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Cape Cod or Maine?

Which location has better food? Any suggestions on which is better for 3 nights in the summer? Thanks!

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    1. re: bobbert

      Seconding Maine. I grew up in Boston and spent many weekend b/w Maine (relatives) and Cape Cod and the islands. I have lived here since July. Amazing.

      The Cape has nothing on Maine, unless you're more interested in the bar scene.

      1. re: pluot

        Thirding Maine, especially Bar Harbor. Spent lots of time vacationing at both until we hit Maine and Acadia, too. Not only great chefs (and the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound), but much focus on locally sourced, organic, grass fed food.

    2. If, by Maine, you are referring to any comparable 60 mile stretch within 10 miles of the ocean anywhere between Kittery and Bar Harbor, then most definitely Maine.

      3 Replies
      1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

        I wish there were a "like" or "helpful" feature on Chowhound because I definitely like and find helpful the above commentary. Well said, MidCoast!

        1. re: obraustin

          And if there were, I would "like" your comment too! =)

        2. re: MidCoastMaineiac

          In the medical community they refer to that 10 mile outer limit as the tooth line. It only extends as far down east as Brunswick though.

        3. Maine...
          Love the White Barn Inn to stay and dine and then shack it up and down the gorgeous coastline.


          1. Maine. Consider Camden for your destination. Stop in Portland on the way up - good eats by the harbor. From Camden, you can get to Bar Harbor/Acadia NP for a day or explore south to Rockport, Rockland and beyond. Lots of great lobster spots along the coast. Finer dining for the evenings in Camden (our fav is Francine Bistro) and the local area.


              1. In all fairness to the Cape, you did ask on the Northern NE board. The replies should probably have been expected.

                2 Replies
                1. re: bobbert

                  Asked on south ne board too...and many votes for me there too

                  1. re: HDinCentralME

                    Thanks HDinCentralME. I was going to note that I asked there too. Assuming Maine, are we talking York/Kennebunkport or Camden/Rockport? We love great seafood -- both shacks and fine dining. Any real difference between the two areas in food and things to do?

                  1. re: jeanmarieok

                    Assuming Maine, are we talking York/Kennebunkport or Camden/Rockport? We love great seafood -- both shacks and fine dining. Any real difference between the two areas in food and things to do?

                    1. re: dhenry18

                      Think Portland and Greater Rockland . You can daytrip K'port from Portland. Rockland is still, for the mot part, a sleeper on the foodie radar screen. You'll need rez in the top spots, but not as far ahead as in Portland. Seafood: Both locations--including a James Beard award-winning lobster shack in Greater Rockland.

                      1. re: dhenry18

                        Camden is our pick - quaint harbor side village, many B&B's and a couple of nice hotels in the center of town (Lord Camden), walk/stroll to many good dining options on or above the water. Easy jump off point for day trips. Rockport's a little burg, not much there. Rockland, more of a city feel, Farnsworth Art Museum is great (for Wyeth's) a couple good dining spots in town and just north of town, more commercial.

                        York/Kenne = crowds and traffic, too easy to get to as they're close to I-95. Lot's of touristy eats.

                        1. re: Foody4life

                          I would only say that there are more than a couple good spots in & around downtown Rockland. I'll sound like a broken record, but Primo is heads and shoulders above any restaurant in not just Maine, but New England and beyond. And then downtown you have, amongst others, Lily Bistro, Suzuki Sushi, In Good Company, Cafe Miranda, Amalfi on the Water, and Rustica. "Bobby Flay slayer" (tongue in cheek) Lynn Archer is moving into the old Boathouse restaurant and though it'll undoubtedly be "touristy", the setting is really hard to beat. Conte's is another option, though people tend to have a love it or hate it attitude towards it (watch the Tony Bourdain No Reservations Maine episode for more on that). Bourdain was also knocked out by Primo (no surprise).

                          Sweets & meats, Thorndike Creamery, and Clan MacLaren is a good place for a sandwich, Waterworks is good for pub fare, etc etc etc.

                          Rockport may be small, but it's got a beautiful harbor and Shepherd's Pie (chef Brian Hill's other restaurant - the other being Francine Bistro in Camden). I actually prefer Shepherd's Pie to Francine...I often find myself dreaming of the pork belly sandwich.

