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Kennebunkport - Bandaloop, On the Marsh, Pier 77?

  • m

As between these 3, which would you select for dinner and why? Or, if there is somewhere else that you like better (but only if they take reservations)?

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Bandaloop
2 Ocean Ave, Kennebunkport, ME 04046

On the Marsh
46 Western Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043

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  1. All three are chow-worthy but these are different experiences and it really is up to you as to what type of experience you are looking for.

    Bandaloop has some fusiony twists to the menu. On The Marsh is more formal/traditional w/o hitting the White Barn stratosphere. Pier 77 has nice harbor views and a straightforward menu.

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    Bandaloop
    2 Ocean Ave, Kennebunkport, ME 04046

    7 Replies
    1. re: HDinCentralME

      I agree that Bandaloop and Pier 77 are chow-worthy. I have dined at both restaurants on many occasions and have enjoyed my meals and have taken friends there when they visit. Bandaloop does have a nice menu and the food has been consistently good. I also love Pier 77 and it's more casual restaurant (The Ramp) downstairs. Beautiful views, casual and good food; I especially enjoy the fish/shellfish stew. However, I cannot recommend On the Marsh. I did not enjoy my meal at all. It's an interesting place, pretty landscaping but I was not happy with the food. Four of us dined together, none of us were thrilled, and all of us decided we would not be making a return trip. (my last dinner there was this past December so I would post what I had but it wasn't memorable). To make matters worse, it was my birthday and I was served a small dish of whipped cream with a candle lit and placed in the center of the whipped cream. I honestly thought it was a joke!

      As the previous poster said, all three offer different dining experiences but I personally would forgo On the Marsh.

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      Bandaloop
      2 Ocean Ave, Kennebunkport, ME 04046

      On the Marsh
      46 Western Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043

      1. re: littlerock

        Have to agree with Littlerock on his review of On the Marsh. Everything but the food is well done. I've noticed that the chef has many local adherents (it's not uncommon to see him come out and chat with tables after a meal) I'm just not sure that he's getting any honest feedback. He's talented, but often his dishes end up tasting less than the sum of his ingredients. And I would be less critical of him if the restaurant's price point was lower. When most of your entrees are over $30.00 your playing if the big leagues--even at Kennebunkport tourist prices.

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        On the Marsh
        46 Western Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043

        1. re: The Food Crank

          Not sure if it's the honest feedback that's the problem Food Crank - I think it may just be his "stubborness". He's a great chef, but he really needs to "relax" a bit with his cooking. Now, I LOVE On the Marsh (their mussels are the best I've tasted anywhere, & the apple Bolen is one of my favorite deserts) but "Chef" (as the waitstaff refers to him - not "the " chef) runs his menu with an iron fist. BEWARE if you try to substitute something or leave off something - the wait staff will tell you if it is acceptable, or come up with a "compromise" Chef will agree to. For example, I didn't like the side green veg that was served with the steak special last year, so I asked for them to hold the green veg (it also came with potato). The waiter (who knows me) said Chef would want a green veg on the plate & asked if it was OK to have asparagus (which I like). He then had to ask Chef if this was acceptable (?), & Chef gave the OK. Steak was one of the best I've ever had - I could have cut it with a spoon (the asparagus was good too).

          Chef also does not allow to order apps & then the entree - he wants the entire order all at once (except for desert). Cudos to the waitstaff for not making you feel rushed - they give you more than enough time to decide & know the menu inside & out. They also don't rush you thru dinner - they want you to take the time to relax & enjoy the food & ambiance of the place.

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          On the Marsh
          46 Western Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043

          1. re: southie_chick

            I've never liked being forced by a chef to give my full order. Sometimes after enjoying the app, or not, I will change my mind about which entree to order. We were intrigued by the space and menu for an upcoming trip, but think we will pass since I don't like rules on vacation. I had a very interesting haddock chowder for lunch last week at Pier 77, which was more like an entree with two big pieces of haddock in a milky flavourful broth.

