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Aug 12, 2008 04:48 PM

Bar Harbor & Boothbay Harbor, ME

Chicago foodies are looking for AWESOME restaurants for a second anniversary trip. We want the best grub in town regardless of high-end or where the locals eat. Please provide any information you have on local establishments. Thank you!

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    1. re: Passadumkeg

      Thanks, definitely one I am planning to check out!

    2. In Bar Harbor, one of the places I enjoyed most during a recent trip was Cafe This Way.

      4 Replies
      1. re: andrewr

        We also love Cafe This Way. Our all time favorite in that area is Cleonice in Ellsworth. AWESOME would surely describe it! Enjoy!

        1. re: andrewr

          I forgot to tell you, Cleonice is in Ellsworth!

          1. re: andrewr

            After skulking around these boards for a while, I've finally joined so I can both benefit from others' meals and give my own observations. A trip a few weeks ago included dinner here on the recommendation of several hounds and I was very pleased. We had initially tried to go to the Burning Tree, since we were camping right up the road at the Blackwoods Campground. However, even on a weeknight arriving at 6 pm, they were booked for the whole night. My heart sank as I scanned their menu and realized what I'd be missing out on. Luckily, Cafe This Way saved the day by exceeding my expectations. We had a party of 5 and shared appetizers- a grilled halloumi cheese, a steak salad (minor complaint- strips of steak were cooked to med-well and would have been much more tender if rare or med-rare) and a crab cake which was good but not earth shattering. The cocktail menu was impressive and my sips of everyone's drinks were delicious. 4 out of 5 of our table ordered a macadamia nut crusted halibut- the waitress was a great salesman, I guess. Also, we heard it was a local fish and I'd only ever thought of it being flown in from Alaska so no one was willing to share. It was delicious. My husband had a rare seared tuna fish and chips. Sort of an intriguing idea, but the execution was just a little short of excellent. I guess in order to crisp up the breading you just can't get the tuna as rare as I'd like. The sauce with that dish- some sort of wasabi mayo I think- was absolutely spot-on though. We finished with a blueberry pie, a strawberry rhubarb pie and a banana bread pudding, all of which were very good. I'd definitely go back here- I felt it was a great dining experience and value for a touristy and sometimes-overpriced town.

            1. re: Parsnipity

              Well I'm sure Parsnipity, we're all happy that you've stopped skulking about and took the time to issue this excellent yet concise report. And no, you wouldn't be faulted for thinking that Alaska is where all Halibut comes from because the vast majority of landed tonnage actually does. We're lucky here when, in the New England Summer, we have access to Atlantic Halibut. As the catch is but a shadow of its old self due to previously being a victim of over-fishing.


          2. I'd recommend the Damariscotta River Grill located in Damariscotta, which is a short drive from Boothbay Harbor. Go have a drink first at King Eiders Pub which is across the street.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Scagnetti

              How far is that from Bar Harbor?

              1. re: Alica

                Three hours up rt 1. I agree w/ King Eider's if driving through. Our fav. lob. places are in Hancock (just n. of ellsworth.) Ruth an Wimpies for cheap ($(9.95 lobbers wed-fri nights) and Tidal Falls for scenic beauty, choice, BYOB and politics. I have lived in this area for nearly 20 yrs and have never eaten a lobster in Bar Harbor, but have eaten many at Beales and Thurstons over time. Thurstons used to be much smaller and quaint. But it has been "found".

              2. re: Scagnetti

                I really like the Dam. River Grill, too, but I wouldn't under any circumstances put it in the category of awesome restaurants.

                1. re: Shooley

                  I wouldn't either but it certainly reflects the laid back, casualness of the area. I consider Boothbay Harbor the classic Maine summer getaway place where you eat lobster in the rough, lobster bisque, and steamers until you can't stand it anymore!

              3. In Bar Harbor, add Burning Tree to the list. Short season, though. It usually closes sometime in September. McKay's is excellent, but more casual. Yes, yes on Havana. I love Cafe This Way, but some folks find it a bit too funky. Also, the lobster crepes at Maggie's are fabulous.

                If you're venturing beyond Bar Harbor, add Redbird in Northeast Harbor (also open for lunch, a treat), and Red Sky in Southwest Harbor.

                Boothbay Harbor isn't much of a foodie town--season's too short and population too low to support it, but Ports of Italy is very good and I had a good lunch at Boat House Bistro earlier this year.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Mainegal

                  Burning Tree (just south of Bar Harbor in Otter Creek) is excellent, especially if they have the deep fried, goat cheese stuffed squash blossoms with smoked tomato jam. They sell out fast. I think BT is usually open until Columbus Day.