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Jul 21, 2009 08:36 AM

Any recs for Portland, Bar Harbor, and way Down East (Wash Co.)?

We're New Yorkers about to embark on a road trip up the coast of Maine, spending time in Portland, Bar Harbor, Machias and Lubec. Obviously, we have a bit more info on Portland and Bar Harbor at this point than we do regarding Washington County- but any and all recommendations would be much appreciated, and we're also more than willing to go off the beaten path for anything worthwhile. Thanks!

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  1. We vacation every year in Washington Co. I'm struggling to think of good restaurants. We usually cook in when we are there. One thought is Helen's in Machias:
    There's a winery we love outside of Milbridge too. Bartlett Estate Winery
    I've heard of a lot of good restaurants in Blue Hill but we haven't ventured that far yet.
    I hope this help a tiny bit.

    1. There was a similar request that drew a number of responses a few days ago from someone travelling in the opposite direction: New Brunswick to Portland. You may want to review that. A couple of places worthy of mention are Riverside Inn in E. Machias, and Cleonice in Ellsworth.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mainemal

        I had the worst pricey meal in my life at Riverside Cafe and would suggest people avoid it. The fish was drastically overcooked, the pork was chewy, and to top it off they served a cake that had been stale for days. For an excellent meal, not cheap but not nearly as pricey as Riverside, and dependably terrific, go to the Homeport in Lubec. Cohill's, also in Lubec, has good food, with fabulous pies made by an elderly church lady who whips the cream by hand. We were told that the lobster shack in Eastport has excellent lobster rolls, but we didn't make it there on a day they were open. My husband's niece brought us to Silly's in Portland, and we are still sad we don't have anything like that near us. It's a cafe with superb sandwiches and a chocolate cake that rivaled my own- first ever.

        1. re: nelena

          It's the OP again.

          We quite enjoyed Riverside Cafe- I had the stuffed salmon and my wife had halibut veracruzana, both very good. Gravlax appetizer was only ok. But we thought the fish was very fresh and perfectly-prepared. Breakfast (blueberry stuffed french toast) was also outstanding.

          Helen's in Machias was greasy and disappointing, although the pie was worth the trip.

          The best lobster roll I've ever had in my life was in Eastport at a lobster shack called Quoddy Bay Lobster Co. Huge plump pieces of clawmeat with butter (although I think there was also a mayo option). The most, and best, lobster I've ever had in a roll.

          Also, Bold Coast smokehouse, near Lubec, makes incredible smoked salmon kebabs, one of the best bites I had in Maine.

          One place that shouldn't be overlooked is Family Fisheries on Campobello Island (just across the bridge from Lubec). Although I believe everything on the menu is fried, it was not overly-greasy and the seafood was fresh and fantastic- best fried scallops and clams I had on the entire trip. Halfway decent fish chowder as well. There were a few picnic tables set up to eat outside.

          We had a fantastic meal at Hugo's in Portland, which included spicy tripe bibimpap and a rabbit and quail salad with quail egg. Corn bisque with parmesan croutons also deserves a mention. The wine list is also extensive and superb. Dessert was a sundae of salted peanut ice cream with peanut butter powder - really good.

          We also enjoyed Duck Fat in Portland for panini (try the Cubano, if it's on the menu) and poutine and tomato fennel soup. The duck fat fried fries were sensational.

          Also (sorry to ramble), in Bar Harbor we enjoyed Cafe This Way for breakfast and dinner. Dinner included an appetizer of smoked-duck-wrapped scallops and a delicious penne with lobster. Wife had a southwestern salmon ceviche appetizer which was extremely fresh, and pecan-crusted halibut which was apparently very good (and an enormous portion). They had a few decent beers on tap too. One of the great virtues if Cafe This Way is a bit out of the way (it's not on the main tourist strip in Bar Harbor), and they require reservations - the result being that it was a lot more chill and pleasant than other places in the area.

          Geddy's in Bar Harbor was disgusting, though- should be avoided at all costs.

          Mt. Desert Ice Cream in Bar Harbor makes an incredible Salt Caramel ice cream, I can't recommend it highly enough.

          Let's see.. Also had a good lobster roll from the stand in Trenton, near Open Hearth Inn right on Rt. 1.

          Thanks for all the recommendations!