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.
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.
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.
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.
Order a warm chocolate lava cake at this family-owned Oquossoc institution.
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.
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
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.
Now one of six regional locations, the original Wild Willy’s began serving its signature handmade burgers in 2001.
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.