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Bangor Maine

My sister is moving to Bangor Maine next week. Looking for good places to eat and also buy groceries. It's her first job out of college, so nothing expensive. Just good food at a reasonable price. Thanks!

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  1. I just moved to the area a few weeks ago and am still seeking out the best. Where is she from, so I know what she grew up with?


    The Shaw's on Main street just south of down town is probably the best supermarket for selection

    Italian market- Giacomos down town at the big intersection has great stuff not available anywhere else in the city. Boars Head deli meats and imported Italian meats and cheeses. The Tuscan ham with herbs is fantastic.

    Restaurants- This is more difficult, I'll get back on this.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JMF

      She grew up in Mass but has been in SC for the past 4 years.

      Are there any discount supermarkets....like Market Basket? I figure for staple and dry goods, she could save some money there. But get produce and meats at Shaws.

      1. re: rizzo0904

        The Hannafords on Broadway has a great selection and I think the prices are better than Shaws which is a bit pricy.

        I don't know about discount supermarkets, I bet there are some, besides Sam's Club. I tend to shop at places with the best quality and selection, but I sometimes end up paying a bit more.

        There are farmers markets in the area and farm stands as well. The one in Orono is supposed to be great. I haven't been yet but will this week.

        Penobscot County farmers markets

    2. Ellsworth isn't that far away, and it's got several good restaurants. Cleonice is good but it might be a bit on the expensive side. Their menu is on the Web: www.cleonice.com. We also had brunch at a great little inexpensive place across the street from Cleonice and closer to Route 1. I can't remember the name though.

      In Bangor, the only place I can think of to eat is the Sea Dog Brewing Company. It's inexpensive and I wouldn't say the food is great but it's close and may be worth a try.

      7 Replies
      1. re: JenBoes

        JenBoes, you're probably thinking of The Riverside Cafe.

        1. re: JenBoes

          Personally, I think Cleonice's is mediocre. Also Ellsworth a bit far from Bangor, around 35 miles/45-50 minutes.

          The Sea Dog is not bad but a bit pricey for what it is.

          The Indian restaurant downtown is pretty good and has good prices. I have heard good things about the Thai/Japanese downtown and the Pakistani place downtown. But the Pakistani place never seems to be open when I try to go there.

          1. re: JMF

            JMF - Since moving to Mt. Vernon, Maine five years ago, I have come to think of driving 35 miles for a meal as not far at all : ) I guess if you're lucky to live in close proximity to a number of good restaurants, it does seem quite a distance.

            1. re: JMF

              The Pakki is better than the Indian, the Thai is the worst in the area. The Bagel shop is good and The Friars Bakery, is, without a doubt unique. ALSO a good take out and lunch one block north of Main, Monteverde? and a small cafe up from Main on Hammond?
              I disagreed previously w/ JMF on Cleonice and still do. Ellsworth is only 24 miles from the Queen City.
              Don't forget New Moon if you want to celebrate and drop a bundle.
              There's a big health food store off Hogan Rd. near the mall. The mall food is junque.
              Avoid Mexican where no one speaks Spanish!

              1. re: Passadumkeg

                Re: Monteverde? I think you mean Monte's--full name is Monte's International Catering; does lunches and gourmetish dinners to go. I haven't checked lately, but it used to post its daily menu on line.

                1. re: Passadumkeg

                  Passadumkeg- Just because of your insistence I'll give Cleonice another go. I have found that I agree with almost everything else you recommend, so maybe I was just there on off nights.

                  Although those wood benches in the booths are damn uncomfortable.

            2. I grew up in Bangor, but moved away about 5 years ago, so not every place I talk about is a recent experience. But my family is in the area and I'm there a few times a year. For grocery stores, my personal preference was for the Hannaford on Broadway, . There is a Save a lot in Brewer on South Main St. So, that might be a place for discount groceries.

              For restaurants, I'm told that Miguel's Mexican on Hogan Road (Mall area) is good. http://www.miguelsmaine.com/Index.html
              I personally always like Pepino's on Stillwater for Mexican. Not "authentic" mind you, but a nice locally owned restaurant. http://www.pepinosrestaurant.com/abou...

              My parents rave about The Barking Cat Cafe on Hammond St. I'm going to be in the area next weekend and hopefully will be able to check it out. http://www.thebarkingcatcafe.com/

              I've never been a big fan of the Sea Dog, but that's a personal preference. I think the Panda Garden at 123 Franklin St has the best Chinese food in the city, again, not authentic in anyway, but not greasy and excellent service.

