Bath - Wiscasset and Thereabouts
Coming to visit family in Five Islands and Woolwich...my parents think Taste of Maine is good please please oh please hounds save me from that! Have weaseled out of dinner tomorrow night so El Spouse and I can get dinner on our own. No, really, family visits are a good thing, it’s just the prospect of bad food that’s making my head explode. I don’t normally eat in restaurants there – can anyone recommend something around Bath or Wiscasset? It can be plain, it can be fancy, just please make it good. Thank you!
La Garage in Wiscasset is superb for dinner. The food was very good (a long time ago granted) and the view over the Sheepscot river make it a best of location choice for a dinner out in that area. We would have dined there more often save our travel timing and the fact that we tend to eat very early compared to the usual restaurant scheduling.
Sea Basket is second rate in my opinion - food adequate, ambience non exisant and service is slow at best. And Red's is no better plus the long line that forms just to place an order. Not my idea of a good experience for a lunch.
Thank you hounds for the suggestions! After a long bus ride up from NYC we wanted something simple so we opted for Montsweag Roadhouse near the place we were staying. Enter the lobster issue. While plenty of places where I live advertise "Maine lobster", they don't come with license plates and having grown up on the murky waters of Long Island Sound (in which they do nevertheless lobster) I always just wait until I visit Maine. Then I pig down as many as I can.
So I arrive with a profound hankering, and while I was quite interested in the steak offerings at Montsweag Roadhouse I had to get the lobster dinner. Which at $20 was very reasonable, and really very good. Everything was fresh and well-prepared: the green and yellow squash simply tossed in butter, salt and pepper, a fine baked potato and fresh butter for the lobster.
We returned a couple of nights later and sampled the clam chowder. It wasn't quite my idea of chowder -- I make chowder as a milk soup with a lot of clams and potatoes cooked first in the pot liquor, which gains body in the bowl when you crunch pilot crackers into it with your spoon -- rather it was more in the style of an oyster stew, made with cream. So while it wasn't quite my definition of chowder, it was extremely delicious, so who cares about definitions? The clams were clearly fresh and the soup was rich and creamy, nothing like the cornstarch-thickened glop that often passes for chowder.
I found Montsweag Roadhouse very comfortable and laid-back with wide farm tables, friendly service and a good selection of local beers. On that score I tried the Pemaquid Ale and Stone Coast IPA, both very good.
I mention the freshness of the butter served with the lobster at Montsweag Roadhouse because of...Cook's. I escaped Taste of Maine but couldn't dissuade my parents from taking us to their other favorite place which is Cook's on Bailey Island. For $30 they serve a lobster with rancid butter (really) and second-rate coleslaw. Plus a little dose of attitude from the waiter such as I leave NYC to escape. Blech.
Thank you for the other suggestions. I've had lunch at Kennebec Tavern on a prior visit and like it quite a lot. For some reason I can never get into going to Robinhood Meetinghouse. I went there when they first opened and it was okay, not great. I've since read many glowing reports here on chowhound so I think about trying it again but it just doesn't pull me in for some reason. My mother said she went there to a buffet dinner they served last May when she claims they were "cleaning out the refrigerator". Ahem. I hadn't heard of Solo Bistro before but it looks very interesting, will try that on my next trip. Thanks, hounds!
The local name for your first place to avoid is the "Waste of Maine." Also, stay away from JR Maxwell's in Bath. It may be worse. Waste of Maine at least has a view. Try the Bounty in the Holiday Inn in Bath. Stuffed shrimp are served with a bowl of dipping butter and the "prime" rib is good although more likely it's choice.
Just returned a few weeks ago from a vacation in this area.
Wiscasset - the Sea Basket (on Rt 1 about 1 1/2 miles south of downtown) for amazing fried seafood/chowder. The sweet potato fries are to die for.
Bath - Chase's Daily. We are vegetarians and this was one of the best meals/atmospheres we've had at a vegetarian establishment in years.
We will try to save you from Taste of Maine.
Yes, I would recommend Robinhood Meeting House in Georgetown (not Five Islands). Food is excellent, large menu of fine ingredients (both fish, seafood, and meat dishes) although I agree w/ cmoore's comment above that the atmosphere is lacking. (I have not been to Solo Bistro so can't compare).
For more traditional Maine fare there is Kennebec Tavern in Bath with seating in a casual bar area and a more formal dining room, both w/ views of the river.
In Woolwich (Rte One just before you cross into Wiscasset) there is Montsweag Roadhouse. Excellent steaks and other meat specialties plus traditional lobster offerings.
Across the bridge from Wiscasset in Edgecomb is Ocean Grill. Varied menu, nice views of Sheepscot River in warm atmosphere. Service can be relaxed/slow though.