Kittery, long known for its outlet shopping malls (and the traffic jams they inspire), has developed a booming food and drink scene. Many hot new spots are located in up-and-coming neighborhood Kittery Foreside, overlooking the scenic Piscataqua River and easily walkable from Portsmouth, NH (and attractive to "Brooklyn hipsters," apparently). A few classics on Route 1 are worth the trek, though, especially if you're looking to refuel after a day of back-to-school bargain shopping. Here are 13 places not to miss when Kittery calls. Note: map points are presented in alphabetical order.Read More
The 13 Essential Restaurants and Bars in Kittery
Comparisons to Brooklyn are inevitable.
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Anju Noodle Bar
Buoyed by the success of Sonmat Foods, their line of fermented foods and hot sauces, Gary Kim and Julian Armstrong opened a traditional noodle bar in a repurposed government building. Don't miss the okonomiyaki, the pork buns, and the ramen, where the 14-hour broth is made with meat from the butcher store next door.
Belle's on Wheels
No protein is safe from being sandwiched on a bun in this slider-slinging food truck parked regularly outside of Tributary Brewing Company. From pork belly to crab cake sliders, Belle's has got it all (although selections rotate daily), plus a serious selection of poutine variations.
Blind Pig Provisions
Grab a local draft beer and enjoy the views of the river from the expansive patio, the real star at this new pub. The menu also offers craft cocktails and New England comfort food for those who decide to stick around beyond a drink.
Bob's Clam Hut
This casual shack maintains a loyal band of followers and stays fresh with careful menu additions like sustainable fish. It churns out a veritable sea of fried clams — either in original owner Bob's style or in legendary employee Lillian Mangos' style. Their legacies outlive them both, so get in line and order up to see which camp you're in.
This two-year old coffee shop, named after Lillian of Bob's Clam Hut fame, filled a much needed void in the Kittery Foreside for good coffee and pastries. The cafe serves Tandem Coffee Roasters alongside crullers that were declared by one food writer to be perhaps the world's best.
Loco Coco's Tacos
Choose counter or table service at this casual Mexican spot and enjoy a wide selection of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and, of course, margaritas. Spice levels appear to be toned down for tender northern palates, so heat freaks should hit up the hot sauce bar.
MEat (Maine Meat)
After building Rosemont Market's butchery program in Portland, Jarrod Spangler decided to take the leap and open his own shop closer to home in Kittery. He features cuts from whole animals raised humanely in New England, broken down entirely in house, as well as daily sandwiches like barbecue brisket with cheddar and pickles. If you're lucky, you'll catch the elusive chili cheese dogs on special.
Robert's Maine Grill
From the same owner as Bob's Clam Hut and Lil's Cafe, this updated version of a classic New England restaurant offers local seafood dishes like oysters on the half shell, steamed lobster, and fish and chips. Try a lobster roll to see if you agree with the editors at Tasting Table, who declared the version from Robert's the best in last year's Lobster Roll Rumble.
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The Black Birch
The immediate popularity of this American bistro showed how ready Kittery residents were for a casual spot serving tasty food with a wide selection of draft beers. A leader in the area, the Birch commands an often substantial wait, but once you get a seat, don't miss the duck confit poutine, deviled eggs, and short ribs.
From the owners of Anju Noodle Bar, this diminutive cocktail bar is reminiscent of a British pub with green walls, a dark wooden bar, and brass lamps. Its carefully crafted cocktail menu points to serious chops, but the friendly staff will put you at ease by readily answering any questions about unfamiliar ingredients.
Tributary Brewing Company
The beer crowd buzzed with excitement when legendary brewer Tod Mott, creator of the original Harpoon IPA recipe in the early 90s, announced he was coming to Maine to open his own facility. His classics as well as his offbeat brews — like a recent gose brewed with sweet fern — will please even the most jaded craft beer drinkers, and live music every Saturday keeps the house packed.
Calling Tulsi "the best Indian food in the state" sounds like damning with faint praise, but fans say the authentic cuisine here holds up anywhere, and rave about the flavorful dishes that come from classically-trained chef Raj's kitchen. Finish your spicy meal with a cooling mango lassi.
When Pigs Fly Wood-Fired Pizzeria
This bakery makes traditional styles of breads found at retailers all over Maine. At the original Kittery location, a full-service restaurant with an impressive draft list serves pizza baked in a wood-fired oven. Try the simple margherita to savor the simplicity of fine ingredients or go bold with mushroom arugula.
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