The “Maine” mistake visitors make in Kennebunkport is driving past the great restaurants in Kennebunk Maine. While the two are twin towns, the bridge at Dock Square separates them over the Kennebunk River.
Kennebunk is a more laid-back and spread-out town on the Southern Maine Coast, offering wandering drives and several entertainment districts to enjoy. And to eat like a local, you should talk like a local and know that it’s pronounced “Kenney-bunk,” not “Ken-uh-bunk.”
You can load up on lobster, but don’t overlook the new restaurants, classic options, and unique spots on the water. This list includes some of the best dining options no matter what you’re in the mood for.
Have a Luxurious Barn Dining Experience at White Barn Inn Restaurant
37 Beach Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043
Don’t let the word “barn” deter you because this is a luxurious dining experience that you won’t stop bragging about. The White Barn Inn Restaurant is genuinely one-of-a-kind with awards to back it up, including Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond nods.
Here, you’ll get lost in the ambiance of rustic chic folded perfectly into sophistication. You can look at the menu, but don’t fall in love with it.
The meticulous chef changes the fine dining and chef’s lobster prix fixe menus weekly, carefully selecting the best locally sourced products from land and sea. Plus, wine pairings come from the 7,000-bottle wine cellar.
An 1800s tradition beckons dinners to feast with a bell ringing, but reservations are recommended. And, we recommend that you dress to impress.
Sip and Savor the Flavors of Old Vines Wine Bar
172 Port Rd, Lower Village, Kennebunk, ME 04043
Old Vines Wine Bar is a popular local destination for fine wine, craft cocktails, local beer, and a modern take on Maine cuisine.
The 19th-century barn and outdoor patio are ideal for summer dining, whether indoors or out. In the heart of Kennebunk’s Lower Village, stop by for drinks, dinner, and/or late-night bites.
Diners comment on its fun and intimate atmosphere, stylish decor, delicious dinners, creative cocktails, extensive wine list, and friendly bartenders.
Get Hauntingly Good Service at the Tavern at The Kennebunk Inn
45 Main St, Kennebunk, ME 04043
You’ll get “Hotel California” vibes when you dine at the Tavern at The Kennebunk Inn, especially if someone named Silas greets you.
It’s hard to find a 1799 historical building that doesn’t come with a few creaks and spine chills, but don’t get spooked before you can even try the Tavern Tots — Silas Perkins is a “good ghost” and a well-known local poet who worked the inn as a night watchman until he died in the mid-1900s. Some say that he’s still watching.
“I want to laugh with the common manSilas Perkins, “The People’s Poet” of Kennebunk, 1880-1952
Wherever he chance to be,
I want to aid him when I can
Whenever there’s need of me.”
The most otherworldly aspect of this nearly century-old tavern is the modern flair and ingenious pairings of an ever-evolving menu.
Creative cocktails await at the bar, while the back porch beckons on summer nights. Or, stay in the main room for live music on designated nights. Make a reservation if you can, and you can tell them that Silas sent you.
TIP: True believers can stay at The Kennebunk Inn and request room 17. You can also visit Silas Perkins Park in nearby Kennebunkport, which has a full display of his most famous poem.
Experience the Dark Horse & a Triple Crown at Batson River Brewing & Distilling
12 Western Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043
Among the rich-hued bright Maine buildings in the Lower Village, approaching Dock Square, sits the dark sophistication of Batson River Brewing & Distilling.
With a classic vehicle in the front yard with an attentive hunting dog as the logo, guests are 12 steps away from a triple threat of fun. Batson River is a locally owned establishment through and through with its own brews, distilled spirits, and five separate food sections.
An air of New England sophistication fills every corner — from grand wood-burning fireplaces to winter outdoor seating and a rooftop deck for sweet summer nights. Maine memories are also made in an enclave of fish shacks, which can seat up to six people for a more intimate or private gathering.
Encounter a Shipwrecked Salute to Maine’s Historic Hospitality at Wandby Landing
46 Western Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043
More than 700 ships wrecked off the coast of Maine, so what makes the SS Wandby so unique that its essence is captured at Wandby Landing? The welcoming nature of breaking down diversity barriers and offering inclusion was just as much needed in 1921 as it is a century later.
