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Jun 4, 2007 10:30 AM

need recs for acadia np (maine)

hi all,

my wife & i will be tent camping in acadia this fall (late september time frame). i've perused the boards a bit, but can't to seem to find much current info on the acadia area (most recs seem to be 3-4 years old). any input you can provide on the lists below will be greatly appreciated, as well as anything not on the lists. we're primarily interested in breakfast & lunch places, although dinner recs will not be overlooked. since we're camping, we'd appreciate nothing too upscale; jeans & clean shirts will be about all we'll be able to muster up. price doesn't matter if the food is good. we'll definitely be gorging on lobster a time or two, so any comparisons/preferences between the pounds listed/others will be especially appreciated. we tend to prefer local's hangouts and ethnic food rather than touristy places.

jordan pond house

bar harbor area:
atlantic brewing co
ben & bill's
cafe this way
fish house grill & raw bar
lompoc cafe
mache bistro
mama dimatteo's
michelle's brown bag
morning glory bakery
poor boy's
the reading room
two cats

bass harbor:
seafood ketch

thurston's lobster pound

campground/scenic 1a:
the red barn


northeast harbor:
151 maine st
full belly deli
house of m

otter creek:
burning tree

somes sound:
abel's lobster pound

southwest harbor:
beal's lobster pier
deacon st
quiet side cafe

thanks for your help...

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  1. We just returned from Bar Harbor a couple of days ago....I would avoid Jordan Pond House. WAY overrated in my opinion. High prices, so-so food. The popovers that everyone raves about were horrible! The view, however, was great.

    While there, we also tried:
    McKay's--we thought it was pretty good. The entrees seem to be on the pricey side but there's a small pub menu you can order from as well. My husband and the fish and chips and they were excellent. I wanted something lighter and ordered a portabello burger, which wasn't that great--I ended up eating off of his plate. I enjoyed the beer much more than my dinner!

    Cafe This Way--we went for breakfast. Neat atmosphere and a large selection for breakfast. My husband was disappointed in his omelette, but I thought it was pretty good. I would probably search for another breakfast spot, though.

    Havana--By far the best meal we had while there. Everything was excellent--great cocktails, great appetizers, delicious entrees, and fabulous dessert.

    7 Replies
    1. re: marshmallow78

      t'as folle??? Jordan Pond house has sublime food, esp popovers and lobster stew.

      1. re: cambridgegourmande

        Sublime? Are you aware that MDI HS has its all -night prom there every spring?
        Some how sublime are misplaced modifiers for popovers and lobster stew (Honestly, lobster stew was served in the Pemetic and Tremont Elementary Schools in 1990.). A very "nice" tourist trap. I'll refrain from local behind-the -scenes horror stories.

        1. re: Passadumkeg

          Wow. They seem to have requested fairly casual places. My family visited Acadia from Iowa. While lacking in upscale eateries in Iowa, we have fairly well-trained palates in our family. My family thoroughly enjoyed Jordan Pond's popovers, stew and views. In fact, they phoned in the middle of their meal to brag. It seemed to be a comfort-food kind of place, not gourmet by any means, which should fill the above request.

          1. re: Passadumkeg


            The popovers are fine, but what's there to rave about? The lobster bisque was good. The other dishes we ordered were bland and overpriced. I ordered the grilled chicken today. I got the smallest piece of chicken I've ever gotten at a restaurant. This isn't some gourmet restaurant where they can get away with serving such a tiny portion. BTW, I'm a light eater and get full easily, so for me to say the portion was small is saying something. The sides were wild rice and overboiled green and yellow squash with no seasoning. That was like $12 or so. One of us ordered the steamed lobster: was OK, came with a small side plate of broccoli florets and same rice. ($21) One of us ordered a lobster salad, not a great presentation. Our bill came to about $95 and we left feeling gypped and disappointed. Don't say you weren't warned! To top it off, Jordan Pond is nothing to write home about.

            1. re: surinj

              Right on. Bring a lunch, a bottle of wine and sit on the lawn w/ a nice view of The bubbles (Puritan eEnglish translation for Les Tetones).

