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Downeast Maine - North of Ellsworth

Next month (mid-June) I'll be heading to Downeast, Maine for a week. Our cottage rental is in Lubec but we are planning to travel up and down the coast from Winter Harbor in the Schoodic peninsula to across the Canadian border to Campobello Island in New Brunswick. Many of the places along the way appear to be small, local and seasonal – so there are virtually no restaurant websites and many of the suggestions posted on older Downeast threads are no longer open. I would love suggestions on hidden gems featuring fresh seafood and other Maine specialties anywhere north of Ellsworth (both coastal and inland). Thank you!

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  1. "Frank's Dockside" in Lubec! check it out on FB

    1. While you're in the area do you know a good place in Calais?

      1 Reply
      1. re: syrup09

        I’m not sure if we are going up to Calais but I did find a website for the Nook & Cranny Restaurant in Baileyville which looks to be around 10 miles from Calais.

        http://www.nookncrannyrestaurant.com/

      2. On your way up or back, Chester Pike's Galley on Route 1 in Sullivan (between Ellsworth and the turn off to Winter Harbor). Very casual and busy, but the service is great. Everything is home made including bread and burger buns. Fabulous chowder, haddock, crab rolls and more. Amazing cakes and pies made from scratch. Spectacular breakfasts, too.
        When in Lubec, take a ride up to Eastport. The Quoddy Bay Lobster Restaurant (really more a 'shack' with picnic tables with a view across the water of Campobello) is FANTASTIC. Killer lobster rolls. Haddock sandwiches with a choice of tartar sauce or, get this, aioli! So good. Have a great time.

        1 Reply
        1. re: hitpas

          Chester Pike's Galley’s desserts look amazing (I found their Facebook) – we will definitely need to stop in and stock up on sweet treats for the week! Have you been to Bohemian Mama's Bakery in Addison – I read that they also have wonderful desserts?

          I’ve also heard good things about Quoddy Bay Lobster – particularly the lobster roll. It looks like Eastport has some of the best dining options – I’ve read several good/recent reviews for this town, including the Mexican food at Bank Square Pizza.

        2. Also in Sullivans, there's Tracey's, which is a roadside stand with great tasting & inexpensive lobster rolls. Last year, they were 2 for $15. Here is a link to a thread on Maine Lobster Rolls that includes my review from last summer: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/740772

          2 Replies
          1. re: masha

            I’m on a mission to find the best lobster roll in Downeast so I will add Tracey’s to the list to check out! I've read good reviews of the lobster rolls at Fisherman's Inn located in Winter Harbor - have you tried them?

            1. re: jenchows

              Fisherman's Inn isn't a lobster roll destination EXCEPT during the day they have a hot dog and lobster roll wagon in front of the restaurant. Pick up some lobster rolls and something to drink and head out to Schoodic Point for a picnic on the rocks. Mind you, the lobster rolls are fine and not too pricey.
              If you find yourselves touring around the Blue Hill Peninsula, get to Bagaduce Lunch. You can google them and see what I mean. You can get either a regular Lobster roll or a big ol' baby. Great onion rings and fried clams, too.

          2. BTW, where are you coming from? You might get some hints for your trip up the coast.

            4 Replies
            1. re: hitpas

              Flying into Bangor – not Portland – so I don’t expect to go south of Ellsworth this time. Planning to do one or maybe two days driving up and down the coast between Lubec and the Schoodic peninsula to see places like Great Wass, Roque Bluffs, Jasper Beach, Cutler Preserve, etc. Trying to balance all the eating with a lot of hiking! I would also like to check out the wineries in the area – Bartlett Estate in Gouldsboro and Catherine Hill in Cherryfield.

              1. re: jenchows

                Great hiking destinations. We recently moved to the Down East area and just spent the day hiking in Cutler today. We've also visited the other places you've mentioned! We've not visited any wineries, but there is a good wine/beer/cheese shop in Machias called the French Cellar. They sometimes have tastings scheduled.

