MidCoastMaineiac's Profile

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Midcoast Maine TR

Why avoid restaurants that serve big portions? If you can't do a doggie bag, you could always split an entree?

I see u decided against In Good Company too?

3 Crow doesn't really focus too much on the happy hour...but the beer and whiskey list is 2nd to none on the MidCoast! It can be odd, some early evenings it's packed, others not so much...maybe because of the lack of HH focus...

Last-minute request: sw harbor to Bangor.

Ellsworth is your best bet. Try Finns (pub fare) or Sylvia's (diner).

Critique my mid coast maine itinerary

Right, I just wanted to make sure you knew about the closing of the Camden location ;).

I've only been to Fresh a couple times and it was really only average. However, there IS a new owner/chef this year so perhaps things have gotten better (I haven't been this year). I do understand the desire to try new places!

Long Grain can indeed be frustrating at times.

Glad you added In Good Company back...that place is an absolute gem.

Have fun!

Critique my mid coast maine itinerary

Not knowing what restaurants you've been to other than In Good Company (fantastic) and Long Grain (ditto) I can personally say to bag Blue Sky, Atlantica and Fresh. Better options would be either 3 Crow or Fog for happy hour, followed by Primo. The night of 8-16 I'd swap out Fresh for Francine (if u want to stay in Camden). Of course, I don't mind returning to old haunts so I would do In Good Company over a new experience at Fresh (or Atlantica, etc).

FYI, I'm not sure which Graffam u are referring to, but the one on the water in Camden is gone.

That's my 2 cents!

upcoming Mid Coast visit, need update

Personally I love FOG, they have a great beer/wine/cocktail selection and some really imaginative food. I didn't include it here because it's been around for a couple years at least. Some people knock it for being a bit too trendy/hipster...but I like the vibe. Try open mic Monday's or Drink & Draw Sundays if you're looking for a combo experience!

3Crow (roughly across from Puffin's Nest...more so across from the Loyal Biscuit) is also pretty solid. The beer selection is hands down the best on the Midcoast. And there are 40 whiskeys to choose from so that is also really nice. At a minimum you should check out happy hour and/or Taco Tuesdays. The service has been a bit hit or miss, but if you sit at the bar you can't go wrong. Again, I also didn't include it because it's been there for over a year.

The Pearl was owned/managed by Jimmy since it's opening...now Michele is in the process of working towards ownership (and taken the reins on management). In my book it's better this year. For me, the linguine and clams is reason enough to go. I think as a rule we tend to look down on those "fancy" outsiders that come in and try cater to us locals but I'd just say that the food/attitude in there is better than in the previous two years under Jimmy.

Hill's Seafood is also new...in the old Bricks space, but haven't yet been.

Don't discount The "NEW" Landings either, Chef Max Miller used to be the sous chef at Lily Bistro (remember Lily?) and he's doing some great stuff there (after a stint at some great restaurants in Boston). You'd be best served getting the more "eclectic" menu options...which better highlight his strengths, as opposed to the tourist-driven surf and turf.

upcoming Mid Coast visit, need update

It has been a little bit quiet in here hasn't it? What I think to be new since a year ago:

1. Pho Sizzle (Rockland). Finally some decent Vietnamese around these parts. I'll be honest, the first couple of times I went I got the sense the owner was still trying to figure things out (he's new to the restaurant biz). I think he has. On the last two visits I had the large pork banh mi and the grouper with rice bowl. Both fantastic.

2. The "new" Duos (Rockland). Next to Pho Sizzle at Buoy Park. I say new because it's a new owner this year. Alot of the old faves are still there (burgers, lobster rolls, etc) but they've also added such things as a poutine burger. Everything I've had there has been solid.

3. Claws (Rockland). Non-fried seafood, lobster, etc. Haven't been.

4. Comida Latin Kitchen (Camden). Haven't been but I'm hearing some good things about it.

5. Valentina's Coastal Maine Kitchen (Camden). The old Fromviandoux space. I've heard mixed reviews, but do intend to try it for myself soon.

6. SALT (Vinalhaven). The chefs are from Fromviandoux...haven't heard much about it but do intend to go out there in September.

I'll also add that the Pearl is now managed (soon to be presumably owned) by the "celebrity chef" Michele Ragussis. I've been there a couple times and I like the new vibe. The linguine with clams in outstanding.

And the Lost Kitchen has been found again, this time up in Freedom (outside Belfast). Erin French has now set up shop there. Again, haven't been (what's wrong with me??) but I'm thinking I might stop in on my way back from the Common Ground Fair this year.

Best Food Cities in Northern NE?

