HOME > Chowhound > Northern New England >


Last Minute Maine

Getting away from the three kids (all under 5 years old!) for three night this weekend (last minute offer from grandparents!). We are staying at the Portland Regency for one night then up to Camden for two. Wondering if anyone has recommendations for a great place to eat at either location.

I like all types of food and especially seafood. Husband is major steak aficianado. We are looking for somewhere romantic for a date night, with a great atmosphere. Something fun, maybe kind of fancy but not too stuffy. Thank you!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Steak is probably the one really weak spot in our dining scene. There's a steakhouse in the Regency but it has mixed reviews.

    Romantic in Portland but not stuffy? Fore street has all the awards but it fun and loud. That would be probably the best choice. Grace would be a great spot for a drink before or the meal itself. You do not wanna miss seeing inside there if you've never been.

    2 Replies
      1. re: grittys457

        In addition to my +1 on Grittys recs - Fore St will have both meat and seafood and Grace is perfect for that drink - I might throw in Eventide for lunch/later mid-day bite, especially if you have a late dinner res. No steak for hubby but seafood for you, really great vibe and nice drinks - real close to your hotel. Talking real close to your hotel, North Point just acrosse the street (Silver St) nice spot for a glass of wine - real cozy.

      2. Portland recent good report:

        Portland thread:


        Lunch: Long Grain for wonderful friendly community feeling and great Thai food by young couple chef/owners.

        Dinner: Francine's: V. small, bustling ,very popular Bistro w/ justifiable Boston prices. Locally- sourced very small menu changes nightly. Unusually excellent house made bread. Exc. Steak frites and herbed lobster.The Pork belly chile verde taco app. was the evening's highlight.( and only Mex. dish on that night's menu.)F

        Don't miss the gem of an art museum- Farnsworth in Rockland. Tons of Wyeths and great all 'round. For lunch there:



        a recent

        1. Our favorite romantic restaurant in Portland is the Salt Exchange. I don't read about that restaurant much on this board, but it's fantastic. We like to sit at the chef's "table" which is really the bar in front of their kitchen. The chef is fun to talk to and the food is delish.

          For steak, in Portland, go to the Blue Spoon on Munjoy Hill. WOW! Yummy.

          1. Thanks everyone! We are planning on being walk ins tonight at Fore st and will try to check out eventide (loved the look of it). In camden we have a reservation at Francines and are also probably going to have dinner one night at our hotel (the chef won chopped!)

            Will let you know how it all went. Thank you for taking the time to respond!

            4 Replies
            1. re: steviegene

              Yes to Long Grain lunch. Maybe I'm late to the game here since you already made reservations at Francine, but if you want the absolute TOP NOTCH dining experience, head over to the only two time James Beard award winner Melissa Kelly's restaurant Primo in Rockland. Hands down the best in the region (and perhaps all of New England). There are two bars upstairs...no reservations needed. Order off the more reasonably priced counter menu (or the regular menu). Much more laid back vibe upstairs.

              Francine, for me, has always been too inconsistent.

              And if you're looking for a great breakfast, head to Home Kitchen Cafe (also Rockland).


              1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                well,mcm, it's the old ymmv. all 3 times at primo have disappointed us (same w Fore St) so we stopped trying at both places.We really liked Fr the last 2 yrs (once @ yr.)but haven't been often like you.

                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  You really need to come with me sometime. And I'll continue to beat the drum that you don't become the only two time winner in the history of the James Beard awards by being mediocre.

                  1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                    well of course; we would be happy to add good ballast to the boat ! email me through my profile pg! :-}

              1. Hi again all!

                Just wanted to thank you all again for all your great responses.
                I also wanted to give a follow up on where we ended up going.

                On Thursday we stopped in Kennebunkport for lunch and ate at a place overlooking the water that had pretty terrible food. The view of the water got our trip started though.

                That night we went to Porthole in Portland for a drink, then to Eventide for Oysters and Fore Street for dinner. I loved Eventide. It had such a fun vibe and great drinks. Fore Street was also very good. We had terrific service and the menu selection was huge for such an upscale restaurant. My husband got his steak and I got my seafood. Dessert pumpkin toffee pudding was great.

                The next day we had lunch at Solo Bistro in Bath. My fish tacos may have been my best meal the whole weekend. Nice find.
                Dinner was at Francine's in Camden. Husband had steak again and I had a spicy crab pompodom. Creative food, busy atmosphere, good service.

                Last day we got lunch at Cafe Miranda in Rockland which was ok. My husband loved his BLT, but mine dish was inappropriately watery. I wanted to go to Primo in Rockland after hearing the good reviews, but it felt like too far of a drive after dark. Instead we ended up at Sheperds Pie in Rockport. VERY good. Innovative comfort food, cozy bar, a little noisy but in a fun way. We had the (surprise) Sheperds Pie and the Duck PB&J which was excellent.

                Also, on the way home we stopped in Worcester Ma for lunch at the Armsby Abbey. What a surprise in the middle of this city. The mac & cheese was stellar and the bartenders were knoweldgeable about the beer choices and drinks. A young vibe, crowded but invigorating and fun.

                Thanks again!

                7 Replies
                1. re: steviegene

                  thx so much for sharing all that; lots to learn from!

                  1. re: steviegene

                    Since we are staying in Kennebunkport this weekend it would be helpful if you could remember the name of the terrible food place so that we can avoid that mistake. Thanks

                    1. re: Sidesfive

                      I know the Hurricane was a major dissappointment a couple of weeks ago.

                      1. re: Sidesfive

                        I just looked it up - The Arundel. The location was great right on the water, but food was very standard and not very good.

                        1. re: steviegene

                          I hope its not "Ocean" at the Cape Arundel Inn because that is one of the places we have reservations for. It seemed to have pretty good reviews....

                            1. re: Sidesfive

                              I think Ocean(or is it Earth) is owned by Ken Oringer of Toro (etc) talent.which would bode well.....

                      2. Don't miss Francine and Long Grain. Really. Some of the best food in Maine. The pine smoked mussels at Francine are delicate and the pine really comes through.