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Boothbay Harbor in June (and Rt. 1 in between)

I know there's another BB question but have some more specific requests. First, we'll prob take 95 from Boston then after Portland get on Rt. 1 (usually do Rt. 1 from BOS-Portland). Anything on that ride to BBH that you'd recommend? I've gone to Red's (won't stand in line), Sea Basket, the drive-ins in Brunswick. Something quick and casual.

How far is Bath from BBH? I saw recs for some nicer places there but not sure we want to bother with the drive. Then again, a nice 20-30 min drive up there could be pretty so if there are some spots closeby to check out, let me know. Staying at the BBH Inn.

Good spots for a fancy cocktail and/or at a fun townie/dive bar?

I've found the following places in older threads, any comments on them? Thanks.

Baker's Way: 89 Townsend Ave; donuts, breakfast, Vietnamese
Bet's Fish Fry: Town Square
Boathouse Bistro: 12 By-Way
Boothbay Craft Brewery: 301 Adams Pond Rd, boothbaycraftbrewery.com
Downeast Ice Cream Factory: 1 By Way
East Boothbay General Store: 255 Ocean Point Rd, ebgs.us;
Kaler's Crab & Lobster House: seafood, gets crowded
Larson's Lunch Box: 430 Main St, Damariscotta
Lobster Dock: 49 Atlantic Ave, BB
Lobsterman's Wharf: 224 Ocean Point Rd, lobstermanswharf.com
Pemaquid Lobster Co-op: Co-Op Rd, Bristol, pemaquidlobstercoop.com
Phil's: 788 Wiscasset Rd, lobster rolls, crab rolls and chowder. Fresh baked rolls
Sea Basket: 303 Bath Rd
Sprague's: 22 Main St., Wiscasset
Thistle Iinn: 55 Oak St
Trevett Country Store, Barters Island Rd

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  1. google maps says 30 minutes, that doesn't take traffic into account. :)

    Otherwise, i haven't eaten at any of those places. We don't usually go that far north and east 'cos I prefer a shorter drive. :)

    1. Really? No one has comments on these BBH restaurants, bars in town or anything on Rt. 1 between there and Portland? Would love some feedback.

      1. Well I did try the Lobster Dock in BB last summer and enjoyed it quite a bit. Over the footbridge to the quiet side of the harbor. Although they lost to Bobby Flay their crab cake were still exceptional. I don't think I'd drive back to Bath because of the unknowns of the traffic. Not quick but if you are passing through Brunswick at lunch time and would like to try something truly chow worthy, Tao Yuan is worth a visit. It's not lobster shack casual but still casual and chef Statler was just named one of the top ten young chefs in the country by Food and Wine. Just thought I'd throw it out there.

        2 Replies
        1. re: bobbert

          Thanks, glad to get a little bit of help. Didn't think this would be such a boring/untouchable topic. Eating Asian food just doesn't cross my mind when I'm in Maine but we'll see how the rest of it goes.

          1. re: Joanie

            Between the three Miyake restaurants in Portland, Tao Yuan in Brunswick and their soon to open dumpling spot in Portland, Long Grain in Camden, Empire in Portland, Boda Thai in Portland, we have a lot of good asian places right now!

        2. I like the Thistle Inn for happy hour. Lobster Dock is always stellar. Ice Creamery is a must, try the coffee walnut. Robinson's Wharf has new owners I think, haven't heard reviews.
          On the way up, in Brunswick, Libby's Market (if you can find it) has a terrific lobster roll , and no Red-style wait in line. The owners are lobstermen, I think.
          Damariscotta is a short drive from Boothbay, another great ice cream joint there ("Round Top") , and some good pubs & restaurants as well as the famous must-visit Reny's Department store

          1. I've been to bakers way. It's an odd combo with Vietnamese and donuts. I remember being pleased with my meal but don't recall any specifics.

