A complete guide of where to eat in Maine. I grew up in Maine and my family is still in Kennebunkport, and today I am sharing my family’s favorite restaurants in Maine.
The first thing that you need to know is that many of the restaurants on this list that are outside Portland are only open seasonally. The tourist season runs from May-October; once the season is over many places close for winter.
Where to Eat in Maine:
From roadside lobster roll stands to five-star fine dining, these restaurants are where to eat in Maine.
The Clam Shack in Kennebunk
One of the most iconic lobster rolls in the world comes from The Clam Shack, a tiny little spot that sits beside the bridge to Kennebunkport. The lobster in the lobster roll is boiled in salt water, drizzled with local butter, and then put into a buttery roll smeared with mayo. It’s simple and perfect. The Clam Shack also has some of my personal favorite french fries and a big selection of fried seafood. It is open seasonally from May through October.
Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland
A James Beard Award-Winning restaurant that specializes in oysters and seafood. The atmosphere is casual and fun and they serve traditional New England Clam Bakes.
Barnacle Billy’s in Ogunquit
The wealthy summertime residents of Kennebunkport used to braggingly take their boats to Barnacle Billy’s for what they called a “hundred dollar hot dog” because they would spend that much money on gas getting to Ogunquit and back. The restaurant isn’t famous for hot dogs though, they are well known for their fried clams and seafood dishes and their large waterfront patio.
Cabbage Island Clambakes
Take a ferry ride out to Cabbage Island for a traditional Maine clambake. If you are unfamiliar with a clambake, it includes chowder, steamed clams, potatoes, corn. and lobsters. The lobsters, clams, corn, and potatoes are steamed in seaweed over a fire. Super traditional, and not something you can try just anywhere. I should let you know that Charles is not easily impressed, and we went here 4 years ago and he still talks about it all the time.
Red’s Eats in Wiscasset
An iconic family-run lobster stand that’s been in Wiscasset for 80 years. They claim to have the world’s best lobster roll, and there is almost always a long line running down the street. The stand is open seasonally from mid-April to October, and each year they go through 14.5 tons of lobster meat.
Otto Pizza in Portland
One of my family’s go-to pizza places, Otto has locations in Portland, South Portland, Yarmouth, and Saco. The pizzeria is known for their creative pizzas like mashed potato, scallion, and bacon and butternut squash, ricotta, and cranberry.
Flo’s Hot Dogs in Cape Neddick
A family-owned hot dog stand that opened in 1959, and that specializes in steamed hot dogs. My father would say that he is a hot dog connoisseur, and he is a big fan of Flo’s.
The Holy Donut in Portland
A doughnut shop with two locations in Portland and one in Scarborough, where 16 flavors are made daily. The doughnuts at Holy Donut are distinctive because they are made with Maine potatoes.
The Hurricane in Kennebunkport
Right in Dock Square, The Hurricane is a fine dining restaurant with a casual bar area. The menu is focused on fresh local food, including local seafood and you can always count on having a great meal. The haddock sandwich is pictured above.
Standard Baking Co. in Portland
A bakery in Portland that produces gorgeous pastries and bread.
The White Barn Inn in Kennebunk
Maine’s only five-star restaurant serves a four-course prix fixe menu that changes weekly and is priced at $125. The menu emphasizes local seafood.
DuckFat in Portland
A cafe and sandwich shop known for serving Belgian duck fat fries and milkshakes.
Tao Yuan in Brunswick
An Asian-fusion restaurant helmed by James Beard Award nominee Cara Stadler. The food is bold and elegant and experiments with flavors not often found in Maine. It’s fine dining cuisine with a welcoming atmosphere.
The Maine Diner in Wells
Maine has a long history of roadside diners, and The Maine Diner is one of the remaining old school diners. The diner is known for their seafood chowder and their lobster pie.
On the Marsh in Kennebunk
Just a short drive from Kennebunkport, On the Marsh is a formal yet fun restaurant with some of the best happy hour specials in town.
Mabel’s Lobster Claw in Kennebunkport
One of the Bush’s favorite restaurants, Mabel’s is between Dock Square and the summer homes on Ocean Avenue. The restaurant is known for serving lobster and blueberry pie.
Rapid Rays in Saco
This is the place for fast food take out. The place has been around since 1953 and is known for selling burgers, chili dogs, and lobster rolls. Once my sister and I went there late night and a limo pulled up, and out came a drunk bride who couldn’t find her husband. Rapid Rays is one of those places where you never know what to expect.
Rococo in Kennebunkport and Ogunquit
My go-to scoop shop near my parent’s house in Kennebunkport, Rococo is known for their inventive flavors like blueberry chipotle, chai cardamon, goat cheese blackberry chambord, and lemon pink peppercorn.
Henry VIII Carvery in York
One of my all-time favorite sandwich spots, this spot is known for their freshly roasted hand carved beef, turkey, and pork sandwiches. With incredible, from scratch, ingredients the sandwiches at Henry VIII are outstanding.
