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Camden, Maine

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  • kbear Jul 6, 2009 06:32 AM
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This is our 7th trip to Camden during the Fourth of July week. We've only been here a few days but we have done nothing but eat. The sun finally came out and the locals are so happy!

Cappy's: Exactly the same. A reliable standard for us especially the clam chowder. The lobster dinner was very good with corn and potato. The salads are crisp and fresh. Picky child's quesadilla was scarfed. Cappy's is always solid service, good food and a great place to start the scarf-fest.

Marriner's: This little luncheonette/breakfast place is just a gem. It is cozy and clean. They have huge breakfast specials for a very good price. We always get the blueberry pancake (the size of the big old plate), bacon, egg coffee and i think it's only $6.95. We have ordered eggs poached, scrambled, over-easy and sunny side up and EVERY time they are perfect. Bacon is perfectly browned and crisp, nongreasy. Yesterday I tried the hash brown pattie and it was about the size of a deck of cards, crunchy on the outside and soft inside. I don't think you can order anything you won't like here. I keep swearing to try the monte cristo sandwich. A bonus here is that if the weather is decent, you can sit outside overlooking the waterfall. We dream about this place when we get home. Service is great, too.

Paolina's Way: We were very excited to try the new kid in town. This restaurant is a bit tricky to find - it is on the lower level of the building that backs up to the main parking lot on the harbor. It opened at the end of last summer. When we found it we were charmed with what the owners had accomplished with the setting. It is a little piece of Italy. Outside there are tables with fresh flowers and a gelato cart; inside the walls are cheery and there are nice long benched tables. Full service bar and a decently priced wine list; by the glass and by the bottle. Picky child had a plain cheese pizza which was delicious. The pizzas are 14 inches, very thin and cooked at high heat. Ingredients are sprinkled sparingly. Pizzas make up half the menu but since all of us adults had eaten Flatbread in Portland 2 nights in a row immediately prior to arriving, we all opted for the nonpizza portion of the menu. Salads were exquisite - my ceaser was one of the best I've ever had - not too heavy on the dressing and very garlicky. Others enjoyed the fresh greens with a blueberry vinaigrette. We had seen the lady from the restaurant buying the greens that morning at the Farmer's Market. My spaghetti and meatballs were awesome - two golf-ball sized meatballs, perfectly cooked, with fresh, homemade pasta and a slightly sweet, but also salty red sauce. My husband and mother had mussels cooked in a wine/tomato broth, and said they were the best ever. My dad had the special - mushroom ravioli in a garlic cream sauce. He was sad he hadn't gotten something with a red sauce because mine was so good but managed to finish it and wipe it up with the great bread.

Ephemere: We love this place. The owner is so kind and welcoming. We always have a glass of Pomelo at the bar, which gets to be a hoppin' place later in the evening but is something out of Hemingway early. We try to sit upstairs for dinner here, to keep an eye on the action. We had balsamic-glazed salad with little pine nuts and chevre. We had sashimi tuna, barely cooked and served cold with an Asian slaw. We had tomato-gorgonzola bisque. We had duck croquettes with dijon mustard. We had the cheese plate with a variety of cheeses and meats. We had the lobster special, which was lobster in a butter sauce with veggies and breadcrumbs. The best was the lobster appetizer - tender pieces of lobster served on a rich sweet corn risotto. To die for. I think this is a great place to go and eat but also a great place to sit on the outdoor patio and have a glass of wine and snacks.

All of our dinners so far have been followed by ice cream from Camden Cone - a venerable institution here.

The Farmer's Market is awesome here - - there is a mushroom guy, a pasta guy, a chicken lady, a goatcheese lady, tons of flowers, a lamb guy and many vegetable purveyors. It is a wonderful way to put together a gourmet lunch. Dogs are allowed. Again, tricky to find, signage is better this year, but it is behind Knox Mill.

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