HOME > Chowhound > Northern New England >
Do you create unique foods? Share your adventure
TELL US

Bar Harbor Dining

l
lisasev Apr 13, 2011 04:33 PM

Hi,
I will be traveling to Bar Harbor for the first time next month and would like some restaurant suggestions.

Thanks,
Lisa

  1. Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. f
    frk040 Jun 10, 2011 01:40 PM

    Might be too late, but here's some of our favorites in Bar Harbor:
    Red Sky (Southwest Harbor) Great food - worth the drive
    Maggies for the Lobster Crepes (has seen better days, but those crepes are great)
    Mache Bistro - small, quiet, good food
    Burning Tree (a bit ouside of BH)
    Havana (OK food and service, but don't believe all the hype)
    Cafe This Way for Breakfast or Dinner (very low-key, funky, fun, good food)
    2 Cats for breakfast (same as above)
    Breakfast place on Main st - forgot the name, but decent food with locals

    Will be trying on our return in Sept:
    Looking Glass at the Bluenose Inn
    Reading Room -Bar Harbor Inn
    XYZ in SW Harbor - Mexican

    That about all that come to mind right now,

    Have a great trip

    -----
    Cafe This Way
    14 Mount Desert St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

    Burning Tree Restaurant
    69 Otter Creek Dr, Mount Desert, ME 04660

    Red Sky
    14 Clark Point Rd, Southwest Harbor, ME 04679

    2 Cats
    130 Cottage St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

    Reading Room
    Newport Dr, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

    6 Replies
    1. re: frk040
      3catsnh Jun 26, 2011 09:47 AM

      Great list. XYZ is fun for Mexican. Red Sky excellent. Also liked Burning Tree though last year they couldn't find our reservation and were not friendly about it. We couldn't get a table. Love Cafe This Way--it is still my go-to for both breakfast and dinner. I need to add to your list SIPS in Southwest Harbor.

      -----
      Burning Tree Restaurant
      69 Otter Creek Dr, Mount Desert, ME 04660

      Red Sky
      14 Clark Point Rd, Southwest Harbor, ME 04679

      1. re: 3catsnh
        f
        frk040 Jul 3, 2011 07:57 AM

        First went to Burning Tree in the 1980's when it opened. One room, organic, vegetarian, and fish served. I remember commenting about how we all loved the salad dressing - 5 minutes later, the waitress came out with the hand written recipe for it. Still have it - it's a garlic ginger thing - very good.

        Has seemed to have grown quite a bit since then - not for the better, unfortunately.

        -----
        Burning Tree Restaurant
        69 Otter Creek Dr, Mount Desert, ME 04660

        1. re: frk040
          r
          rizzo0904 Jul 3, 2011 08:08 AM

          will you share? :)

          1. re: rizzo0904
            f
            frk040 Jul 3, 2011 06:36 PM

            Tahini Dressing

            1" piece of fresh ginger chopped fine
            3T Tahini
            3T Tamari
            3 cloves garlic
            1/2 cup veg. oil
            1/2 olive oil
            juice of 1 lemon

            Blend

            That's what is written on the paper, but... I used 1 cup olive oil instead of the half and half mix. This is a great deal of dressing, but it can be saved in the 'fridge for future use

            1. re: frk040
              r
              rizzo0904 Jul 5, 2011 11:51 AM

              thanks!

      2. re: frk040
        w
        winedude Jul 6, 2011 06:33 PM

        Cafe This Way was a great rec, we really enjoyed our dinner there. It didn't really feel like Maine, more like Key West, and I mean that in a very good way.

        -----
        Cafe This Way
        14 Mount Desert St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

      3. l
        lifeasbinge Jun 26, 2011 03:16 PM

        I like Rupununi's for easy, good food and a nice atmosphere. I recently went to Cafe Bluefish - out towards Rt 3 on Cottage Street and had wonderful crabcakes (I'm VERY fussy about crabcakes). It's a particular, charming restaurant, funky, quiet, low-key, with excellent food. If you're tired of the buzz of the town, it's a nice alternative.

