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Bar Harbor area dining

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Heading up to Bar Harbor mid Sept '08 and need some updates on restaurants, not having been there in 7 years. We remember Maggie’s Classic Scales and Burning Tree as most impressive. We were not bowled over by Havana despite 2 visits - it seemed they went out of their way to add as many ingredients to a dish as possible - didn't work. Also remember casual Tex-Mex place Miguel’s that was a major disappointment after previous good visits years prior. Any info on new or improved dining recommendations, especially Italian, in Bar Harbor area will be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Maggies and Burning Tree are still going strong. As far as Italian on the island, there is Mama Dimatteo's and Guiness and Porcelli's in Bar Harbor. Bella Mare is out past Southwest Harbor and there is a new "family" style place also near Southwest.
    I really like Red Sky ($$) in Southwest and the above mentioned Burning Tree. Eden Vegetarian in Bar Harbor is really great (even for non-vegetarians) and the Town Hill Bistro in the village of Town Hill. XYZ in Manset is good for Mexican (not your traditional Americanized Mex). Have a great trip!

    1. I went to Porcelli's last summer and thought it was pretty good. Last week, we tried Havana and loved it. It is pricey for Bar Harbor but I think well worth it.

      1. We've always liked Mache Bistro in downtown Bar Harbor for cute, French-ish food and charming atmosphere.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mtullius

          We had a great meal at McKay's Public House a few weeks ago. The crab cakes were delicious. Very nice atmosphere.

          http://www.mckayspublichouse.com

        2. Cafe This Way is awesome and very very good. They offer very unique and creative cuisine. Delicious to boot. A wee bit $$ but worth it.

          3 Replies
          1. re: annaschauffler

            Cafe This Way does have great food, but I don't think they are very expensive, especially compared with Havana and Red Sky. Entree prices are more on par with McKay's. They also have an inexpensive wine list.

            1. re: BikeToEat

              The last time I went to Cafe This Way was when I was working as an unpaid recording studio intern. I'm sure what I thought was expensive then may be looked at as reasonable now. Didn't mean to lead you the wrong way! Sorry.

            2. re: annaschauffler

              Sorry, but we think Cafe This Way has really gone down hill. It used to be our hands-down favorite. Last year we were disappointed, but this year we decided to give it another shot the other night. The "Little Bit" which used to be our favorite sampler appetizer came all mushed together in a tiny plate and my husband's tandoori shrimp had to be sent back cool and undercooked. Very disappointing.

            3. We are headed back up there next week. Our new favorite last year was Sips in Southwest Harbor--wonderful food and prices. The mussels were fabulous. Anyone been there lately? Also liked Town Hill Bistro and had fun at XYZ. We also heard there is a new Italian place at the Manset Town Dock--Bella Mare? Any reviews? Cafe This Way has been a favorite of ours for years, but we felt it had slpped a bit last year,

              3 Replies
              1. re: 3catsnh

                Was just in SW. Had a great meal at XYZ. Sips is still there and going strong; we just didn't get a chance to go this time. According to a good local source, Bella Mare (in XYZ's cursed former site edging the harbor) is actually a reprise; it was in the same location previously, disappeared, but now presto-chango it's back (replacing Blame it on Rio, from last season) is very good but pricey. There's also a new family Italian place in Southwest that's very popular. Also, Gilley's Head of the Harbor changed hands and is now under the same management as Thurston's, in Bernard, but with a much wider menu (steak, chix, fried food, as well as the red bugs). Also had an excellent meal outside at Seafood Catch, in Bass Harbor.

                Town Hall Bistro is extremely popular. You definitely need reservations. We arrived without and no go.

                Cafe This Way was very good, as were Havanna and Maggie's (the lobster crepes are divine), all in Bar Harbor. Over in Northeast, the tapas menu at Bassa Cocina de Tapas is excellent, and I think Redbird Provisions is one of the best restaurants on the island these days. It serves both lunch and dinner, very casual, very Northeast.

                1. re: Mainegal

                  I have been wanting to try Bassa. What are the prices like?

                  Had lunch at Sips a few years ago when they opened and thought the food was very under-spiced to the point of being boring. In SWH, my favorite is Red Sky. Last month I had a double-cut pork chop wrapped in bacon with a apple cranberry chutney that was amazing.

                  I don't think that Cafe This Way has gone downhill at all. Breakfast and dinner are still terrific in my experience.

                  I haven't been to the Seafood Catch in awhile, but the view from there of sunset is particularly nice. My favorite dish there is the halibut imperial (chunks of sauteed halibut in a caper, mushroom cream sauce). Their fresh berry pies are also great when in season. I stay away from any dish with Newburg sauce, too thick and gloppy.

                  1. re: BikeToEat

                    Just returned from a short stay in SW Harbor. Had an excellent meal at Red Sky, including one of the best sorbets I've ever eaten. .

              2. I'm not sure if they will still be open when your there but be sure to check out the Jordon Pond House inside Acadia Park. If nothing else get the fresh squeezed lemon aid & the popovers.

                4 Replies
                1. re: BLSCT

                  I 2nd the recommendation for the popovers -- the one's we had were excellent, as was the lobster stew!! Avoid the seafood chowder though, very thin and watery...

                  1. re: grundoon

                    A belated thanks to all for the tasty advice - Here'e the lineup for the 5 nights in BH:
                    McKay’s Public House
                    Burning Tree
                    Maggie’s Classic Scales
                    Café This Way or Havana
                    Mache Bistro or Red Sky

                    Breakfast at 2 Cats, Cafe This Way, and the local diner in town (forgot the name)

                    Lunch: Fruit Smoothies at the local Health Food Joint

                    Thanks Again!

                    1. re: frk040

                      Hi - do you happen to have a follow-up report on where you went and how they were?

                      I am heading to Bar Harbor next week and plan to possibly go to all of those restaurants you listed...depending on our mood. We only have 4 nights there so we will need to narrow it down so any recent feedback you (or anyone else) could give me would be appreciated.

                      Also I was thinking about checking out XYZ Restaurant but am not sure if it will still be open, and they don't have a website. Does anyone have any idea?

                      Thanks in advance!!

                      1. re: Mrs Carroll

                        We were in Bar Harbor for a week a few weeks ago. Our favorite was Cafe This Way for dinner. I know XYZ is no longer near Hinkley, it moved but it is still in SW harbor. I am not sure if it is still open. We heard great things about Red Sky. A great restaurant in Ellsworth is Cleonice. There is a new very nice tea shop in Bar Harbor which I loved. They really know their tea and have a great selection. Have fun!