clock menu more-arrow no yes

The 18 Essential Maine Restaurants, January 2013

View as Map

Presenting Maine's updated Eater 18, your answer to any question that begins, "Can you recommend a restaurant ?" This highly elite group covers the entire state, spans myriad cuisines, and collectively satisfies all of your restaurant needs. Every few months, we'll be adding pertinent restaurants that were omitted, have newly become eligible (restaurants must be open at least six months), or have stepped up their game.

New to this update: Local 188, Chase's Daily, The Lost Kitchen, Long Grain, The White Barn Inn. Note that some restaurants included previously are not here for this go-round because they are closed for the winter, namely Arrows and Primo.

For those of you readying the pitchforks because your favorite restaurant isn't on the list, wouldn't it just be more productive to leave your thoughts in the comments? State your cases for (or against) restaurants in the comments or through the tipline.


Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Robert's Maine Grill

Copy Link
326 U.S. 1
Kittery, ME 03904
Its location in the heart of Kittery’s outlet district aside, Robert’s is a fine option for traditional and not-so traditional Maine seafood served in an open, airy, riverfront setting.

2. The White Barn Inn

Copy Link
37 Beach Avenue
Kennebunk, ME 04043
(207) 967-2321
Visit Website
A former barn with a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows is the setting for Maine food that is 180 degrees from the lobster shack. Chef Jonathan Cartwright presides over a first-class dining experience for which jackets for gentlemen - with deep pockets - are required.

3. Fore Street

Copy Link
288 Fore St.
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 775-2717
Visit Website
Sam Hayward’s spacious restaurant, with its wide-open kitchen and wood-fired hearth, helped put Portland’s dining scene on the national map. The James Beard Award-winning chef was the first in Portland to incorporate ingredients from local farmers, fishermen and foragers. His rustic, seasonal menu changes daily.

4. Eventide Oyster Co.

Copy Link
86 Middle St.
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-8538
The cool blue raw bar was an instant success from the get go early this summer, making its mark with a great granite trough of pristine oysters, inventive cocktails and a menu that ranges from crudo and charcuterie to baked beans and biscuits

5. Duckfat

Copy Link
43 Middle St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-8080
Visit Website
Chef/owner Rob Evans won a James Beard Award and "Chopped" but left high-end Hugo's to concentrate on his palace of poutine and duck confit panini. The wait, almost guaranteed, will be well worth it.

6. Petite Jacqueline

Copy Link
190 State St
Portland, ME 04102
(205) 530-7044
Visit Website
The French bistro by husband and wife team Steve and Michelle Corry and their partner Liz Koenigsberg – who also own Portland’s Five-Fifty-Five - exudes modern Gallic charm. It continues to rack up accolades, most recently, Food & Wine Magazine editor Dana Cowin named it one of her 12 favorite restaurants of the year,

7. Miyake

Copy Link
468 Fore St
Portland, ME 04101
A hushed temple of superb sushi from a master of the craft, Miyake serves only fish from Maine waters or flown in from Japan. Chef Masa Miyake’s tasting menus paired with sake offer a world-class experience.

8. Street and Company

Copy Link
33 Wharf St.
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 775-0887
Visit Website
In a rustic, brick-walled space, Fore Street's cozy sister restaurant - equally a Portland icon - focuses on seafood, much of it served in the skillets it was cooked in, straight onto copper tabletops.

9. J's Oyster Bar

Copy Link
5 Portland Pier
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 772-4828
Visit Website
Regulars could care less that Bourdain visited, except that it may have made their regular seat at the U-shaped bar even harder to grab. Nothing fancy here, just straightforward Maine seafood served with sass on Portland’s working waterfront.

10. Zapoteca

Copy Link
505 Fore Street
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 772-8242
Visit Website
Authentic, upscale Mexican food and an astonishing variety of tequilas keep the urbane dining rooms and bar buzzing with diners who have discovered this out-of-the-fray alternative to the Old Port scene.

