While Maine has always been known for beautiful scenery, an incredible coastline and lobster, the last few years have also put us on the culinary map. Restaurants that we’ve always loved have finally entered the mainstream, which means more people visiting and enjoying them. Hooray! But, does this hype mean that the quality has suffered? We say: Absolutely not! Check out these famous Maine restaurants that are totally worth the hullabaloo they’re getting! Spoiler alert: We must admit that more than one is a lobster spot!
1. Eventide Oyster Co., Portland
The fact that the Gulf of Maine is practically in the backyard means that the seafood here comes with a freshness you won’t find elsewhere. The hip concrete bar features a shellfish display made of a slab of Maine granite. The oysters are categorized into "Maine" and "From Away" are change continually. Visit them at: 86 Middle Street, Portland / 207-774-8538
2. The Oxford House Inn, Fryeburg
Folks who have visited rave about the food, but the pickled appetizer gets special kudos. The only thing more notable seems to be the service, which is top-notch and includes interested and engaged owners who often stop to chat with customers. Gluten free? You'll have plenty of options here. A reservation is best and, if you've had too much to eat, just roll into bed at the inn! Visit them at: 548 Main Street, Fryeburg / 207-935-3442
3. Red's Eats, Wiscasset
While the hype always has us nervous for the output, Red's won't disappoint. There's oftentimes a long wait for a good reason. The lobster rolls here aren't covered in mayo and pieces are large enough to dip directly into the melted butter provided on the side. Visit them at 41 Water Street in Wiscasset / 207-882-6128.
4. Ocean Restaurant at The Cape Arundel Inn & Resort, Kennebunkport
If you booked a stay at the Cape Arundel Inn simply because a meal at Ocean was involved, you would not be the first. Ocean gets significantly high scores for ambiance, service and the foie gras! Visit them at: 208 Ocean Avenue, Kennebunkport / 207-967-2125
5. Bagaduce Lunch, Penobscot
This is another example of a seafood shack feels like it has global fame! The rolls here are priced right and with a location right at the mouth of the Bagaduce River, you'll enjoy a priceless view as well. Visit them at 145 Franks Flat in Penobscot / 207-326-4197.
6. The Well at Jordan's Farm, Cape Elizabeth
This seasonal spot has people coming back for the amazingly fresh food (much of it sourced right from Jordan's Farm), beautiful pastoral setting and unique outdoor seating... perfect on a warm summer evening. The most unique part just might be the setting. You can choose to sit in small gazebo-type areas or right out in the open next to the flower garden. Visit them at: 21 Wells Road, Cape Elizabeth / 207-831-9350.
7. Palace Diner, Biddeford
Known for their simple menu items that come impeccably prepared, you won't find typical diner fare at The Palace. While the names may sound familiar, each ingredient is made fresh and local (whenever it makes sense) and the taste is nothing short of perfection. Diner food can sometimes taste quickly prepared, but here individual care is taken with each dish. Visit them at: 18 Franklin Street, Biddeford / 207-284-0015.
8. Central Provisions, Portland
Central Provisions has been humming in the Old Port since 2014. The historic building that is home to the restaurant provides the perfect, cozy feel to this small plates and cocktail-focused establishment. If you can't get a table, try showing up for a bar seat. Then, make sure to order enough to share including the spicy beef salad and lobster toast. The suckling pig gets rave reviews as well. Visit them at: 414 Fore Street, Portland / 207-805-1085
9. Earth at Hidden Pond, Kennebunkport
Located within luxury boutique hotel, Hidden Pond, Earth is a delightful place to spend a meal. Their slow food and farm-to-table feel will delight foodies. Everything is created with great care and, while some say they're on the small side, the portions will certainly satisfy. Visit them at: 354 Goose Rocks Road, Kennebunkport / 207-967-9050.
10. Harrasseeket Lunch and Lobster, South Freeport
This stalwart in Freeport has been helping the good people of Southern Maine eat well since 1970. Stroll up to the window, order your fare and watch the boats come in and out of the working waterfront. Visit them at 36 Main Street in South Freeport / 207-865-3535.