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Maine Restaurants

Arrows
41 Berwick Road
Ogunquit , Maine
03907
Tel: 207 361 1100
www.arrowsrestaurant.com

Green thumbs and green eaters go gaga for this acclaimed coastal restaurant, whose one-acre garden provides 90 percent of the menu's produce. Sprouting from the Maine soil are 15 varieties of lettuce, 25 types of heirloom tomatoes, and enough herbs, apples, carrots, and more to keep Arrows hitting a bull's-eye year-round. Chefs Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier—who've also opened MC Perkins Cove in Ogunquit (207-646-6263; www.mcperkinscove.com) and Summer Winter in Burlington, Mass. (781-221-6643; www.summerwinterrestaurant.com)—oversee a staff of not only gardeners but also on-site fish smokers, cheesemakers, and pastry chefs who have led the sustainable-eating movement since 1988. Maine's bounty dictates the menu, which might include foie gras steamed buns, sea-salt-roasted rabbit loin, and parsnip crème brûlée. The best way to get to the root of what's growing outside? The six-course garden tasting menu.

Open Thursdays through Sundays 6 to 9 pm, April 11 through May 31 and Columbus Day through New Year's Day; Tuesdays through Sundays, July 1 through Labor Day; Wednesdays through Sundays, June and Labor Day through Columbus Day.

Becky's Diner
390 Commercial Street
Portland , Maine
04101
Tel: 207 773 7070
www.beckysdiner.com

Fishermen, lobstermen, and little kids watching cartoons on TV sit elbow-to-elbow along the counter on Saturday mornings at Becky's Diner. Although zoning laws on Hobson's Wharf (just south of Old Port) ban all nonfishery businesses, owner Becky Rand successfully argued in 1991 that the boatmen needed a place to eat. The diner does not suffer fools, charging extra for fancy substitutions and serving eggs Benedict only as an occasional special. Instead, this is the place for thick blueberry pancakes, fresh haddock, hash, hamburger patties, and omelets made 14 ways. There's lunch and dinner, too, but don't miss breakfast. In warm weather, ask for a table on the rooftop patio for the harbor views.

Open daily 4 am to 9 pm.

The Clam Shack
Route 9 (at the bridge)
Kennebunkport , Maine
04046
Tel: 207 967 2560
www.theclamshack.net

C'mon, bickering over the best seafood stand in Maine is a bore: There are many fine finger-food establishments strung like Christmas lights up the coast. But if you're in the Kennebunks, staying at the White Barn Inn or Captain Lord Mansion, walk the five minutes to the Clam Shack. You can't miss it on Route 9 at the bridge. The fried clams are summer in a paper pint, and the lobster rolls could move the heavens. Owner Steve Kingston plucks the meat from a one-pound lobster and piles it onto a lightly crisped roll. Your choice of mayo, butter, or both. Want a fork? Bring your own—it's utensil-free here.

Open May to October.

Dimillo's Floating Restaurant
25 Long Wharf
Portland , Maine
04101
Tel: 207 772 2216
www.dimillos.com

A total tourist trap—but who cares? DiMillo's is an old Rhode Island car ferry that is now permanently docked in Portland Harbor as a seafood and Italian restaurant. Burgundy-and-brass decor and flickering lanterns make for a tony (if boisterous, as birthdays and anniversaries are celebrated here) atmosphere. The seasonal opening of the second-floor outdoor Bow Deck, which juts over the harbor, is a big event around town: It's simply the best view around. The other big draw is the scrumptious lobster—served steamed, sautéed, stuffed, fried or Fra Diavolo. The Fisherman's Platter is also the perfect storm of fried haddock, scallops, shrimp, clams, and onion rings. Top it off with a couple of drinks at DiMillo's Port Side Lounge, and you can blame your wobbliness on the water.

Lunch and dinner daily.

Duckfat
43 Middle Street
Portland , Maine
04101
Tel: 207 774 8080
www.duckfat.com

If you're going to eat fries, you might as well eat twice-fried-in-duck-fat Belgian frites that come in a paper cone. That's what you'll find at Duckfat, a tucked-away counter-service and take-out spot with only a few tables that's been expanding Portland's belts since 2005. Condiments include truffle-laced ketchup, duck gravy, and curry mayo whipped with Maine eggs. Want to go whole hog? Pair the fries with a malted milk shake. There's also a short menu of panini, such as meat loaf with red onions, horseradish mayonnaise, and Cheddar. But if you want to tuck into a full dinner, head down the street to sister restaurant Hugo's, where chef Rob Evans (formerly of the French Laundry) cooks up Gallic dishes using locally sourced ingredients (88 Middle St.; 207-774-8538; www.hugos.net).

Open Mondays through Thursdays 11 am to 8 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 11 am to 9 pm, and Sundays 11 am to 5 pm.

Federal Jack's
8 Western Avenue
Kennebunk , Maine
04043
Tel: 207 967 4322
www.federaljacks.com

Federal Jack's is the birthplace of Shipyard Ale and sits high above the hullabaloo of Kennebunk (hence the tagline "A Brew with a View"). But there's great food, too, starting with burgers, pastas, Reubens, and chunks of claw meat swimming in the thick lobster bisque. (Oversized salads and hummus plates sate the Lipitor set.) Entrées include a New England seafood paella and "Jack's Feast," with clam chowder, a whole lobster, mussels, fries, and coleslaw. Shipyard now brews in Portland, but Jack's still makes its own tipples, such as Goat Island Light and T'aint Town Pale Ale. At Sunday brunch, try the shrimp Bloody Mary—but skip the Belgian waffle, as Federal Jack's charges extra for real maple syrup. Boo.

