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Brunswick Breakfasts and "Musts"

This L.A. chowhound is spending three weeks in Brunswick and Portland (for work)...I have visited before but not for this extended length of time. I am on my own for breakfast and dinner nearly every day(Mrs. TravelPath can't travel with me this trip)...I would appreciate any great recs for breakfast (my favorite meal) and any other "musts" for dinner and snacks! I am willing to drive some distance for excellence...I am from SoCal after all!!

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  1. I would highly recommend the Dolphin Chowderhouse in S. Harpswell, a 20 minute lovely drive down the peninsula. Here is my previous post on the Brunswick area:



    1. Hey!

      I just wrote a post on Brunswick, ME actually. But here are some recommendations:

      111 Maine. Unfortunately it's only lunch and brunch...so that might not work as well for you. But it's DELICIOUS! Great coffee.

      If you're looking for a good local dinner, good place to hang out by yourself, check out the Frontier Cafe. It's in Fort Andross. Very relaxed atmosphere, organic food, good sandwiches, salads and plates.

      I really like El Camino, which is a small mexican restaurant on Cushing street. Serves light organic food, good mexican restaurant (maine standards), but seeing that you're from SoCal, that might not be the best idea..

      Check out Henry and Marty's for dinner, right on Maine street, more upscale, but it's been there for years and a favourite among the locals.

      Also, on any given nice day, you'll see some trucks parked by the town green on Maine street...couple of hot dog trucks and the greek truck on weekends. The gyro at Xeno's the greek place is a definite must.

      Big top Deli on maine street serves new york style sandwiches, popular among the college kids, they also have breakfast sandwiches.

      There's also Renaissance (listed in the link that science chick posted) and serves breakfast, although I've never been, people say it's good.

      You should drive out to Bailey Island and check out Cook's Lobster house. I've never eaten there, I think the food is good, but the view is worth it.

      Also, for snacks (or dinner), go to Fat Boy drive in for a cheap lobster roll or their famed whoper burger or a frapp, yum. Great now I'm craving fat boy. Morse's lobster shack (right down the road from fat boy), is also another drive in type eatery.

      For dinner, the great impasta (maine street) serves pretty good italian, they have really yummy garlic knots.

      For a good beer, go to Seadogs, they serve pub food, but have a lot of maine brews on tap.

      1. I read an LA post not long ago about the dearth of diners in LA. The Maine Diner is low down funky and a different experience. About an hour north The Rockland Cafe has our favorite real Yankee breakfast on the coast of Maine: fish cakes and beans. Moody's Diner in Waldeoboro is a Maine institution as is Becky's in Portland. The dining facilities at Bowdoin College are excellent.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Passadumkeg

          OH! I totally forgot about Moody's. They're famous here, it's on the drive up to Wiscasset, if you don't mind (then you can stop by Red's in Wiscasset to get a lobster roll!)

          I forgot to mention that there's also the Brunswick diner in town on pleasant street, near the laundromat, but I've never been for breakfast, only for burgers and frapps.

          One more thing - Bowdoin does have great dining facilities, but unfortunately closed for breakfast and dinners during the summer. Only lunch.

        2. I suspect some time in the archives here would bring up plenty of information for Portland and vicinity. Specifically in Brunswick, however, make sure you get to Sweet Leaves Teahouse on Pleasant St., which, despite its name, has a lovely menu for both lunch and dinner, all nicely prepared and significantly from locally sourced ingredients, including Hahn's End (Phippsburg) cheeses. Thoughtful and moderately priced wine list as well. http://www.sweetleaves.com/

          1. Fat Boy's drive-in in Brunswick has the BEST lobster roll I have ever had (and I'm from Maine and went to Bowdoin, so I know a thing or two about Brunswick food), and really delicious frappes and onion rings too. I would absolutely consider Fat Boy's a Brunswick "must". I would also recommend Fore Street and Cinque Terre in Portland, European Bakery in Falmouth (between Brunswick and Portland) for pastries, and will second the recommendations for Big Top Deli (particularly The Goose and The Ringmaster sandwiches). Henry & Marty's hours are pretty weird, so definitely double-check that they're open before making plans to eat there - it's worth it! For a bottle of wine and some good cheese and pate for a beach picnic, you should also stop by Provisions on Maine St.

            Fore Street
            288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

            Cinque Terre
            36 Wharf Street, Portland, ME 04101

            Fat Boy Drive In
            111 Bath Rd, Brunswick, ME

            European Bakery
            395 Us Route 1, Falmouth, ME

            Big Top Delicatessen
            70 Maine St, Brunswick, ME 04011

            148 Maine St, Brunswick, ME

            10 Replies
            1. re: apronista

              The view from Cook's is amazing, but the food isn't anything special. Definately hit up the Dolphin.