              1. re: Passadumkeg

                I'm going to have to agree with you both, after our visit, and retract everything I said. It was ridiculously overpriced and not at all amazing. I think they were just deluded by their love of Acadia. We ate there twice, once for a rehearsal dinner, and once after biking the trails. I agree with the posters above, pack a picnic lunch!!

                1. re: kamknauss

                  Definitely pack a picnic for your hike, and if anything, have a popover and some iced tea at JPH, if you're really crazy about popovers. Ate there once and will not make the mistake again.

                  I would add skip Town Hill Bistro; there's no way they'd legitimately be anywhere close to top of the list in BH; there are a lot of much better restaurants in the area, without so many sound alike reviews.

      2. oh, i forgot one on my op. a place called george's was mentioned frequently in the old posts, but then i thought i read where it had closed. is this the case? if it's still open, is it still good?

        3 Replies
        1. re: mark

          Markie Bear,
          George's: RIP, bummer.
          For some southerner "from away", you did a wicked good job with your list, but have 2 erroneous recommendations. Testa's is the biggest tourist rip off on the island. Miguel's violates the basic rule of good Mexican, nobody speaks Spanish. Expensive glop called Mexican. You did fail to mention Cafe Blue Fish which is worth a visit just for their lobster strudel! There is also an interesting new Brazilian restaurant on the Manset town dock where XYZ started. It is run by an independent candidate for govenor in the last election. Haven't heard about the chow yet, but she and her hubbie are professionals from Portland and she has lived in Brasil. Good signs.
          Being a local year round resident and educator, I usually frequent, on principle, year round locally owned restaurants rather the wham bam thank you mam, money mill restaurants so common in BH.
          There is a new family orientated rest. in NE, Tan Turtle, with a HUGE menu.
          If I were drop a wad, I'd go to Havana. Cafe Blue Fish, Mache Bistro, Geddy's Gaylyn's and Poor Boy's are all locally owned, open all year, and have good reps. Jordan's is the best deal for brekkie and the not mentioned Thirsty Whale Pub is where the locals go; I can sit at the bar and talk to my sons' friends who are lobstermen, not great fare but very reasonable.
          Finally our favs. in the area are not on the island. We love Finelli's pizza, Cleonise and Jordan's in Ellsworth; and Ruth and Wimpies for cheap lobster and local color, Le Domaine and the Crocker House for a splurge, and the most scenic and altruistic lobster pound in Maine, Tidal Falls Lobster Pound, all in Hancock.
          To paraphrase Callivan Trillin: the more beautiful the natural scenery the poorer the food. The chef is out enjoying nature instead of slaving over the hot stove where he should be.

          Marco el Hambre

          Oh yes! The Burning Tree in Otter Creek, all local organic ingredients and Eden on West St in Bh for excellent, reasonable priced Veggie fare. Chester Pike's Galley on Rt. 1, in Sullivan, has the best breakfast I've ever eaten, lobster Benedict w/ Key lime pie for dessert!

          1. re: Passadumkeg

            A friend recommended Fiddler's Green in Southwest Harbor for dinner? What do you think of that restaurant?

            1. re: Passadumkeg

              We spent a week in Hancock last summer and our favorite meal was at the Tidal Falls Lobster Pound. Summer before had an amazing meal at Le Domaine, and would have loved to have gotten there again but somehow never managed to get there. This summer, perhaps (my brother and his family live there).

          2. From a 15-year MDI summer resident...

            Bar Harbor - Havana is the best. Ben & Bill's for ice cream. Morning Glory bakery. Breakfast at 2 Cats. No to Miguel's. Lampoc good, fun to watch bocce players from outside seating area. For lunch, love the outdoor grass terrace at Bar Harbor Inn with its yellow umbrellas. Food is excellent, using lots of local produce, seafood, etc. Great view of the harbor, heads above the other tourist-trap waterfront joints.

            Bar Harbor's Sunday farmers market good option for dinner groceries or picnic fare.

            Burning Tree in Hull's Cove one of best on MDI.

            Jordan Pond House - don't agree with other poster. It's a must-do, always take my guests there. Popovers to die for. Decent wines, beer. Make reservations, ask for outdoor patio or screened terrace.

            Northeast Harbor - Docksider was always very good, haven't been in awhile. Like the Asticou Inn for Old Maine ambiance. Avoid Matta Cena if it's still there, had a couple of OK lunches but horrendous dinner.

