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Four nights in Bar Harbor

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Howdy folks, we are going to spend a Mon-Fri in August in Bar Harbor, ME with our 4 year old. She's well behaved in restaurants so if a restaurant isn't classically kid friendly it's OK, but general good will toward well behaved children would be a desirable trait. Since we'll only be there weeknights hopefully some of the best restaurants won't be to crowded and we can try some places that we would otherwise avoid with her. Please let us know if we need to make reservations.

She wants to try lobster for the first time. Husband is a meat/fish and potatoes guy, but also likes some ethnic fare.

I just want to eat delicious food and avoid bad, overpriced tourist restaurants.

Looking foward to your reccommendations. Thank you in advance.

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  1. I was in Bar Harbor two weeks ago with a reasonably strict vegetarian, so, even though she claimed that I could eat what I wanted, she would give me dirty looks if I ate lobster or beef. I recommend something called Cafe Way Out in an aley across from the Village Green adjacent to the health food store for excellent breakfasts, particularly specialized omelette. One restaurant on Main Street beyond the green that is excellent is Poor Boy's Gourmet which has a wide variety of dishes including lobster should you wish as well as excellent deserts. I remember the walnut pie fondly. Of the places downtown that cater to tourists Galyn's seems to be the best, the only one that automatically added anchovies to the Caesar salad. The Bar Habor Inn restuarant, The Library, is the best more formal place. I saw well behaved children at all of the above.

    1 Reply
    1. re: BookGuy

      Southwest Harbor -- Red Sky, terrific food that would appeal to all. Upscale but unpretentious, kids no problem if well-behaved.

      Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound -- great first lobster experience. At the bridge leading to Mt. Desert Island.

      Cafe This Way in Bar Harbor -- great for breakfast or lunch. Best pancakes we had in the area.

    2. Here are my thoughts for good food near BH, all are kid friendly. BH is very busy during August and I would advise making reservations at any of these places at least a couple of weeks in advance.

      I'd second/third Cafe This Way, http://www.cafethisway.com . They usually have one lobster dish, think it's a pasta currently, so if your daughter wants a steamed whole lobster, this is not the place. They have good choices of both seafood (the pecan-crusted halibut is very good) and meats (duck, steak, chicken). It is a great place for kids, very informal and friendly wait staff. The breakfasts are outstanding but the lines in August can get really, really long if you go after 9AM, even on a weekday.

      Guiness and Porcelli's offers good Italian and nice wine list. Owned by the same folks is Havana, http://www.havanamaine.com/, with good Cuban fair, but pricey. I've had some absolutely fantastic meals there and then some that didn't live up to the price. The soups, ceviche, and desserts are always good. They make the best mojito I've ever had.

      Ate at Red Sky (http://redskyrestaurant.com/) recently and have been there many times. It was good, but I felt the service was kind of sloppy. Portions have gotten smaller and the food didn't have the same pop for me. Maybe my expectations were too high.

      My all time favorite place is Burning Tree in Otter Creek, just south of BH on Route 3. They specialize in fresh local ingredients and grow lots of their own produce on the premises. The menu is mostly fish, but not strictly no meat. For appetizers, I'd recommend the crispy kale and clams, mussels with Thai curry broth, and if they have them, the fried squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese and served with smoked tomato jam. Entrees - go for the halibut with green peppercorn sauce. Most entrees come with a choice of potatoes (your husband will be happy) either boiled new or sinfully rich, potatoes baked in garlic cream.

      McKay's Public House, eclectic fare with very reasonable prices. http://www.mckayspublichouse.com/

      Lastly, have lunch or dinner at the Lompoc Cafe (http://www.lompoccafe.com/). They have an outdoor patio, local brews and a bocce court. Soups and salads are great and very reasonably priced. (I can't seem to get the link to Lompoc to work even though it did for the other restaurants; it's at 36 Rodick St., Bar Harbor


      Cafe This Way
      14 Mount Desert St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

      Red Sky
      Clark Point Rd, ME 04674, USA, Clark Point Rd, ME 04674

      318 Main Street, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

      Burning Tree Restaurant
      69 Otter Creek Dr, Mount Desert, ME 04660

      McKay's Public House
      231 Main St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

      2 Replies
      1. re: BikeToEat

        I messed up the name of Cafe This Way for which I am quite contrite.