              If you go to the Frontier Cafe at Ft. Andross, make sure you take a few minutes to stop into Simply Divine Brownies. http://www.simplydivinebrownies.com/i... They are kind of hidden up on an upper floor. Not easy to find, but worth the extra effort. My favorite is the "Need'him"

              1. re: delong99

                I was not impressed with the brownies at Simply Divine, but that is only my opinion. I also thought the price was way way overboard and a ripoff.
                European Bakery has good product, especially their coffee cake.
                I need to check out Fat Boy Drive In as I heard very good remarks.

                1. re: delong99

                  simply divine has recently moved to senter place, 124 maine st

                  1. re: delong99

                    Simply divine is famous for their clientele (they did oscars party favors and such) and do a lot of company party favors too, so they get quite fancy, thus the price. Ya know, the bigger the name is, the higher the price.

                    However, a trick is to order early and get their bag of ends (I actually don't remember what it's called, but it's basically the leftover brownies that didn't fit the size) and it costs about $5 the last time I was there. You might have to call and order ahead as this is obviously limited.

                  2. re: apronista

                    Apronista: I just returned from visiting Fat Boy Drive in and had their lobster roll which was the worst lobster roll I have ever had... Yes it was only $6.00, but would rather pay $15 and a real Lobster Roll instead of a JOKE.....
                    It consisted of 2-3 oz of lobster, 2-ounces of mayo and a little pc of lettuce.
                    Wow, was I surprised... I did not expect the same as Reds, but I did expect a lobster roll and not a joke, and you wrote that its the Best you ever had......I cannot believe that its the best you ever had, or you have been hiding behind a Maine bush way too long...........

                      1. re: irwin

                        Yeah definitely agree with you. You go to fat boys for a CHEAP lobster roll, not a good one. It's good for its price, but...if you want good lobster rolls, go somewhere else. But DO go to fat boys adn get a frapp et whopper burger.

                        1. re: irwin

                          Gosh! I'm really sorry you didn't like it. I honestly remember them being jam-packed with loads of lobster and perfectly seasoned (barely at all) and with a crisp buttery roll. Sincerely sorry for the disappointment. I haven't been there for a quite a while and from now on I will refrain from recommending things I haven't sampled recently.

                          1. re: irwin

                            Try the Maine Diner. They advertise their roll as the best in Maine as reported by some famous news personality, whose name I forget (gettin' older), but it is around 16 bucks. For that reason I have not tried it.

                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                              isn't cudneys close by and better for lobster rolls and steamed lobster?

                        2. Tries Mae's Cafe in Bath for breakfast, great sticky buns. the Kennebec tavern also in Bath has great water views for lunch and a very good lobster bisque.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: jspear

                            Is that the former Kristina's? The sticky buns were special.

                              1. re: jspear

                                HEY! That's an Erik Hopkins painting on your Chow page! He bought my house on North Haven Island, that we used to run as a B&B.

                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                  actually it's an photo of the phippsburg pennisula....

                                2. re: jspear

                                  This is good to hear...I really miss Kristina's and their old menu. It was a regular stop on my Maine business trips.

                                3. re: Passadumkeg

                                  Passadumkeg: where is this special stick bun place ?
                                  I want to go there !!!

                                  1. re: irwin

                                    It is just off the highway in Bath at the 209 exit. Take the ramp and turn left at the top. after the bridge it is on the right.....Mae's Cafe

                              2. Brunswick: for local culcha, don't miss a dog from Danny's on the Mall; a BLT, fries and a blueberry frappe from Fat Boy's (one doesn't go for the food quality, but rather the experience--if you're around on the second Saturday in August, that's the annual Sock Hop, an institution in these parts). Hattie's and Gelatto Fiasco for gelatto; Cote's for ice cream (all on Maine Street). Another institution is the Farmer's Market, especially on Friday mornings.

                                Brunswick restaurants: Scarlet Begonias, casual, fun, good; Wild O.A.T.S.--the BEST for sandwiches and soups and daily specials; Jessica's Teahouse--my fave, Josh's chocolate goat cheese alone is worth the visit; Frontier, way cool, way good, way funky. Back STreet Bistro, a local fave and for good reasons--casual, comfy, reliably good food at fair prices; Clementine, new and very promising; try Sunday brunch.

                                Nearby: don't miss chowdah and a blueberry muffin at The Dolphin, in South Harpswell; go to Holbrook's Wharf for lobster, in Cundy's Harbor; try Allen's Seafood for ultra fresh, ultra casual takeout overlooking Middle Bay, Harpswell.

                                In Bath: Mae's is a must for breakfast, or lunch, or dinner, or just snacks. Another good breakfast/lunch spot is Starlight Cafe--not easy to find, it's tucked under the cookware emporium, across from the courthouse. I'm hearing good things about the pub grub at Byrne's, an Irish Pub on Centre Street. Solo Bistro is good, but be prepared for the mandatory 18-percent grat that's automatically added on ( if you pay with a credit card, ignore the tip line, it's already there). Mosey down the Phippsburg Peninsula to North Creek Farm, for sandwiches or soups--funky farm cafe, with a few tables inside and chairs in the garden. In Bath, Sweet Delights is a newish chocolate and pastry shop; Marnee's is a cookie bistro. I think the best chocolates though are over the bridge and down 127 at MainSweets. At the tip of that peninsula is Five Islands Lobster Company, with a wowser setting; really, it doesn't get more Maine than this.