When the fog-blinded ship smashed into the Kennebunk rocks, the first thing stranded British shipmates saw was a group of locals rushing to help from the shore. You are welcomed to Wandby Landing at the west end of the Lower Village with the same open arms.
Then, you’ll dine on Italian delicacies as an ode to the port of the SS Wandby in Genoa, Italy. The appetizer, main dish, and dessert menus beg you to use your best Italian accent, offering locally harvested seasonal selections and hand-made pasta.
Nosh on Seafood Good Enough for Celebrities at The Clam Shack
2 Western Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043
The Clam Shack sits right on Dock Square, steps away from Kennebunkport on the river. What it lacks in physical real estate, it makes up for in overstuffed lobster rolls and overflowing fried clam baskets.
The shack should make more room for all the accolades it gets from food networks, such as winning the Maine Lobster Roll “Food Wars” on the Travel Channel. But don’t just take our word for it.
Designer Michael Kors loves it so much that he joked about a “Clam Shack Clutch” designer bag. When the presidential Bush family gets hungry, they call here for takeout. Even New Orleans Saints quarterback legend Drew Brees chants “Who Dat” at The Clam Shack.
You can grab food and go to Gooch’s Beach with individual meals or a boiled lobster dinner. Feed an adventurous appetite with sizes of a half-pint to a quart.
Get the Best Breakfast & Coffee at The Blue Coffeehouse & Wine Bar
84 Main St, Kennebunk, ME 04043
The historic district of Kennebunk Maine is a sensory sensation, and some of the sweet scent comes from The Blue Coffeehouse & Wine Bar. Tucked into the street side corner of the 84 Main resort hotel, a robust breakfast, lunch, and drink menu covers your carbs, caffeine, and custom-tailored desires.
Try the Blue Blast for an extra energy shot, or break all the rules with a glass of wine or seasonal brew long before happy hour begins. And, you can explore the melody of flavorful options and seasonal specials in your coffee, Italian soda, or smoothie.
Boar’s Head meats fill fresh-baked bread options, while the Morning Glory muffin brings a mix of flavors that your palate never knew it needed. And, seasonal salads explore the best of Maine’s farmland.
Don’t give up on The Blue at night, though. Events are scheduled throughout the year.
NOTE: The Blue Coffeehouse & Wine Bar is not to be confused with The Blue Pig Diner about 30 miles away in Gorham Maine.
Enjoy Authentic Mexican at Pedro’s Mexican Restaurant
181 Port Rd, Kennebunk, ME 04043
Just a few steps inside Pedro’s Mexican Restaurant, you’ll wonder if you’re in Cabo or Kennebunk. Margarita Monday or Taco Tuesday might bring you in, but the Sangria and Mexican Street Tacos will keep you coming back.
This isn’t your typical Tex-Mex for the masses. While the menu includes Gringo Tacos and nachos so good that the locals don’t want you to know about it, the owners extensively traveled Mexico to bring this authentic colorful cantina to the crustacean capital.
Plus, live music makes its way through this part of the Lower Village most nights.
“Who would have thought Maine would have been the place to find amazing Mexican food!? Everything was fresh and made from scratch.”Elizabeth, Facebook Review
Dine Literally on the Water at The Spirit Restaurant
4 Western Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043
If you really want to get in the Kennebunk Maine spirit, try The Spirit Restaurant, where you’ll be seated on a schooner. Cross your fingers that the weather is nice and the boat isn’t booked.
The floating restaurant isn’t fancy and doesn’t go anywhere, but it takes you to one of the most desirable seats in The Kennebunks.
Small plates and distinct drinks are on the menu. Is there anything “More Maine” you can do than eat a lobster roll while sitting on a schooner looking at Kennebunkport across the water?
Taste Old & New Flavors in Restaurants in Kennebunk Maine
Whether you’re looking for Kennebunk’s new restaurants or the old favorites, each meal breaks cookie-cutter molds of more touristy towns and celebrates local flair with every bite, sip, and shuck.
Many restaurants close during the winter, but even seasonal restaurants will stay open longer if the weather allows. Some of them even re-open for Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport. So, it’s smart to always call ahead and make reservations if you can.
“I want to travel the common road, With the great crowd surging by,Silas Perkins, “The People’s Poet” of Kennebunk, 1880-1952
Where there’s many a laugh and many a load, And many a smile and sigh.”