            1. We visited the Thistle's Inn 3 times during our 4 night trip to Boothbay Harbor last year. On each visit, we timed our arrival at the Pub to coincide with the much touted nightly happy hour which features 1/2 priced drinks from 5-6PM. On our first night my wife ordered a blueberry lemonade martini (blueberry vodka and fresh squeezed lemon juice) which was just okay.. I ordered the chocolate mint mojito (muddled chocolate mint, rum, fresh lime juice and a splash of club soda). On each of our subsequent visits, we ordered the mojitos which were obviously very good.
              We held dinner reservations for the restaurant on our first visit, but after talking with the people at an adjoining table we decided to order off the pub menu. I chose fish and chips which were oil free and delicious. I am not a fan of tartar sauce, but theirs is one of the best. The accompanying coleslaw was also pretty good. My wife went healthy by ordering an excellent Cobb salad that we both ordered again on our last night in town.

              1. We visited Permaquid Lobster Co-op in the summer of 2012. The restaurant is very rustic and the location is not as picturesque as some of the other lobster pounds we have encountered, but the lobsters are fresh and prices are more than competitive. I would not hesitate to visit again if I was in the area.

                1. I stopped in at Baker's Way one morning for an apple fritter so I cannot comment on their Vietnamese food. The place is ultra casual and sort of dumpy as you might expect. The apple fritter had a good quantity of apples, but I found it to be on the dry side.

                  1. We have dined at the Boathouse Bistro twice. The first time was during restaurant week 2011 when we sat in the 2nd floor dining room and ordered off the 3-course $23.11 menu. My wife chose the brushetta appetizer while I opted for the shrimp and chorizo skewer. Both were good, but I was disappointed that there was very little chorizo. For entrees we each chose the fisherman's stew which included an abundance of lobster, shrimp, scallops, haddock & mussels that were poached in a spicy tomato saffron seafood broth. For dessert we had a yellow cake coated with chocolate and filled with a strawberry cream cheese. Everything was very good.

                    We did not fare as well on our return trip in 2012. We decided to dine on the open deck on the third level on a Thursday evening. All the tables were taken so we opted to sit at the bar and shared orders of spinach salad (very good) and a "wild" mushroom ragout that was made with nothing more exotic than button mushrooms (fair) On the second round we ordered baked goat cheese with figs that were, shall we say, weird tasting (fair) and Asian lobster and crab cakes that were almost completely devoid of flavor (poor). I am not sure if we will ever return.

                    1. The Downeast Ice Cream Factory is a mandatory stop for visitors to Boothbay Harbor. Could we deny ourselves? There are almost as many flavors as there are people waiting in line to order. Our personal preference, after much research, is the Bailey's Island (Kahlua and Bailey's Irish Creme) ice cream. Delicious, smooth with a refined flavor and little aftertaste. We expect to keep going back and maybe some day we will give another flavor a try.

                      1. Love Bett's Fish Fry - no inside seating and only open weekdays and lunch on Saturday.

                        Frontier in Brunswick had a great lunch - good cocktails too I remember, It's been a couple years though. Location overlooking the dam was fun. Just off route 1.

                        1. Love the Sea Basket. Drive there from Portland monthly just to get their fried food. Very busy, very clean, great selection, and finish off with a Maine Whoopie Pieā€¦..

                          1. We had a second home in BB for 5 years fairly recently.

                            Sea Basket had some of the best fried food around, IMO. There's some sort of Fried Seafood Combo Platter that's ideal. I liked it with shrimp, scallops and fish, if I recall.

                            And the Lobster Stew is ridiculously good. Big money, but it's the real deal and of course, a little goes a long way - super rich.

                            1. Trevett Country Store is a cool place to stop in, even if you don't get anything to eat. A real piece of Americana.

                              Before, or after, drive over the bridge take a ride on the "big circle" road around Barter's Island, just for a nice little detour.

                              1. My favorite bar in town was always McSeaGulls. Of course it gets touristy in season. But they are one of the few joints in BBH open year round, so there's a good core of locals. The downstairs bar at Kaler's is also quite fun.


