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May 6, 2008 08:16 AM

Camden/Rockport/Rockland area dining

My husband and I will be heading to this area over Memorial day weekend and looking for some suggestions. We will be staying in a motel in Rockport so all meals will be eaten out, so looking for tips on breakfast lunch or dinner.
Right now our only plan is to dine at Primo on Sunday May 25th.

We arrive on Friday the 23rd and will have had a pretty long drive from NJ so looking for something pretty casual for Friday evening.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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  1. Years ago some friends and I went to Camden and ate at a seafood restaurant called Cappy's. The main thing that impressed us (we were early 20's at the time) was the "Brie Rudder" - a small wooden board of warmed brie with a sweet almond glaze on top. It also came with baguette slices and assorted fruit. They were also famous for their chowder and home-made oyster crackers. Camden's a beautiful spot - hope you enjoy your visit!

    1. Breakfast/lunch: The Brown Bag or Brass Compass Cafe, anchoring opposite ends of Rockland's Main Street. Camden Deli, Camden's Main Street--has a harbor view and hidden seating upstairs. Consider lunch at Waterman's Beach Lobster, near Primo, or Miller's Lobster Co., Spruce Head, off Route 73. Or simply head down to Port Clyde to the General Store or Dip Net.

      Friday Dinner: Cafe Miranda, Rockland--tiny place, humongous menu, aim for a seat at the open-kitchen bar for a front row seat. You'll either love this place or hate it, little middle ground. Reservations essential. In Good Company, wine and tapas bar in Rockland, creative, casual. Suzuki's Sushi Bar, Main Street, Rockland, area's best Japanese food.

      If you're looking for another fancy dinner: Francine Bistro, Ephemere or Hartstone Inn, all in Camden. Again, reservations essential. More casual are Amalfi, Rockland, and the ultra funky, garlic reeking Conte's--if you don't like what you see from the front door, leave.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Mainegal

        In Good Company is a great spot. I think it is one of the best atmospheres available in the area. And they'll set you up with some interesting wines. If you want more details check out my review in the latest issue of Down East:

        Also, if you're looking for a wine bar, a new one just opened in Camden called Brevetto in the Knox Mill on Mechanic Street. I haven't tried it yet but the owners of Rockland's Sage Market are behind it. They just opened another Sage Market in the mill as well. I will be going this week and will post my thoughts on The Maine Mouth: If you want fantastic food, I don't think any area restaurant, even Primo, beats Francine. I had a fabulous dinner there last week complete with local oysters, local lamb, a delicious halibut dish, and more desserts than I'd like to admit. It's a must for anyone who wants top notch food.

        1. re: TheMaineMouth

          IGC and Francine's are nice but you are plain wrong about Francine's being better than Primo's — or Hartstone, or Natalie's, or Cafe Miranda or even Ephemere for that matter. Camden has a ton of expensive restaurants but take a look at your bill after having dinner & drinks at Francine's — it's a bistro for god's sake, with good simple food, yet I've spent more on a dinner there than any of the other places... except Primo, but Primo worth it!

          1. re: Farnam897

            Have to really disagree, especially on the Miranda comment. Francine is not even in the same category as Miranda, it is so far above it. And yes, francine is better than Primo.

            1. re: aynne35

              Francine is very good and so is Primo; sorry to disagree, but comparing them is like comparing apples to oranges. I don't get the diss'g Primo trend on this board. People seem to enjoy it.

              1. re: Shooley

                As someone who's been eating Melissa Kelly's food since she started at the Old Chatham Sheepherding Inn, and have been to Primos a multiplicity of times, I would like to report, for those somewhat jaded by the prices or whatever, that I've taken to eating in the bar at Primos and am happy as a clam (is that dangerous to say in a place serving so much seafood?)
                I feel less guilty tossing a lot of cash away on their lemondrop martinis, and the food has been excellent and more than enough (after all, if you're still hungry there are always Prices' great desserts.)
                Just an example--the wood planked mussels were probably the best mussel dish I ever had. Dining companion got tired of hearing me grown, but the folks at the next table (which was very close!) asked for a taste.

                1. re: mjoyous

                  sorry for the unintended pun--that was to be groan, but it primos food does impact my waistline too!

                  1. re: mjoyous

                    We, too, eat at the bar almost exclusively. That way we can pick and choose from both menus.

      2. "Village Restaurant" in downtown Camden is kind of a hidden gem. We have always had very good food and service there. Unpretentious place with decent, simple menu and some tables looking out over the water.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jillso

          thanks for the great replies. I think the Wine Bar is a must do for us!

        2. Hands down. Francine. I found it to be casual with outstanding food and the waitress we had was completely down to earth, yet professional at the same time. The food is terrific - way above average with no pretentiousness whatsoever. If you like to eat the best of what is in season w/ a bit of new-englandish style - this is it. Best in the area.
          We had 1 cocktail and about 6 glasses of wine (including a "sweet"), 2 appetizers, 2 entrees and 2 desserts and the bill was about $140. Well worth it. I think that if we lived in the area and frequented Francine's more, a typical dinner would probably run us more towards $80 for 2. We were just having a celebratory time. An excellent example of the fine cooking that has come to Maine. Great job Francine! Hope that hey have a profitable Summer season.

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