                I would recommend Helen's in Machias for blueberry pie and fish chowder, Bohemian Mama's bakery in Addison, and Velazquez Mexican food in Milbridge. It's a seasonal taco truck tucked in behind Joshy's place. Also in Machias, try Tom's Mini-Mart. It's a gas station/deli beside the Bluebird hotel. They have delicious monster haddock burgers (with spicy waffle fries!) for $6.95.

                1. re: jenchows

                  Bartlett's is wonderful. Allow time there for an extensive tasting. Going to Schoodic this week. The restaurant scene is picking up with places reopening or under new management. Will let you know if there's something you don't want to miss.

                  1. re: hitpas

                    Looking forward to recommendations for the Schoodic area – recently read an article in the Bangor Daily News that Mama's Boy might be re-opening this year and that Gerrish would re-open on May 15th with a new chef.

              2. In addition to other places mentioned:

                Hancock: Le Domaine (although ownership has changed, it's still the place for French fare, an excellent wine list, and fine dining); Crocker House Country Inn (unpretentious inn on the point serving continental fare made with local ingredients) Chipper's (casual leaning to fine atmosphere, wide-ranging menu with emphasis on seafood).

                Winter Harbor: Bunker's Wharf is a must for the location on a good day, views are lovely. Tends to be a bit pricey. Ask locally how it is this season. Gerrish's Store is always evolving. Rumor is the the old Mama's Boy is reopening. The Winter Harbor Farmers Market on Tuesday mornings t is a great spot to pick up both fresh and prepared foods.

                Milbridge: Fisherman's Wife Cafe

                Steuben: Kitchen Garden is back (Yay! Limited menu drawn from garden and local sources, mostly organic; Jamaican influenced--jerk, goat, etc., BYOB $5 fee, reservations/order required at least a day in advance; no credit cards)

                Lubec: Bold Coast Smokehouse & Monica's Choclates (between the two, you've got a meal); dining possibilities include Cohill's, Frank's Dockside, Water Street Inn, and the lobster restaurant at the Inn at the Wharf. Each can be hit or miss.

                Eastport/Perry: New Friendly (unfussy good home cookin')

                Calais: sigh. Now that Juliana's World Cafe has closed, that leaves Bernardini's. It's fine and smack downtown. Or cross the border--just remember that you lose an hour (Atlantic time is an hour ahead of Eastern time).

                3 Replies
                1. re: Mainegal

                  Bold Coast Smokehouse closed in March, according to the website. I hope they find a new owner, and I hope they ship. Their stuff looks great.
                  http://www.boldcoastsmokehouse.com/

                  1. re: harrie

                    I found the website for the Garden Kitchen in Steuben (http://www.thekitchengardenrestaurant...) and the menu looks amazing!

                    Disappointed to see Bold Coast Smokehouse has closed as this was close to our rental in Lubec.

                    Anyone familiar with the Jonesboro area? Looks like it has a few options from the higher end Chandler River Lodge (http://www.chandlerriverlodge.com/) to the local joint, Smokey Toast Café (https://www.facebook.com/SmokyToastCafe). I would like to find some dining options in between Great Wass Island Preserve and Roque Bluffs.

                    1. re: harrie

                      Do you know of any similar smokehouses in the area?

                  2. Although it has been some time since I've been there last, I found the Union River Lobster Pot in Ellsworth to be very good. I've just checked their website, though, and they won't be opening until June 9. If the owners are the same, I trust their quality will be, too! Best of luck!

                    1. jenchows -- I'd love to hear how your trip was. What were the hits and misses? We'll be renting a place in Lubec for a week in early September and I'd love to hear your recommendations.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: CindyJ

                        Did you make to Callais? The odd point is when I was at an area known for it's seafood, I ordered Veal parm at The Wickachee Diner.

                        When I took the West Bus I didn't see alot of anything Between Calais and Machias on Route 1. I guess the towns are off the road.