Maine is obviously known for its delicious lobster, clams, and fresh seafood dishes. However, there more to dining in Maine – with many delicious restaurants, and top chefs, it is easy to find a unique meal, in each town you visit.
Many Maine restaurants use local produce, seafood and meats that help make the meals ultimately farm fresh and unique. Award winning Maine chefs receive rave reviews including James Beard Awards and Top Chefs.
Bon Appetit and Wine Spectator have made Maine restaurants famous for their settings, high quality food and pours. Portland is the Foodie Capital of Maine with many unique restaurants, and annual food, beer and wine festivals.
You will enjoy the food wherever you choose to dine during your vacation in Maine, but here are some of our picks.
White Barn Inn l Kennebunkport
The White Barn Inn Restaurant is a AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star dining experience that has been featured on many cooking programs and magazines. Set in old restored barns that date back to the 1800s, the White Barn Inn offers a truly unique dining experience perfect for a romantic dinner or a special celebration. The five-diamond service makes the White Barn special ocassion dining. White barn’s menu changes weekly, based on the freshest available ingredients, blending classic New England flavors in a stunning setting with supreme service, the price fixed menu is $118 per person.
Earth l Kennebunkport
Nestled in the woods amongst Hidden Pond, Earth focuses on “farm to fork” freshness in a really fun setting. Using ingredients hand picked from their onsite organic gardens, Earth chefs serve up delicious hand-made pastas, grilled veggies, local seafood and meats in a rustic chic setting with a grand bar and open concept kitchen.
Craft cocktails outside by the artistic firepits and spa pool are a nice start to the evening at Earth. Ask for the private Potting Shed for a particularly intimate culinary setting.
UNION l Portland
You may be eating the freshest food you’ve ever had when you eat at UNION Restaurant. Every dish is crafted to be perfectly fresh using seafood from the neighboring harbor, veggies from adjacent farms, and honey from the restaurant’s own rooftop beehives. That is what distinguishes UNION as a true neighborhood eatery.
Fore Street l Portland
Fore Street’s atmosphere will charm any diner; lined in brick and soapstone with an open view kitchen showing wood-burning oven, grill and turnspit, you can watch your meals cooked live. Although Chef Sam Hayward’s menu changes daily to accommodate the freshest foods available, some favorites that are always on the menu include the wood-oven roasted mussels, turnspit pork and chicken, and grilled hanger steak.
Street & Company l Portland
A member of the same restaurant family as Fore Street, Street & Company has made a name for itself as one of the best seafood restaurants in Portland. Best for true seafood-lovers as the menu is almost entirely seafood – with favorites like lobster diavolo, mussels marinara and grilled halibut or swordfish.
Scales on the waterfront is another fantastic dining spot- same succesful ownership- stellar water view on the pier.
Union l Portland
In the boutique Press Hotel, former Press Herald newspaper headquarters, have drinks at the Inkwell, before dinner by Maine’s Chef of the Year Josh Berry. Union’s delicious menu includes tasting plates, seafood dishes, and farm raised fare.
Boathouse l Kennebunkport
Overlooking the Kennebunk River, just steps from Kennebunkport’s Dock Square, this spectacular dining spot has sevearl bars, a huge outdoor deck, a chic dining room, and a lobster bar. Great spot for lunch, or happy hour, watch the boats go by and the tide rush in and out. Boathouse Waterfront Kennebunkport
The Contented Soul l Pemaquid Harbor
This casual, owner operated restaurant has a big waterfront deck and oyster bar overlooking pretty Pemaquid Harbor. There is even a beach for launching kayaks and dock slips. You should be “content” here eating Pemaquid oysters, rope mussels and fresh seafood with a view.
The Contented Sole is just beyond Fort William Henry to explore before or after dining, so bring the kids – they have a kids menu. The Contented Sole is open for lunch and dinner, the fresh fish sandwich is a fantastic treat before or after kayaking around the bay.
Natalie’s at Camden Harbour Inn l Camden
This chic bed and breakfast just a short walk from Camden village has a top Maine chef, and a AAA four- diamond rating. Chef Chris Long, Exec Chef at Natalie’s won Maine Lobster Chef of the year in 2013.
