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Calling All Maine Chowhounds!

  • s

Dear Maine Hounds- My husband and I are planning a ten day trip to Maine this summer and will be in the following areas: Eastport, Ellsworth, Belfast and Camden. We are looking for great insider tips about places to eat--from high end to hole in the wall type places that only the locals know about! We love lobster but enjoy all cuisines. Am looking forward to your expert "hound help" in making this trip a memorable one!

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  1. Try the famopus Primo in Rockland ME- not too far from Camden. It is not open until mid April so I hope you will get to go.

    3 Replies
    1. re: emilief

      I had read about this place--sounds very good. Any ideas for lobster pounds in that area?

      1. re: Susan

        Oh my yes ! Waterman's Beach - one of the best.

        1. re: bbk

          Millers on Wheeler Bay (off Rte. 73), is the best! But it's not open until July 4 or so.

          Great place to bring your own wine and hors d'oeuvres, etc. Just buy their lobster and do the rest yourself.

    2. h

      Chase's Daily for Breakfast/Brunch in Belfast; Finelli's Pizza in Ellsworth


      1 Reply
      1. re: HDinCentralME

        Thank you! They're on my list now!

      2. k
        Keefer Lucas

        Two experiences not to be missed deep in the heart of the downeast coastline - on your way either to or from Eastport plan to stop at the Bluebird Ranch Diner in Machias where you will get a top notch, absolutely authentic fish or clam chowder, and one of the best bread puddings in the state.

        Also - be sure to stop by Raye's Mustard in Eastport to pick up a few jars of stone ground mustard. Raye's is the last remaining stone ground mustard mill, a thriving relic of the days of sardines - many of which were packed in mustard. My personal favorite is the brown ginger mustard which is excellent with soft baked pretzels. If Nancy Raye is there, and you ask nicely, she will give you a tour of the mill. Not to be missed, it will be a culinary high point of your trip.

        Link: http://www.rayesmustard.gourmetfoodma...

        Image: http://www.gourmetfoodmall.com/mercha...

        3 Replies
        1. re: Keefer Lucas

          Keep these great tips coming!! These responses are just what I'm looking for--thank you and keep 'em coming! I am making a list of everything you send. The mustard place looks awesome and do I love mustard--yes!!!!

          1. re: Keefer Lucas

            Definitely agree about Bluebird in Machias - be sure to eat there and NOT at Helen's across the street!
            The WaCo Diner in Eastport is nice and right on the water.

            1. re: sophia fox

              The WaCo diner in Eastport is freakin' classic!

          2. For lobster in the rough Watermans Cove is the best. It was a James Beard regional prize winner, for their pies and lobster. Sorry can't give directions but it is about 1/2 hour south of Rockland. might get busy.

            1. We like Trenton Lobster Pound (Trenton, between Camden and Bar Harbor) and for a more "sit-down restaurant" experience with outdoor lobster pound cooking, try Union River Lobster Pot in Ellsworth--get a seat by the window and watch the river roll by. Don't miss Moody's Diner in Waldoboro as you drive up the coast--a true Maine experience that hasn't changed much since the 1930s. Great fried clams and fish, chowder, and four-berry pie. You've made me hungry for Maine! Have a great trip. (I think that all of these places have web sites you can check out.)

              1. If you are traveling Downeast beyond Ellsworth on Route One, Scovill's Millside Dining in Harrington (on the main drag) is worth a stop. All the usual favorites for the local folks are on the menu, as well as some more adventurous items that the chef likes to put together. Not a fancy place but good food.

                1. I finally got the info on this- Red's Eats has a good lobster roll- usually are lines out the door. It is on Route 1, Maine street, in Wiscasset (beside the bridge).
                  Also, one of my favorite places is the lobster place on the wharf at Five Islands. It is off the beaten path- about 1/2 hour ride from Bath. Beautiful view- good lobsters, clams, crabs etc. as well as fish sandwiches. The only caveat is the bathrooms situation is bad so you need to go before you turn off the main road to drive to Five Islands! All places to sit are outside so not good in the rain.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: emilief
                    Keefer Lucas

                    You know Spring is just around the corner when the (knee jerk) Can't Miss Red's Eats posts start. :)

                    1. re: Keefer Lucas

                      Gee thanks. Nice to try to help someone and be insulted. If you don;t think the place is good why not just say so. Well, is it good or not??

                      1. re: emilief

                        Sorry, wasn't trying to be THAT insulting. Just making a joke about the coming of spring...

                  2. In Belfast there is this terrific wrap place, I cannot remember the name but it is behind a toy store off the main street. They make this salmon,nori, rice wrap that is soooo good, they had tons of interesting combinations. I am not a "wrap" fan but this place is so good that I drove up from Rockland specifically to hit it again!!

                    1. Some of my faves are:
                      Dip Net (Port Clyde)-- very good food, lovely setting at harbor
                      Primo (Rockland) Food is creative and very, very delicious. Service is top notch. I like to sit upstairs in room off bar which is cozier than formal tables downstairs. Don't miss this -- book reservation well in advance.
                      Brown Bag (Rockland) -- best breakfast; bakery.
                      Miller's Lobster (Spruce Head). Eat outdoors lobster pound.