                                As for your basic outdoor steamed clams-and-lobster spots, our favorite was actually Robinson's Wharf.


                                Ridiculously picturesque, much more so IMO that the places closer to the heart of town. Although I consider Lobsterman's Wharf a reliable and good old standby.

                                Bets is definitely a classic and a great deal, although perhaps not as much when they first came on the scene (as does happen).

                                1. I hope this isn't too late... we are headed to BBH - this is our fourth year - I will repost if anything has dramatically changed.

                                  Bakers Way - my husband really liked the lunch menu there - Vietnamese / Thai - it's a nice break from the usual seafood fare
                                  Downeast Ice Cream - oh so good
                                  Kaler's - nothing special / not terrible but not great
                                  Lobster Dock - beautifully done deep fried seafood and boiled lobsters.
                                  Pemaquid Co-op - it's okay = we have kids and found that Shaw's which is on a working dock is abit more appealing for the kiddos.
                                  Trevett Country Store - nice lobster rolls, surly service

                                  Other options we like:
                                  Damariscotta Grill - delicious, well prepared
                                  Glidden Point oysters - we usually stop in for several dozen
                                  Dunton's Doghouse - great / inexpensive roadside lunch
                                  Andrew's harborside - probably our favourite place -delicious, my favourite crab cake and clam chowder
                                  Red's - I know you don't want to stop there - it is a tourist attraction but also an institution - best lobster rolls hands downs.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Apple

                                    Apple, good call on Dunton's - it's a quintessential BBH experience IMO... even a local's favorite during the shoulder seasons so you know it is not a rip off.

                                    Glidden Point also a rare treasure. Elsewhere in the country you'll pay 2x to 3x more for these kind of oysters.

                                    King Eider's Pub in Damariscotta is a great place to get a drink on a bad weather day.

                                    We also like Newcastle Publick House, right before you make the right turn into Damariscotta.

                                    1. re: CFByrne

                                      Eating our way through this part of Maine now.... So far I can confirm
                                      Lobster dock - tried and true. Annual guilty pleasure for deep fried seafood. Crab cakes are okay, bit too fancy but. I guess that's due to the Throwdown thing. People probably order expecting the recreated dish.
                                      Darmariscotta Grill - still excellent and gracious. (Will have to try King eider and Newcastle publick another time)
                                      new to. BBh - by the parking lot by the water is Shannon's unshelled. Just lobster rolls and hot dogs. Really good and simply prepared. Good alternative to Red's (smaller portion which is price adjusted) but no line up, yet! I will be hitting that place again!
                                      Boathouse Bistro - amazing view of the harbor! Really nice view and delicious food. The steamers were fantastic. Friend had burrata (burrata!) and said it was amazing. They have a happy hour, too.

                                      glidden point oysters - I can confirm, fantastic!

                                      That's it for now... Will post again as we eat!

                                      1. re: Apple

                                        Okay - back from 11 days in BBH... other places we hit...

                                        Trevett Country Store for fried fish and lobster rolls. Better service than I recalled last year. Fish was cooked with a fantastically crisp coating - thing of beauty. Lobster roll was meaty but made with mayo. Husband raved about it.

                                        Bet's Fish Fry - amazing - large portion, beautifully cooked. ate there twice - the fries the 2nd time were fried until they were dry as a bone. Fish was still fantastic. Two full large fillets (basically the whole fish) in their serving.

                                        Andrews' Harborside - still highly reliable. Crab cakes were abit gummy, but boasts 1/4 pound of crab. It's a large, thick cake. Still tasty though. Clam chowder is delicious with a hint of garlic.

                                        Ebb Tide - a BBH institution - the chowders (haddock / clam) are bland and overcooked, but everything else is quite serviceable. The waitresses are superb and efficient and desserts are yummy. Also - the price is right.

                                        Baker's Way - a great reasonably priced breakfast - apple fritters are amazing and huge!

                                        Hope you have a great time in BBH.