So last winter my parent’s decided “wow, there’s gonna be a blizzard in a few weeks… we should totally pack up our lives and move to Maine during it!”. Well okay maybe that’s not exactly how it went, but long story short I’ve been in Maine for about a year and a half. Having grown up fifteen minutes outside of Boston, and being the huge foodie that I am, I was both excited and nervous to find new “favorite restaurants” and try out what Maine had to offer. Turns out, despite its reputation, Maine has a lot more to offer than just lobster. Here are some places I know and love and some that have been recommended to me (in no particular order) by some of my friends who are lifelong locals.
1. Pizza by Alex in Biddeford
Tucked away in Biddeford, Pizza by Alex has been owned by the Manti’s family since 1960 and is famous for their one-size, Greek style pizza that all Mainer’s can’t help but rave about.
2. Palace Diner in Biddeford
The Palace Diner is possibly the oldest of its kind. Seating only 15, this traditional little diner is always packed, but well worth a wait in line. Their breakfast menu is classic, and the “Palace Potatoes” are a must try at this quaint little diner.
3. Pedro’s in Kennebunkport
Pedro’s is easily home to the best Mexican food in Maine. Being located right in Kennebunkport gives them access to the freshest seafood for their taco’s and salads. Not to mention their margarita list is LIT.
4. Biscuits & Company in Biddeford
As you can probably guess, Biscuits & Co is famous for their homemade biscuits. My personal favorite? Pops Cure: biscuits & gravy topped with 2 over-easy eggs, smoked pineland cheddar cheese and bacon.
5. Alisson’s Restaurant in Kennebunkport
Alisson’s is the perfect restaurant to bring the whole family. Their menu has all the Maine classics including lobster bisque and a lobster roll that was featured in Food Network Magazine and Travel Channel’s Food Wars.
6. Pier Fries in Old Orchard Beach
Three words. Best. Fries. Ever.
7. Bill’s Pizza in Old Orchard Beach
Bill’s has been serving their delicious slices at OOB for nearly 60 years by the Bergeron family. It’s a local favorite, so if you’re crazing a slice you know where to go.
8. Arundel Wharf in Kennebunkport
Arundel Wharf is the perfect spot if you’re looking to have a delicious meal with a beautiful view. It sits right over the water with a massive outdoor seating area, not to mention the menu is super affordable for those of us on that college budget. This is definitely a place you want to try this summer!
9. Empire Chinese Kitchen in Portland
Many Mainer’s know, good Chinese food is seriously rare in Vacationland. This hipster reminiscent restaurant’s dim sum menu could put some of Boston’s finest Chinese food restaurants to shame. They also have unreal mai thai’s, which is very important to me.
10. Grace in Portland
Grace not only has a killer drink list and delectable bread basket, but its housed in a former church. You would think getting drunk in church would feel kinda weird right? Wrong.
11. The Pilot House in Kennebunkport
If you ask any local where to get true Maine seafood in Kennebunkport, they’re going to send you right to the Pilot House. It may be super casual, but the service is great and the seafood is even better.
12. Roma Pizza in Kennebunkport
Roma’s is not only owned by the sweetest guy in Maine, but they serve amazing pizza’s homemade by a true Italian man. Just look at those generous ricotta dollops, it’s impossible to resist a slice.
13. Central Provisions in Portland
This eclectic little restaurant is known for serving seasonally inspired small plates that are perfect for sharing. It’s the perfect restaurant to go to if you want to try something new.
14. Cinque Terre and Vignola in Portland
This little Italian restaurant is tucked away on a cobblestone road *reminisces European travel* and has some of the most inspired, classic pasta dishes, not to mention the perfectly crispy yet bubbly pizza. They also farm their own ingredients themselves Greene, ME which is pretty sick.
15. Sebago Brewing Company in Scarborough
This brewpub not only serves the amazing beers, but their diverse menu features everything from a Balsamic Glazed Chicken Wrap to a Peanut Butter, Bacon and Brie Burger
16. Hugo’s in Portland
“This place has it all – smart, inventive, delicious courses – excellent wine pairings – fantastic wait staff” –Wystan A. (tripadvisor.com) Yeah that pretty much says it all. Warning: delicious but expensive AF
17. Aunt Marie’s in Kennebunkport
Aunt Marie’s is a little stand in the heart of Kennebunkport known for selling delicious hot dogs, lobster rolls, grilled cheese, and lets not forget Gifford’s homemade ice cream. Personally, I’ve never seen this little stand without at least a line of 12 people
18. The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport
That blurred sign behind that beautiful pile of fresh lobster belongs the best seafood shack in Kennebunkport. The Clam Shack feeds practically all of Kennebunkport’s foot traffic, and they also own Aunt Marie’s (above), so their business is booming.