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: Mainegal

                                  Robin Hood Meeting House for a spiritual dining experience.

                                    1. re: jspear

                                      After all this discussion, is Robin Hood Meeting House on a higher level of culinary art than the others in the area or am I missing something?

                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                        bought my sister an inflation buster sunday. Seven courses including sweetbreads, duck spring roll, trio of beef, can't recall the rest. I am enamored with Michael and his effort to go above and beyond, especially given the location. I think of Rob Meetinghouse as above the norm and having eaten around NE, special and crafted. I have been disappointed at some of the regular portland restos discussed here but I find his crafting sometimes above the food served there. The physical plant is appetizing, varied from lofty to chic and minimal. I spend a lot of time eating out, I love the place!

                                  1. re: Mainegal

                                    thanks for reminding me about the North Creek Farm, right around the corner from my place and I always forget to mention it.....

                                    1. re: Mainegal

                                      Very very nice report.
                                      Thank you for taking the time to write...
                                      I will check out the great places that you mentioned...
                                      We have reservations next week at Clementine's Restaurant in Brunswick, and will report back.... Meanwhile their web site, menu, and chef impress me,but need to check it out..... I stopped at Barcari Restaurant, but was not impressd with their menu or dining room, or anything about the place.....Clementine looks much more professional. i also told my wife that we really need to try RobinHood Meeting House.

                                      1. re: Mainegal

                                        Hi Mainegal:
                                        New poster here. I agree with your tip about Starlight Cafe, it is hard to find, but good enough to warrant a try--especially for breakfast!

                                        Holbrook's has a new owner this year and they are still working out the kinks. I'm afraid I was a bit disappointed with the food thus far.

                                        1. re: Harborgirl

                                          Oh, and Bookland's Cafe is perfect for breakfast and lunch. I always forget that place and I shouldn't because it is so yummy.

                                          1. re: Harborgirl

                                            It looks like a year of experience hasn't improved things. We tried Holbrook's in Cundy Harbor today. It has a beautiful view but that's the only positive thing I can say. There weren't many people there but it took over 30 minutes to get a simple order of a crab roll, fried scallops, onion rings and beans. The scallops and onion rings came out dripping in grease and they said they were out of beans. I don't have fried seafood very often, but there are too many other places a lot better than this for me to try them again. I can't imagine what they'd be like if they actually got busy.

                                          2. re: Mainegal

                                            Thanks for posting these recommendations around Brunswick. My wife and I will be celebrating our 44 wed anniversary last week in August ,from North Carolina and will be in Brunswick for 3 days We are going to see how many lobster rolls we can eat. Just when you think you posted all this for nothing--somebody comes along and appreciates your effort.

                                          3. Thanks for all of your suggestions...I recognize a few of the places mentioned from previous trips and will try some others...and I will report back when I return next month!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. Nobody has mentioned Frosty's Donuts on Maine St. in Brunswick. Never had a better Boston Cream anywhere -- they split them open to get more custard inside.

                                              You have to tolerate the religious tracts on all the tables, though.

                                              1. You HAVE to come to Solo Bistro in Bath, the food from apps all the way to dessert with a cappuccino is amazing! Next up on my faves is El Camino in Brunswick, great fresh mexican. The for the lobster roll travel to Wiscassett to the Sea Basket (forget Fat Boy, the use frozen lobster! a sin in the area if you ask me!) while you're there you may as well get a bowl of the best lobster stew your tastes buds will ever have the pleasure of enjoying, it's Maine style just lobster and cream! As far as breakfast goes, you should try Wild Oats bakery, they always have Yummy pastries! Happy eating in Mid-Coast! Oh and if your up for the drive check out Primo in Rockland, I think the name says it all!

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: edis

                                                  I couldn't agree more on the rec for Sea Basket. They do a great job. I went there about a week ago for one of their wonderful crab rolls. It was heavenly! It was so packed with meat that I had to eat several scoops before biting into it. I love how they use a better quality roll than the usual hot dog variety and brush butter over the top of it. Yum!

                                                  Also, my seafood desires have taken me to Bacari in Brunswick. I really like their scallop dishes right now. One has this delicious apple brandy cream over beautiful big scallops. I've also tried their shrimp scampi, which is light and favorful. This is making me hungry......

                                                  Sauteed mussels at Back Street are a must also.

                                                  1. re: Harborgirl

                                                    I've had the mussels at Back Street Bistro. They are very traditionally done, garlic/butter/white wine/herbs, and are sublime. Get them.