                          BTW, don't miss the new place in Camden - Long Grain. Fantastic.

                          Thorndike Creamery
                          385 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841

                          Cafe Miranda
                          15 Oak St, Rockland, ME 04841

                          In Good Company
                          415 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841

                          315 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841

                          Lily Bistro
                          421 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841

                          1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                            We'll be up again in June and now look forward to Shepherd's Pie and Long Grain. Thanks! Sad to say one of our biggest disappointments was dinner at Primo. Not sure why, but we were sooooooooo looking forward to dining there, but just weren't impressed. Definitely think it deserves another shot. On the other hand, we absolutely love Francine.

                    2. So many wonderful places in Maine.

                      1. Aside from the food (I really don't know about the restaurants on the Cape), Maine is as much about a state of mind. It's morre relaxed than almost any place I've been, and I've been to a lot of places around the country. Even the Red Sox fans are a more mellow breed once they cross the river from New Hampshire. This extends to the food scene. Good food in a chill, relaxed atmosphere beats a hectic service any time.

                        1. I haven't been to the Cape in a long time but have never had great meals there. Pricey and geared toward tourists so there is a lot of junk. Maine is another story. So many fine places to dine from Ogunquit area to Portland on up the southern coast. Too many to list here,but there is a hub of truly fine dining establishments in Portland, many of them on the national map, too. Rockland has some top league places, too, as does Camden. if I were choosing between the Cape and Maine, and good food was a priority, I'd definitely come to Maine.

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: liveforfood

                            I think I'm going to look into Rockland. I hear there is a great B & B there -- the Berry Manor Inn. One question, while we are into finer dining, are there any cheaper places to grab a great lobster roll or steamers in the area? Not tourist traps, but there typically NE seafood for lunch stuff?

                            1. re: dhenry18

                              I like the Rockland Cafe for basic family/diner food. They do lobster rolls, clam rolls, great fish cakes (and other options if there are any seafood non-lovers in your group.). I'd bet their fish and chips are good too, but haven't had them.

                              If you should find yourself up around Stockton Springs, stop in to Just Barb's for awesome fried seafood, amazing pie, and nice staff. Possibly the best fried scallops I've ever had, and the clams were equally amazing.

                              Just Barb's
                              24 Main St, Stockton Springs, ME 04981

                              1. re: dhenry18

                                On the drive up, in Wiscasset you've got the Sea Basket and (of course) Red's Eats. Shaw's down in New Harbor. Closer to Rockland you have Waterman's Beach Lobster in S. Thomaston (referenced, I believe, by Mainegal above). Rockland Cafe definitely has a big local following, as does the Brass Compass (you can see for yourself what all the fuss is about on the lobster club sandwich). Lynn Archer's new place called "Archers" hasn't opened yet, but will be ready by the time you get here, and I'm sure it'll have a big local following. For a different take on lobster, and the best breakfast on the midcoast, go to Home Kitchen Cafe in Rockland. I had one of the best lobster rolls last year at Waterworks Pub (yes, a pub). Big, fresh, and cheap. Linda Bean has two of her outlets on the midcoast (Rockland and Camden). That's undoubtedly touristy but, it's still a decent lobster roll in nice settings. Alot of the, ahem, older set like the Offshore restaurant just over the Rockland town line in Rockport.

                                I would definitely explore the peninsulas (Pemaquid, Port Clyde, etc) and small towns (Wiscasset, Damariscotta, New Harbor, Castine further up) on your way here and while you are based here in the Rockland/Camden/Rockport area. So many wonderful nooks and crannies to explore.

                                Sea Basket
                                303 Bath Rd, Wiscasset, ME

                                Red's Eats
                                Main, Wiscasset, ME 04578

                                Brass Compass Cafe
                                305 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841

                                Home Kitchen Cafe
                                650 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841

                                1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                                  I'm surprised to hear that the Brass Compass is expanding into a new space (and surprised to see it on this board). Virtually everything there is not homemade, and all the seafood is frozen (though they state otherwise on the menu). The quality and quantity is also radically inconsistent. I would not return to Brass compass, and won't be going to Archers. I'm sorry to sound so negative.... but I just find the food there to be nowhere near their own hype, and am really disturbed by the trumpeting of Fresh! Homemade! when the reality is neither.

