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.
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.
What started as a simple jam enterprise for Jonathan King and Jim Stott in 1991 blossomed into a culinary empire that includes a cooking school, and as of 2003, a café.
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.
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.
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.
If Shaw's Fish & Lobster Wharf looks familiar, it might be because part of the Kevin Costner movie Message in a Bottle was filmed here. That was in the late 1990s, but little has changed.
Order a warm chocolate lava cake at this family-owned Oquossoc institution.