              Tri-City Pizza on Broadway (right at the I-95 interchange) is a family favorite of my in-law's. They don't deliver, but the pizzas are cheap and have a nice balance of crust & toppings. Locals will rave about Pat's Pizza in Orono. I haven't had it, but it might be a place to try.

              For seafood, Captian Nick's on Union Street has some great fried seafood and is affordable. However, the Muddy Rudder in Brewer I think has better atmosphere, service, and a more interesting menu, but it's more expensive. Although, lunches are fairly reasonable. http://www.muddyrudder.com

              I would recommend she stay away from Governor's. While it is a local restaurant that advertises "home cooking" the food is so boring and bland it's not worth the money. However, Dystart's Travel stop in Hampden is good for late night breakfasts. It's one of the only places open 24 hours in the city.

              A casino, Hollywood Slots, recently opened up a hotel in town. My father, definitely a chowhound, tells me the buffet is rather hit and miss, but a good price. But that the desserts are amazing - "their pastry chef knows what he's doing" were his exact words.

              I always enjoyed the Bear Brew Pub in Orono, about 15 minutes north of Bangor. However, it has been 2 years since I've been.

              For sushi, Ichiban on Union Street is very good. For fine dining the Lucerne Inn in Dedham is excellent.

              I think that covers the major categories and most of my knowledge of the city. Just keep in mind that Bangor is not a major food haven and a lot of the restaurants are national chains.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Lady Godiva

                Just an update of my thoughts on two places you mention.

                Miguels Mexican is mediocre. I took a course near there a few weeks ago and ate there three times in five days. Which I really regretted, but it was more about the company than the food. I really thought it was a chain version of American-Mexican and not good at all. No real spicing, and I don't mean not spicy hot, but inappropriate Mexican spicing and bland. Something I expect of a Mexican style chain in the mid-west. What really got my goat was that they had no goat. (Just kidding, although that's one of the marks of an authentic Mexican place.) It was that the mole was bitter and obviously not from fresh spices but a pre-made powder that was slightly rancid. I have heard that the original one was good, but the one in Bangor is not.

                Ichiban- I haven't tried any of the cooked dishes but the sushi was only a step up from supermarket sushi. I went several times and they had no local seafood and nothing special, and it wasn't well made either. And both times it was the head sushi chef making the items. I sat at the bar , which usually leads to a fun experience where you get to sample specials and what's best. this was boring and not enjoyable.

                1. re: JMF

                  Thanks for the update. I hadn't personally tried Miguel's and it had been a while since I was at Ichiban.

              2. A terrific, cheap breakfast/lunch spot is Bagel Central (33 Central Street). It's a kosher spot that's always busy at lunch time, but the line moves quickly. I grew up in Windham, but my dad is from Bangor, and my childhood visits to Grammy's always included Howard Johnson's, Governor's, and Olive Garden, so I was thrilled when I found this little gem a few years ago.

                My husband and I make a point of stopping here when we do the annual Nova Scotia-to-Maine trek, I'm always shocked by how much food you can get for $10 — it feeds us all the way home. Highly recommend the apple muffin (a custardy, not-too-sweet mini coffee cake), minestrone, matzo ball soup, bagel sandwiches... in fact, I haven't ever had anything I didn't think was very good.

                There's also a small grocery section, if I recall correctly. Can't vouch for the prices, though.

                Bagel Central
                33 Central St, Bangor, ME

                5 Replies
                1. re: tempest in a teapot

                  Bagel Central is a good spot. As is the Friar's Bakery that's next door. Bagel Central has better hours than Friar's does, although both are closed on Saturday. Makes me sad because most of my visits are on weekends.

                  1. re: Lady Godiva

                    Don't think Bagel Central is closed on Saturday anymore because as of a few months ago, they became non-kosher, which means she can be open on Saturdays, and now carries non-kosher deli, and her menu's will have more variety.

                    1. re: irwin

                      Good to know. Thanks for the update.

                      1. re: irwin

                        Irwin - Bagel Central is still closed on Saturdays. I was in downtown yesterday for the sidewalk art show and the hours of operation have it close on Saturday.

                  2. I second Hanaford's being cheaper than Shaw's.
                    We always like Dysart's- it's plain good food with excellent baked goods.