I'll suggest the Rockland/Camden area of Maine. Pound for pound I think it's 2nd only to Portland for the quality of it's dining scene in Northern New England. As a bonus, you'll get to dine at what I think is one of the best restaurants in ALL of America - Primo in Rockland. Chef Kelly is the only two time regional James Beard winner in the history of the award. Plus SO many other great spots like In Good Company, Suzuki Sushi, Cafe Miranda, Home Kitchen Cafe, 3Crow, Contes (a Bourdain favorite), FOG Bar, The Pearl (run by "celebrity" chef and Bobby Flay protege Michele Ragussis) -- all Rockland. Shepherd's Pie, Salt Water Farm Market - Rockport. Francine Bistro, Long Grain, 40Paper - Camden.

And it's summer in Midcoast Maine...there's plenty for families to do.

Cretons in Portland?

I know they have it at the Hannaford in Augusta, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's at the Portland Hannaford. It's Mailhot's cretons, based out of Lewiston.



Conte's in Rockland

In a world bereft of originality, John Conte is at least a true original. You are correct that there isn't much middle ground on Contes, you either love it or hate it. Of course, that being said, I do sort of ride the middle.

On the plus side, you get to visit what is, in effect, an institution of sorts. Conte is quite literally a mad man, and the dinner theater alone could make it worth the visit. You also have the opportunity to eat the largest portion of seafood you're likely going to ever see served in a restaurant (for a beyond reasonable price).

The last time I was there a few months ago I ordered the seafood fra diavolo which was basically scallops and lobster served with pasta. He had run low on scallops, so I "only" got three with my order but he replaced it with lobster...4 full claws and two tails. Unbelievable.

Now, on the down side, yes...it's not uncommon for him to overcook the seafood and use a tad too much red sauce and garlic. In fact, if given the option I'd go for a white sauce. I sort of look at it this way...even if you don't eat any of the pasta & sauce, you are getting a crazy amount of hopefully well prepared seafood. If crab is on the menu, get it. It's hard to royally mess up crab and he serves it in piles.

I'll leave you with a blog post from sometimes Chowhound contributor Mr. Meatball...a pretty good write up on Contes:


Midcoast Maine, Patriots' Day weekend 2014

If nothing else, it gives you an excuse to come back...and that's a GOOD thing!

BTW, there's alot going on in Rockland right now...many new projects in the works...the aforementioned art center, a new food market, many small retailers like the Coastal Maine Popcorn Co., a couple restaurants, and two hotels (one boutique, one a bit larger). Alot of buzz right now.

Head here for lodging options: http://www.historicinnsofrockland.com/

Midcoast Maine, Patriots' Day weekend 2014

Nice report. I'll say that if you liked Belfast, you'd likely really like Rockland as a home base. It's the only town around where you can have an incredible meal at a two-time James Beard winner one night (Melissa Kelly at Primo), and then slum it with the locals the next (Myrtle Street Tavern or Time Out Pub). But even those places have it's charm...Time Out on Monday nights get some really fantastic Blues musicians as part of the North Atlantic Blues Festival concert series. Rockland just has more "stuff" to do...the Farnsworth, the soon to be constructed Center for Maine Contemporary Art, the old school Strand Theater, galleries, shopping, etc. It's what I would call a more vibrant place. Camden, for all it's aesthetic charm, can be a little bit more, I dunno, "staid".

In addition to the restaurants above that you mentioned (and in addition to Primo that I mentioned above - the BEST in Maine in my opinion) I'd also point you towards In Good Company and Rustica for a nice dinner (both Rockland)...or Wasses and Duos for a quick takeout bite (ditto).

Have fun on your return trip!

Red's Eats, wiscasset, me

Ain't so.

Primo report

I understand the beef on Matt, but he doesn't serve the customers directly. Unless he's handing you something because he knows it's yours and the servers are otherwise occupied.

Primo report

Chefs are a quirky bunch.

Primo report

Interesting to say the least. You sat upstairs and as far as I know there is only one waiter (i.e. male waitstaff) up there and he has always been really good with us. Maybe he was having an off night, though that's not much of an excuse.

Looking for a seafood fest in Rockland-Camden-Belfast Area Open in December

If you want an UNGODLY amount of seafood, head to Contes in Rockland.


Belfast, Me

Wow, with two weeks on your hands, you'll have to expand your search radius...and 20-30 miles brings on a whole new world of opportunities! This includes Rockland (26 miles), Rockport (20 miles), and Camden (18 miles). Here's what I would call the "high quality" restaurants in that area:

Primo (Rockland)
Home Kitchen Cafe (Rockland)
In Good Company (Rockland)
Suzuki Sushi (Rockland)
Cafe Miranda (Rockland)
Rustica (Rockland)
Long Grain (Camden)
Fromviandoux (Camden)
Francine Bistro (Camden)
Shepherd's Pie (Rockport)
Saltwater Farm (Rockport)

For nice drinks/upscale bar food, consider:
3 Crow (Rockland)
Fog Bar & Cafe (Rockland)
40 Paper (Camden)

And then one other place I should mention for BBQ...4 Points BBQ in Winterport (21 miles in the opposite direction). Hands down the best BBQ in Maine by far.

