When we visited Maine, I ate lobster every day. Boiled Lobster, Lobster Rolls, Lobster Salad, Lobster Bisque, Lobster Wrap. Every. Day. And I loved it. I never got tired of it. What can I say? I LOVE Lobster! But there are plenty of great places to eat with all kinds of food. Thanks to a little research and recommendations from a friend who is a Maine resident AND a foodie, we didn’t have a bad meal the whole time we were there. So today I offer you my recommendations for the Best Maine Restaurants.
Best Restaurants in Portland, Maine
Our vacation in Maine started in Portland. Our first morning there, we had the option of eating at the high priced and and not all that appealing breakfast buffet in our hotel. That wouldn’t do, so we asked one of the employees at the front desk for a recommendation. He sent us on a short walk down to the waterfront where we had the most delicious breakfast at Becky’s Diner.
This family-owned establishment was featured in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It’s not a fancy place. It’s obvious that the locals eat there. First-responders, fishermen, young professionals, families.
There was a slight wait to get in, but we took a table at the counter, which was great for people watching. When we sat down we were served coffee in these huge, substantial (heavy) mugs. I loved the vibe of the place.
We didn’t get fancy with our order – eggs, bacon, sausage and an English muffin – all cooked to perfection. But the highlight for me was that the sausage they served was Italian sausage – some of the best I’ve ever tasted.
And the price! Tony and I got out of there for $14! For two full breakfasts and coffee! I think we’d pay more for that same breakfast at our local Denny’s.
Great food. Great service. Great price.
After sightseeing later that afternoon, it was time for a coffee break, so we stopped in at Bard Coffee. I tried Nitrogen Cold Brew for the first time and it was so delicious and smooth. The coffee shop itself isn’t much to speak of. Not a lot of extras like you would find at a Starbucks, but really good coffee. And they had a beautiful sitting area with some big trees outside. Perfect for enjoying a nice day and looking at the old historic buildings in downtown Portland.
Scales was highly recommended by my friend who lives in the Portland area and it did not disappoint. It’s located on the wharf amid a lot of restaurants and bars and LITTLE parking, so walk or take an Uber. Their website says they offer complimentary valet parking during the dinner hour, so check on that if you plan to drive.
Since this is such a popular place, I made a reservation online several weeks before.They asked if we were celebrating a special occasion and I told them we were celebrating my 60th birthday.
The restaurant has sort of an industrial decor. Lots of light, open space and fresh seafood on display. It was crowded and the tables were very close together. We were seated in the back, right by the kitchen door. When I asked to be moved to a different table, they graciously accommodated us.
We began with some delicious cocktails and looked at the appetizer menu which featured the classics you would expect like steamed clams and oysters. But they also offered several items with a twist – Grilled Octopus with Chorizo and Fried Squid with Cherry Peppers. We split the Smoked Bluefish Pate which was made with grilled poblano pepper relish and served on toasted sourdough. To. Die. For.
Our entrees were more traditional. Boiled Lobster for me and Fish & Chips for Tony. Both were delightful.
After dinner they served us a special birthday dessert, which was not totally unexpected. But what was a surprise was this nice note and visit from the manager who was also a fellow Texan. Small world. We had a great experience at Scales and I’d go back there any time!
Lunch and Coffee in Rockland, Maine
The next day, we started driving up the coast to Bar Harbor and got hungry for lunch around Rockland. Our recommendation for lunch came from good old YELP – Hill’s Seafood Company. We sat outside where we could see the marina and enjoyed Lobster Salad. Super fresh and chock full of lobster.
After lunch, we walked next door to Rock City Coffee. They roast their coffee right on the premises and the place smells divine. I got my after lunch caffeine jolt and picked up a pound of freshly ground coffee to take with us to our rental in Bar Harbor. Delicious, robust coffee that comes in lots of varieties.
Best Restaurants in Bar Harbor, Maine
We spent most of our time in lovely Bar Harbor and had some wonderful meals there.
Coffee Hound serves specialty coffee and artisan edibles. They are very knowledgable about coffee and get theirs from a local Maine roaster. SO FRESH. I had a delicious iced coffee there. My Maine friend says their Lobster Rolls are the best in Bar Harbor!
This quaint, family -owned Lobster Pound is a little shack with a friendly staff and outdoor seating under some gorgeous trees.
They have traditional Maine Lobster Rolls. I enjoyed their customer favorite The Butter Sautéed Lobster Roll that is 5 oz. lobster meat sautéed in butter and served on a brioche bun. OMG it was good!
I paired that with a Belgian White from Allagash Brewery, a local Maine Brewery. In fact I had several of these beers on our trip! So good!
This outdoor cafe that sits right on Frenchman’s Bay is the perfect spot for lunch, appetizers and cocktails. The views are stunning. We enjoyed a couple of happy hours at The Terrace Grille. The Blueberry Juniper Cocktail is a gin-based cocktail with fresh blueberries. Get it! It’s so refreshing.
Located near the pier in Bar Harbor, Galyn’s serves fresh seafood and hand cut steaks. The decor with beautiful dark paneling, soft yellow lighting and leather chairs speaks old fashioned steakhouse to me. In fact, when we walked in after a day of sightseeing in our shorts and jeans, I feared that we were WAY underdressed for the venue.
The staff could not have been more welcoming and assured us that we were dressed just fine. They seated us upstairs at a table by the window overlooking Frenchman’s Bay.
I had the Lobster Dinner (What else? I told you I had lobster every day) with a side of Lobster Bisque and Tony had salmon. Both were perfectly cooked and beautifully presented.
We had a great culinary adventure in Maine, thanks to some research, recommendations from friends, YELP reviews and some good luck. How do you find good restaurants when you’re on the road?
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