                    1. Hi Rizzo!

                      Bangor Metro is the cultural, financial, entertainment, shopping and dining hub of Eastern Maine (despite some of the previous responses to the contrary). Bangor is actually a burgeoning, hip little city with dozens of dining choices from chains to great little owner operated cafes and restaurants to wine bars and brewpubs offering a surprising range of American and International cuisine. Neighboring bedroom communities contribute to the array of choices. A plethora of seasonal dining opportunities erupts in summer 30 to 40 miles from Bangor as Coastal Maine careens to life and eateries bloom, catering to the insatiable army of tourists moving along on thier stomachs.

                      To name a few Bangor area choices: Thistles, New Moon, Massimos, Cafe Nouveau, Epis, Bahaar Pakistani, Ichiban Japanese, Panda Garden Chinese, Taste Of India, Tri-City Pizza, Lucerne Inn, Coffee Pot, Amatos, Sea Dog, Bagel Central, Friars Bakehouse, Whig and Courier, Paddy Murphys, Cristof's, Dysarts, Montes International, Opus, Pats Pizza, Muddy Rudder, Pepinos, Taco Stand, Miguels, Margaritas, PerriHouse, McLaughlins Seafood, Woodman's Bar and Grill, Cap'n Nicks Seafood, Nicky's Diner, Giorgios, dozens more and all the chains you can shake a stick at!

                      Groceries: Hannaford, Shaw's, Bells IGA Orono, Sav-a-Lot, Mardens, Sam's Club, Super Wal-Mart, Renys Ellsworth

                      Good Luck to your sister!

                      1. I had heard conflicting things about Thai Siam on Maine Street, so I went last night. I wasn't expecting authentic Thai, but I did hope for at least something tasty. I was horrified instead. My Tom Yum Seafood soup was literally watered down until it was tasteless, and while the semblance of seafood was edible, the huge stack of bamboo shoots like a log jam in the bowl was not enjoyable to say the least. I was very hungry so I finished it and ordered a Thai Ice Tea to have something that had flavor to it. A regrettable decision. It was stale and tasted like it had been in the cooler for way to long and had picked up all kinds of off, dirty refrigerator tastes.

                        I ordered an app and the Jungle Curry... well the app never came. The waitress apologized for the kitchens error and brought out the curry. Well it sure wasn't jungle curry. Thai jungle curry is one of the curries that has no coconut milk in it. It is a tart and tangy, extremely hot curry with watery consistency. What came out was a tureen of what looked like clam chowder, no make that wallpaper paste; thick, white with a green tinge, no flavor of any herbs or spices, a mass of thick and unappetizing canned veggies with some chicken pieces. It was all cream of coconut paste. I took one taste and put my spoon down and asked for my check; paid, and left. I have never done that before in my life. It was so bad I wasn't even really upset, just confounded as to how they could call themselves a Thai restaurant.

                        Cooking Thai curries is relatively easy. Even Americanized and only mildy spiced is easy. Just buy pails of the assorted curry pastes and add more or less to taste. I still can't fathom what was going on in that kitchen, but Thai cooking wasn't one of them.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: JMF

                          I told you so. "The worst in the area." Even The Bangkok in Good ol' Ellsworth is better. Mexican is even worse! Try The Mexican Restaurant on Rt. 1 N in Hancock, just N. of Ellsworth for the best around, except for mine, of course!

                        2. rizzo0904, Being a young grad as well who moved to the area for work last year, I can certainly relate to your sister. I am also a spoiled foodie who once thought nothing of dropping several hundred on a meal as long as I enjoyed it. I have since been awakened to the need for good food on the cheap (since my parents no longer supply my income) and have some realistic recommendations for your sister. If shes looking for a great relaxed atmosphere where she can meet other young people but want a good meal, we love Cristor's. It has Bangors largest beer selection which equals lots of young men (great for single ladies). I suggest the fish and chips with cole slaw. Its a simple irish meal but they add garlic to the cole slaw making it less "run of the mill". We had dinner once at Paddy Murphys which I loved as well (also great place to meet people), but lunch there was probably one of the worst lunches I have ever paid for. I don't kow how dinner could be great and lunch such a miss. I ordered a chicken sandwich, it was not only the smallest sandwich I had ever seen, but the thinnest as well ( and it wasn't a panini). For a nice dinner out, I have been fortunate to have been treated to Thistles. I thought for the money, it was well worth it. My dinner was excellent. If shes in Orono the other two great places to go to are Woodmans (also the best Martini menu in the Bangor area) and Pats Pizza. Pats is a local hang out, great for a very low key relaxed dinner where you can show up in a sweatshirt and not feel out of place. As far as groceries, Bangor has the worst selection of anyplace I have ever lived. I go the Hannafords for most of my stuff, Walmart Super Store in Brewer for dry goods once a month, and Sams club for meat. Sams has the best steak around. If she wants fish, McLaughlins gets theirs daily ( I know the owner). Tell her best of luck! Bangors a great little place once you get to know a few people!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: praby19

                            Well done, and welcome to Chowhound, P-19. The Saturday market behind The Bangor Daily News office By the German food/ trinket store is a real find too.

