The Essential Summer Dining Guide
Embrace the season at these 30 restaurants that make summer’s long days and golden evenings so much sweeter
Extra planning and consideration are required when traveling and eating out this summer. Before you visit one of these restaurants, call or check online to see if any offerings have changed, what protocols are in place, and if reservations are needed.
There’s no better time than summer to eat your way across Maine. All over the state, farmers are harvesting produce, fishermen are hauling in their catches, and restaurants are setting up sidewalk seating and opening decks. This list, curated by our editors, will take you from Kittery to Sinclair and down the coast. These aren’t all Route 1 lobster shacks (although there are a couple of those). You’ll find everything from white-tablecloth dining rooms with ocean views to wood-fired pizza on a farm. While some establishments have shifted their dining models or shrunk their number of seats, all of them are ready to welcome you this summer.
300 Goose Cove Rd. | Deer Isle
Dining at Aragosta, relocated last year to Goose Cove resort in Deer Isle, is a quintessential Maine experience in food and ambiance. Chef and owner Devin Finigan showcases the freshest ingredients from the harbor and nearby farms, such Bagaduce Farm duck and Blue Hill Bay mussels. Mirroring the attention to detail present in all of Finigan’s cooking is the wine list, which she developed in collaboration with the front-of-the-house staff.
50–70 Perkins Cove Rd. | Ogunquit
An Ogunquit favorite for nearly 60 years, Barnacle Billy’s is actually two side-by-side restaurants in the heart of Perkins Cove. The original establishment serves lobsters of all sizes, steamers, and chowder, along with a few sandwiches. Next door, there’s a larger menu including fried seafood, scallops, shrimp, fish, and even steaks. With a rum punch in hand, you can watch the boats come and go from the waterfront deck.
390 Commercial St. | Portland
Becky’s is the early-morning gathering spot on the waterfront for everyone, from lobstermen to lawyers to tourists, in search of a down-home Maine experience. You would be hard-pressed to meet any Portlander for whom Becky’s doesn’t hold a special place in the heart—and stomach. Family owned and run since 1991, the diner also serves dinner, including beer and wine.
THE BITTER END
2118 Post Rd. | Wells
Opened two years ago by the former owners of Pier 77 and the Ramp in Cape Porpoise, the Bitter End serves comforting dishes with Portuguese, French, Asian, and Italian influences. Entrees range from a burger and fish-and-chips to hearty plates such as the New Bedford seared scallops. In the outdoor dining area, tables fill a flagstone patio next to a fire pit and a ground-level stage, where musicians play on the weekends against a fence decorated with old outboard motors.
BOB’S CLAM HUT
315 U.S. Route 1 | Kittery
For over 60 years, Bob’s has wowed guests with an authentic taste of Maine. The seafood shack and restaurant serves lobster rolls, chowder, two styles of fried clams with homemade tartar sauce, and a whole lot more, year-round.
BRESCA + THE HONEY BEE
106 Outlet Rd. | New Gloucester
Situated on Outlet Lake, Bresca and the Honey Bee is a seasonal snack bar from James Beard Award–nominated chef Krista Kern Desjarlais. The small menu includes salads, hot dogs, burgers, and ice cream made with locally sourced ingredients. Desjarlais adds gourmet touches, if desired, such as smoked cheddar, caramelized onions, and maple-glazed pork belly.
96 Main St. | Belfast
Owned and run by multiple generations of the Chase clan, Chase’s Daily is a landmark restaurant, bakery, market, and art gallery with a genuine farm-to-plate method. The vegetarian restaurant is currently selling to-go meals, produce, baked goods, and drinks.
58 Pine St. | Portland
Damian Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez have made a longtime neighborhood spot their own—and one of the hottest tickets in town. The menu includes French, Spanish, and Italian influences, an affordable wine list, an excellent cocktail program, and Lopez’s heavenly desserts. In warm weather the outdoor patio is the place to be on the West End.
255 Diamond Ave. | Great Diamond Island
Having flown onto the scene in 2018, Crown Jewel is a seasonal gem open from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. The casual and colorful tropical decor—its logo is a pink flamingo—makes the restaurant an ideal spot for a getaway lunch, dinner, or weekend brunch. The seafood-focused menu is full of fresh flavors, and you can take the Casco Bay Lines ferry or a water taxi from Portland and make a day of it out on scenic Great Diamond Island.