11. Local 188

Copy Link
685 Congress St
Portland, ME 04102
(207) 761-7909
Visit Website
A wide-open kitchen, Spanish-inspired menu and quirky, shabby-chic decor define chef/owner Jay Villani's West End institution.

12. Henry and Marty

Copy Link
61 Main St
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 721-9141
Visit Website
There are newer, more-buzzed about restaurants in Brunswick, but for well-made comfort food in one of Maine's friendliest settings, you can't go wrong here.

13. King Eider's Pub

Copy Link
2 Elm Street
Damariscotta, ME 04543
(207) 563-6008
Visit Website
Todd Maurer has made his vertically arranged pub a fixture in this quaint mid-coast downtown. There’s a lively bar on the ground floor; up a few narrow stairs are a tiny oyster bar and snug dining room. In addition to Maine seafood, the menu features pub stalwarts such as steak and ale pie.

14. Moody's Diner

Copy Link
1885 Atlantic Highway
Waldoboro, ME 04572
(207) 832-7785
Visit Website
OK, it's a diner, but it's Moody's, which belongs on this list for having treated locals and tourists with equal care for 80 years. Craving oyster stew, New England boiled dinner and pie? It's all here.

15. Natalie's at The Camden Harbour Inn

Copy Link
83 Bay View Street
Camden, ME 04843
(207) 236-7008
Visit Website
n the luxurious Camden Harbor Inn, Natalie's glamorous red and white dining room is a striking backdrop for chef Geoffroy Deconinck's sophisticated seasonal food

16. Long Grain

Copy Link
31 Elm Street
Camden, ME 04843
(207) 236-9001
Ravin “Bas” Nakjaroen uses Maine ingredients to transform the street food of his native Bangkok into dishes that have wowed locals and The New York Times.

17. Chase's Daily

Copy Link
96 Main Street
Belfast, ME 04915
(207) 338-0555
Visit Website
A vegetarian restaurant with a devoted, maybe even cult-like, following, Chase's serves breakfast and lunch; dinner is available just one night a week. Much of the produce in season is from the Chase family's farm.

18. The Lost Kitchen

Copy Link
108 Main Street
Belfast, ME 04915
(207) 930-2055
Visit Website
Largely self-taught chef Erin French is turning out fresh modern food in a distinctive Gothic building downtown. The Lost Kitchen does not take reservations, so the wait may be long, but it will be well worth it.

Loading comments...

1. Robert's Maine Grill

326 U.S. 1, Kittery, ME 03904
Its location in the heart of Kittery’s outlet district aside, Robert’s is a fine option for traditional and not-so traditional Maine seafood served in an open, airy, riverfront setting.
326 U.S. 1
Kittery, ME 03904

2. The White Barn Inn

37 Beach Avenue, Kennebunk, ME 04043
A former barn with a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows is the setting for Maine food that is 180 degrees from the lobster shack. Chef Jonathan Cartwright presides over a first-class dining experience for which jackets for gentlemen - with deep pockets - are required.
37 Beach Avenue
Kennebunk, ME 04043

3. Fore Street

288 Fore St., Portland, ME 04101
Sam Hayward’s spacious restaurant, with its wide-open kitchen and wood-fired hearth, helped put Portland’s dining scene on the national map. The James Beard Award-winning chef was the first in Portland to incorporate ingredients from local farmers, fishermen and foragers. His rustic, seasonal menu changes daily.
288 Fore St.
Portland, ME 04101

4. Eventide Oyster Co.

86 Middle St., Portland, ME 04101
The cool blue raw bar was an instant success from the get go early this summer, making its mark with a great granite trough of pristine oysters, inventive cocktails and a menu that ranges from crudo and charcuterie to baked beans and biscuits
86 Middle St.
Portland, ME 04101

5. Duckfat

43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101
Chef/owner Rob Evans won a James Beard Award and "Chopped" but left high-end Hugo's to concentrate on his palace of poutine and duck confit panini. The wait, almost guaranteed, will be well worth it.
43 Middle St
Portland, ME 04101