Lunch and dinner daily.

Fore Street
288 Fore Street
Portland , Maine
04101
Tel: 207 775 2717
www.forestreet.biz

When people who don't have a date with the bingo table start lining up for dinner at 5 pm, you've probably found a first-rate restaurant. Fore Street is a superpopular Old Port joint steered by superstar chef Sam Hayward, who has earned acclaim from the James Beard Foundation and Gourmet, among others. A discreet metal sign outside marks the brick-and-wood façade; inside, an open kitchen with an 800-degree oven and a glassed-in cooler brimming with organic salad greens is the focal point. Hayward designs a new menu every day, but it's a good bet there'll be mussels roasted in almond-and-garlic butter, and dry-rubbed pork loin with tangy sauerkraut. As for that oven, he uses it to cook specialty dishes such as a whole-roasted Atlantic sea bass stuffed with herbs. Finish things off with the cheese course of New England triple-cream and Maine Caprino. And leave the finery in your hotel room: The servers wear jeans and you should, too. Sister restaurant Street & Company is another good bet, where Hayward's fellow chef and business partner Dana Street prepares what is arguably the city's best local catch (33 Wharf St.; 207-775-0887).

Open Sundays through Thursdays 5:30 to 10 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 5:30 to 10:30 pm.

Geddy's
19 Main Street
Bar Harbor , Maine
04609
Tel: 207 288 5077
www.geddys.com

If you go to Acadia National Park to escape chaos, then you go to Geddy's to reenter it—in a good way. A Bar Harbor institution since 1974, the cheeky pub is better known for its kitsch than its kitchen: The restroom doors read "inboards" and "outboards," while a sign above the bar, amid the various license plates, water skis, and lifejackets, proclaims "this mess is a place." Among the menu items is Spam on the half-shell. But after a couple of days in the park, nothing tastes better than Geddy's wood-fired pizzas topped with roasted garlic, or the bacon-and-blue-cheese burgers. (Uh, pass on the Spam.)

Lunch and dinner daily.

Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster
36 Main Street
Freeport , Maine
04078
Tel: 207 865 4888

Let's face it: Racing around among Freeport's outlets can be exhausting. Heck, even just stepping foot into L.L. Bean's gargantuan headquarters after finding a parking place can zap the calories. And while there are plenty of places to eat around town, few restore both body and soul like Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster. At this low-key lobster shack with picnic tables for decor, diners get to drink in views of South Freeport Harbor while cracking open crustaceans that were swimming just minutes before. Fresh lobster is best followed with the signature whoopie pies, round disks of chocolate cake filled with cream.

Open daily 11 am to 7:45 pm, May 1 through June 15 and Labor Day through Columbus Day; 11 am to 8:45 pm, June 16 through Labor Day.

Phil's Route 27 Lobster Shop
788 Wiscasset Road
Boothbay , Maine
04537
Tel: 207 633 5189

Phil "the Baker" McLellan is a man of few words, and those that he does mutter might seem unintelligible unless you're a Maine-ah yourself. No matter: His lobster pies and blueberry pies at this roadside hut near the Five Gables Inn do the speaking for him. There's no menu here, just pieces of paper taped to the counter that present what Phil feels like making for you. Go for the $10.95 lobster roll—meaty chunks on a freshly baked homemade hero roll—and a $1 can of soda. After one bite while sitting at the outdoor picnic table, you won't be doing much talking, either.

Open May to October.

Primo
2 S. Main Street
Rockland , Maine
04841
Tel: 207 596 0770
www.primorestaurant.com

Don't let the 19th-century, Victorian exterior fool you: Primo is about as au courant as it comes in New England, thanks to its 21st-century attitude toward environmental consciousness and sustainable ingredients. Co-owners Melissa Kelly, the executive chef, and Price Kushner, the pastry chef, bring credentials from upstate New York's Old Chatham Sheepherding Company Inn to Primo, whose four-acre gardens and greenhouse allow the restaurant to open from spring until early January. The Tamworth pigs on the property eventually turn into housemade pancetta while Italian honeybees produce honey for the cheese platter. A June menu might include fried artichokes with baby cuttlefish and pan-roasted local halibut with a dessert of homemade cannoli. The wine list, along with tasty drinks such as agave-nectar margaritas, is just as first-rate as the cuisine.

Call ahead for hours.

The White Barn Inn Restaurant
37 Beach Street
Kennebunkport , Maine
04043
Tel: 207 967 2321
www.whitebarninn.com

Dining at the White Barn should be on those life-lists that crop up everywhere these days. British-born Jonathan Cartwright, the chef since 1994, oversees a 25-person kitchen staff to create such in-season fancies as English pea soup with a Maine shrimp fritter, or seared local halibut filet on a spring morel. The lobster spring roll is a dazzling surprise; the intermezzo includes Kennebunkport seafood bisque and lemon-thyme sorbet. And dessert means a milk chocolate mille-feuille with caramelized bananas or orange-infused rhubarb crêpes. Should you take your eyes off the menu, the food, or your dining companion (the romance is undeniable), you'll notice that each table is graced with an animal fashioned from sterling silver. Meanwhile, the scene out of the enormous picture window is of perennials, pumpkins, or Christmas lights, depending on the time of year. The four-course tasting menu is $91 per person; the sommelier will pair wines from the 7,000-bottle cellar for an additional $50.

Dinner nightly (Closed Monday and Tuesday in off-season: January through April).

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.