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Harpswell, Maine for 1 week...need suggestions for chowing

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xsivjosh Jun 26, 2010 02:26 PM

Going to Harpswell, ME for a week mid-July. Haven't been to Maine in 15 years. Looking for 1 very fine dining experience, lobster-pounds (do they still exist), clams, oysters, down-and dirty, sit by a dock and chill and other places. Taking 2 small children most nights, doing one or 2 nights with babysitters, Also should go to Portland one night without kids and one day with kids. Do razor clams grow up there? If so, where do we go for them?
Please, help us.

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  1. h
    HDinCentralME RE: xsivjosh Jun 26, 2010 02:56 PM

    Dolphin Marina/Restaurant is best of the casual lobster/seafood places locally.

    You will need to leave Harpswell for your "very fine dining" experience. You may want to go to Portland but could fill the need closer in Brunswick: Clementine, Henry & Marty's, Back Street Bistro are places to consider.

    No razor clams but locally farmed mussels and oysters are readily available.

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    Henry & Marty Restaurant
    61 Maine St, Brunswick, ME 04011

    Back Street Bistro
    11 Town Hall Plaza, Brunswick, ME 04011

    1 Reply
    1. re: HDinCentralME
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      dfrostnh RE: HDinCentralME Jun 27, 2010 03:51 PM

      At some restaurants you will find whole belly clams and clam strips. Clam strips are for sissies. Do not order them.

      Brunswick has a wonderful farmers market on Friday mornings (double check). Get whatever berries are fresh and serve on top of vanilla yogurt for a simple snack. You'll also find wonderful baked goods and fresh vegetables.

    2. m
      mjoyous RE: xsivjosh Jun 27, 2010 08:29 AM

      Razor clams are a west coast treat.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mjoyous
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        mjp81 RE: mjoyous Jun 27, 2010 05:16 PM

        Razor clams are a Maine treat. They may be difficult to harvest but they are on plenty of menus in Southern Maine usually for a weekend a month.

      2. m
        mainedowneaster RE: xsivjosh Jun 27, 2010 11:42 AM

        The place to go is Dolphin Marina and Restaurant, make sure this is one of the first you try, you will definatly want to go back. Start with chowder or lobster stew (it comes with a blueberry muffin).... everything is fresh you can't go wrong... Mussels are unbelievable! For fine dining go into Brunswick and try Bacari Bistro or Back Street Bistro. Both very good. Bacari also offers small plates if your into trying a variety of things.

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        Dolphin Marina and Restaurant
        515 Basin Point Rd, Harpswell, ME 04079

        Back Street Bistro
        11 Town Hall Plaza, Brunswick, ME 04011

        Bacari
        212 Maine St, Brunswick, ME 04011

        1 Reply
        1. re: mainedowneaster
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          mainemal RE: mainedowneaster Jun 28, 2010 01:10 PM

          Absolutely agree with the various mentions of Dolphin. If you're looking for something a little different in Brunswick, [where there really isn't anything, IMHO, resembling "fine dining: you need Portland for that], I definitely recommend the Mexican El Camino, where you'll get interesting food in what I suppose could be called California Mexican, made with lots of local ingredients. Chef is particularly good with pork, usually in the form of excellent tacos or quesadilla. Good chile releno lately, also. Good for kids, casual and friendly.

        2. meatme RE: xsivjosh Jun 29, 2010 10:28 AM

          The fish chowder at the Dolphin (more so than than the lobster bisque) is one of the very best things you can eat, anywhere. The Dolphin is an indoor, table-service restaurant and not a down-and-dirty lobster pound, so you will need at least one of those as well. The nearest really good pound is probably Five Islands, about 45 minutes away.

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          Five Islands Lobster Co.
          1447 Five Islands Rd, Georgetown, ME 04548

          1 Reply
          1. re: meatme
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            delong99 RE: meatme Jul 7, 2010 10:20 AM

            We were at the Dolphin for Father's Day and they have added an outdoor seating area with 3 picnic tables, but I believe you have to order inside for take-out (not 100% sure of that). Their fried clams are really good too - generous portion on the basket. Fries are nothing special so maybe they'd substitute one of those amazing blueberry muffins!

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            njkori RE: xsivjosh Jul 6, 2010 10:35 AM

            Wow, the timing of this thread could not be more perfect! We are leaving on Saturday for a week in Harpswell. I already had all the recommended restaurants on my "list" except Bacari Bistro - that one just got added. One other question: any recommendations for breakfast? The only thing I've found so far is Blackbird Café on Harpswell Neck Rd., any thoughts on that? Thanks for all the help.

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            Bacari
            212 Maine St, Brunswick, ME 04011

            5 Replies
            1. re: njkori
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              xsivjosh RE: njkori Jul 9, 2010 10:08 AM

              Would love to know how your week went and where you ended up eating. We're going on July 17. Did you see any razor clams? (I'm sort of fixed on them recently) Did you get any fried belly clams that were great? Did you get tothe Dolphin? Any unlisted finds?

              1. re: xsivjosh
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                njkori RE: xsivjosh Jul 11, 2010 10:45 AM

                We are in Harpswell now (arrived yesterday). Our first stop, due in large part to the recommendations here,was Dolphin Marina and Restaurant. We were impressed! We both had the fish chowder, as delicious as advertised. For entrees, I had mussels and my husband had fried clams. We ate every bite, including that blueberry muffin that came with the chowder. We will go back before we leave Maine (as mainedowneaster said). This morning we hit Wild Oats Bakery, which was good, but not necessarily what we were looking for. We're still trying to find a hearty eggs & bacon kind of place with a liitle flair. The search continues!