        -----
        Cafe Bluefish
        122 Cottage St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

        4 Replies
        1. re: lifeasbinge
          mcf Jul 3, 2011 06:58 PM

          Our experience with Cafe Bluefish was just creepy. Some of the food was okay, some was comically bad. Service poor, slow and just a weird creepy vibe there. Quite a few reviewers over the years have noted the same thing. You can get much better meals all over town without the ick factor.

          -----
          Cafe Bluefish
          122 Cottage St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

          1. re: mcf
            l
            lifeasbinge Jul 4, 2011 12:59 PM

            Well, that was not my experience, and many reviewers have agreed. I don't know if "just creepy" or "ick factor" provides much information.

            1. re: lifeasbinge
              mcf Jul 5, 2011 08:25 AM

              So many people have used those terms that it suffices to describe the eerie quiet, slowness and lack of human interaction with staffers during the dining experience. The place is often unusually empty, compared to others in town. The food we had ranged from dire to acceptable, nothing more, mostly less.

            2. re: mcf
              a
              Alica Sep 20, 2012 06:40 AM

              I know what you mean!!

          2. Passadumkeg Jul 7, 2011 06:04 AM

            You guys pretty much nailed it. I agree on Cafe Blue Fish and don't care for Rapununi's, except for late night dancing. XYZ is too expensive for my poor New Mexican blood.
            Lompac Cafe& bocce ball fun. for good beer selection and The Thirsty Whale for a local place frequented by locals, cheap and open all year.

            -----
            Thirsty Whale
            40 Cottage St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

            11 Replies
            1. re: Passadumkeg
              l
              LStaff Jul 7, 2011 08:26 AM

              Rapununi's does have the best beer selection on the island though, no? I like to sit at the bar and have some apps/salad along with hours of beer drinking. The patio is great for people watching, but the smokers ruin it for me. Used to have the best prices on JW Lees Harvest ale, Orval, and Duvel - sometimes lower than retail - not sure what they are charging now though .

              Lompac is good, but mostly just Atlantic beers.

              1. re: LStaff
                n
                Noreaster Jul 8, 2011 08:37 PM

                Smoking? On a restaurant patio, it's no longer an option...

                1. re: Noreaster
                  l
                  LStaff Jul 9, 2011 05:51 AM

                  That's good to hear. The last two times I have visited, there was an abundance of smokers on the patio since it was banned inside.

                2. re: LStaff
                  Passadumkeg Jul 9, 2011 01:42 AM

                  I work across the street form The Lompoc & 37 steps from the Whale, seems like home to me. I like Rapununi's better in the winter when they're not so terribly crowded. Some great bands in the off season too, for the entertainment of locals.

                  1. re: Passadumkeg
                    f
                    frk040 Jul 18, 2011 02:04 PM

                    Just found out Maggie's closed this year and was replaced by Fathom. Lobster crepes at Maggie's were great - too bad. Fathom has gotten some decent write-up on Tripadvisor, not the most reliable source of restaurant reviews, but some got into good detail.

                    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant...

                    Anyone been there yet?

                    1. re: frk040
                      Passadumkeg Jul 18, 2011 02:51 PM

                      Will try Fathom. Glad to see that horrid Mexican place next to Bluefish gone too. As a (former) local, I still head to Ellsworth and Blue Hill, Sullivan & Hancock too.BH is just to frikin' crowded in the summah!

                      1. re: Passadumkeg
                        mcf Jul 18, 2011 03:48 PM

                        I'm planning a trip to BH this October... we love it then, and the mobs are gone. And the cruise ship passengers never make it past the souvenir and ice cream shops by the dock. Can't wait to eat at the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound. Had a nice lunch in a mediterranean restaurant in Ellsworth. Will really miss Maggie's.

                        -----
                        Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound
                        1237 Bar Harbor Rd, Trenton, ME 04605

                        1. re: mcf
                          Passadumkeg Jul 18, 2011 03:57 PM

                          Cleonise is great, Trenton Bridge ain't my favorite.

                          1. re: Passadumkeg
                            mcf Jul 18, 2011 06:21 PM

                            Looks like Cleonice has some recent reviews indicating slippage and not as great quality. :-( Have you been there recently? I loved the atmosphere and the food.
                            I love Trenton Bridge, haven't tried many others... have a recco?