6. Petite Jacqueline

190 State St, Portland, ME 04102
The French bistro by husband and wife team Steve and Michelle Corry and their partner Liz Koenigsberg – who also own Portland’s Five-Fifty-Five - exudes modern Gallic charm. It continues to rack up accolades, most recently, Food & Wine Magazine editor Dana Cowin named it one of her 12 favorite restaurants of the year,
190 State St
Portland, ME 04102

7. Miyake

468 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101
A hushed temple of superb sushi from a master of the craft, Miyake serves only fish from Maine waters or flown in from Japan. Chef Masa Miyake’s tasting menus paired with sake offer a world-class experience.
468 Fore St
Portland, ME 04101

8. Street and Company

33 Wharf St., Portland, ME 04101
In a rustic, brick-walled space, Fore Street's cozy sister restaurant - equally a Portland icon - focuses on seafood, much of it served in the skillets it was cooked in, straight onto copper tabletops.
33 Wharf St.
Portland, ME 04101

9. J's Oyster Bar

5 Portland Pier, Portland, ME 04101
Regulars could care less that Bourdain visited, except that it may have made their regular seat at the U-shaped bar even harder to grab. Nothing fancy here, just straightforward Maine seafood served with sass on Portland’s working waterfront.
5 Portland Pier
Portland, ME 04101

10. Zapoteca

505 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101
Authentic, upscale Mexican food and an astonishing variety of tequilas keep the urbane dining rooms and bar buzzing with diners who have discovered this out-of-the-fray alternative to the Old Port scene.
505 Fore Street
Portland, ME 04101

11. Local 188

685 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102
A wide-open kitchen, Spanish-inspired menu and quirky, shabby-chic decor define chef/owner Jay Villani's West End institution.
685 Congress St
Portland, ME 04102

12. Henry and Marty

61 Main St, Brunswick, ME 04011
There are newer, more-buzzed about restaurants in Brunswick, but for well-made comfort food in one of Maine's friendliest settings, you can't go wrong here.
61 Main St
Brunswick, ME 04011

13. King Eider's Pub

2 Elm Street, Damariscotta, ME 04543
Todd Maurer has made his vertically arranged pub a fixture in this quaint mid-coast downtown. There’s a lively bar on the ground floor; up a few narrow stairs are a tiny oyster bar and snug dining room. In addition to Maine seafood, the menu features pub stalwarts such as steak and ale pie.
2 Elm Street
Damariscotta, ME 04543

14. Moody's Diner

1885 Atlantic Highway, Waldoboro, ME 04572
OK, it's a diner, but it's Moody's, which belongs on this list for having treated locals and tourists with equal care for 80 years. Craving oyster stew, New England boiled dinner and pie? It's all here.
1885 Atlantic Highway
Waldoboro, ME 04572

15. Natalie's at The Camden Harbour Inn

83 Bay View Street, Camden, ME 04843
n the luxurious Camden Harbor Inn, Natalie's glamorous red and white dining room is a striking backdrop for chef Geoffroy Deconinck's sophisticated seasonal food
83 Bay View Street
Camden, ME 04843

16. Long Grain

31 Elm Street, Camden, ME 04843
Ravin “Bas” Nakjaroen uses Maine ingredients to transform the street food of his native Bangkok into dishes that have wowed locals and The New York Times.
31 Elm Street
Camden, ME 04843

17. Chase's Daily

96 Main Street, Belfast, ME 04915
A vegetarian restaurant with a devoted, maybe even cult-like, following, Chase's serves breakfast and lunch; dinner is available just one night a week. Much of the produce in season is from the Chase family's farm.
96 Main Street
Belfast, ME 04915

18. The Lost Kitchen

108 Main Street, Belfast, ME 04915
Largely self-taught chef Erin French is turning out fresh modern food in a distinctive Gothic building downtown. The Lost Kitchen does not take reservations, so the wait may be long, but it will be well worth it.
108 Main Street
Belfast, ME 04915