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Need recs for Kennebunk, Maine...

What's the latest regarding the food and dining scene up there...we will be staying in Kennebunk but don't mind moving about...all price ranges ok...visiting in a few weeks. Thanks, Chowhounds...

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  1. Not sure if you are looking for Kennebunk or Kennebunkport but since they are next to each other: 1) Hurricane- somewhat upscale but casual very good food. Has been around for a long time. I recommend thier baked stuffed lobster ($45) but we share it ($5 plate charge). Great oysters on the 1/2 shell. Nice menu, good service. On the river over the bridge on the left. Bandaloop- nice food made with local ingredients.
    The Clam Shack- on the bridge- great fried clams. White Barn Inn- very fancyh, very expensive, very pretentious. Not my favorite but there are those who swoon over this place.

    3 Replies
    1. re: emilief

      Not to many know hangouts in Kennebunk, but plenty in Kennebunkport. As mentioned there is a place Called Allison's for lunch,which is very good. I will post a few places on this page and you can look at them and there menu's and you decide. (http://www.alissons.com/) and (http://www.federaljacks.com/)and (http://www.restaurantgrissini.com/Con...) and (http://www.hurricanerestaurant.com/) and(http://www.arundelwharf.com/) and(http://www.porttavern.com/) I hope this will give you an idea as to whats around in the area. There are others. Good luck and I hope this helps Earle Ct.

      1. re: Earle

        Agree with Hurricane, but would not EVER visit Federal Jacks again. Allison gets repeated recs but I haven't been myself. White Barn (too pricey for me but many positive posts. I would investigate Arundel Wharf before I gave anymore of my money - last visit was sub par.

        1. re: feelinpeckish

          I went to Allison's last summer. It was okay. There was a long line and a tour bus group...very crowded. Food was just average. They were also sold out of some items. I would try someplace else next time.

    2. Returned from Kennebunkport last week- I like Hurricane for lunch- or Pier 77 in Cape Porpoise. Had dinner at Kennebunkport Inn (Port Tavern and Grille) and it was excellent. Its Number 2 on Tripadvisor. I also LOVED Bandaloop. Federal Jacks and Allisons are bars that sell food...

      1. If you feel the need for "lobster in the rough" our favorite is Nunan's in Cape Porpoise (on Route 9 a few miles from K'port). If you are looking for breakfast recs, we really like the Wayfarer, also in Cape Porpoise.

        1. I'm a big fan of On the Marsh in Kennebunkport. Great food, excellent service and a very nice ambience. I've never had a bad meal there.

          1. Thanks so much for all your wonderful recs. Looking forward to our trip...don't mind taking a couple of day trips to Portland or back to Ogunquit either...any other recommendations in these areas?

            1 Reply
            1. re: gutreactions

              If you like lobster, try Lord's in Wells. They have an outstanding Baked Stuffed Lobster for 23.95 (29.95 if you want salad and potato). This is not fine dining but a comfortable dining room overlooking the water with pleasant and efficient service. They have an extensive menu so it doesn't have to be lobster. Everything I have tried has been very fresh and quite good. They also have wonderful home made pies for dessert with real whipped cream.

            2. On the Kennebunk side: Highly recommend big Fish for dinner - small, but excellent cooking and a decent wine list. Agree on the White Barn - good but expensive, a "do once" place. Federal Jack's is reasonable for lunch, but does have it's ups and downs on food quality. Grissini's is good for Italian.

              On the Kennebunkport side, I'd recommend Arundel Wharf for lunch and drinks. The dinner menu is small, but good. Bandaloop has a very innovative menu, also worth a try.

              Farther afield: If you are interested in a good stead in a nice atmosphere, go to the Wells Beach Steakhouse on Mile Road in Wells. (Avoid the Stekahouse restaurant on route 1 - mediocre at best, and unpredicable waits.) Varano's, also on Mile Road, also has decent Italian.

              For lobster, go to Nunan's Lobster Hut in Cape Porpoise.

              Finally, consider a trip to Portland if you want a really nice dinner and don't mind a 30 minute drive. There is an excellent restaurant scene there.

              1. There is always the well known and VERY expensive White Barn Inn which is wonderful but if you don't want to give your first born to pay the bill, I would recommend Grissini's in kennebunkport. It is owned by the same owners as the White Barn and is more affordable. We have had wonderful dinners there. They have a "grotto" downstairs that is even less formal with its own bar menu.

                1. I'd also recommend Bandaloop as well as On the Marsh. Second that notion on Nunan's Lobster Hut, best place to get lobster in the area (or maybe anywhere). Arundel Wharf has gotten nicer, great place to sit out on the deck, have a beer and eat some above average pub fare. All Day Breakfast is your average breakfast place, never had a bad experience there. The Clam Shack has the best fried clams and creates a Lobster Roll with only butter, no mayo which I like.