            Abel's is in a pretty setting but outrageously overpriced and not so good.

            Southwest Harbor - XYZ (for states of Xalapa, Yucat√°n, and Zacatecas) is a must if you like authentic Mexican - the real thing, with margaritas from scratch. Owners spend winters in Mexico and bring back many ingredients .Festive, hip atmosphere. Call for res and directions, hard to find.

            West Side Grill - excellent food at breakfast, luch, dinner. On Dysart's Great Harbor Marina access road (Apple Lane) next to the West Marine store. Fab views of harbor.

            Sips cafe - casual, breakfast lunch & dinner. Mediterranean meze platter is great.

            Red Sky - bit more upscale than those above in SWH. Dinner. Food consistently good.

            Little Cranberry Island - for a nice island experience take the ferry from SWH over there for lunch or dinner. Great views - reserve and ask for seating on deck or windows. Food and service uneven but can be very good.

            Bass Harbor - best sunset viewing (except Cadillac Mtn.) is at Maine-ly Delights across from Swans Island ferry dock. Basically a seafood shack, has its share of fried dishes but lobster and crab are very fresh and tasty.Non-seafood options. Dough-boys famous. BYOB. Most tables have a view plus there's a deck.

            Best lobster pound - Thurston's in Bernard overlooking Bass Harbor (almost a completely working harbor). Have tried them all and this wins hands-down. You'll watch boats unloading lobsters from your perch on two screened decks. No reservations. Long wait in high season at peak hours. Beer and wine avail. Order before you stake out a table.

            Ellsworth - just after leaving Ellsworth on the road to MDI is Bankok, adjacent to Colonial Inn motel. Very good Thai food. Cleonice (mediterranean fare) also good.

            NON-FOOD NOTES
            Please consider using the Island Explorer to get around MDI. It's convenient and cuts down on traffic congestion. Also, nothing's really a bargain - the season is short and businesses have a very limited period to make money. Final word of warning - avoid Bar Harbor when cruise ships are in port - it gets unpleasantly crowded.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Memsahib

              Spot on, except I feel Thurston's has gone down hill. Too bad The Seaweed Cafe is gone(the blond sushi chef was our son).

              1. re: Memsahib

                Not only is XYZ bland, but I wouldn't call its atmosphere anything close to 'hip' and 'festive'. Everyone was dressed up, I felt a bit out of place in my shirt and jeans. The atmosphere was pleasant, just that it reflected its upscale pricing. Mexican meets fine dining, only the dining wasn't fine.

              2. thanks for the feedback!

                we're really looking forward to the trip, and will, of course, post back with our experiences.


                1. Note that in late September some places may be closed - although last year, fall foliage was HUGE in Bar Harbor, and there were as many people on Columbus Day in October as I've seen on a busy day in July - so maybe it's changing.

                  The Jordan Pond House is wonderful - delicious popovers, fun for lunch or tea outside on the lawn. My favorite meal is a bowl of sublime lobster stew with popovers and a house salad with excellent blue cheese dressing, and lemonade or maybe iced tea. While you can't eat outside at dinner, there's a fine fixed-price meal - simple food, done well. I WOULD advise sticking to more straightforward far, and I haven't been crazy about the lobster roll. The seafood chowder is also excellent.

                  I absolutely love having a drink before dinner in the Bar Harbor Inn's lovely bar - excellent bar mix to munch, outstanding drinks, lovely service, a nice view, and GOOD piano music. Dinner is also very enjoyable - again, I stick to somple, traditional fare - but breakfast in the dining room is FABULOUS.

                  I has lunch in Testa's last summer and it was very pleasant,

                  Cleonice in Ellsworth has WONDERFUL tapas. Jordan's in Ellsworth is great for the traditional fried seafood bit and ice cream.

                  Le Domaine - a long drive from Mt Desert, close to an hour - is superb, one of the best French restaurants I've ever encountered. The menu is limited, and some people don't like that. You could call and ask, if that's a concern.

                  * using the Island Explorer is a GREAT idea!!! *


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sophie fox

                    is the old Bistro 151 in NEH still open? Name changed last year....can't remember what it is called although think it was asian inspired food.