19. Duckfat in Portland
Duckfat is famous for their Belgian fries made from Maine potatoes fried in duck fat, which they use to create arguably the best poutine on the east coast. It’s a fun little spot to grab a sandwich and milkshake or share fries with friends.
20. Village Tavern in Kennebunk
Village Tavern is the place that will satisfy both the pickiest of eaters as well as foodies. Their expansive menu has everything from buffalo cauliflower to duck wings. It’s the perfect place for a night out with friends or a family dinner.
21. Boulangerie in Kennebunk
Boulangerie is the go to bakery in Kennebunk. You can find freshly baked focaccia, baguettes, sourdough, and dozens of perfectly flaky pastries in this little barn bakery.
22. Bennett’s Store in Kennebunk
Bennetts doesn’t look like much. It’s a bland building with some random signs, but anyone in Southern Maine will send you directly there if you’re looking for the best subs in Maine. Their sandwiches are legendary and feature fresh produce and customizable options.
23. The Holy Donut in Portland
The Holy Donut features 16 different flavored donuts made from (believe it or not) mashed potatoes. Don’t let that steer you away though, incorporating Maine potatoes adds that something special to their donuts that your typical bakery just doesn’t have.
24. Ken’s Place in Scarborough
Ken’s is a perfect seafood spot. People mostly order takeout but it’s the perfect casual corner to grab some amazing Maine seafood if you don’t have a reservation.
25. Earth at Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport
This quaint little restaurant is tucked away in a beautiful, scenic area. Their menu is inspired by delicious, locally grown ingredients, and their drink list is spectacular. Did I mention their cozy outdoor seating that surrounds a large fire pit and multiple heaters to keep warm?
26. Riley’s Bakery in Biddeford
Delicious donuts, daily specials, and incredible whoopie pies. Riley’s might look plain, but their pastries and baked goods are everything but.
27. George’s Italians Sandwich Shop in Biddeford
George’s has the best fresh sandwiches in Biddeford. Their Italian goes unparalleled, made with the best of ingredients and full of flavor.
28. The Wayfarer in Cape Porpoise
The Wayfarer lays halfway between Biddeford Pool and Kennebunkport. This tiny restaurant serves exquisite dishes and best of all, it’s BYOB.
29. Nunan’s Lobster Hut in Cape Porpoise
This brightly colored little restaurant is famous for, you guessed it, lobster. They believe in simplicity, serving their lobster with drawn butter, chips, and a dinner roll.
30. Bandaloop in Kennebunkport
Bandaloop is tucked away in Kennebunkport, and all of the dishes are made with fresh Maine ingredients, and I’ll just throw it out there that their coconut mussels have a broth worth dipping an entire loaf of bread into.
31. The White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport
The White Barn Inn doubles as both an Inn and a restaurant. It’s definitely a pricier restaurant, but it’s a great spot for a romantic dinner that will be served to you buy a waiter in a tuxedo. #Fancy
32. On the Marsh Bistro in Kennebunkport
On the Marsh has a beautiful marsh location and commonly hosts weddings and receptions due to their scenic, romantic views. Their food is elegant and it has been recognized by Bon Apetit as one of the Best Restaurants in America.
33. Becky’s Diner in Portland
Becky’s Diner is the locals spot in Portland. It has that classic diner feel and a menu that will please even the pickiest of eaters.
34. Portland Lobster Company in Portland
Portland Lobster Co. has lovely outdoor seating with a view of the port. They have classic Maine favorites like lobster rolls, fried clams, and it’s definitely a place to go for a fun dining experience.
35. Rococo Artisan Ice Cream in Kennebunkport
Rococo is the ideal place for foodies to expand their palettes when it comes to ice cream. Their ice cream is all homemade, and they have crazy flavors like apple cider and donuts, rum cake, strawberry habanero, blueberry goat cheese, and spicy rocky road.
36. Bonfire in Portland
Bonfire is one of the coolest bars in the Old Port. It has a lively atmosphere and, best of all, a self-service beer wall for all your chugging needs.
37. Roost Cafe & Bistro in Ogunquit
Roost is the perfect place for a nice sit down lunch with friends. Their menu isn’t too pricey and they have one of the best Cuban Sandwiches I’ve ever tasted.
38. Bintliff’s in Ogunquit
Bintliff’s is one of the best brunch spots in Ogunquit. They have several varieties of specialty pancakes, french toasts, and eggs benne. They also have a great dinner and lunch menu.
39. Thai 9 in Scarborough
Thai serves delicious, authentic Thai Food. Even though it isn’t upscale, the dining experience is wonderful when you eat there, and take-out is just as good.
40. Barnacle Billy’s in Perkins Cove
Yet another casual seafood restaurant with a beautiful view. They have a large outdoor seating section perfect for a family dinner after shopping in Perkins Cove.