Belfast, Me

Chases has no meat, thus bobbert's comment. And to be clear, they've only been nominated for a James Beard, never won.

I haven't been, but the new kid in town is the Gothic...in the old Lost Kitchen space.

Last Minute Maine

You really need to come with me sometime. And I'll continue to beat the drum that you don't become the only two time winner in the history of the James Beard awards by being mediocre.

Quebec City Restaurant Recs

Merci Dominique, I've walked by that place many times and wanted to give it a try, if only because it always seems to be packed with locals...thanks for reminding me!

Quebec City Restaurant Recs

MidCoast Maine chowhounder heading to QC for a long weekend in October (Canadian Thanksgiving) and needs some recs!

I've read through the plethora of postings on this topic (some hard to sort thru since they often include Montreal recs). I've put together a list of what I've gleaned from that, and from prior expericences, to come up with the following eclectic mix of high end / low end / various meal options:

Le Pain Beni
Le Cafe du Clocher
Le Temporel
Cafe Bistro du Cap
Le Billing Creperie-Bistro
Le Petite Cochon Dingue

And for one KNOCKOUT meal:

Le Patriarche
La Cremaillere

We've been to Laurie Raphael and St. Amour before (and definitely liked both) but sort of looking for a new experience.

I must admit I'll likely also get an early bird special meal at Aux Anciens Canadiens...if only because the couple we're traveling with has never experienced what I would call classic French Canadian cuisine and I admit it, I like the place!

So I guess I'm just looking for a general view of my dining choices, or recs on other places that we shouldn't miss?


Last Minute Maine

Yes to Long Grain lunch. Maybe I'm late to the game here since you already made reservations at Francine, but if you want the absolute TOP NOTCH dining experience, head over to the only two time James Beard award winner Melissa Kelly's restaurant Primo in Rockland. Hands down the best in the region (and perhaps all of New England). There are two bars upstairs...no reservations needed. Order off the more reasonably priced counter menu (or the regular menu). Much more laid back vibe upstairs.

Francine, for me, has always been too inconsistent.

And if you're looking for a great breakfast, head to Home Kitchen Cafe (also Rockland).


rockland, maine

The only glaring thing missing from this great list is Home Kitchen Cafe (all good, but especially the Banh Home or the fish tacos):



New or overlooked in Portland???

I'll give a shout out to Bibo's Madd Apple Cafe...always off the radar screen on these chat boards. They've been around for almost 15 years, and that's really saying something in Portland.


Midcoast Maine Food

And if you're really lucky and time it right, you could then jump on the Maine Eastern railroad in Brunswick and take that to Rockland.

Midcoast Maine Food

I feel the need to defend Cafe Miranda...this area is a much better place with them in it. There's food there that you just can't get anywhere else in this state at least...probably all of New England. Of course, with a kazillion different menu options, there are bound to be some things that don't work as well as others...no doubt about it. But you can't tell me that Reuben's Long Lost Cousin, the pierogies, or the Beef Groce aren't three of the most amazing dishes you'll find on this planet.

Mid Coast Trip Report - August 2013

Nice report on some of the lesser known places on the MidCoast!

The Gothic, Belfast, ME

Has anybody been? What's the verdict?

Supermarket Wars

Here on the midcoast it's Hannaford by a mile. Of course everybody would love a Trader Joe's in their area, and personally Wegmans would be a nice add (in Maine period). Everytime I go to one in upstate NY I am amazed at how great those stores are.

Reco's for Midcoast Maine

Here's what I would do for 4 lunches and 3 dinners (not talking breakfast here...so I won't mention those):

Lunches: Long Grain (Camden), Home Kitchen Cafe (Rockland), Cafe Miranda (Rockland), Slipway (Thomaston).

Dinner: Primo (Rockland), Fromviandoux (Camden), In Good Company (Rockland).

I also love Fog Bar & Cafe (Rockland), and Suzuki's Sushi (Rockland).

Shepherd's Pie (Rockport) is usually good, and alot of people like Francine Bistro (Camden), but I've found that place to be hit or miss for me.

And if you want to "slum" it for one meal, go to Wasses (Rockland) for hot dogs, or Duo's (Rockland) for a grass fed burger or haddock sandwich.