                                  Brass Compass Cafe
                                  305 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841

                                  1. re: happybellynh

                                    I make no claims on Brass Compass, other than to say that it IS popular with the locals. Sometimes I let others decide. The bread is homemade, I know that much for sure!

                                    As for the new "Archers", I don't care what kind of food is there to be honest...as long as they have beer on tap and some decent munchies, you can't beat sitting out on that deck in the summer.

                                    1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                                      Totally agree on the location for the new Archers... the food is beside the point with a location that great!

                                      But... I feel bad letting the cat out of the bag... the bread is all frozen, just baked on premises. (I used to work there).

                                        1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                                          Guess it depends on who you ask. To me, bulk frozen dough balls from Sysco that happen to rise and bake in your ovens aren't homemade. Others may feel differently, though (what's the old saying... reasonable [people] may disagree?).

                                          1. re: happybellynh

                                            Believe me, I agree with that. This, however, may be an issue where the dough is made on-site (or off-site by restaurant staff) and then frozen for future use.

                                            1. re: happybellynh

                                              Wait, you're the person who worked there (didn't recognize the name at first). You're saying she gets her frozen dough balls from Sysco? Well then dhenry18, I rescind any implied recommendation for the losbster club. Unless you like Bobby Flay and want to follow in his footsteps.

                                    2. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                                      Linda Bean makes her lobster rolls with Miracle Whip. Nuff said. And, after several attempts, I really don't get all the fuss about the Lobster Club at the Brass Compass, notwithstanding Bobby Flaye...I don't have the highest hopes for Archer's; I heard it was to be a steakhouse. But the setting is great. I do love the Home Kitchen Cafe, however--when they're doing lobster tacos, they're the best; they make their own tortillas.

                                      Brass Compass Cafe
                                      305 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841

                                      Home Kitchen Cafe
                                      650 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841

                                      1. re: Shooley

                                        Maybe in the future I will only give my own personal views, instead of observing which establishments "have a loyal following" or "are not touristy" or "admired by many". I think it's obvious from many of my comments which places fall into which camp. I like to give people choices, what can i say. Just because I don't "get" a certain place doesn't mean other people don't...in which case we can leave it up to the individual to decide.

                                2. Maine
                                  The Ralph Waldo Emerson Inn a B&B in Pigeon Cove just above Rockport Mass. near Gloucester is a great stop over.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. We LOVE the (Outer) Cape - but there's no comparison to Coastal Maine for a foodie! With very few exceptions, dining out on the Cape is disappointing.

                                    1. As sad as this post is for the poor people down on the Cape, I also have to agree. Maine is just the ultimate foodie destination. I spend summers in Old Orchard Beach and there are many choices in either direction for fine dining, or quick and easy Lobster Rolls on the run. This is not to say that you can't find a decent place to eat on the Cape. The Cape is a beautiful, serene, amazing part of America. It shouldn't be overlooked. When I visit, I talk to the locals and avoid the tourist traps.

                                      1. Cape Cod. Maine's getting too crowded in summah!

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                          Well dhenry18, there you have it. Final tally: Maine 30, Cape Cod 1.

                                          1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                                            Just don't go to Conte's when I'm there, it will be much too crowded!

                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                              Ah Conte's...a place with a "loyal following".

                                        2. Ditto's on Francine Bistro, but do try Darby's in Belfast. Very, very good and consistent!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: cjklutz

                                            there's also a lobster shack in Cundy's Harbor that is in a fantastic location. Food is good for a lobster shack. Just went to google it because couldn't remember the name. It's Holbrook's, but also found this: "In May 2012, Gilmore’s Sea Foods and Takeout will have a new location, In Cundy’s Harbor, Maine. Holbrook’s Wharf & Grill and Holbrook’s General Store will be under new Management. The very capable Gilmore’s Sea Food’s Staff will be in Cundy’s Harbor at 984 Cundy’s Harbor Road, offering the finest quality Maine Seafood, Chowders, Lobsters, and much more." Anyway, the location is the best, but I can't say about the food, since it's new.

                                          2. is this a trick question?