Fore Street in Portland
Fore Street has a reputation for being one of the best fine dining restaurants in Portland. Fore Street’s Chef Sam Hayward won the James Beard Award for Best Chef-Northeast in 2011. Many of the items on the menu are cooked in the wood fire oven.
Central Provisions in Portland
This restaurant serves elegant food in a relaxed atmosphere and specializes in small plates. They serve brunch, lunch, and dinner and the menu changes daily. Expect modern creative cuisine like a Maine Salad with celery root, avocado, kumquat, and puffed quinoa. Central Provisions is open every day, year-round, and they are walk-in only.
DiMillo’s in Portland
A former ferry turned into a restaurant in Portland Harbor, it’s probably one of the most well-known restaurants in Maine. It’s probably also the only restaurant that has a sister company that sells yachts. Sure, it is a bit touristy, but it’s a Maine institution. It’s family friendly with a seafood-focused menu. They have a gluten-free menu too.
Dutch’s in Portland
A super casual spot for breakfast and lunch. It’s a perfect place to stop for a quick bite. The breakfast menu has items like spicy chicken on a biscuit with avocado, breakfast burritos, and corned turkey hash. At lunch try a chicken parm sandwich or a tuna melt.
Helen’s Restaurant in Machias
My Dad likes this spot that is famous for their pies. The restaurant serves three meals a day, seven days a week, and has been open for over 60 years. They pride themselves on supporting local farmers and fishermen, and the menu includes items like a meatloaf grilled cheese sandwich, fried clam rolls, lobster rolls, and pot roast.
Dysarts Truck Stop Diner in Bangor
Maine doesn’t get much national attention, so when SNL did a skit based on this restaurant, it was a big deal. Yes, it’s a 24-hour full-service truck stop, and a restaurant known for big portions and chicken pot pie. The menu has diner classics like Yankee pot roast and meatloaf.
Nunan’s Lobster Hut in Cape Porpoise
One of the best places for a fresh authentic lobster dinner. The lobster is fresh off the boat and served on metal trays with butter, a roll, and potato chips. The restaurant serves other Maine staples like chowder, steamed clams, and lobster rolls too. Plus there are options for people who don’t eat seafood. Nunan’s is open from May through October.
Palace Diner in Biddeford
Maine’s oldest diner has a 15 seat counter and serves breakfast and lunch. The menu features flapjacks, a lumberjack breakfast, corned beef hash, and burgers.
Salt and Honey in Kennebunkport
My go-to breakfast spot when I am home, I love the breakfast burrito and the pancakes. For lunch or dinner try the fish tacos.
Ricetta’s in Falmouth
This pizza joint has won the Maine Sunday Telegram’s award for Best Pizza in Maine 20 times. When I think of pizza, I think of Ricetta’s. It’s all you could want in a family friendly pizza restaurant. I like to order the Margherita and add artichokes. My Mom will want me to tell you that they offer caramelized onions as a topping.
Honey Paw in Portland
An Asian-fusion restaurant that is a sister restaurant to Eventide Oyster Co. and Hugo’s. The menu includes housemade noodle dishes like pork and crab mee goreng, a fried half chicken, and lobster wontons.
Mornings in Paris in Kennebunk
Originally opened by a French woman who moved to Maine, but now under new ownership who haven’t changed a thing, this little cafe has incredible croissants and coffees. I love the cheese and raspberry jam filled croissants. It’s the best place for a quick breakfast.
Pier 77/The Ramp/Ramp Up in Cape Porpoise/Kennebunkport
This trio of restaurants in the same building are located beside Cape Porpoise Pier. The restaurants have stunning views of Cape Porpoise Harbor which is filled with lobster boats and rowboats. I love the casual atmosphere of Pier 77 which serves up lighter fare like salads, chowder, sandwiches, and lobster rolls. The Ramp is a more formal dining experience. Ramp Up is the newest edition, a pub in a former lighthouse.
Mae’s Cafe & Bakery in Bath
A neighborhood spot for breakfast and lunch. They bake their own cakes, pies, cookies, breads, and pastries too.
Hugo’s in Portland
A modern American restaurant with global influences and farm-to-table cuisine.
Merriland Farm Cafe in Wells
One of my all-time favorite places for brunch, you can eat outside at this farm beside a golf course. Their homemade muffins and biscuits are perfection.
Winnagance Restaurant in Bath
A casual place where locals get breakfast and lunch. The restaurant is known for their seafood chowder.
Bao Bao Dumpling House in Portland
A restaurant known for its creative dumplings which include Kung Pao Chicken and Peanut, Bulgogi Beef, and Habanero Shrimp and Shiitake. They also serve dim sum and entrees.
