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Jul 27, 2008 06:02 AM

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 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: 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.
              I personally always like Pepino's on Stillwater for Mexican. Not "authentic" mind you, but a nice locally owned restaurant.

              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.

              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.

              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.