                          2. Tell her she needs to go to the Coffee Pot on State street if she is in the mood for a sub.

                            1. i second the coffee pot! the long line is totally worth it. and dysart's for late-night giant cinnamon rolls, pat's pizza for a pitcher of beer and a decent pie, especially busy on University hockey game nights, woodman's, ichiban, bagel central.. i haven't been to Bahaar (the Pakistani place) in forever but I always really enjoyed it.
                              the farmer's market next to Ingrid's German market has a great poultry-and-eggs guy from Sunset Acres Farm whose prices are good. State Street Wine Cellar has great beer and wine selections and good prices and is right down the road from Frank's Bakery, which makes delicious chicken pot pies!
                              i think the food at the sea dog is pretty lame, as is Giacomo's Italian market. I've heard Massimo's is tasty but overpriced.
                              and also x2 to making the trip to Mexican Restaurant in Hancock and Cleonice in Ellsworth! they're both fantastic. unfortunately, riverside cafe has gone waaay downhill and isn't worth the drive.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: eeejo

                                Don't forget Calypso, Finelli's, & Jordan's Snack bar (opening in 2 weeks) in Ellsworth.
                                Union River Lobster Pot ids the closest on the water lobster restaurant too. Also Tidal Falls Lobster Pound in Hancock (BYOB).

                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                  Calypso closed a couple months ago. The Bangor Daily had a sad article on Sunday. Ichiban has a closed sign and locked doors. So does Opus and about 8 other restaurants. If we want our small local places to remain open, we must try to support them. There's a new Facebook group called the Bangor Lunch Mob (I think) that is encouraging locals to eat out at a different place in downtown Bangor each week. Check it out!

                                  1. re: morla

                                    Claypso closed? Not surprised. Northeast Hbr. prices for prosaic Ellsworth.
                                    How is the new Eyetalian place in Bangor that got a review in Downeast Mag and how is it doing? And that Dreadful Greek/American Place in the old Burger King on Wilson St.in Brewer? The worst meal I have eaten in Maine.
                                    If you remember Mai Dee's and the good spicy Dijon mussels and garlic Asian seafood stew she used to make, you can still get them at her bar near the triangle used to be called Renagades then Crossroads, Rt. 1 N, just past the triangle.
                                    Has anyone eaten at Jaspers , on High St in Ellsworth recently? Real Merican.

                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                      Just an FYI regarding Ichiban and other local eateries... I found the following article in the Bangor Daily News.

                                      Open and shut

                                      The rumor mill has been churning speedily over the past few weeks, as several local eateries have closed indefinitely or definitely. Who’s open, and who isn’t? Let’s put some of the gossip to rest. Massimo’s was closed for 10 days while the owners went on vacation; they’re back and open again. Ichiban, after a week or so of questionable scheduling, is back to its regular hours and is not closing (oh, the howls of despair I heard, as people asked whether Bangor’s first sushi place would stay open). Café Nouveau remains indefinitely, though not permanently, closed. The New Moon Café will reopen on March 15 as Luna Bar & Grill, featuring the same fine dining it has offered for close to 10 years, as well as a new pub menu and live music. Any other rumors you’ve heard are just that.

                                      1. re: nrvsgolden

                                        For seafood, try Anglers in Searsport. http://www.anglersseafoodrestaurant.c...
                                        This summer, for a little adventure, try the Bagaduce Lunch for the best fried clams ever!

                                        1. re: nrvsgolden

                                          Café Nouveau is definitely closed and the business is for sale. Leslie, who also owns Bangor Wine & Cheese next door, asked me if I knew any chef friends who were interested in buying it. (The asking price is very reasonable. I wish all my funds weren't tied up in opening the distillery.) The chef who was there has moved on to another restaurant.

                                2. I have learned more about where to eat in Bangor from this site than any other site on the web.
                                  I live 120 north of Bangor and always enjoy going there to visit but find it's like pulling teeth trying to find information on the web about "Where to eat in Bangor" Thanks for all the info.

                                  1 Reply