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Camden/Rockport/Rockland area dining

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mbw1024 May 6, 2008 08:16 AM

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.

  1. b
    barefootkitchenwitch May 6, 2008 11:07 AM

    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. m
      Mainegal May 6, 2008 12:11 PM

      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
        t
        TheMaineMouth May 6, 2008 01:09 PM

        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: http://www.downeast.com/Down-East-Magazine/June-2008/In-Good-Hands/

        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: http://www.downeast.com/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
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          Farnam897 May 15, 2008 07:52 AM

          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
            aynne35 May 15, 2008 08:01 AM

            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
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              Shooley Mar 4, 2009 04:02 AM

              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
                m
                mjoyous Mar 4, 2009 07:06 AM

                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
                  m
                  mjoyous Mar 4, 2009 07:08 AM

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

                  1. re: mjoyous
                    s
                    Shooley Mar 4, 2009 08:25 AM

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

      2. j
        jillso May 6, 2008 01:36 PM

        "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
          m
          mbw1024 May 6, 2008 01:53 PM

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

        2. m
          morla May 6, 2008 05:30 PM

          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.

          1. b
            Bette Ferne May 10, 2008 11:07 AM

            Don't miss Prism, between Rockport and Camden. Innovative menu with local products, expertly prepared and served. And a glass blowing demo as a bonus!

            1. n
              nhgator May 23, 2008 06:41 PM

              Rockland cafe is super casual. Great full belly clams and good hot chowda. No frills. We hit it before taking the ferry over to Vinalhaven.

              2 Replies
              1. re: nhgator
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                sox74 May 24, 2008 05:43 AM

                I'm a fan of the Rockland Cafe as well. Actually I've only been there for breakfast. They make their own corned beef hash, and they make a Benedict with it, which is a must try. Also, opt for a grilled muffin rather than the toast that comes with most egg dishes. It costs a little more, but its worth it.

                1. re: sox74
                  Passadumkeg May 24, 2008 11:21 AM

                  the fish cake and beans for brek are our fave.

              2. h
                harrie Mar 2, 2009 02:01 PM

                The hubby and I will be staying in Waldoboro for a long weekend in mid-March. We've been before, but only in the slightly off season, not the off-off season. We like Cafe Miranda, so that's good for one night; I know it has its detractors, but we like it.

                My question is: The other places about which I've read glowing reviews -- how many of them are open year-round and who are they? I'm thinking of Francine Bistro and Suzuki Sushi in particular, but if anyone has any other must-do or new suggestions, I'm certainly open to them.

                If one of us had a hankering for fried whole bellies and/or lobster roll for lunch is there a particular place to go? Or perhaps more precisely, any place(s) to avoid?

                Thanks in advance to all for your help.

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