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BDN's Burnham ate the Best Refried Beans in Maine at Bangor's Las Palapas

A round-up of best tacos in Greater Bangor, a generally positive review of Brunswick's Bombay-Mahal, and a strong recommendation for South Berwick's Thistle Pig.

Las Palapas Mexican Restaurant, Bangor.
Las Palapas Mexican Restaurant, Bangor.
Las Palapas, FB

Bangor Daily News' Emily Burnham and Sarah Walker Caron compared five Mexican eateries in Greater Bangor to determine which has the best tacos. Overall, it seems the taco scene is strong in the area. With a score of 8.5 (presumably out of 10), Las Palapas ekes out a win over runners up Margaritas in Orono and Cielos Mexican Grill food truck (tied at 8 points). Next on the list is Pepino's Taco Stand in Brewer with 7.5 points; Miguel's Mexican Restaurant finishes last with a respectable 6.5 points. Walker Caron suggests the tacos at Miguel's "are best for those who just aren't into spicy Mexican food."

Aside from having "far and away the best tasting meat of the bunch" (the reviewers tried a beef taco and a chicken taco at each stop), first place Las Palapas offers "the best [refried beans] I've ever had in Maine," says Burnham. Her companion concurs: "They are not to be missed."

Brunswick has two Indian restaurants, says Press Herald reviewer Mary Pols, and she visited one of them for lunch recently to "establish a baseline opinion so that I could finally determine which is better." Despite its decorations, Bombay-Mahal "still has that feeling of a place that was perhaps intended to be a retail store, not a restaurant," she notes.

Highlights of the meal for Pols and her guest include the crispy, satisfying pappadam, the lentil dish Dal Makhani, and the "tangy and warming" Chicken Lababdar, spiced "just right." She's not as fond of the Lamb Curry or the Keema Samosa with lamb, though, faulting "tough and not particularly flavorful" meat in the case of the former. For the latter, she may have just ordered poorly; quote: "The lamb had that gamey quality I don't really like." Overall, the experience seems to have been a positive one. Expect a comparison with counterpart Shere Punjab in the near future to determine the favored option.

Rachel Forrest recuses herself from reviewing South Berwick's Thistle Pig for Seacoast Online, citing her connections to the restaurant. Instead, she describes it in loving detail and lists it as "one of my top five 'go to' spots where I go to just feel like I belong."

Forrest nods to the beverage program:

The pair has hired some very friendly, professional staff members, including bartenders Lee Zavorskas and Ben Prescott, who have some very creative cocktails. It's quite advanced for our area. There's a good local beer list, too, and wines from Andrew Bevan Wines, to name one.

She also explains that chef/co-owner Ben Hasty's "family farm, Breezy Hill, supplies much of the meat (as it does for many other restaurants)." Attempting to describe his cooking - "Refined comfort food? Gastro comfort fare?" - she appreciates that "he does not skimp on richness or portions" even when presenting dishes with "fancypants" or delicate elements. In all, the recommendation is wholehearted and glowing.