Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Northern New England >
Apr 19, 2009 07:52 AM

Wells, ME area

My parents have a summer place in Wells. I'd like to get them a gift certificate somewhere for dinner but I don't know the area at all.

Nothing too fancy...and nothing exotic. They are pretty They like Italian, American, Chinese. Dad loves steak and all things meat.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. MC Perkins Cove in Ogunquit is great but maybe a bit upscale for what you want. American food but a little fancy. There is a steak place in Ogunquit called Prime that is quite good. Verano's in Wells has decent but not fabulous Italian. There is a new beautiful restaurant in Wells on Route one serving chinese, thai and Japanese. I was not thrilled with the food (we had Chinese) but I know others who like it - but the atmosphere is really great.

    1. The way you describe your parents' taste, I'm certain that they would enjoy Joshua's on Rte 1 in Wells. It's in a tastefully decorated old house and serves excellent American-style food made with local ingredients, many from the garden behind the restaurant that the chef's--Joshua himself--father tends. My wife and I sound much like your parents and we eat there every time we visit the Ogunquit area. Their website is

      1637 Post Rd, Wells, ME 04090

      1 Reply
      1. re: FarFar

        I second Joshua's. Josh's mom and dad are at the front of the house and are delightful. Food is fresh from the garden and is always good. While Josh takes some chances, I think there are plenty of "safe" choices for your parents.

      2. OMG....The Maine Diner. Can't miss.

        the maine diner
        wels maine, wels, maine

        5 Replies
        1. re: westernmaine

          For some reason I just can't let comments like this lie, sorry, westernmaine, it's nothing personal.

          I found the Maine Diner to not be worth the time it took waiting in line to get in. It's just like any other diner, as far as I'm concerned. It wasn't -bad-, but nothing I had was out of the way of normal diner food. Possibly I didn't order right for breakfast, I have heard that the lobster pie is great there. But what I had for breakfast when I went was so bland and not worth the wait that I just can't bring myself to go back and wait through that line and sit in that cramped and loud dining room to give it a chance. And that wasn't even during the high season. I can only imagine that it gets worse in the height of the season (as far as waits and noise and crampedness goes, anyway). Steer clear of the place across the road from the Maine Diner, too. It was awful. I did a review of it, but I can't remember what it's called right now. Something about steak and lobster.

          There are so many other lovely places in the area that aren't so bad. I had a wonderful Italian dinner at Jonathan's ( when we were there last spring.

          Bintliffs is nice, though a little pricey. Amore Breakfast, Anneke Jans, Bread and Roses Bakery, Caffe Prego, all are decent and not far of a drive from Wells.

          1. re: Morganna

            I second Morganna's comments. I found the Maine Diner to be of average quality, Not the extraordinary place many people have painted it to be. Not sure what they used as a criteria,But there are many other places in the area that are far better. ( For a nice place to eat ,not expensive but good food, try Billy's Chowder House, its right on Mile Rd. Leading down to Wells beach. Also there is the Steakhouse Rest. right on Rt 1 in Wells. Good luck and I hope this gives you a couple more options... Earle

            1. re: Morganna

              I'm wondering what you had Morganna. I've only been to the Maine Diner three or four times (it's a bit of a haul from Ro-town when you're going for the first meal of the day). While I'm not going to say that it was the best place I've ever been to eat, I have been satisfied with their meals. One thing I thought was pretty outstanding was the blueberry pie... a perfect balance of sweet and tart (love the caviar of Maine!).

              I wish I could remember what I've had there, but it's escaping me. I did have the Eddie Andelman once, and it was tasty, but very basic (hot dogs and mac n cheese).

              Anyway, I did have to wait a half hour to get in once, but I woke up late that day, so I'm not surprised. Hopefully if this person goes they won't have to wait too long.

              1. re: BigFatDynamo

                Well, like I said it was just an ordinary breakfast. We were diabetic at the time, so blueberry pancakes or any other specialties featuring high impact carbs weren't really an option. I don't remember exactly what we had but I do remember the home fries weren't any good. Which I was grateful for, I'd have eaten them if they were and I didn't need the carbs. But that's not a real complaint, as far as I'm concerned, no on in New England appears to know how to make home fries that are any good. I've only ever had fantastic hash browns in one place in all my travels around New England (from VT, to ME, to NH, to CT, to MA) and that's at a Mexican place near Salisbury, MA. I wrote a review of it here later. :) THEY made PERFECT hashbrowns. But home fries? I haven't had decent homefries since I lived with my parents in Iowa back in the 80s. Still, that's not what this post is about. :)

                Like I said, the food wasn't awful, it just wasn't worth the wait and the crowded/cramped feeling we had at the table, and the noise of all the other people. I liked the food at The Egg and I better, and it didn't have as much of a wait, and the prices were about the same (no good homefries there either ;), and the tables were less cramped with less noise. *shrug* It's just a question of where I want to put my money I guess. :)

                1. re: Morganna

                  I get the impression that the Maine Diner is just "ok" and that its popularity is primarily due to the Phantom Gourmet and it being a tourist destination like Bob's, Flo's, Red's and others: all the "sacred" spots.

                  Yes, you can get better pie, clam rolls, hot dogs and lobster rolls elsewhere, but these specific places over the years have stood the test of time and have garnered an almost cult-like following. Some have maintained their quality standards with the passing of time (and fame) and some have not. I think the Maine Diner falls into the latter category.

          2. Hey, riz, if your parents don't mind a 20 minute drive, I would recommend the Oar House in Portsmouth. Though seafood is their specialty, they do very well with beef, at a mid level price point, in a very traditional setting. Since Lindberg's closed, its really the only reliable restaurant in Portsmouth.

            I would also agree with morganna's post - the Maine Diner is pretty bad. We tried it twice and everything just tastes bland, with lots of pre-prepared and canned stuff. The lobster pie was so dried out the meat lost all appeal. Can't see why anyone would ruin a perfectly good lobster that way.
            Good luck with your decision.

            1. Thanks everyone! Now I need to go check out the website links.

              As for the Maine Diner, I've been there and it's okay...although my parents do like it. And i wouldn't consider the lobster pie to be rave-worthy. It's just good.

              1 Reply
              1. re: rizzo0904

                I'm surprised no one mentioned the Steakhouse right on route 1. If your father loves steak/meat it seems like that would be at least worth a look on your part. Good, standard American meat-fare for the most part. Some fish. Long lines in the summer if you don't get there early. It's also a little less expensive than Joshua's (although Joshua's is by far the best "foodie" restaurant in Wells).