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Dec 23, 2011 08:07 AM

Maine Diner

The Maine Diner doesn't seem to get a lot of respect, so I felt obligated to report that I had the best seafood chowder I've ever had there a couple of weeks ago. A lot of chowders in Maine have great seafood in them, but the broth is too often basically just heavy cream without much flavor other than richness. I actually liked the broth in the Maine Diner's chowder as much as the chunks of seafood - it was rich, but also positively redolent of lobster and clams. And it was chock full of seafood chunks - no potato filler here. Really excellent. The cod cakes and lobster pie were also very tasty, but the chowder was what I'd come back for.

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  1. +1. it's a magnet but one could do alot worse!

    1. I haven't been there in a couple of years...but I have never had a bad experience there. Food is very good..service too. I always recommend them.

      1. Just being my crusty ole crone self here, but I find the Maine Diner over-rated. It's not BAD. I've never had anything truly awful or found the service to be unpleasant. At the same time I've never had much that's spectacular there. I have to own that I've stopped going when we're in the area, though. I haven't eaten anything other than breakfasts there. So maybe the lunches or dinners ARE spectacular. However, we stopped going because we find it overcrowded, cramped (we're big people and it's very hard to move around in), the wait is too long (I have better things to do when I'm vacationing in Maine than sitting in line for an hour, sometimes even longer), and the prices are a tad high for what you get. And we seldom go to Maine during the high season, too. So this is in the shoulder season!

        I repeat, it's a perfectly serviceable diner, I just think it's suffering from too much attention.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Morganna

          Would love to hear of any diners that you find to be "spectacular".

          1. re: HaroldandMaude

            Juniper's Fare in Waterbury, VT. I love the way they prepare their homefries. Everything there is fresh, and most of it is very very local.

            BTW, I'm not the one who said "the best seafood chowder I've ever had" about the Maine Diner. If that doesn't qualify as a claim that something there is spectacular, then perhaps I'm not understanding what the phrase "best...I've ever had" means. I was simply observing that nothing I'd ever had there would qualify as "best...I've ever had". Like I indicated when I first responded, my exposure has been limited because I've not found it worth my time to go back and explore more of the menu because of the other issues I have with the place. I restate that I have never had bad food there. I just didn't think it was "best...I ever had" enough to overcome the other issues.

            Have I disclaimed that sufficiently for you?

            1. re: Morganna

              As the original poster here, I'll affirm that I thought the chowder was spectacular. Nothing else - as I said, the cod cakes were very good (I had the benedict version), and the taste of my wife's lobster pie I had was rich and lobstery. But the chowder, in my opinion, was truly spectacular. Morganna, I'm curious if you've had the chowder; you mention that you only do breakfast there, and I'd imagine that usually doesn't include chowder. And I absolutely agree with what you said about it being too crowded and the wait being too long. I'm just pointing out that the chowder, specifically, is pretty amazing and worth a stop, even if it's out of your way. I'm personally willing to put up with a wait and a crowd if it means the best chowder around (or there's always take-out...).

              I should also mention that I'm chronically disappointed with chowders I have in Maine. I don't live there anymore, so when I'm back I'm always hoping for those transcendent seafood moments you don't really get in Colorado. Chowder, to me, has the potential for that transcendence, but most of the time it's disappointing. To me, this is a mark of lack of effort on the part of the kitchen since there's no lack of great seafood to base it on. So, I'm thrilled to find a place like Maine Diner that, despite being an overcrowded tourist magnet, seems to care enough to do it right.

              1. re: monopod

                Yeah, I've not had anything lunchy there. We'll be heading out that way at some point this year for a recharge at the beach, so I'll make a point of stopping there for some of the seafood chowder. :) I've given up getting seafood chowder because it just so rarely tastes good to me these days, I'm very glad to follow up on recommendations for it, though. :D My husband can have a burger or something. ;)