HOME > Chowhound > All New England Archive >



  • s

i'm visiting the portland, maine area this weekend and am eagerly looking forward to partaking in a seafood fest.

my question is, what are the best, "must-visit" places in maine (within 2 hours drive of portland)? i know there are many reputable places for seafood and lobster in particular, but i'm only going to be up there for 2 days and want to go to the best places based on your recommendations.

listed below are the foods i'm hoping to sample up in maine - i'd really appreciate any suggested eateries for each of these foods, esp. the first 5 listed...thanks so much!

-lobster roll
-crab roll
-fresh boiled/steamed lobster
-fresh steamed clams
-blueberry pie (with fresh local blueberries if possible, even though i've heard blueberries aren't really in season until late summer)
-new england clam chowder or lobster stew
-whoopie pie
-ice cream

btw, the last time i was up in maine a few years back, i went to a place in cape elizabeth called the lobster shack and had very good lobster rolls and crab rolls. i also had very good steamed lobsters and steamed clams at this little shack called nunan's lobster hut in the cape porpoise section of kennebunkport.

just wondering: how do the lobster shack and nunan's lobster hut compare (favorably or not) vs. your recommendations?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Morse's Lobster Shack off Allen Point Road in Harpswell is the best we found on our "lobster twice a day" mini-break in Maine last summer. It's a deck on the water with a small counter where the food's prepared. Damn good lobster rolls and pretty good onion rings too.

    Haraseeket Lunch in Freeport was a close second, and it's handy if you want to do some outlet shopping.

    In Brunswick, we also had some killer lobster paella at the Starfish Grill - it looks like a crappy strip mall restaurant but it is a real find, and not to be missed.

    1. Most of the lobster places were the same when I was up there. They were all very good but mostly the same. However you might want to try the The Clam Shack in Kennebunck. They have the best fried clams I've ever had. These are whole clams, not strips. Being a diabetic I don't eat sugar so I can't help with the blueberry pie. However, if you pull off to any of the trails near Sandford (near Kennebunk) during mid July and later you can pick wild blueberries. They're as sweet as candy. Any lobster shack in the Kennebunk/Sandford area will have great Lobster and accompinents..

      1. By far, the best lobster I have ever had in my **LIFE** came from Waterman's Beach in South Thomaston -- not too far from Camden, Maine. They won a James Beard award a few years ago. It is a total **gem*** of a place, and is exactly what you'd want from a lobster shack -- it's a shack. ... it's on the water with fishing boats pulling in. Red & white checked table cloths, and clean! clean! clean!

        Here's a link to what the Beard folks wrote about it. You'll have to scroll all the way down:


        1. I heartily second the rec for Waterman's Beach Lobster. Perfect location, exceptional lobsters -- and my God, the pies. The women who run the place bake them fresh every morning. The blueberry is good, but the rhubarb will knock you sideways.

          If you're up for a trek, go to the Dolphin Chowder House in South Harpswell (not terribly far from Portland) and have their insanely good fish chowder. They also have a full menu and very good lobster dinners, but I've driven hours out of my way for that chowder.



          1 Reply
          1. re: Grayhound

            Oh man that chowder is worth the drive. If you are a boater, the restaurant is located at a marina so you can motor up to it. In addition, with every order of fish chowder they serve a home baked blueberry muffin.

          2. As someone said in a recent Bar Harbor thread "steamed lobster is steamed lobster" so the best spots for lobster are about the ambiance and views.

            I second Harraseekett Lunch as a nice spot and a break from shopping at LLBean.

            There are many threads here on lobster rolls. I think Red's in Wiscasset is over-hyped. For a good "upscale" lobster roll try Falmouth Sea Grill (Rte 1A Falmouth, just north of Portland). They have a nice outdoor deck w/ views of Casco Bay islands and Portland.

            As to blueberry pie, perhaps try Moody's Diner (Rte 1 Waldoboro)(which sometimes is over-hyped as touristy/kitschy). I don't recommend a lot of their menu but do recommend the fruit pies, especially "Four Berry".

            1. The best lobster place is Miller's Lobster Pound. I can't quite remember where it is, but it isn't far from Camden. It was written up in Bon Appetit this month. They also have great pies. And its off the road on the water.
              Also, in Kittery Point Maine there's Chauncey Creek. It's on the water and everyone brings their own sides and drinks. They also have great steamers. I am not sure about the pie, as I was too full for dessert.

              1. If you want great blueberry pie, I recommend the Maine Diner in Wells. My husband got it, warmed and added a bit of vanilla ice cream (from my plate!). YUM! Happy eating!

                1. For blueberry pie, you have to go to Bartley's Dockside in Kennebunkport. I love blueberry pie, and this may have been the best I've ever had.

                  1. Absolutely delicious blueberry pie is at Pie in the Sky Bakery on Route One in Cape Neddick- I believe on the corner of Old County ROad. Best Pies of all types.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: emilief

                      I'll second this recommendation. Wild Maine blueberry's don't come into season until August. I live in NH, and have a wild high bush in my backyard, mine are still very green.