            1. re: Bellachefa

              Bella, the food - & the atmosphere - is EXCELLENT at On the Marsh. But, like I pointed out, ya gotta play by "chef's rules" to eat there. I'm someone who usually orders dishes "minus" something - usually mushrooms or nuts - & I don't have a problem there - I just find it funny that the waitstaff has to be put thru this. Sad because once (on my first visit by the way), I had to change what I was going to order because Chef wasn't going to make it that way. The look of terror / shock on the waiters face (which only lasted a second or 2) when he realized he had to explain this to me (which he did in a most professional way) was very odd. Can't remember what it was, but I was blown away by the waiters knowledge of the menu, & the time the waiter took to find out EXACTLY what I wanted & my likes / dislikes. I think we spent about 10 minutes going thru the menu - from apps to mains with him. His "replacement" recommendation was quite good, but I felt bad he had to go thru all that trouble. Even going thru that, I was never made to feel uncomfortable, & the waiter truly cared that I got a meal that I enjoyed. Once I learned "the rules", I was all set there - I even joke with the waitstaff if I want something made "special", "Is this gonna piss Chef off?". I usually only get to go once a year, but it is worth the trip if you're up for it sometime.
              If it's something small on the side, I'll just leave it on my plate for my hubby - who will eat pretty much anything.
              Haven't tried Pier 77 yet, but hope to on our next trip. Tried Hurricanes for lunch 2 years ago but wasn't impressed. I had the lobster roll & fries, & they gave me sweet potato fries instead of the regular fries (didn't order them). The waitress said that they were good - everybody loves them - but I told her I don't like sweet potato so she reluctantly took it back into the kitchen & brought me the "regular" fries. OK lobster roll, but didn't like the weird attitude.

        2. re: littlerock

          FWIW, I agree with the assessment of On the Marsh. I really want to like it, as the setting is just gorgeous. But the food wasn't memorable. I like Bandaloop quite a bit. Never been to Pier 77, I'll have to try it.

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          Bandaloop
          2 Ocean Ave, Kennebunkport, ME 04046

          On the Marsh
          46 Western Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043

      2. Just curious why you're limiting yourself to these three. There are two new restaurants in town that are stellar...the Tides Beach Club and Earth. Both are on the higher side in terms of price point ($25 - $45 per entree), but the ingredients are fresh and local, and the atmosphere in each is unique and very cool. If you're up for trying something new, I would give either of these a shot. We have had dinner at both and were very happy. I had the pork at Tides and the sea bass at Earth...also tried the "Taste of Earth" appetizer and all was spectacular!

        1 Reply
        1. re: btalbot41

          Thanks for your input. I had selected those 3 based on web research. Never been to Kennebunkport before and don't recall that either TBC or Earth showed up on my research. In the meantime, we've booked at Bandaloop as I was getting concerned that, if we waited much longer, no reservations would be available at a reasonable time. Of the 3 I'd mentioned, Bandaloop's menu was the most appealing and as, there were no negative comments regarding it, seems like a safe bet. Thanks everyone for your input.

        2. Wanted to report back on our dinner at Bandaloop. Overall, we really liked the restaurant. It does not offer the views/locale of some of the other Kennebunkport restaurants but, perhaps because of that, the food was really good.

          We started off with (a) the seared ahi tuna on wonton crisps, (b) the soup of the day, which was a chilled avocado & hot pepper bisque, (c) wilted spinach salad, and (d) the steamed mussels. All were good but the tuna was the star -- perfectly flavored with pleasing contrasting textures. Note that portions were ample and could easily be shared -- the tuna, for example, consisted of six tuna-topped wonton crisps, plus salad.

          For mains, 2 of us ordered the ribeye steak and the 3rd the cavatappi & cheddar, with andouile sausage. The latter is an riff on mac & cheese, and includes perfectly steamed brocolli florettes. Would definitely order it again. The only miss of the evening is that our son's "rare" steak came medium. As soon as this was pointed out, the dish was removed and replaced relatively promptly with a perfectly cooked rare steak, with no fuss or issue. Again, portion sizes were very ample (which is why there are no desserts included in this review). The cavatappi & cheddar is available in both a "small plate" and "dinner" size; unless you have a very large appetite or want left-overs to take home, the small plate should be plenty.

          Both the beer and wine lists offered many choices, including moderately priced wines by the glass or bottle.

          Note that about 1/2 of the tables are high-tops, including tables in the non-bar portion of the restaurant. If this bothers you, you may want to make a request when you reserve for a standard height table.

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          Bandaloop
          2 Ocean Ave, Kennebunkport, ME 04046

          2 Replies
          1. re: masha

            Thanks for reporting back. Glad you enjoyed your experience.

            1. re: masha

              Thanks for the report. Heading north tomorrow. Just might have to try that tuna dish and a tini before heading back to the beach house!