                      1. In Ellsworth, don't miss the wonderful Cleonice, a lovely Mediteranean restaurant with delightful tapas!

                        Not too much in Eastport, but the WaCo Diner I mentioned in another post is good.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: sophia fox

                          I will second the reccomendation on Cleonice, it is the best restaraunt in Ellsworth, bar none. They use great fresh ingredients, imaginative pairings, and in the dosen times I have eaten there I have *never* been disappointed.

                        2. Primo in Rockland IS great, but just a heads-up - it's pricey.

                          I've never really understood the draw of Red's Eats in Wiscasset, but tourists line up all summer. It's a tiny little take-out place with a few plastic tables and chairs behind it, along the Sheepscott River. I prefer Sarah's, right across the street. Huge menu, fresh food, great breads, sandwiches, and salads, plus lots more.

                          I feel the same way about Moody's Diner as I do Red's Eats. It's hearty food but nothing special in my opinion. Obviously plenty of people disagree with me because it's always busy there.

                          Brown Bag in Rockland has great soups and sandwiches, and right next door are the best hotdogs you've ever had, at Wasses. Downtown Rockland has several good restaurants. Amalfie's (Mediterranean) gets good reviews, and Cafe Miranda (sort of a health food place) is very popular.

                          Grapes Restaurant, right on a wooden pier sticking out into Rockland Harbor, is newly rebuilt after being burned down by an arsonist last year. Rockland Cafe has good fish and chips. Breakwater Cafe at the Samoset Resort has decent hamburgers and pub-type food and an awesome view of the mile-long Rockland breakwater and lighthouse.

                          If you find yourself in the Bath/Brunswick area, try the Starfish Grill on Route One in Brunswick and the Robinhood Free Meetinghouse restaurant in Georgetown (near Bath). Don't miss a ride down Route 127 to gorgeous Five Islands and a stop at Reid State Park Beach on your way.

                          I could go on and on...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Mainah

                            Thanks for the Rockland tips. We have been to mid coast Maine several times and are totally in love with the Bath/Georgetown area and the places you mentioned there. This coming summer we decided to explore a different part of Maine focusing on the area from Eastport to Rockland.

                            1. Hilltop Restaurant in Ellsworth for the french silk pie! Mmmm....like homemade fudge in a pie crust....only BETTER!

                              If you go through Thomaston on Route 1 (on the way to Camden)...stop at the local grocery and pick up one of "AMY'S PIES". The chocolate cream is divine, the mixed berry will please, too!

                              1. For a higher end meal in the Ellsworth/Blue Hill/ Bar Harbor area, in my opinion there is no finer place than the Arborvine in Blue Hill. Great atmosphere, and great food, always expertly prepared.

                                1. From my files as I live in Farmingdale ME

                                  Francine is currently open for dinner Tuesday – Saturday, 5:30 – 10:00pm
                                  Hours may change seasonally. 207.230.0083 , 55 Chestnut Street, second to last street at bottom of Elm street, turn right Camden, Maine 04843
                                  Had a wonderful meal at Francine this past Wednesday evening. Read about it in the August issue of T&L (great article on terrific food up and down the Maine coast). The restaurant is very small - maybe 10 tables and 6-7 seats at the bar. Great atmosphere - low lighting, candles, cool music.
                                  I started with the Lamb Riblet appetizer - six delicious, tender, juicy riblets done in an Asian flair. My husband had the Leek and Wild Mushroom soup, which was great. I had the marinated steak & my husband had the tea-brined duck breast. Both were outstanding.
                                  Dessert was the delicious Green Apple Pie with Pistachio ice cream & cappuccino - wonderful.
                                  Comment from an eGulletier

                                  Natalie's At The Mill , 43 Mechanic , Camden, - map & directions (clickable: cntrl click)
                                  Natalie's at the Mill, Camden's newest fine dining restaurant, invites you to experience Executive Chef Brendon Suhesky's American Cuisine with a French influence overlooking the falls at the Knox Mill. A warm, elegant atmosphere graced with exceptional local art and classic decor is the perfect setting to enjoy an intimate dinner with a menu that changes seasonaly. After work, a cocktail at the bar is most inviting, either inside or outside, on our deck on the mill pond and falls. In addition to our Dinner Menu we offer a wonderful Bar Menu. Natalie's is located just 2 blocks up from Main Street and has abundant parking available across the street. Reservations are recommended. Phone: 207-236-7008 - Fax: 207-236-7009
                                  Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 5:30

                                  And : www.sage-market.com , for Chocolates

                                  1. I whole-heartedly second the recommendation re: Raye's Mustard in Eastport. Best mustard around.

                                    Also, check out The New Friendly Restaurant in neighboring Perry for the very best fish sandwiches (and other darn good hearty downeast diner grub).

                                    1. Try the take-out in Milbridge, on Route 1, called Joshy's Place: open only in the summer, best crabmeat rolls I've ever had. Toasted warm roll, cool fresh crabmeat and lots of it. Inexpensive. I go several times every year and that's all I ever want to get (why mess with perfection). The french fries are hand-cut and they leave vinegar on the counter for 'em. Yum. I get lunch there, then go visit McClellan State Park in Milbridge, or the Petit Manan Wildlife Refuge in Steuben (both just a few miles away, and two of the lovliest spots on this section of the coast, if you like short hikes with not many other people around).

                                      In the other direction, on Route 1 in Searsport, try Angler's for fresh seafood (I go back and forth between their fish chowder and lobster stew). A family restaurant, the parking lot is always full. Dessert menu highlights - the pies are good, but the gingerbread is better.