maine.
The Breakwater Inn’s signature restaurant, named for striped bass, specializes in local Atlantic seafood, and offers views of the Atlantic Ocean and Kennebunk River.
Owned by native chef Joshua Mathers, his namesake eatery serves organic American cuisine in a Colonial house dating back to 1774. The interior blends period detail, such as original fireplaces and pine floors, with contemporary elements like 21st-century bamboo shades and colorful local artwork.
Differentiating itself from the area's many cafeteria-style seafood shacks, this tapas bar and restaurant specializes in small plates designed for shared noshing over a pitcher of sangria.
In a region with so many seasonal restaurants, Grissini stands out for being open year-round and for its refined Tuscan food. The space sports white-clothed tables and a stone-lined fireplace. In warmer summer months, they utilize a patio with umbrellas and a white picket fence.
Easily identified by its famous giant neon sign, Moody’s endures as the rest stop of choice on Maine’s mid-coast highway.
The food is nothing fancy—fish chowder and the like—but the breezy Maine ambience is the real deal.
Dine on seafood cioppino with fresh-caught fish or jumbo baked lobsters at La Bella Vita, in the Harborside Hotel.