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.
Coastal Maine-influenced cuisine is the inspiration at this bistro in Camden, Maine.
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.
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).
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.
Run by the husband-and-wife duo of Steve and Michelle Corry, this farm-to-table restaurant serves up contemporary American dishes with an emphasis on fresh seafood.
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.
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.
This seasonal oceanside restaurant, which is affiliated with Spinney's cottages and guesthouse, serves lobsters straight from the tank with drawn butter and bibs.
Part farmstand and part restaurant, Chase’s Daily is owned and operated by Penny Chase and her family. The restaurant, housed inside a refurbished 1888 building, has polished wood floors, a handful of tables, and a counter with red leather stools.