Michelle's Fine Dining at the Ivy Manor Inn - I've been here twice this year, and recommend it very highly. Gorgeous, pristine oysters; perfect Lobster Thermidor; delicious desserts including excellent creme brulee and the "famous" Bag of Chocolate. Outstanding wine list, great service. A SPLURGE, and absolutely worth it.
Michelle's Fine Dining
194 Main St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
i'm a little prejudiced since we own a cottage in sw harbor, and almost never to go to bar harbor unless it's out of season. waaaaay too touristy and yes, too much mediocrity.
our faves on the island are thurston's in bernard for lobster. Fiddlers is excellent for continental dinner, great wine list. We ate at Eat a Pita a few times the last time we were there because the food was great, loved the ambience and the owner is super friendly. Grumpys is a good plae for breakfast and lunch, a well kept secret; Little Notch has superb food but you can age a bit waiting for it - worth the wait though. For a home style meal, we like to pop into Quietside. Frances makes amazing pies, great pizza and the soups and stews are terrific. We have been to XYZ a lot and have enjoyed it but the attitude there is a bit hard to overcome, they have an overblown sense of entitlement (although the margaritas are well deserved). In Ellswoth, we do like Cleonice for tapas and wine. Next year, we'll try Red Sky - it gets great reviews.
We ate at Seafood Ketch today and found it mediocre and overpriced. The bread may be baked on the premises, but it is a plain white loaf, Wonder-like. We had fried clams with steak fries and cole slaw, seafood alfredo, and broiled halibut. The baked halibut was perhaps the best of the three dishes. The clam plates portions were were small (perhaps tiny is a better word), and missing many bellies, although the breading was decently done. The alfredo was thick and flour-y, and served in a soup bowl. The roasted red potatoes were overcooked, and then to add insult to injury. were oversalted. The steak fries (four to a serving and served with ketchup) were good. They have Bar Harbor ales on tap. If I ever go back there again, which is not likely, I'll have steak fries and a beer.
I definitely agree with recs for Red Sky and Burning Tree. Red Sky has a very interesting wine list and wine specials which are often fantastic both in taste and price. The owners are extremely conscientious and very attentive to their patrons. Food is delicious and inventive. The menu changes frequently, but I'd recommend the roast chicken, the scallops, and any fish dish. Save room for dessert because the chocolate pudding is rich and fabulous, all made with Callebaut chocolate.
Burning Tree has a menu mostly focused on fish and fresh local ingredients. Though there is chicken and some savory accent meats, the majority of the menu is fish and shellfish. For apps, try the mussels in curry coconut broth, goat cheese stuffed squash blossoms with smoked tomato jam (if they have them), any special salad on the menu. They grow much of the herbs and salad ingredients on the premises. For entrees, my favorite is the broiled halibut with green peppercorn sauce. The bouillabaisse is also good. Desserts are amazing and the list of them is truly impressive. I particularly like the lemon mouse with red wine prune sauce (interesting and different). If they have the fresh strawberry tart, it's great. Very inexpensive wine list, heavy on the whites, due to the emphasis on fish on the menu.
I'd make reservations as soon as possible and both of these places are really popular and it starts getting really busy up here during that time of year.
I've had some very good dinners at McKays, though other posters were not as happy. Had a chinook (king) salmon with red curry sauce that was fantastic, perfectly cooked with nice heat and spice. Their special salad has always been very nice. It's a place that is warm and inviting, with dark wood paneling. The bar is a favorite of locals.
I've had great and just ok dinners at Havana. They make the best mojito I have ever had with just the right amount of fresh, tart lime juice and a healthy dose of dark Cuban rum. The wine list is extensive and quite interesting. It's worth just going to the bar and having a mojito. Some of the meals I've had there were really creative and spectacular, like a seared halibut with strawberry salsa. Other times, I've had a spice rubbed pork chop that was just ok and I felt like it was a lot of money to pay for mediocrity.