                I'll keep you updated on our travels. This is a gorgeous area, you will not be disappointed!

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                Dolphin Marina and Restaurant
                515 Basin Point Rd, Harpswell, ME 04079

                Wild Oats Bakery & Cafe
                149 Maine St, Brunswick, ME 04011

                1. re: njkori
                  the_MU RE: njkori Jul 11, 2010 05:47 PM

                  I think you should try Mae's Cafe or Starlight, in Bath, or, if you feel like a hike up Rte 24, go to A-1 in Gardiner.

                2. re: xsivjosh
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                  njkori RE: xsivjosh Jul 14, 2010 02:33 PM

                  Just an update on our foodie finds. Sunday night we went to Clementine, I would recommend this for a nicer night out. They have a $25 3-course prix fixe menu which was perfect for me. Monday we went to Block & Tackle for dinner, kind of the opposite extreme, but a fun little joint. Not fancy, not pricey, decent food. Tuesday we went to Fat Boy Drive-in, go for the carhop vibe and the blueberry frappe, not the food (although onion rings were good). Dinner on Tuesday was El Camino, which rated 5 foodie stars for us. Lots of local ingredients, huge specials board with many great choices. Today we drove up to Gardiner for the famous A-1 Diner. The orange pecan waffle was excellent, but I would do lunch or dinner there, the menu was very intriguing. For lunch today (in Wiscasset), we went to the place across the street from Red's Eats, as the line there was long and we were hungry. Probably a bit of a mistake - if you're in Wiscasset, you might as well go to Red's! Oh well. Tonight we are planning on Back Street Bistro. I'll keep you posted.

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                  A-1 Diner
                  3 Bridge St, Gardiner, ME 04345

                  Red's Eats
                  Main, Wiscasset, ME 04578

                  Back Street Bistro
                  11 Town Hall Plaza, Brunswick, ME 04011

                  1. re: njkori
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                    mjoyous RE: njkori Jul 15, 2010 01:28 PM

                    If you can't stand the line at Reds, go a little south --still in Wiscasset--and try the Sea Basket for great fried seafood (have never tried their lobster roll; am a Red's fan, except for the line...and the price.)

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                    Sea Basket
                    303 Bath Rd, Wiscasset, ME

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                delong99 RE: xsivjosh Jul 9, 2010 12:59 PM

                Gurnet Trading Company (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe...) has take out (eat outside, but not right on the water). We bought some lobster & clams there to cook at home, clams were the cleanest I've had.

                Several people were eating when we were there and it smelled SO good. Gets good reviews on tripadvisor

                1. m
                  Mainegal RE: xsivjosh Jul 15, 2010 04:30 PM

                  Allen's Seafood, Lookout Point, Harpswell. Take-out seafood shack serving fried seafood, chowders, lobster. A couple of umbrella tables at the end of the water. Nothing else, but fine views, especially at sunset. Call first, 'cause if it's slow, they close. Lots of folks praise Estee's, too, at the end of the Harpswell peninsula, on a spit of land with views to both sides. Lobstah, oh yeah, and fried seafood and the other usuals.

                  New in Brunswick, Trattoria Athena: Italian and Greek. Quite good, when I had lunch there about a week ago. Also, don't miss Gelato Fiasco. Oh. my!

                  Lots of folks recommend Scarlot Begonia's, but I'm not a fan of its new location, too loud, too busy, and service is so-so at best, at least in my experience.

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                  The Gelato Fiasco
                  74 Maine Street, Brunswick, ME

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Mainegal
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                    HDinCentralME RE: Mainegal Jul 16, 2010 05:19 AM

                    Thanks for the tip on Trattoria Athena....will check it out soon.

                    1. re: Mainegal
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                      mainedowneaster RE: Mainegal Jul 18, 2010 01:16 PM

                      Where is Trattoria Athena? I would spend time to go to Scarlets or for that matter Estes, the service is terrible and the food wasn't spectacular.

                      1. re: mainedowneaster
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                        Mainegal RE: mainedowneaster Jul 18, 2010 05:16 PM

                        Trattoria Athena is on Mill Street, it feeds into Maine Street by the Great Impasta. Site previously was home to Renaissance Bistro.

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                      njkori RE: xsivjosh Jul 18, 2010 02:25 PM

                      Just a few final words from our trip, because, alas, all good things must come to an end. Our dinner at Back Street Bistro was fantastic! They clearly value fresh, local food, and everything was wonderful. The roasted red pepper & corn chowder and the bacon-wrapped pork chop were standouts. We also ate ate Mae's Cafe & Bakery in Bath, which was exactly what I was looking for! Eight different kinds of Eggs Benedict, no kidding (plus tons of other great choices). For our lobster pound experience, we went to Holbrook's Wharf at the end of Cundy's Harbor Rd. It's newly remodeled, and has an awesome view. Food was good and pretty reasonable. My only complaint was that they were out of blueberry pie!

                      All in all, it was a great trip, and not just for food. We actually started looking at real estate, we loved it so much. Thanks to everyone who made recommendations or offered suggestions.

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                      Mae's Cafe and Bakery
                      160 Centre St, Bath, ME 04530

                      Back Street Bistro
                      11 Town Hall Plaza, Brunswick, ME 04011

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