                  1. We just got back from spending three days in Cape Porpoise, ME, and the Kennebunkport area. Thank you, all, for the helpful advice. Here's my report:
                    Had lunch on the first day at The Clam Shack on the bridge in Kennebunkport. Very good clams, but a horrible tourist trap/rip-off/scam. We each ordered the lunches with fried clams, french fries and coleslaw. The food came in paper trays containing about a dozen clams, under which were three dozen french fries (not very good fries, at that). The 12 clams cost $22.97 or a figure close to it. So lunch for the two of us was over fifty bucks with two small diet Cokes. In Cape Porpoise, we were able to buy 2 lbs of softshell clams for $8.00. So there you go. The best part was feeding the huge striped bass behind the restaurant the leftover French fries!
                    That night we were too late to buy lobsters to cook at home, so we went to Nunan's Lobster place, right on Route 9 in Cape Porpoise. Another TOTAL tourist trap/road rape! They had a special for $27.95 - two lobsters each. The lobsters were soft-shells, meaning we got about a cup of limp lobster meat total for the price. Oh, and of course, a lovely small bag of Lay's potato chips, a stale, inedible roll and 2 dill pickle chips. Unbelievable. Later, we discovered the nice man O'Reilly across the street was selling chicken lobsters for $5.50 a piece, and culls for $4.50! He'll even cook them for you! If you want lobster in the rough in Cape Porpoise, that's the place to go, or cook at home.
                    We also had dinner at Pier 77. For starters, we ordered the fried clams with remoulade and the Caesar salad. We got more fried clams (delicious!) than our two lunches at the Clam Shack combined for $14.00. For dinner we each had the mixed seafood grill. The tomato reduction was very good, the shrimp were a bit overcooked and the sugar snap peas were a bit undercooked, but the mashed potatoes were excellent, as was the Creme brulee and the recommended wine. The view over the harbor is fantastic, and it's a lovely place. Dinner there cost us only a marginal amount over slop at Nunan's. We adored Cape Porpoise and will return repeatedly. The Cape Porpoise Motel has got to have the nicest hosts in the world, and the efficiency apartment was very cheap and had everything we needed. Gooserocks Beach is fabulous. Cape Porpoise really needs a good market for just-off-the-boat fresh fish, and more local farm stands. I don't know if they have a farmer's market or not (certainly hope so). But now we DO know where not to eat!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tatwood

                      So we had every intention of going to Hurricane's in K'port to get some nice grilled fish or a nice cut of meat. We get in and promptly get sat (the bar area was full for reasons you'll find out) out back. No prob. Been there before in the summer and it was a great view. However, this time we are not sitting in a restaurant, but rather what seemed to be the restaurant's meat or produce walk-in. It's freeeezing in there. We sit and look around and everyone has on their winter jackets and some with hats on. We try and tough it out; after all it is our choosing to stay in this beautiful state year after year of sub-zero windchill days like today. Wasn't working. We put our jackets on to fit in. When our hostess came by we asked her if the heat was on, and she apologized and said that the heat is on but this is their last night (of being open? not sure what she meant). Regardless, it's a non-sequitur. I don't care if it's your last night, the room should be warm. I, nor should anyone, pay $100 plus for a dinner which requires a winter jacket, hat, gloves, and a scarf. It's a reasonable assumption from an "upscale" restaurant that there will be heat. Okay, sorry, anyway, she said she'll look up front by the bar "where it's warmer" to see if anything is available. Nothing was. Which, if you've been there, you would know that the bar is at the front by the door. Yes, the very door that opens often to let in the tundra's breath. Somehow, that area was warmer than the dining area. I have no explanation as to how that could be, but it was.

                      Dining out is not just about the food, it's about the atmosphere - especially considering the prices we all pay for some really great food. When an "upscale" restaurant cannot ensure something as simple as a warm, mildly warm, or I'll even take a luke warm eating area, then forget it. No one should pay those prices while eating with a shiver. Completely and utterly unacceptable. Now, if you're talking about grabbing a couple eggs in the morning at Becky's and you're by the door, then whatever. You're paying ten bucks for your breakfast at a diner. They don't claim to be anything more (let's hope they never change).

                      Long story short, we left before ordering anything - which was nice because we already had our jackets on anyway. I believe the coat racks were being converted to meat hooks. We ended up dining at Grissini which was oh-so-inviting with their fireplace roaring. Delicious meal. I previously had two mixed dinners years back. Was wondering if they changed owners recently? Either way, perhaps it was serendipity that all other places were closed that day or neglected to turn the thermostat up. Bravo to Grissini for a great meal and excellent service and an even more delicious italian beer - Genziana (the very polite waitress went and found out about the beer for me that it is brewed with the same root as Moxie - tastes nothing like it though).

                    2. I have been a local fan of Hurricane Restaurant for many years. My wife and I also had dinner at Hurricane on January 1st. It is quite amusing to me the amount of time spent on complaining about the heat at Hurricane that night. Any locals would tell you the same thing; it is cold in the winter. That is why Hurricane is forced to close their doors seasonally. Locals would also tell you since the river runs under the restaurant to the road, even with the heat blasting, it is near impossible to keep the building warm. Common sense would tell anyone who has visited Hurricane, the bar is warmer because there are only two windows, (the dining room has probably 20 windows that face the river!)
                      Obraustin chose to use rudeness and sarcasm, but failed to mention Hurricane was completely full with diners that evening, (with their coats on). Obraustin also failed to mention every item on the menu was half price, including wine and draft beer, (Hurricane does this every year on their final night before closing for the season.) obviously a dinner would not cost $100.
                      My wife and I both enjoyed baked stuffed lobster (2 pounders), dessert, and wine for under $75.00, which by the way was absolutely delicious! And yes we did keep our coats close by! We will sadly miss Hurricane while they are closed, and look forward to their opening in the spring.
                      Obraustin, lighten up! Maybe next year take a dip in the Kennebunk River on New Year’s day, Hurricane Restaurant will feel like a tropical garden!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: holmgrend

                        Holmgrend, I believe that you totally missed the point. We are locals - contrary to what you imply in your message - and it was neither our first time at Hurricane nor our first time battling the cold that is unavoidable during Maine winters. The point being made in our review was that atmosphere inarguably shares top billing with food quality at upscale restaurants. That being said, though the food and drinks may have been half-price and Hurricane is "cold in the winter," the quality of Hurricane's atmosphere last night was lowered in such an extreme way that the anticipated quality of the food became not worthwhile.

                        Thank you for giving us the opportunity to clarify this point.