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Jun 23, 2011 01:15 AM

Chef's Honeymoon in Maine

My soon to be wife and I are heading to coastal Maine (Boothbay Harbor) for our honey moon, and I am really looking for the best food across the entire spectrum. From roadside lobster rolls on our drive up from Boston to elegant fine dining meals, I would love to hear any and all suggestions. The more authentic, local, and less touristy the better, and I do realize that this maybe tougher in a touristy Boothbay. As a working chef in Chicago, I am really looking forward eating my way through New England!!!!

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  1. I suggest taking a day trip to Rockland/Camden - the HUB of foodiness north of Portland!

    Dinner would most definitely include Primo in Rockland. Perhaps lunch at Waterman's Beach Lobster.

    8 Replies
    1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

      right on, both places look great, now what about in boothbay? is pretty much everything going to be a tourist trap???? Also when it comes too pies, is watermans also the place to go or are there others to get my blueberry and rhubarb fix. we are slightly obsessed with pies and have a favorite pie place in Custer, SD. But wouldn't mind giving it some competition since we are going to be Maine!

      1. re: fergujp

        Watermans has great pie (did you see their "menu" on the website - so typical Maine!).

        It's been years since I've been there, but books have been written about the pies at Moody's Diner.

        Moody's Diner
        1885 Atlantic Hwy, Waldoboro, ME

        1. re: fergujp

          If yu're obsessed with pies you've got to try one of Amy's. She sells them at Thomaston Grocery , Route 1 near Rockland, and in some other specialty food shops and local markets. Keep a sharp eye out for one.

          Also Dot's Pies near Damariscotta

          1. re: HaroldandMaude

            Second on Dot's. Great pie, nice lady. And she's on the Pemaquid peninsula, so if you're headed that way anyway....

            1. re: harrie

              Dot's Bakery in Round Pound, not to be confused with Dot's in Lincolnville. Though I'm sure she has great pies too (everything else is pretty good).

              1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                Thanks and sorry - I didn't realize there were multiple Dots in the area! I definitely mean Dot's in Round Pond.

          2. re: fergujp

            I have not had a great meal in Boothbay, but I haven't dined there that extensively. I would agree that Rockland/Thomaston/Rockport/Camden is a much better bet for excellent food.

          3. re: MidCoastMaineiac

            While you are in Camden, make sure you take some wine and cheese to the habour, to watch the sunset.... "where the ocean meets the mountains". Ask the locals for the best spot.

          4. Primo is definitely worth the trip. It is one of the best restaurants... anywhere. A cool drive would be to head down towards Pemaquid (not far by air, but a good drive as it's down another one of Maine's famous points of land - to the east of Boothbay). Great lighthouse and then head over to Shaw's Fish & Lobster Wharf Restaurant in New Harbor. Great lobster shack.

            8 Replies
            1. re: bobbert

              Agreed...Shaws is a great place in a great spot. For a tourist, I don't think it gets any more "Maine" than that. So many peninsulas are fantastic...Boothbay, Pemaquid, Tenants Harbor/Port Clyde...etc...etc.

              1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                So is this shaw's overly touristy? I mean I definitely want to hit up some lighthouses, so that is a draw, but I am really tryin to avoid the cheesy stuff. Again I know it is summer in Maine and tis the season. Also we are going to be making a day trip to Acadia, any suggestions in that area???

                1. re: fergujp

                  twenty minutes away in Round Pond Muscongus Bay Lobster is cheaper and very nice.Not as quaint but expansive views and byob.

                  Muscongus Bay Lobster
                  28 Landing Rd, Round Pond, ME 04564

                  1. re: LeRique

                    Strongly agree with Muscongus Bay - big menu, local oysters, a delight - and right next to Round Top Ice Cream!

                  2. re: fergujp

                    It's Maine. It's summer. Don't equate "touristy" with "cheesy". Personally, I'd rather sit on some outside deck eating lobster with alot of people instead of being the only one there. If you ARE the only one there, THAT might be a problem....

                    On Acadia, look up some posts on Bar Harbor...lots of existing recs already here on Chowhound...

                    1. re: fergujp

                      Maine in summer is filled with tourists- it drives the economy - to avoid the tourists, you will have to visit in January. Boothbay-very touristy. Places a little off the beaten path, e.g. Pemaquid, Round Pond, etc - a little less so. You are more likely to be around "local" tourists in these places. That would include those who "summer" in Maine, snowbirds, or Mainers who are on vacation, and fewer people" from away". In these places, a house with a bunch of lobster pots out front belongs to a lobsterman and a pier that looks as though it might fall into the sea, just might do so. The real cheesy stuff is mostly limited to rte 1 and the main tourist towns.

                      1. re: bobbert

                        Thanks for the input, I know tourist are inevitable, as I too am going to be a tourist, I just want to make sure that I am not going someplace that people just go to because its there and it's "cute." Not that I am trying to avoid cute, I just want to make sure I am hitting the heart and soul of the Maine dining experience.

                      2. re: fergujp

                        If you can do more than a day in Acadia, it's really worthwhile. The park is beautiful, and there's a LOT of really good food. Some food on MDI (the island) is wonderful - some is touristy in the not-good sense. Lots of reviews here.

                  3. Boothbay: Not a culinary mecca, but you won't starve. Very seasonal town, so it's hard for restaurants to reach and survive; most stick with the basics. Ask locally about what's tops this season.

