Camden Me dinners thus far
We have been here for only three days and have already been hugely disappointed and hugely elevated by the incredible selection available.
1st night: Cappy's - Old standard. Had a great soft shelled lobster (called shedders here), with a piquant potato salad and great refreshing house salad. Just the thing to get started here. Husband's clam chowder was predictably good.
Also had a great lunch from Market Basket - totally gourmet sandwiches, etc. We love their potato and pasta salads. /this is on route 1 as you are getting to camden.
2nd night: Natalie's - Went to old location in the Knox Mill last year and was totally impressed and overwhelmed by excellent food. This year, not so much. Very funky new environment was welcomed - they are at Camden Harbor Inn on Bayview. The old greeter, Abby, was no where to be found. New greeter was very pleasant and we were anticipating a great meal. The menu was prix fixe, with either 4 courses for $45 or 5 for $55. No real choices, but we were ok with that. The squash soup was utterly tasteless, even with a teaspoon of salt. The salad that was supposed to have a smoked tomato was teeeeeeeeny and also utterly without taste. I absolutely despise honeydew melon, so guess what the sorbet was? Yech. That one was all me. Entree was either steak or halibut. I chose steak, medium rare, and it was served medium and was just really ok. Halibut smelled a little fishy and I am so glad I did not eat it. Only one of us had the chocolate mousse for dessert and I am happy it wasn't me. I am told the tomato couilis was just tomato paste. We were happy to leave. Normally I'd give the chef some more time to perfect the menu, but there were major serving issues also. This will not be on our list next year.
3rd day: Went to lobster pound outside lunch place in Lincolnville. Great lobster rolls as usual but saw some other food there that also looked great. This is a great place to get your feet wet with local food and enjoy the out of doors. Also, pretty decent house salads.
Dinner: Tavern on the Falls 207-236-4431. This is what took over where Natalie's used to be.
Oh, before we went here we had a drink at Ephemere(207 236 4451) the wine bar which was fabulous. Met some interesting locals and had a delish sav blanc. We will return here to have dinner. I had no idea they served food here in addition to being a wine bar - light and airy, attractive servers.
so, back to Tavern. It is painted really dark and intimate now. Our server, who did not give a name, was truly welcoming and concerned about our well-being. We started with oysters on the half-shell, which were the freshest and most delicious ever. Served with 3 kinds of sauce and lots of natural liquor. We also had the Ducktrap salmon appetizer - yum. then a really strong ceasar salad. Then main dishes. I had the scallops which were perfectly carmelized and served with a pea risotto - I don't even like risotto and this was really really good. My dad and husband had the seafood linguine, which was also great. Mother scored with the duck confit appetizer - absolutely unimagineable even for those of us who eat confit often. The wine list was very conservative price-wise and this will be our new standard for fine dining in Camden. AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!
More later on our other food destinations.
I returned last weeek from a trip to Camden. Had excellent meals at Tavern on the Falls and Francine Bistro. We wanted to go to McMahon's Knox Grill, a new spot beneath Tavern but it had not opened yet due to building issues. Too bad, the space looks great.
Tavern on the Falls serves good quality food. We started with an amuse bouche of duck confit in phyllo, and it was delicious. We had the green salad with fresh strawberries- another winner, the rib eye steak was good, but the star was really the roast half chicken. I am not kidding, it was outstanding. The chocolate, chocolate chip creme brulee was creamy and sufficiently chcolatey. We liked it. Highly recommend this place.
Francine Bistro started us off with great homemade bread, baked by the chef. Salads were good. Steak frites will get you an obscenely-huge mound of fries, and a very good tender filet-type steak. Their duck breast entree was delicious, and I am sorry the server did not get me the recipe for the sweet and sour zucchini which turned me, a zucchini hater, into a zucchini lover. Good stuff here.
We went to Tavern last night for our first visit. Loved it! We had oysters with champagne mignionette, large fresh pemaquids, so good. Then we had the artisinal cheese platter, and the smoke salmon with chive, red onion, etc. I loved the duck confit with honey and my husband ordered the chicken and you were spot on, it was great.
I am glad you like Natalie's so much, really. I have found in my opinion that just because a place is super busy on opening isn't always an indicator of culinary skill. This is a small area. I have only spoken to two parties that have dined there, one said so so and the other party was what I said above. I do know that the great chef they had left about a month or so ago and Abby is also selling it or has sold it to the new Inn owners so maybe it will be great. I am anxious to try it, your review sounds positive. Primo and Francine also are exgremely hard to get reservations for in the summer, it's good that there is another high end place, hopefully it's as good as you say.
Please try Francine Bistro, honest to god, it is better than Primo, the food is amazing!
Abby no longer own's Natalie's, that is why she was not there....
The Edge in Lincolville is also great, the view is incredible and the food perfect also.... But if I had to choose one last meal hands down Francine.....