Maine

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.

Chefs/partners Mark (“M”) Gaier and Clark (“C”) Frasier of the esteemed Ogunquit restaurant Arrows opened this seaside bistro in quaint Perkins Cove in 2006—welcome news for locals and out-of-staters who want to sample their cuisine (and produce from the duo’s renowned garden) but not spend a for

Now one of six regional locations, the original Wild Willy’s began serving its signature handmade burgers in 2001.

This central Maine institution has been located along the Wiscasset waterfront since 1954, and before that, in nearby Boothby, beginning in 1938. The shack with the red and white awning rests next to Route 1 and specializes in lobster rolls.

Maine’s Mid Coast hides some of its best secrets on the “reaches”: long, narrow peninsulas that stretch like fingers into the sea. The sleepy Harpswell peninsula is just a half-hour’s detour off I-295, yet it could be 200 miles away.

Overlooking the Damariscotta River where it feeds into the Atlantic, this unpretentious spot—decked out with antique lobster buoys, hurricane lamps, and nautical paraphernalia—is a local favorite for its hit parade of seafood greats and for its busy bar on the water’s edge.

Buddy Poland inherited the lobstering tradition from his New England forebears and manages this shingled lobster shack near a harbor called Round Pond, which empties into Muscongus Sound on Maine’s central coast. They’re open from March through Christmas.

Coastal Maine-influenced cuisine is the inspiration at this bistro in Camden, Maine.

Two miles north of Camden at the Inn at Ocean’s Edge, a leafy path lined with artful walls of stacked wood leads to a ‘70s retro-chic restaurant (accessible only by foot or golf cart).

Owner-chef (and James Beard Award–winner) Rob Evans may have trained himself to cook—but it’s not as if he just woke up one day and whipped up a batch of ocean-perfumed shrimp chips or salt-cured foie gras parfait.

So you’re making the pilgrimage to L. L. Bean and the outlets of Freeport. When you can’t face another discounted duck boot, retreat to this popular spot on the South Freeport marina.

With just 20 seats in all (four of which are at the bar), Middle Street newcomer Bresca is one of Portland’s most coveted reservations—with good reason. Owner-chef Krista Kern, a former pastry chef for Guy Savoy in Paris and Las Vegas, strikes a rare balance between comfort and fine dining.

About a 30-minute drive from the tourist traps of Bar Harbor, this no-frills waterfront seafood joint specializes in reasonably priced, freshly caught lobsters.

The Clam Shack has been a summertime tradition since 1968. That’s when Richard Jacques debuted his seafood hut above the Kennebunk River. In 2000, Jacques sold the shack and adjacent Clam Shack Seafoods to local Steve Kingston.