        We did try Guiness and Porcelli and had the gnocchi which, sadly, tasted like it was composed of potato puffs and that did not seem to make it worth recommending.

        1. re: BookGuy

          I've eaten there once and had the seafood risotto; it was good, but perhaps it is not representative of their overall food.

      2. Thanks so much for the recommendations. My mouth is watering reading the online menus.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pecan

          If you're interested in ethnic food, I would HIGHLY recommend XYZ in Manset, a short drive from BH. It's an authentic Mexican place with food from the Yucatan and a couple other regions (can't remember what the X and Z stand for...). It's a lively spot, and I'm sure they'd welcome a well-behaved kid. You'll need reservations. And if you go, don't miss the margaritas, made with fresh-squeezed lime juice. They're outstanding.

        2. I've heard Maggie's is very good.

          I'll also second on the Burning Tree.

          Maggie's Restaurant
          6 Summer Street
          Bar Harbor, Maine

          (207) 288-9007

          1. I work in BH, and for the most part agree. We locals often go to The Thirsty Whale. It is open all year and the clam chowder and lobster roll for 12 bucks is hard to beat. If you have a yen for Thai, stay away from Naikorn Thai, but Lotus Thai is good, but not great. Also consider Cafe Bluefish for their lobster strudle and the Fish House Grill for lobbers w/ A VIEW. THE TRENTON LOBSTER POUND IS VERY TOURISTY, but could be fun, I guess. In Hancock, Ruth and Whimpies and Reversing Falls Restaurant(our fav.).

            1 Reply
            1. re: Passadumkeg

              My wife and I really enjoyed the Burning Tree last summer as well.

            2. Just curious. Has anyone tried the new Brazilin oriented restaurant, Rio something or other, across from the town landing in Manset, where XYZ used to be located?

              2 Replies
              1. re: Passadumkeg

                The Brazilian Restuarant was called "Blame It On RIO" and is no longer in business, but the restuarant is back as it's prior name "Bella Mari" with Italian food. I will miss "Balme It On RIO" but I am glad that Bella Mari is back... the food was always good.

                1. re: LostonMDI

                  Welcome to chowhound, LostonMDI! Good to have a neighbor. I've lost touch w/ the backside of MDi since moving from SW to Ellsberg. I work summers in BH, but mainly hit only the bars.

              2. Just entertained nieces/nephews in Southwest Harbor:

                Mainely Delight (may not be open now) downscale doesn't say it all. Paper towels and plastic plates are the thing, so it is kid-friendly beyond all reckoning. VERY INEXPENSIVE lobster--treated my 6-year-old niece to her first and she loved it--possibly all the hacking at it? We went back 3x in the 2 weeks they were there. Her brothers, not so adventurous, thought the steak sandwich was great. My neighbors swear by the steamers. Kids should try ohboydoughboys--fried dough piled with ice cream, etc.--adults go for strawberry-rhubarb pie, if you like that sort of thing. BYO. Make a reservation if going in August. Ask for Murph as your waitress, but it will cost you a beer, if you have it. Looks out on a working harbor. If you have a minute, drive around the harbor to the little tiny lighthouse, which houses a branch of the island's best bookstore, Port in a Storm.

                WHALE'S TALE, in BH. Very good sandwiches and seafood. Good beer selection. Foosball table for the kids. They may want to try the root beer here.

                THE CLAREMONT, but for lunch only. Kids can wander on the beach or play croquet (!) while adults eat crabmeat sandwiches. My niece approved of the hamburger and the BLT. Unbelievable view.

                LAMPOC CAFE in BH. From my viewpoint, good old hippie fare, like hummus, vegetables with peanut sauce, etc. Wonderful beer--have a ginger wheat. Lots of dipping things for the 4 year old and a bocce ball alley too.

                finally (I promise) 2 cats dancing in BH for breakfast. Make a reservation or you will just give up. Love the farmer's scramble, the cats paws (so will your daughter!) and the coffee.

                Red Sky is one of the best on the island, IMHO, since the much-lamented Seaweed Cafe. Not terribly formal, but no plastic chairs either. Had my birthday dinner here back in May, went home full of gingerbread, asparagus, morels and fiddleheads (eaten in succession, not all at once). Niece, again, approves of lobster and of sweet-potato soup. Lovely wine list....MAKE RESERVATIONS.

                MDI is a wonderful place. Be sure to get out of BH to get the full experience.