Chef Long’s winning dish of lobster poached in butter, served with grilled maitake and oyster mushrooms and a corn-and-parsnip ragout is delish and just on inspiration on the ever changing menu. 83 Bayview Street, Camden, Reservations 207-236-4200.
Dolphin Marina Restaurant l Harpswell
This spectacular setting in the heart of Casco Bay sits out on Basin Point in Pott’s Harbor – home of the annual Harpswell Lobster Boat races. Dining at the Dolphin offers obvious water views from its multi-level restaurants and the freshest fish, famous chowder and lobster stew, and blueberry muffins. See the Blackboard for the daily catch or lobster and save room for the homemade desserts. You can come by car or boat to the amazing Dolphin waterfront dining spot, open for lunch and dinner.
Palace Diner l Biddeford
Nothing is finer than an old school diner, except wthen the chefs are young anf resh anf fun. This little gem is super popular, in an old fashioned diner car, with a hip menu serving classics eggs, hash, flapjacks, fried chicken, sandwiches- super yum.
The Lost Kitchen l Freedom
This culinary retreat is so popular you send in a postcard to get a reservation by lottery! Single mom Erin French has created a culinary dream success story in the quiet town of Freedom, her amazing flavors from her humble restaurant – lamb, scallops, local grown veggies, and desserts, has spawned a cookbook and James Beard award attention.
The Reading Room l Bar Harbor
Located at the beautiful Bar Harbor Inn, the Reading Room Restaurant offers delectable cuisine, nightly piano entertainment and gorgeous views of the harbor and Bar Island. The Reading Room serves up delicious local catches like salmon, haddock and lobster and house favorites like vegetable wellington and filet mignon.
More About Maine Restaurants
Maine is known the world over for its lobster, there is so much more to the Maine dining scene once you crack the shell. Maine offers diverse cuisine and some top chefs. Maine is also famous for its locally grown blueberries, potatoes and some of the best organic and farm raised food in the country. Maine chefs have a delicious corner on the market – creating extraordinary gourmet food from local Maine products served in beautiful natural settings. Maine dining is truly worth experiencing.
A day of Maine dining might start with a breakfast of Maine maple syrup over hot, fresh blueberry pancakes and native farm raised bacon. Lunch is best saved for a cup of chowder (pronounced “chowdah” by the locals), fried clams, crab cakes, or a lobster roll at a seaside clam shack with a view of Lobster boats bobbing in the harbor.
Many restaurants located in coastal towns may require reservations in the summer, while you can walk in and get the best waterfront table in the quieter season.
For dinner, fresh seafood is always on the menu and Maine dining ranges from candlelit waterfront settings, to cozy pubs, steakhouses, and contemporary cafes serving organic and vegan cuisine. Lobsters, clams, mussels, scallops, crab are served in hundreds of unqie and delicious ways. Maine fishing villages have small cafes that serve divers day boat scallops and fresh caught fish; it doesn’t get any fresher than that. Maine also has a brewing beer and wine scene, small Maine micro-brews and brewpubs are popping up everywhere and Maine wineries and vineyards are part of the Maine wine trail.
The best restaurants in Maine have attracted top chefs who have access to some of the freshest ingredients. Maine is home to northern New England’s only five star restaurant if you chose to dine in Kennebunkport, at the White Barn, or try Earth at Hidden Pond, there are so many great restaurants in the Kennebunks, Ogunquit and beyond.
Further up the coast, Portland dining features award winning chefs creating exciting menus, which are far more affordable than big city prices.
Midcoast Maine Dining
Boothbay Harbor has several fine restaurants in the area.
Downeast Acadia Dining
But you can’t say you’ve been to Maine without experiencing an authentic Downeast clambake, fried clams by the pint, or at least a lobster roll from a seaside clam shack – you will find all that and more. A real Downeast feast is a cup of clam chowder, steamed clams (called steamers by the natives), corn on the cob, and lobster cooked in seaweed.
Western Maine Dining
In the Maine lakes and mountains, you will find four diamond dining at lakefront inns and ski resorts. There’s casual family dining, campgrounds and beach restaurants that serve the best burgers with cold beer, often by a big campfire or a fireplace.
Maine is also home to some classic old-fashioned diners, including the famous Maine Diner in Wells, serving old fashioned home-cooked home-style food.