                            -----
                            Cleonice
                            112 Main St, Ellsworth, ME 04605

                            1. re: mcf
                              Passadumkeg Jul 19, 2011 05:12 AM

                              We went to Cleonise last Thurs. for our anniversary, their raw bar night. The food was excellent and the house packed.
                              We live 4 mi from Trenton Bridge..., we can't understand why people pay a premium price fr lobbers to eat next to a busy highway, w/ no ocean view.
                              Passadumkeg's rule for lobster eating: if you are going to pay top dollar for a boiled bug, eat it next to the ocean, get a view and the ambiance for your money. Beal's on Clark Pt. road or Thurston's, in Benard, are where we take visitors on MDI. Any of the places at the waterfront in BH would do too, though I've never eaten at them.
                              As we live in Ellsworth ( I used to live in SWH.), we often head downeast. Ruth & Wimpies, in Hancock, has absolutely no amvience, but the lobster is cheap and served 30-something ways. Further "up the rud" is Galley by the Bridge. It has nice views, is reasonable, but we get the lobsters to go, go back over the bridge to Reversing Falls. This used to be a lobster pound, where my wife has been eating lobsters for well over 50 years, and has picnic tables and grills next one of the loveliest views in the area. One can take their own live lobsters and cook them on the grill. Finally, Tracey's in Sullivan, again has no ambiance, but is the cheapest around, plus it is BYOB. They also serve jumbo lobsters a la cart.
                              I get lobsters for free, and rarely go onto MDI any longer. We cook them on the beach in front of our house or out at our lakeside cabin on Tunk Lk.
                              I hope this is helpful.

                              -----
                              The Galley by the Bridge
                              1715 US Hwy 1, Sullivan, ME 04664

                              1. re: Passadumkeg
                                mcf Jul 19, 2011 06:20 AM

                                Very helpful, thanks much. I've read good reviews of Thurston's and since I never get my fill of sea water boiled lobster, I may give them a try. Glad to hear Cleonice is still good. May have to try Galley by the Bridge, too. Will let you know, the trip is shorter than usual this year.

                                -----
                                Cleonice
                                112 Main St, Ellsworth, ME 04605

                                The Galley by the Bridge
                                1715 US Hwy 1, Sullivan, ME 04664

              2. mcf Oct 19, 2011 01:53 PM

                Updating this thread to report on our very brief trip to Bar Harbor, owing to bad weather that made us to decide to cut it short. As usual, we enjoyed breakfasts and one dinner at Cafe This Way; not as superb as it was several years back, but still a wonderful vibe and good eats, we always visit more than once when in Bar Harbor. Had one rainy day lunch at the Thirsty Whale, chowder and a lobster roll for moi, DH had a very good fish taco wrap, I think. The lobster was almost all large pieces of claw meat, barely any dressing, very sweet and fresh. Chowder a bit overly thickened with not much clam, but hot and good on a rainy, icky day.

                Dinners, well, we should have saved some money and stayed out of the over hyped but underperforming Havana and Fathom. Our best meal was at Mache Bistro.

                I wanted to like Havana because the style and vibe is lovely and service very gracious, the owner amiably chatting at every table, it appeared. The problem is in the kitchen and on the plate. The food isn't bad, it just isn't very good, it's kind of insipid, uninspired and not at all where the attention and emphasis is going here. The owner has a strong style focus, clearly likes to create special venues in terms of beauty, but food here is not anything I'd consider returning for. Sorry to have to say it. My salad greens were less than perfectly fresh, salmon was overcooked (compared to my order, not dried now, so I made no comment nor complaint). My husband's meal was similarly so so.

                Fathom, like Havana, is pricier than much better food and wine elsewhere in town; I think these folks are both prioritizing hype, number one Tripadvisor status over great food... would not go back, nor would our table neighbors, who volunteered "don't order the bread pudding." I'd noticed their disgust when they tried to eat it, then cut it into pieces to try and find some edible ones, then settled for the strawberry and whip cream garnish. Like another review site noted, it comes out burnt, hard and dry, in this case, both the top and the bottom. Then the check was higher than the menu prices for each item (the sort of wired and scattered server told them he hadn't checked the menu prices). I'm having a hard time remembering what we ate. Drunken shrimp had a tasty cream sauce with some pepper kick, my salad was fine. I think DH had filet and I might have had duck... food was good, not memorable, obviously.