                      Pie in the Sky is more bakery than dining establishment. What you might do is buy a pie or a couple slices and take them to the Nubble Light @ York Beach, stop at Browns Ice Cream (~1/4 mile from the light house) and get a couple of fresh scoops;)

                      Also, for chowder, Maine Diner in Wells has excellent seafood chowder.

                    2. i had berry pie from Pie in the Sky that tasted like raisin pie, absolutely awful. The worst $5 (yes it was $5 a slice) that I ever spent.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jackattack

                        I used to buy pies at Pie in the Sky but have had to many bad experiences to go back. Sometime guest will bring them to the house and while some have been good pies, some just don't taste right.

                      2. I have bought at least 25 blueberry pies from Pie in the Sky and they have all been delicious. Are you sure we are talking the same place??? I have shipped their pies across country and have served them to friends who are gourmet cooks and have never had a complaint. Thier blueberries are the wild kind (very small) so maybe not what you are used to.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: emilief

                          The slice that I had was mixed berries, "jumbleberry" I think it was called...and it was terrible. It was not fresh and it was not good, and I'm not very fussy. The huge molasses cookies were good, if a bit sugary. I would never go out of my way for this place, and the service was "new york annoyed".

                        2. I love the pies at Reilleys Market in Pemaquid, not really where your going though. Great blueberry and stawberry rhubarb

                          1. just wanted to thank everyone for the great lobster and blueberry pie recommendations! over the past few days, my friends and i visited a number of places up in maine, including three from this list. as we only had a couple of days to work with, we couldn't make it to most of the places, so we'll have to try out the rest the next time we're up in maine, esp. miller's lobster pound, starfish grill, and dolphin chowder house. thanks again to everyone!

                            anyhow, everyone thought the lobster rolls at red's eats and the clam shack were both outstanding, but our group was split on which was better; i think it was more a matter of bun preference than anything else. as for the boiled lobsters, the ones at waterman's beach lobster drew universal raves; my entire group concurred that those were the best lobsters we'd ever had. so apparently they steam their lobsters over fresh seawater? the lobsters literally tasted like they'd just been plucked from the water.

                            also, we tried blueberry pies at three different places, including waterman's, nunan's lobster hut in cape porpoise, and bartley's dockside in kennebunk. we agreed that the ones at bartley's were the best, mainly b/c of their use of those incredibly delicious small wild maine blueberries. just amazing. incidentally, i thought the blueberry pies at the other two places were pretty good as well, but the rhubarb pie at waterman's was better than either.

                            we also liked the whole fried clams at red's eats; they were delicious and filling. the ones at the clam shack were delicious as well, but i'm wondering if we accidentally got the strips rather than the whole ones, since the ones we got at red's seemed a lot bigger.

                            thanks again to everyone, your recs made this most recent trip to maine (as well as future ones) a huge success!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: surly

                              Strips are strips with absolutely no belly. Some people like small clams, some like larger ones. I've only seen one drive-in restaurant post a sign about the size clams they have that day. It makes a difference to some people. My sister hates big clams. If your clams were simply smaller but had bellies, they weren't strips.

                            2. i never eat lobster sandwiches in maine. sandwiches are what you do with the leftovers.

                              boiled lobster! with corn on the cob and fries or chips. steamers most definitely!

                              Bailey's Pond at Pine Point does decent rugged meals.

                              Clambake on rte. 9? in Saco gives you the deal.

                              1. For lobster rolls, I don't think you can beat the Harraseeket (spelling?) restaurant on the pier in South Freeport. It's in the same town roughly speaking as LL Bean, but it is worlds away in terms of feel. And the food is spectacular.

                                The pie at Moody's is great. In fact, everything at Moody's is great.

                                1. just wondering, btw: it seems like many of the lobster shacks i visited in maine are open summer-only. is this pretty much the norm--meaning that an autumn or winter trip to maine specifically for lobster is pretty much not an option? why is this the case?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: surly

                                    Have you ever been to Maine in the winter? If so, would YOU want to go out on a little tiny boat on the Atlantic ocean to haul in lobster traps? Also, lobsters migrate out into deeper water in the winter (believe it or not, deeper water is warmer in winter so food is more plentiful), making them harder to catch.

                                  2. Yes, a lot of the lobster shacks have mostly outdoor seating plus summer help goes back to school. In tourist areas, there is also a lot more people dining out during the summer. Many of the buildings aren't insulated. Water needs to be turned off. You can still find restaurants that serve lobster but you won't have the fun of sitting at a picnic table next to the water not caring if you get lobster water on your lap.

                                    1. Recently had lunch at Cook's Lobster House on Bailey's Island (not far from Brunswick) and it reminded me that this is one of the few sources of "authentic" lobster-shack chow, complete with view, that is open year-round. Personally, I think that Estes in Harpswell has better food, but they close Columbus Day weekend. So if you're here in fall or winter you can still get decent Maine chow. Save room for dessert.