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Camden, ME - one great dinner?

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We will be in Camden for a few nights, mostly visiting family. One night we want to have a great meal...love seafood, especially lobster, mussels, clams. Should be a bit fancy, and special. What do you recommend.

Where near Camden is the best lobster roll for lunch?

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  1. I think these are two separate questions. I'll focus on the first. Don't miss Primo in Rockland, very nearby. We make sure to go there on every trip to Maine. It is not a seafood house although they do some fantastic seafood preparations. It is sort of Italian, but that's not a completely accurate description of the food. It is fabulous, " a bit fancy" (in a wonderful Victorian house), and very "special." Be sure to get a reservation. I've never had another meal in Maine that came close even though I've had some wonderful meals in Maine. (I found the least interesting choices in Camden, however.)

    1. Natalie's at the Camden HArbor Inn. If your fixated on lobster, there's a fixed price lobster tasting-menu, but really, everything is extraordinary. Also worth checking: Francine and Hartstone (fixed menu, so not the best choice as it might not include seafood).

      1. I second Hartstone Inn! They post their prix fix five course online so you know what to expect.

        1. Totally concur with Primo. Melissa Kelly does some amazing stuff there. Have had a "decent" meal @ Natalies, but nothing to write home about. If you want a good meal at a good price with a great wine list try Brevetto in the Knox Mill in Camden.

          1. I would not recommend Primo when there are so many other excellent options around. Primo is full of attitude (not the kind you want), and suffers from the "big fish in the little pond" syndrome. The good was good, but they would be an average also-ran in NYC, Boston, Chicago, LA.

            Natalies, Lily Bistro, and The Edge are where I'd return, not Primo.

            6 Replies
            1. re: JBoogie

              To each their own I guess...but, personally, I think you are WAY off. I won't bore anybody with my culinary background, I'll just say this is one of the best restaurants in New England, if not beyond. Period. One is not a "big fish in a little pond" when the chef has finished first in her class at the Culinary Institute of America, been awarded a best chef award from the James Beard Foundation, and just recently called best restaurant north of NYC by celebrity chef du jour Anthony Bourdain in a recent interview. Sorry.

              1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                Do you really think Tony Bourdain is the ultimate authority. Do you think he might have gotten a little special treatment? Thanks for omitting your credentials.

              2. re: JBoogie

                Hey Boogie: Don't really think you know what you are saying.......
                Melissa is not a big fish, nor is Rockland a little pond. She works very hard and developed a reputation all over New England as one of the best. Please do not take this away from her. We are proud to have this woman here in the State of Maine.

                1. re: irwin

                  You talkin to me? I wasn,t knocking Melissa , she is definately a groundbreaker in the midcoast,but following alot of the posts on this board. you will find that many feel like they didn,t get the Tony Bourdain reception and service..My only complaint about Primo is it,s not closer to Portland, or I would go alot more often.Maybe I am just Bourdained out sorry.

                  1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                    Adding my two cents: we love Primo and go often. We also love Francine Bistro in Camden, and his new more casual "gastropub," for lack of a better term, Shepherds' Pie. [Chef Brian Hill is very, very good.] We also go to Lily some, but it is not in the others' league, sorry. In Good Company is inspired chef cooking in a very small, but wondrous space. Chef was in same class as Melissa Kelly. Agreed on the Edge (cudos to Brian Dame!) and Nathalie's (can't remember chef's name). Brevetto, not so much.

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                    In Good Company
                    415 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841

                    Brevetto
                    43 Mechanic St Ste 12, Camden, ME 04843

                    1. re: Shooley

                      We had a lovely meal at Francine Bistro last summer when we were there for a few days. We'd definitely return.

              3. How is waterman's?

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                Watermans Beach Lobster
                343 Waterman Beach Rd South, Thomaston, ME

                1 Reply
                1. re: DebitNM

                  It's lobster - they all come from the same place and they are all prepared well in Maine. Lobster dock-type places like Waterman's, are judged on the location. The pebble beach is nice at Waterman's if you have children who might want to run around. Personally, I prefer Miller's in Spruce Head. Cod End in Tenant's Harbor is a nice location too but the service has been bad.

                2. I loved Francine's Bistro.
                  Natalies was O.K.

                  1. We love Waterman's for the PIES. It has a James Beard award! i didn't know they awarded those to lobster pounds, but it is deserving. We also love Natalies -- we like the food and the service and decor are amazing. Definitely going to Francine's after reading these posts!