COOK’S LOBSTER + ALE HOUSE
68 Garrison Cove Rd. | Bailey Island
A Bailey Island mainstay for over 60 years, Cook’s was in sorry shape when Jen and Nick Charboneau bought it in 2016. They have successfully blended old and new, expanding the bar area and adding a deck, but have kept many of the menu items that guests and locals love, including the famous blueberry pie. Open year-round, Cook’s offers a view of lobster boats unloading their catch by the cribstone bridge, and a timeless vibe that is classic Maine.
43 Middle St. | Portland
Duckfat Frites Shack
43 Washington Ave. | Portland
Duckfat has become a Portland mainstay thanks to its Belgian-style French fries cooked in duck fat and served with dipping sauces. Charcuterie, panini, soups, salads, and milkshakes are also available. A killer beer and wine list completes the awesomeness of the original location, and the newer outpost next to Oxbow Brewing and Bottling was also an instant hit.
EL EL FRIJOLES
41 Caterpillar Hill Rd. | Sargentville 207.359.2486
Run by the wife-and-husband team of chef Michele Levesque and Michael Rossney, this cheekily named Mexican restaurant on the Blue Hill peninsula is open year-round but perfect for the warmer months. Inspired by the taquerias found in the couple’s previous home of San Francisco, the restaurant serves made-from-scratch dishes that often utilize local ingredients, including black beans and lobster. On especially warm days, don’t forget to order a house-made agua fresca to enjoy with your meal on one of the outdoor picnic tables.
EVENTIDE OYSTER CO.
86 Middle St. | Portland
Much has been written about the glory that is Eventide, so let’s just say the place will challenge your assumptions about seafood. Along with an array of oysters from Maine and away, beautifully displayed and with a full range of traditional and surprising accoutrements, Eventide’s offerings go far beyond the ordinary. Their browned-butter lobster roll served in a steamed Asian-style bun is a new standard. A glass of something bubbly is the preferred beverage here.
288 Fore St. | Portland
The restaurant that first put Portland on the culinary map remains one of the most popular dining destinations in the state. James Beard Award–winning chef Sam Hayward and his staff go to great lengths to secure the best ingredients on a daily basis, and the level of hospitality is second to none. Simple but beautifully cooked food is prepared in an entirely open kitchen featuring an impressive wood-fired oven, a well-seasoned turnspit, and a wine list driven by food pairings.
318 Main St. | Bar Harbor 207.288.2822 havanamaine.com
Havana infuses Latin flair into contemporary American cookery, serving bold and flavorful dishes such as lobster moqueca—a Brazilian seafood stew with coconut milk—and a signature seafood paella. The wine cellar has great depth in both selection and vintage, and the cocktails are as lively as the atmosphere. We’re big fans of their mojitos. The restaurant also includes the more casual Parrilla, a covered outside tapas bar and grill.
20 Washington St. | Camden
Long Grain’s new space, around the corner from its original location, gives chef and co-owner Ravin “Bas” Nakjaroen room to expand his repertoire. He’s added a larger variety of Asian dishes to his menu and has more space to make the delicious hand-pulled noodles that accompany a number of his dishes. Don’t miss the market next door, where you can pick up a jar of Long Grain’s “Magic Sauce.”
LONG LAKE SPORTING CLUB
48 Sinclair Rd. | Sinclair
Open since 1922, this Aroostook County institution serves legendary fried chicken, steaks, barbecue, and lobster—all in hearty portions and prepared from scratch, with the Acadian specialty, ployes, offered on the side. The restaurant does not take reservations, but regulars—who arrive by car, boat, seaplane, or snowmobile—know to arrive early for a drink and appetizers on the deck in the summer and in the lounge the rest of the year.
60 Portland Pier | Portland
Luke’s Lobster’s only year-round location in Maine features two floors of dining rooms and decks with unparalleled views of Casco Bay. The menu includes steamed whole lobster, fried or broiled haddock, lobster mac and cheese, and, of course, lobster rolls. The classic hot dog buns are toasted with butter while the seafood is dressed with a whisper of mayonnaise and sprinkled lightly with a signature blend of celery salt, oregano, thyme, and pepper.
1885 Atlantic Hwy. | Waldoboro
What started in 1927 as three cabins for travelers driving up Route 1 has become an iconic pit stop for visitors from both Maine and away. The lodg-ing operation now includes 18 cabins, but most people stop for the generous portions of classic diner fare and desserts, including homemade doughnuts and famous fresh-baked pies.