                    A few surprises: Sticky buns and pho at the Doughnut Shop, run by a local Vietnamese family. Nice garden out back with tables. Call it brunch. Best lobster roll (some would say best in the state): Trevett General Store, Boothbay (same road as Coastal Botanical Gardens, just keep driving over bridges and causeways for a couple of miles, and you'll see it on the right).

                    Over on Ocean Point, the Ocean Point Inn has the most spectacular sunset views. The lobster mac-and-cheese is good (or was last year). Stick with simple preparations, and savor the views.

                    From Boothbay, take the Balmy Days to Monhegan on a perfect day and have lunch at Fish House Fish (fish store with picnic tables on the beach, does lobster, and other basics, you can pick up wine to go-with at the Carina Store. If you're willing to brave the Wiscasset traffic, consider the Squire Tarbox on Westport Island.

                    I'm not a huge fan of Shaw's, I do find it too touristy. If you want a real roll-up-your-sleeves and bring your own go-withs (everything from flowers and tablecloth to cheese and crackers and wine), head down the Pemaquid Peninsula to Round Pond. Two lobster shacks face off across the harbor road, Round Pond Lobster is no frills; Muscongus Bay is few frills, both overlook a boat-filled harbor that's right out of postcard central. Afterward, ice cream at the Granite Hall store.

                    If you're up in the Rockland-Camden area, segue north on Route 220 (runs between Route 1 and Route 17 in Waldoboro, turn at Moody's intersection) to find Morse's. I've yet to find a culinary-motivated traveler who hasn't fallen in love with that little gem: Made it's name originally on fresh sauerkraut, but has expanded to be a Euro-style deli and cafe, with impossible-to-find-elsewhere products and an amazing cheese selection.

                    Primo in Rockland: Make rez if you want the dining room, and make them well in advance. Otherwise, there's open seating upstairs. Two rooms, one with its own menu. Don't forget to tour the kitchen gardens beforehand, not just your usuals, but also chickens and pigs and so much more.

                    Hit In Good Company, in Rockland, for wine and small plates; Suzuki for sushi; Lily Bistro for French flavors with a Maine accent. Seek out Shephard's Pie in Rockport. I like it much more than Francine Bisto--same chef/owner. For fine dining, Hartstone Inn and Natalie's at the Camden Harbour Inn are worth checking.

                    I understand Saltwater Farm, in Lincolnville, is completely booked for the season, but it never hurts to check. In Belfast, The Lost Kitchen is one of two or three underground supper club/restaurants; worth seeing if you can get a table. My newest discovery is the Hatchet Mountain Publick House in Hope--excellent tavern fare with flare, and some of the best fish and chips we've had anywhere (including England and Ireland).

                    MDI/Bar Harbor: Mache is small, still a bit off most visitors' radar screens, and wonderful; Havana and Burning Tree are the two usual top choices for reliable finer dining; new and getting excellent reviews are Fathom (replaced Maggie's) and 12 tables at the Bass Cottage Inn (by reservation only) over in Southwest Harbor, Red Sky is considered one of the best on the island.

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

                    In Good Company
                    415 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841

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

                    Camden Harbour Inn
                    83 Bayview St, Camden, ME 04843

                    Hartstone Inn
                    41 Elm St, Camden, ME 04843

                    Lily Bistro
                    421 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Mainegal

                      Always have enjoyed Hatchet Mountain...and The Badger Cafe a litle further up the road in Union. Big, eclectic beer selection.


                      Heading to the Lost Kitchen this weekend...I'll have to report back. Unless that breaks the underground supper club "rules".

                      BTW, am I the only Mainer who actually ENJOYS tourists?

                      1. re: Mainegal

                        What about Bet's Fish Fry in Boothbay...I've never been, though it's on my list. Chow worthy?


                        Hmmm...nice little website Holly has there:


                          1. re: Mainegal

                            Wow wow wow, This has been very helpful, I think y'all have been able to really give me plenty of suggestions that are right up my alley, I am really looking forward to this trip, with my lovely soon to be bride, and also my vacation from the kitchen to the dining room (or picnic table overlooking the water.

                            1. re: fergujp

                              Best wishes to you and your intended, chef, and happy eating. Just don't forget to give us a review once you get back!

                          2. re: Mainegal

                            I know I'm in the minority on this one, but when I'm in Rockland I prefer In Good Company over Primo. It's obviously a totally different vibe, but I've always been underwhelmed at Primo

                            In Good Company
                            415 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841

                          3. New kid in Thomaston run by the Dip Net folks. Packed on Friday night. Seafood galore. Had buttered capered lemony halibut. A Fine meal indeed. My local pals opted for the fish and chips. Even the french fries were excellent. All plates licked clean. A welcome addition to the neighborhood. Many happy faces. :)

                            Dip Net Restaurant
                            1 Cold Storage Rd, Tenants Harbor, ME 04860

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: shaebones

                              This place is called The Slipway. It'll be my first stop when we get to Maine in August. The chef used to work at The Dip Net, one of our favorites for great food and a fabulous location in Port Clyde. He's now opened his own place right on the harbor in Thomaston and we're very excited.


                              1. re: crawfish

                                Yes, that's right. Forgot to mention the name of the place. Arggh!

                            2. Not restaurants, but places a chef would love:

                              One of the best produce stands EVER in Warren, Maine. Just gorgeous fruits and vegetables, and they even sell fresh lobster brought directly to them from a local lobsterman.


                              Also, a pretty ride on a country road in the middle of farm land is Morse's, a German Deli like they don't even have in NYC anymore!