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Inexpensive and fantastic seafood along the New England coast?

I'm going to be driving up the coast, from Providence, RI to Eastport, ME, over the course of a week. I would love to eat at fantastic, inexpensive, hole-in-the-wall types of places along the way. Seafood is preferable. Any suggestions?

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  1. In Wells, Me a place with really great seafood, very inexpensive shack kind of place is the Fisherman's Catch. When are you going?? Most places, including FC, are not open until April at least.

    2 Replies
    1. re: emilief

      I'm arriving in the area on April 22. Hope the place is open by then!

      1. re: ragamuffin

        One of my favorite places, by far. According to their website they open in early May.

    2. There are a lot of folks who can answer this question far better than I can for the long stretch of 95 past Boston, but, in the Boston area, I'm going to go ahead and put Kelly's Roast Beef in Revere out there. It doesn't necessarily meet the "fantastic" requirement, but it definitely hits the "inexpensive, hole-in-the-wall" requirement. The seafood is fresh, and, while it is not as good as almost anywhere I've been in Maine, it's better than anywhere else I've been around Boston. And it's famous. And the roast beef is pretty damn decent.

      2 Replies
      1. re: danieljdwyer

        Essex has numerous clam shacks such as Farnham, the Clam Box and Woodmans. I think you should go north, then return and stay a night and have lunch.

        1. re: trufflehound

          I would avoid Woodman's, an overpriced, mediocre tourist trap. Farnham's is good, but the Clam Box is by far the best of the three. BTW, The Clam Box is in Ipswich, not Essex.

      2. Inexpensive and fantastic is usually mutually exclusive. Most will still be closed, even snowed in, in downeast Maine.
        Susan's Fish and Chips, Forest Ave, Portalnd.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Passadumkeg

          Jordan's Snack Bar, Rt 1 Ellsworth opens the 11th, best fried clams I know, but ain't cheap. French fries are worthless.

          1. re: Passadumkeg

            OMG....I used to work with the owner wife....LOL. Never ate there....but the place was always packed when I drove by.

            1. re: westernmaine


              Ruthie & Wimpie's, Hancock, Me. Cheapest lobster I know. Last season, a lobber & corn on the cob, $9.95.

              1. re: Passadumkeg

                So pass what do you tink of Helens?....I think the Machias one is the real deal.....OMG the Grape Nut pie!....I'll stay in the hotel to eat it....

                1. re: westernmaine

                  The Ellsworth Helen's is subpar; the one in Machias has gone down hill too. We too prefer Blue Bird Ranch. But some items are bad too.

        2. I think LeGarage in Wiscasset is open, I think they close for either January or February. They have an interesting mix of foods, some maine classics like finan haddie. I send a lot of folks to the Robinhood Meeting House in Georgetown, best cream cheese bisquit in the world and great local food. Kind of pricey for what you are looking for but always worth it. they will do a great taster.....

          1. If you want to splurge a little, check out the Back Eddy in Westport, Mass. It's closed for the winter but reopens in a few weeks.

            I really think it's a great place for very fresh, well-prepared seafood. Swordfish, scallops, fried clams, fish and chips, etc. And the sunsets are not to be believed.

            Actually, from what I've read about what the "clam shacks" in Essex are charging these days, the Back Eddy barely qualifies as a splurge.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bob W

              the back eddy is a splurge,20$ for fish and chips??

            2. Tall Barney's in Jonesport is super cool. In Machias, Bluebird Ranch is probably a better bet than Helen's - but neither can compare to Tall Barney's for real downeast character. In Cape Elizabeth, The Good Table is always very good. In Scarborough, Chowderheads always has superb fried seafood.

              7 Replies
              1. re: JakeN

                I feel Tall Barney's went down hill when the ownership changed. The locals feel it is a rip off. Very expensive by local standards.

                1. re: Passadumkeg

                  Some locals do feel that way. However, the food is at least as good as before and the prices, although higher, are still pretty modest if you're "from away" - or even just from outside Washington County.

                  1. re: JakeN

                    Yes the food is good, but the food prices are high even for Maine. The restaurant is in Jonesport, Maine, an extremely rural and isolated town.. This is why locals harbor such hard feelings toward "summer people".

                    I merely present the local perspective.. I no longer take my own kayaking clients there.

                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      This is sad when it happens, especially in Maine. Locals are turned off to a good resto because of price and it gets the lable of a "tourist trap". How do you stay priced right for the off season and still cater to a crowd that seasonally may require or expect something different??

                      1. re: jspear

                        Tall Barney's is most definitely not a tourist trap. It is far off the beaten tourist paths. The clientele is still primarily locals, even though some locals object to the higher prices. The prices are still far from high, but anytime prices have to be raised some people will naturally object. However, it could not have continued as a going business unless the new owner had increased the prices moderately. Still an excellent value.

                      2. re: Passadumkeg

                        i don't understand why you'd want to "boycott" the restaurant and deny the workers in that restaurant of much-needed income themselves... you say it's an isolated and extremely rural town, but not for your "paying" kayakers touring the area ? is that your way of "supporting" the locals ??

                        1. re: chessqueen

                          The original owner of Tall Barney's is from NJ, the new owners are from out of state as well,and they hire no or one local(s) (washing dishes?). $72 for 4 lobster rolls? Once burned, twice shy. Go if you wish, but no more for moi.

                2. My favorite coastal seafood restaurant is Petey's Summertime Seafood in Rye NH

                  They have a great assortment of baked, broiled and fried seafood. My girlfriend and I are really fond of their fried whole belly clams, fried native shrimp and their fried mushrooms. I hear their clam chowder is quite good as well.

                  They should be opening for the season this week or next

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: TimW

                    I can't rave enough about the Wharf Tavern in Warren, RI these days. There's a new kitchen manager apparently, and he is doing incredible things - in a variety of price points - with lobster. The dinners have been delicious (and enough to split or take home for leftovers). The appetizers are also incredible, and can be a meal in themselves.

                    On Tuesday eves, they do a $10 buffet (a variety of seafood, pastas, meats, vegetarian dishes) that's worth going to as well. On Sundays, they do a $10.95 brunch that has been incredible. Ask for a table with a water view!

                  2. will be visting Cape Cod ?

                    1. I second Susan's Fish and Chips in Portland on Forest Ave. Also, checkout Bob's Clam Hut in Kittery and in old port Portland try Gilbert's Clam Chowder House - the clam chowder is the best I have found so far.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: StevensAve

                        Unfortunately, Bob's has taken quite a dive over the past year or so. Several posts on this from a number of folks. Really a shame...it was my go-to place in the Kittery area.

                        1. re: StevensAve

                          I'd all but forgotten about Gilberts. Do they still offer their chowders in a bread bowl? Their seafood chowder is amazing as well.

                        2. "Rudy's on the Cape" in Cape Elizabeth. It shares the dining room with a convenience store. The food is fresh, delicious, and cheap ($12 will buy you a feast that you will talk about years hence).