41. MC in Perkins Cove
MC serves contemporary American food and overlooks the ocean. Their lobster mac and cheese is what keeps me coming back.
42. Five-O Shore Road in Perkins Cove
This little Italian bistro serves unique pasta dishes and classic entrees with their own little twist. It’s a great spot if you’re looking for a delicious meal but have no reservation.
43. Amore Breakfast in Ogunquit
This little breakfast spot is known for their french toast specials. One of them being a pecan-crusted, cream-cheese stuffed french toast with a side of sauteed bananas in a rum syrup.
44. Angelina’s in Ogunquit
If you’re looking for a genuine Italian meal, go to Angelina’s. They are the only authentic Italian chef-owned restaurant in Ogunquit, and their wide varieties of pastas and seafood comes along with an expansive wine list to pair with any dish.
45. Harding Lee Smith’s The Rooms in Portland
Although the are all different restaurants, they are all owned by the one and only Harding Lee Smith. At The Front Room they serve classic American comfort foods for brunch and dinner. The Corner Room is your little slice of Italy, offering homemade pastas, pizzas, and artisanal breads. And last but not least, The Grill Room (you guessed it) prides itself on its tender beef tartare and steaks, which are all cut from grass-fed, locally grown meats.
46. Fore Play in Portland
Foreplay is the sports pub of Portland. Great staff, multiple TV’s for optimal sports viewing, awesome food, and beers on beers on beers. This is the perfect place for watching the the Patriots dominate with your buddies next football season.
47. Alagash Brewing in Portland
Alagash brews Belgian inspired beers, but their brewery is known for their fantastic tasting room. Four beer tasters are completely free and they’re pretty generous in size.
48. Honey Paw in Portland
The Honey Paw features Asian cuisine with a modern twist. They have everything from lobster soup dumplings to their Asian style fried chicken sandwich.
49. Flo’s Steamed Hot Dogs in York
You could probably drive by Flo’s a hundred times and not even realize it, but once you do stop in, you’ll just keep going back. Personally I’m more of a grilled hot dog kind of girl, but I will always make an exception for Flo’s steamed hot dog with their secret relish.
50. Run of the Mill in Saco
This pub is housed in the big mill in Saco’s town center. They’ve got great sandwiches, soups, salads, and poutine. It’s the perfect place to stop for a bite on Saturday’s after spending the morning at the mill’s farmers market.
51. Tides in Kennebunkport
Tides restaurant is located at the Tides Beach Club Hotel. If you were to picture a modern beach home, I imagine it would look exactly like this restaurant. It has a quieter atmosphere and a menu filled with Maine lobster. My personal favorite is their lobster roll served hot with garlic herb butter.
52. David’s in Kennebunkport
David’s probably has the best view in all of Kennebunkport. It’s right over the water and in the center of town, so no matter where you’re seated you have a beautiful view of all the boats in the marina. It’s the perfect place for any occasion; causal, fancy, date, family dinner, doesn’t matter. David’s has a little bit of everything for everyone.
53. Flatbread Company in Portland
Their flatbreads are all made in an all natural, wood fired, clay oven, showing this is the kind of place that puts time into making the perfect flatbread. Also, every Tuesday they donate a portion of every flatbread sold to a local, non-profit organization, so it’s a great way to eat a meal for a cause!
54. Fore Street – Portland
Fore Street is an upscale dining experience with dishes that are expensive, but worth it. Their mixed drinks are notoriously well made, and per typical Maine, the seafood is extremely fresh. They also have their kitchen on display right in the middle of the restaurant.
55. Little Bigs in South Portland
This bakery has only been open since 2013 and they have already become one of the best pastry shops in the Portland area. They’re famous for their decadent donuts, hand-sized fruit pies, hand-sized meat pies, and hand-sized veggie pies. Their flaky crusts come second to none.
56. Green Elephant in Portland
This vegetarian Asian bistro is one of the best spots to try some delicious and healthy Asian dishes.
57. El Corazon Food Truck in Portland
Come summertime the food trucks start rolling around Portland followed by their trail of devout foodies. El Corazon runs on Spring St and Temple St, bragging the best tamales, fish tacos, and Sonoran hot dog.
58. Slab in Portland
Famous for their massive pizza “slab”, this Italian eatery has an incredible menu of salads and sandwiches all featuring an authentic Mediterranean vibe.
59. Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland
Obviously Eventide is known for their Oysters. They offer over a dozen different types of oysters on the half shell so you can try a wide variety from numerous different places.
60. Blue Rooster Food Co. in Portland
When you think “Blue Rooster” think “upscale comfort food”. Blue Rooster serves high end sandwiches, tater tots, veggies, salads, and hot dogs. It’s super affo Foodrdable and the perfect place for any foodie looking for a palette pleaser on a budget.