                Mache bistro was much better, I had a ribeye topped with truffle butter, well seasoned and cooked. All of our table neighbors were enthusiastic about their food, including those we spoke to.

                Oh, we had a very SLOW but good breakfast at Testa's down near the dock where we found ourselves waiting for the LuLu lobster boat tour. We've never done any touristy things, mostly just hanging on trails in the park, but there we were... great omelet with goat cheese and bright green fresh baby spinach. But SLOW.

                Can't wait to head back to Bar Harbor for a whole week, though it's never enough.

                Only got to have one lobster at a pound I don't love on the highway (Trenton Bridge pound was closed). Didn't have time for Cleonice, Other recommendations for pounds.

                -----
                Cafe This Way
                14 Mount Desert St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

                Thirsty Whale
                40 Cottage St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

                2 Replies
                1. re: mcf
                  a
                  Alica Sep 20, 2012 06:46 AM

                  Agree with you on Havana and Fatham but Havana does have good drinks. My husband feels that Havana has the best Mojitos he has ever had.

                  1. re: Alica
                    mcf Sep 20, 2012 06:54 AM

                    We don't drink, except for a single glass of red wine for moi, so nothing to revisit for. :-)

                2. 3catsnh Aug 11, 2013 06:19 AM

                  Any updates for Bar Harbor? We missed going last year and will be there for 3 dinners this coming week. We never miss Cafe This Way but need to choose two others. On my list are Mache Bistro, Town Hill Bistro, Burning Tree, and Red Sky. Feedback? And what is this place Fathom? We like creative meals and there is one vegetarian.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: 3catsnh
                    mcf Aug 11, 2013 07:03 AM

                    I'd wouldn't go to Town Hill Bistro or Fathom. Yes to Burning Tree and Mache Bistro, too, though. I haven't been to Red Sky yet.

                    1. re: mcf
                      f
                      frk040 Aug 12, 2013 10:54 AM

                      We liked Fathom - went there when it first opened about 2 years ago. A while back so things might have changed - it's the same location as Maggies Classic Scales, one of our all-time favorite BH spots. Food was good, but only remember outstanding bread basket of fresh baked ass't sliced breads with maple flavored butter.

                      Red Sky was tops for food, Mache Bistro OK, but very small and can get noisy if large party is seated, Café this Way has been discovered and table placement gotten too close. Breakfast always good at 2 Cats
                      Nice surprise was Side Street Café - very casual, nicely done guacamole, generous pours on the drinks, good, inexpensive 'comfort' food - not greasy burgers but veggie wraps, lobster rolls, etc

                      All places vegetarian friendly

                      1. re: frk040
                        mcf Aug 12, 2013 01:54 PM

                        We were there that year, too. Our server was bizarre and inappropriate and while some of the food on the plate was good, some of it was awful and most was just meh. I LOVED Maggie's, miss it!

                        Two Cats had good food but would never go back due to egregious service issues at breakfast. Hours and a half day of vacation wasted, right under the nose of the owner. Only place we ever left NO tip, after we had to find our check and pay it somewhere inside, at the end of a truly awful experience.

                        We enjoyed McKay's once, but frequented others more. Will look into Side Street next trip.

                  2. a
                    Alica Aug 12, 2013 01:38 PM

                    Havana was always good.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Alica
                      k
                      kreptol Aug 12, 2013 03:48 PM

                      Epis is always good and efficient. Not entirely the best sub you'll ever have been a good value around the Bar Harbor area at $8.49 "cadillac" steak subs. They get the food out in a matter of 10 minutes at the most as well. Jordan's over by Hannaford is a good choice as well. The Hannaford has some yummy local sorbet and gelato from Falmouth ME.

                      1. re: kreptol
                        mcf Aug 12, 2013 05:16 PM

                        Jordan's? I've had some ok breakfasts there, but they're not open later in the day, are they?

                    Show Hidden Posts