Five Island’s Lobster Co. in Georgetown
Located in the prettiest harbor in Maine, this rustic lobster pound serves up lobster, steamers, and chowder plus some non-seafood options. According to Downeast Magazine, they have the best fried clams in Maine. They don’t serve alcohol but you are welcome to bring your own.
Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro
A roadside diner that has been around for over ninety years, Moody’s Diner serves classic diner fare like hot turkey sandwiches with gravy, burgers, and steak plus Maine specialties like scallops, haddock, clams, and seafood platters. They are also known for their whoopie pies.
Tuscan Bistro in Freeport
This recommendation comes from my brother and his girlfriend. Tuscan Bistro has Maine-meets-Italy cuisine with menu items like chicken parmigiana and fresh haddock.
Richard’s in Brunswick
A German restaurant in Maine. I know, no one goes to Maine for German food, but my mother loves this place. She says that the gulasch is not to be missed, and the menu also has strudel, spätzle, currywurst, and wienerschnitzel.
Big Daddy’s in Wells
My families go-to ice cream place. On many warm summer nights, at the end of dinner my Dad would say, “I think it’s a Big Daddy’s night”. We would load up into the car and sometimes we would park by a field and watch deer as we ate our ice cream. Big Daddy’s has been making their own ice cream since ’76 and they have 41 flavors of ice cream – plus additional flavors of sherbet and frozen yogurt. My go-to flavor is coffee heath bar.
Beale Street Barbecue in Bath
Locals love this joint that serves up Memphis style barbecue. Authentic Southern barbecue isn’t easy to find in Maine, and this is the best place for it. The menu has all the standards like ribs, brisket, sausage, pulled chicken, chili, and macaroni and cheese.
One of Maine’s main crops is potatoes, and these candies use mashed potatoes as an ingredient! The candies originated back in 1872 and have been a Maine delicacy ever since.
Mekong Thai in Kennebunk
Owned by a local family who moved from Thailand to Maine, this is my favorite place to eat in my hometown. I know you might not think of Thai food when you think of Maine, but they do have a bunch of shrimp, scallop, and calamari dishes on the menu.
Where to Drink in Maine:
A few of my favorite bars in Maine.
Mash Tun in Portland
A great little beer bar in Portland’s Old Port and an ideal place to taste local brews from a variety of breweries. Going to this bar is a perfect opportunity to try lots of Maine beers without going from brewery to brewery.
The Arundel Wharf in Kennebunkport
Sit in the sun in the Adirondack Chairs on the large deck over the Kennebunk River and watch the boats go by. This is the best place to go on a warm summer day.
The Great Lost Bear in Portland
A dive bar in Portland known for its large selection of beer.
Batson River Brewing and Distilling in Kennebunk
A new bar in Kennebunk (just over the bridge and walkable from Kennebunkport) that is brewing their own beer and distilling their own vodka and gin. I love their lavender infused gin and tonic. It is open Thursday – Sunday in the winter and there are couches and board games upstairs.
Novare Res in Portland
A beer garden in Portland with a large outdoor space and a great menu of pub food.
Hunt + Alpine Club in Portland
This Portland bar is a two-time finalist for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program and is a chic spot for cocktails and snacks.
Old Vines in Kennebunk
Within walking distance from Kennebunkport, this bar located in an old barn serves for wine, cocktails, and small plates. They are known for hosting special music events.
Lincoln’s in Portland
A hard to locate speakeasy in Portland where the drinks are $5 – because Lincoln is on the $5 bill. Bring cash, it’s cash only. To find the bar, look for a pair of red double doors on Market Street between Milk Street and Fore Street. Enter through the red doors, go downstairs, find the bookcase and pull it to reveal the entrance to the bar.
Cellardoor Winery in Portland and Lincolnville
A winery that has locations in Lincolnville and Portland. The winery is based in a 200-year-old barn in Lincolnville, and my parents report that it is beautiful. There is also a tasting room on Thompsons Point, beside the Cryptozoology museum and Bissell Brothers. My parents have raved about the events they have attended at the barn in Lincolnville – they are elaborate affairs where musicians like Salt-n-Peppa and Babyface perform.
Read More About Maine:
200+ Things to do in Maine
Things to Do in Portland
Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude
The Most Instagram Worth Places in Kennebunkport
Fall in Kennebunkport
The Clam Shack Lobster Roll
Portland Food and Beer Crawl
Tao Yuan in Brunswick
Cabbage Island Clambakes
24 Hours in Boothbay Harbor
If I didn’t include your favorite restaurants in this list of where to eat in Maine, please let me know in the comments!
Gary Franklin Jr
Monday 8th of July 2019
I'm about to move to Kennebunk this Fall. After reading your article I'm now even more excited about my move! Please provide more articles of Maine. This will be my new home!
Your newly adopted home of Chicago is one of my favorite travel destinations.
Monday 8th of July 2019
Ah I grew up in Kennebunk. You will love it there. And there are lots of other posts about Maine on this site!