I would not call the Seafood Ketch top end. They have standard seafood fare, but some of it is very mediocre. Their Newburg sauce is dreadful. Best bet is a dish called halibut imperial, if its on the menu. Bread is great and baked on the premises. They have good breakfast there, especially the crab omelet.
Cafe This Way has fabulous breakfasts and long lines. They make the best blueberry pancakes on the Island.
Other options, for lunch, go to the Lompoc for a local brew and some great sandwiches and soup. In Southwest Harbor, Little Notch Bakery makes outstanding pizza and great sandwiches on their really, terrific bread.
In Ellsworth, I've heard that Cleonice is outstanding Meditteranean. I've not been though.
Have a great time!
Burning Tree, in Otter Creek, and Red Sky, in Southwest Harbor, are consistent in quality and experience. I think Red Sky has the edge in atmosphere.
Havana is usually reliable and extremely popular; when it's on, it's a winner, but it's a notch down from the previous two.
For sheer elegance, you can't beat The Bar Harbor Club, owned by the Harborside Hotel. If nothing else, go for a drink. They really did a smashing job in the renovation. The only downside is that if there's a tent on the lawn, it blocks the harbor view. When I dined there two years ago, the food and service were excellent (and the prices very high), but as with any island restaurant, I'd ask locally to see what the current repuation is.
I also really like XYZ, also in Southwest.It serves the food of tXalapa, Yucatan and Zacatecas, Mexico. None of that cheese-topped glop that too often passes as Mexican in Maine. This food is authentic. And those margaritas...
Also, for any of these places you'll need reservations well in advance. Make them now, ask around, then cancel what you don't want.
On, and when passing through Ellsworth, seek out Morton's for its gelatos and ice cream. mmmmmm.
We were just in Bar Harbor last week and I can highly recommend Havana Restaurant and Burning Tree in Otter Creek. Both of those restaurants had excellent food that would be enjoyable in any larger city.
For breakfast, I can recommend Two Cats (though it is slow) and Cafe This Way. Again, I wish I could find restaurants this good for breakfast within 10 miles of home in Boston.
was at Havana once during the last week in June. while i liked the space and the staff the food seemed a little off as far as execution.
my son had the (some spice rubbed) filet that was served on a mashed root veg. the beef was decent and cooked as ordered but the root veg mash was an unappealing gray glop.
i had the stuffed pork chop and even though the server said that they usually cook this dish well done (the Horror!) she said that the chef would accommodate my requested med rare. it arrived well past well done and the entire dish lacked a signature flavor.
cocktails were very good, even my son's virgin mojito.
we also tried MacKay's across the street (sort of) and found it to be solidly mediocre. the kid's tuna was done to the requested med rare but the soba noodle salad that came with was overcooked and none of the noodles were longer than an inch or so. i had the bistro steak and thought it was good although the sauce was a little too heavy on the rosemary.
Cafe This Way isn't top end, but they have very good, interesting food. There are a lot of tourist traps in Bar Harbor, with mediocre food. Our best chowish experiences were father afield.For high end dining on Mt. Desert Island, head over to Southwest Harbor and eat at Red Sky -- truly amazing food made with excellent local ingredients. (Some of the items we enjoyed: Roast Quail with a Qunioa Crust and Blackberry Glaze, BLT Salad with Fried Egg and Apple Cider Vinaigrette, Sauteed Lobster with Zucchini and Baby Peas, Served Over Crispy Polenta with a Tomato-Basil Concasse) Talented chef, great service, nice atmosphere. Had dinner there twice when we were in the neighborhood a couple of weeks ago. Also, try to make it to the Trenton Bridge Lobster pound for the best lobster and steamed clams ever. Lunch at the newly opened Tan Turtle Tavern was also excellent (very good salads, especially, also lots of fresh fish). For an old-fashioned fish house experience, head to Seafood Ketch in Bass Harbor. We were really impressed with the friendly and competent service almost everywhere. Have a great trip!