Just as it’s never fair to judge a book by its cover, we shouldn’t judge a restaurant’s food based on the building they’re in. Some of the best restaurants in Maine have stood the test of time, living out their restaurant glory in the same space for decades. If you love finding and trying the hidden gems in Maine, you’ll want to check out these 11 restaurants.
Note: We love all of these restaurants equally and they are listed in no particular order.
1. Eagles Nest Resturant, Brewer
Despite the lovely location on the Penobscot River, you might not think to stop at Eagle's Nest. It's worth a drive from Bar Harbor, or stop in while you're near Bangor. We recommend trying the seafood platter. If you do, you'll be faced with finishing a pile of clams, scallops, shrimp and haddock with a side of slaw and fries.
Visit them at: 1016 N. Main Street, Brewer / (207) 989-7635
2. Boynton-McKay Food Co, Camden
A visit to Boynton-McKay means friendly faces and some of the best food you'll find in the midcoast. From blueberry pancakes for breakfast to house made pastrami for lunch, you can't go wrong just anything you choose. The setting, in an old pharmacy building, has character that's worth the stop alone.
Visit them at: 30 Main Street, Camden / (207) 236-2465
3. Vientiane Market, Portland
Ignoring the fact that Vientiane is a place in Laos, Portland's Vientiane Market serves up a deliciously authentic Thai meal. We won't bother telling you what to order because you truly cannot go wrong with anything. It's best when you want to grab something quick to go. And, since we can't resist, we recommend the pad Thai, crab rangoon, fresh spring rolls and Yum Nau, which all get great reviews.
Visit them at: 157 Noyes Street, Portland / (207) 774-7311
4. Bob's Clam Hut, Kittery
Bob's is known from Kittery and beyond for good reason. Their lobster rolls are great, but we love the "Lillian" - a basket of whole belly clams.
Visit them at: 315 US1, Kittery / (207) 439-4233
5. Lebanese Cuisine, Waterville
This little place might just be the definition of "hole in the wall." While you might miss it if you're not paying attention, it certainly stands out once you're inside. Known for the best spinach tarts and falafel in Maine, the authenticity here is unmatched.
Visit them at: 34 Temple Street, Waterville / (207) 873-7813
6. Rockland Cafe, Rockland
The Rockland Cafe has been in town for as long as most people can remember. It's still serving up the seafood it's known for, along with some menu staples for landlubbers. But, we recommend you stick with the options that have made Maine famous - shrimp, haddock, lobster, and just about any fish on the menu. If you're looking for a comfortable place to go that's stayed consistent over time, this is it!
Visit them at: 441 Main Street, Rockland / (207) 596-7556
7. Grammy's Country Inn, Linneus
Grammy's Country Inn is home to huge portions, great prices and friendly people. They don't call it comfort food for nothing. Order up a double cheeseburger and finish with their famous GIGANTIC whoopie pie. They're known to be over one pound of Maine goodness.
Visit them at: 1687 Bangor Road, Linneus / (207) 532-7808
8. Starlight Cafe, Bath
Located right in the center of Bath, but hidden away below the ground floor, you'd never guess that the vibe here is so welcoming and cool. The daily baked goods, along with an all-day breakfast menu make it perfect for days when you need a little bit of comfort. For lunch, try just about any sandwich on the anadama bread and you can't go wrong.
Visit them at: 15 Lambard Street, Bath / 207) 443-3005
9. Hug's Italian Cuisine, Carrabassett Valley
Hug's is a great option for dinner when near Sugarloaf. Actually, it's about as close to the mountain as you can get without being ON it. For a small spot, they have an impressive selection of wine and beer, along with some of the best pasta dishes you'll find. The pesto bread gets rave reviews as does the service.
Visit them at: 3001 Town Line Road, Carrabassett Valley / (207) 237-2392
10. J's Oyster, Portland
With a restaurant that's been around as long at J's Oyster, there's sure to be some disagreement among our readers. But, we think this is another perfect example of a "hole in the wall." Located behind the red brick buildings lining Commercial Street, J's sits unassumingly next to the pier. Inside, you'll find a mix of tourists and locals crammed into a space that feels as authentic as it gets in the Old Port. Go when it's busy and you'll feel like the bar area takes up the entire place, but that just makes for more fun!
Visit them at: 5 Portland Pier, Portland / (207) 772-4828
11. Nook and Cranny, Baileyville
We've talked about this spot before, but couldn't resist just one more mention. This is arguably Washington County's "Best Kept Secret" and they do a great job of serving up some incredible food with great local flair - all in a converted chicken coop! A family business through and through, you'll feel right at home the second you step inside. Try the seafood chowder or the chef's burger.
Visit them at: 757 Airline Road, Baileyville / (207) 454-3335