11 Mullins Ln. | North Haven
Breathtaking views of Penobscot Bay are just the beginning of this very special Maine experience. The charming dining room serves a casually elegant menu, including island-grown organic produce and meats, and, of course, local seafood. Extend the adventure and book a room in the inn, or Nebo can arrange round-trip transportation from Rockland.
PAI MEN MIYAKE
188 State St. | Portland
Acclaimed chef Masa Miyake’s more casual restaurant is not just a noodle bar. In addition to the traditional ramen, make sure to try the outstanding pork buns, addictive Brussels sprouts, and sushi, which includes a few favorites from the flagship Miyake. There’s an intriguing list of cocktails, sake, wine, and beer, including foreign and local brews.
18 Franklin St. | Biddeford
The enthusiasm for Chad Conley and Greg Mitchell’s diner remains high, so it’s important to get here early. The fantastic breakfast and lunch menu is simple, yet all done so well. Try the Deluxe Sandwich with Palace potatoes, the corned beef hash, or the acclaimed tuna melt.
Portland Lobster Company
180 Commercial St. | Portland
Cross an urban lobster shack with a rocking live music scene, and you get Portland Lobster Company. The waterfront patio, complete with an outdoor bar, draws locals and tourists nearly every night in the warmer months. There are families enjoying the full-on lobster dinner as well as those looking to have a few beers and a good time. It’s a can’t-miss experience in the Old Port.
2 Main St. | Rockland
Chef Melissa Kelly and Primo are deserving of all the accolades they’ve received. Guests dine on exquisite dishes prepared with food grown on the four-acre farm behind the restaurant that also includes a smokehouse, chicken coops, and beehives, making Primo the ultimate farm-to-table experience. Upstairs offers a casual atmosphere, while the downstairs Parlor Rooms are more elegant yet still relaxed. The wine list is top-notch at a national level.
41 Water St. | Wiscasset
The long line of people wrapped around Red’s is a testament to its iconic, overflowing lobster roll, named in countless lists. The buttery roll cradles the sweet meat of an entire lobster, with butter or mayo on the side. Fried clams, scallops, and non-seafood items are available, too, all for enjoying on the patio out back. It’s worth every minute of the wait.
68 Commercial St. | Portland
This seafood-with-a-view establishment from the unbeatable team of Dana Street and Sam Hayward is as close to Portland’s working waterfront as you can get. With chef Frederic Eliot at the kitchen’s helm, dishes featuring Maine’s best are inventive and well prepared, including pan-roasted lobster, smoked fish chowder, and seafood cassoulet. The bar offerings include an extensive wine list and signature cocktails named for local landmarks.
SEA GLASS RESTAURANT AT INN BY THE SEA
40 Bowery Beach Rd. | Cape Elizabeth
With a breathtaking view of Casco Bay just beyond the wide green lawn, Sea Glass is a celebration of fresh seafood and local farms. Chef Andrew Chadwick creates dishes in a style that’s progressive but unpretentious, and always in tune with the season. Flavors are pulled from global sources: Southern, Asian, and Mediterranean. There is even a special menu for your canine friends.
THE SHOP—RAW BAR + SHELLFISH MARKET
123 Washington Ave. | Portland
Massachusetts-based Island Creek Oysters opened this streamlined fish market and raw bar on Washington Avenue, Portland’s new restaurant row. Choose from a selection of oysters, tinned fish, caviar, beer, wine, and bubbly at the counter, or pick up provisions to take home. Except for Island Creek oysters from Duxbury, Massachusetts, all the bivalves are from Maine.
TAO YAUN / ZAO ZE CAFE
22 Pleasant St. | Brunswick
Acclaimed chef Cara Stadler and her mother, Cecile, use the finest Maine ingredients in heavenly Asian fusion dishes that are influenced by regional Chinese cuisine yet also draw on Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Korean flavors. Tao Yuan is closed until September but in the meantime is offering takeout as a pop-up called Zao Ze Cafe and Market.
1452 Coastal Rd. | Brooksville
This destination on the Blue Hill peninsula demonstrates the value of planning ahead. Its delicious breads and pastries are deservedly popular, but the real treat is eating the wood-fired pizza on the picnic tables scattered across the lawn. You have to call in advance to book your pizza, but you’ll thank your foresight once you’re sitting down with your pie and a bottle of wine, surrounded by gardens and a weathered barn.