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Mar 20, 2007 12:14 PM

Rockland Spots

Ok, we have a babysitter, now all we need is to narrow down our options in and around Rockland Maine. Anyone have any thoughts, suggestions or warnings.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. You didn't say when you were going, some places are closed for the winter, but for lunch try the Brass Compass or the Brown Bag (Main St), for dinner the Black Bull is good (also on Main St). People really like Primo (just over the Owls Head line), though I've never been there (expensive). If you like Japanese, Oh-Bento is yummy. I would avoid the Thomaston Cafe in the evening, the food was okay but expensive, and the waitress was very unfriendly when I went. The Samoset is somewhat expensive, have had good meals there (not always); they have a nice Sunday brunch. If you like something different, try Cafe Miranda (Oak St, near Main St)

    1. Second on the Black Bull. You might also consider the Waterworks. Both have very relaxed tavern feels to them, along with good food.

      Jerry Saywell

      1. If your splurging PRIMO is a must! It is an incredible find, especially for Rockland- I really like almost everything I've had there- very good wines(good value Burgundy last time on bin end special),professional waiters,good bread basket w/fresh high quality butter and/or olive oil, must 1st courses-I had a "market" salad w/good assorted greens,lardons,poached egg..similar to a salad frisee but more interesting w/really good garlic croutons, i had a tasty branzino(a mediteranean sea bass) charcoal grilled w/yummy sides, and my wife had house specialty-the saltimbocca-great dish -the deserts are worthwhile too- GO by all means-you'll be glad you went. Also Oh bento is not what it used to be -nicer looking but less authentic japanese now.

        10 Replies
        1. re: gzberg

          Thanks to all for the replys. Primo is closed till the end of April, but we will be there then. We live just about 30 min south of Rockland in Nobleboro. Suzuki Sushi is great, as well as several other choices in Rockland. We ended up actually going south due to some errands (nice to be childless for this!) and had dinner at the Back Street Bistro, in Brunswick. Been there before and did not disappoint. Give it a try if you get into the Brunswick area, just off Maine St. by the firehouse.


          1. re: SaltPig

            Next time you are looking for a night out in Rockland try Cafe Miranda. In all my years eating there it has never disappointed me. Adorable, funky and off-beat with a great casual atmosphere and an interesting and diverse menu. Really sweet staff and delicious food. The bread is amazing and if you're lucky they'll give you a doggy-bag full of it!
            I also love Francine in Camden. Again adorable and funky with a great location (very quiet and out of the way). Despite a small menu the entrees are perfectly prepared and always well chosen by the chef/owner.

            1. re: camdenkid

              So true, Francine Bistro is even better than Primo, and I have eaten at Primo over a dozen times with clients. Love it at Francine, every time. Also agree with qzberg above post re:Oh bento. They are pretty lame lately, they definitely do not have real sushi, just some fusion stuff, Suzuki's on main street is fantastic for authentic sushi and so good. The owners Keiko and Joe are way nice also.

              1. re: aynne35

                I tried Francine Bistro last week and it was great. Brian Hill is a really great chef. I enjoyed some nice South African Pinotage at the bar while waiting for my table to be ready and the bartender was very good, with a great upbeat personality. For an app I had fried softshell crab. the crab was a bit on the small side but very crispy outside and juicy inside, and quite tasty. I had duck two ways, leg and thigh confit that I think was then braised with herbs and spices with maybe a hint of cardamom until it was tender and almost but not quite falling off the bone; then there was a smoky, rare sliced duck breast that was as tasty as the best steak. Really an unbelievably good dish that blew me away. I have eaten literally all over the world and can put Francine's in my top 20, if not top 10. I hate to say such good things because it's only May and you need a reservation every night already, and may still have to wait a half hour for your seat.

                Primo was very good and I amazed that Melissa Kelly can juggle three restaurants spread around the country. I can't remember my app and lost my notes but for an entree I had haddock with a creamy sauce that had maple syrup in it. I usually love sweet and savory and use maple syrup in a few of my own dishes, but this sauce had a bitter element to it but at the same time was too sweet, so the sauce clashed with itself.

                The menu at Cafe Miranda is so huge and confusing and some of their dishes take getting used to. Some of them are very good and others don't work as well. It all depends upon what you like.

                Susukis Sushi is very good.

                Oh, Bento is advertising in the local paper that they are for sale. Interestingly enough, the ad was part of the same ad to eat there. Which I thought wasn't very appealing, so I didn't. Didn't they have a takeout stand in Camden that closed down a few years ago?

                1. re: JMF


                  I agree with everything you said! Chef Hill's duck is heaven! We love it there even better than Primo.
                  Miranda is just too frantic, everything is in a jumble with no discernable style or flavor, just kind of a mish mash.

                  Oh Bento is now closed, yes, they did have a take out stand in Camden, but I don't think they are this year. We dined at Rustica Friday nite, it was pretyy good, maybe a 6 or 7. Nice atmosphere, good wine, okay food.
                  Have you tried The Edge? I have not and I agree with your other assessments so let me know!

                  1. re: aynne35

                    Where is Rustica (what is a 6/7 on your scale?) and The Edge? I keep hearing about new good places to try and can't wait.

                    1. re: JMF

                      Hi JMF,

                      Sorry for the delay. I think that Rustica is a 6 or 7 out of a 10 because although some things are great there, like apps, and drinks, the tiramisu, their overall entrees are mixed. It is to me about equal with The Waterfront. It is on main street in Rocklan, by The Strand.

                      We finally tried the Edge, love it! It was delicious and the atmoshpere is gorgeous. You park at the upper level and they valet you to dinner in a golf. When you arrive, they escort you to the lower lovel bar which is beautiful, on the water, view of the entire bay. You linger over a cocktail, then they come and bring you to your table. The food was so good and creative. I had cod 3 ways, all good. Three different presentations on one plate. My husband had the curry seared Ahi Tuna with clams, yummy too. Great wine and great desserts and every single person there acted like they were glad to have us dining. SO I have to say I have found a place that is equal to my all time favorite Francine.

                      It is more romantic and relaxing than Francine as you know it's kind of funky and loud in there. I guess it depends on your mood for the evening. Definitely try it. It is on route 1 heading into Lincoilnville, blue sign on the right with gold lettering, right before Viking Lumber. Let me know what you think!

                      1. re: aynne35

                        I had mixed thoughts on Rustica when I went last week. I didn't love the food. It was just good, but nothing exceptional. I would rate it a 5 out of 10. I liked Amalfi a bit more but the nouvelle Mediterranean confused me a bit. I plan to visit them both in the future to get a better grip on them.

                        So where is The Waterfront and what is it like?

                        1. re: JMF

                          The Waterfront is in Camden, just off Bayview Street. The restaurant is pretty much sitting right on the water, and their deck can't be beat. The food, on the other hand, is really erratic. Sometimes it's great and sometimes mediocre. I recommend sitting on the bar side of the deck and ordering from the bar menu (their steamers and burgers have been consistently good in my experience).

                          1. re: Cassoulet

                            Exactly right on the review of Waterfront, my thoughts exactly. I love to got there for a drink and some steamers maybe or the Dijon Salad,.but I don't expect great food.
                            I have to revise my review above a bit, I think the Edge is a 9 and Francine is a 10, we had dinner there last night and that place is amazing. lol:)