Lobster Rolls, Oysters and Chowder: Where to Eat in Maine

Maine’s culinary revolution isn’t just about ingredients—it’s about ingenuity. Here, farm-to-table isn’t a buzzword; it’s the cornerstone of culinary culture.

Read More

Over the last decade, Maine has transformed from a quiet coastal retreat to a culinary powerhouse, luring food enthusiasts with the promise of oceanic delights and forest-foraged treasures. Its geography reads like a chef's wish list: rugged coastlines teeming with seafood, pristine forests hiding wild edibles and fertile farmland bursting with fresh produce. From the iconic Maine lobster to the coveted Damariscotta oysters, the state's cold, clean waters serve up nature's finest.

Maine's culinary revolution isn't just about ingredients—it's about ingenuity. Here, farm-to-table isn't a buzzword; it's the cornerstone of culinary culture. Chefs collaborate, forging partnerships with local fishermen, farmers and foragers that are as strong as the flavors they produce. The result? Dishes that double as edible stories of Maine's heritage and spirit.

Your next culinary adventure in Maine promises to journey through space and time. From Portland's buzzing restaurant scene to hidden gems tucked away in coastal hamlets, each eatery offers a unique lens through which to view Maine's flavors. Expect the unexpected: lobster rolls reimagined with global spices and tasting menus that push New England cuisine into uncharted waters. As much as these restaurants are hot ticket items for local Mainers and visitors, they're also nourishing a movement. Each plate serves as a window into Maine's past, present and, most excitingly, its future. Prepare your palate for a tour de force of local ingredients transformed into world-class cuisine.

Bite into Maine

  • 31 Diamond St, Portland, ME 04101

From its beginnings as a popular food truck in Fort Williams to its brick-and-mortar location in East Bayside, Bite Into Maine has proven that perfecting one dish pays off. Their lobster rolls, offering both traditional and innovative flavors, attract purists and adventurers alike. Options range from classic Maine mayo to warm, buttered Connecticut-style, with the bold wasabi mayo version subtly enhancing the lobster's sweetness with a touch of heat. While lobster rolls are the star of the show here, Bite Into Maine also offers hot dogs, chowders and grilled cheeses. As a bonus, the establishment is BYOB, allowing diners to pair their perfect roll with their beverage of choice.

Bite Into Maine. Bite Into Maine.

White Barn Inn

  • 37 Beach Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043

As Maine's only AAA five-diamond establishment, the signature eatery at White Barn Inn, Auberge Resorts Collection has maintained its high standards through changing culinary trends. The restaurant offers four-course meals that showcase the best local ingredients in fanciful, globally inspired preparations. A perennial favorite is the poached local lobster in cognac-coral butter sauce, which remains a menu mainstay and exemplifies the Maine restaurant's commitment to elevating regional cuisine.

White Barn Inn. White Barn Inn.

Primo Restaurant

  • 2 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841

At Primo, chef Melissa Kelly's two James Beard Awards complement her primary focus: creating a closed-loop culinary ecosystem that's as ethical as it is delicious. The daily menu at the mid-coast restaurant features a range of dishes, from crispy-fried artichoke to strip steaks. A standout is the "Old School Rigi!!"—a housemade rigatoni dish with hot Italian sausage, roasted tomato and greens sourced from the on-site rotating crop garden, topped with ricotta. 


  • 318 Main St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Since 1999, owners Michael Boland and Deirdre Swords have cultivated a cultural crossroads on Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park. The dining room strikes a balance between elegance and comfort, with white tablecloths and rush chairs setting the tone for enjoying Latin-influenced American dishes like seafood paella and roasted Peruvian chicken. The bar program is noteworthy, featuring a thoughtfully curated wine list, plus caipirinha and mojitos that bring a touch of tropical warmth to Downeast Maine.

Havana. Havana.

Mr. Tuna

  • 83 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

Since its inception as a food cart in 2017, Mr. Tuna has evolved into a sushi destination. The new Portland restaurant location combines intimacy with retro pop-art style, offering a 15-seat sushi counter and window banquette seating for people-watching. Highlights include the Mr. Tuna Deluxe roll, featuring tuna, avocado and spicy broiled scallop topped with crab, tobiko and tempura flakes. For a varied experience, the Dressed Up Ceviche Combo offers a chef's selection of prime cuts, including buttery toro and Spanish mackerel.

Mr. Tuna. Catherine Dzilenski.

Highroller Lobster Co.

  • 104 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101

Highroller Lobster Co. reimagines the lobster roll in myriad fantasies, moving beyond the traditional mayo vs. butter debate. Their diverse sauce selection, including lime mayo, lobster ghee and curried ketchup, offers a unique twist on this Maine classic. For the indecisive, a flight of mini rolls allows sampling of multiple combinations. This summer, Highroller expands with Low Stakes Lodge next door—a retro-styled steakhouse tavern featuring red-leather banquettes, old family photos and custom wall art. The centerpiece is a smoke-spitting moosehead, adding a touch of whimsy to this surf-or-turf venture from the audacious team of Portlanders.

Highroller Lobster Co. Paul Jebara.

Earth at Hidden Pond

  • 354 Goose Rocks Rd, Kennebunkport, ME 04046

Earth at Hidden Pond offers a seasonal dining experience in a woodland retreat setting. The menu showcases innovative combinations of Maine ingredients, such as lobster in corn soup, venison with foie gras and grape demi-glace and A5 Wagyu beef alongside butter-poached lobster. The unconventional lobster cassoulet is a standout dish, enhanced with chorizo and cornbread crumble. Earth's commitment to local, seasonal ingredients results in a constantly evolving menu that reflects the best of Maine's culinary offerings.

Earth at Hidden Pond. Lauryn Sophia.

The Alna Store

  • 2 Dock Rd, Alna, ME 04535

The Alna Store, owned by Jasper Ludwig, is worthy of a slight inland detour from the coast. Located in a town of just 700 people, this former country store maintains its classic exterior while offering a dynamic dining experience inside. The monthly-changing menu ranges from comforting sourdough with ranch butter to sophisticated halibut ceviche with onion jam and apple cider vinaigrette. Southern influences appear in dishes like shrimp with cacio e pepe grits. While the menu evolves, the popular burger remains a bar menu staple. From epic brunches to innovative dinners, The Alna Store offers a taste of the world in the heart of Maine.

The Alna Store. Paul Jebara.


  • 27 Main St, Stonington, ME 04681

Aragosta, helmed by chef Devin Finigan, continues to shine as a New England culinary gem after a decade in coastal Maine. Finigan, who refined her skills under renowned chefs Thomas Keller and Dan Barber, brings fine-dining expertise to this farm-to-table establishment. The restaurant's enduring popularity stems from Finigan's talent for elevating local ingredients with refined techniques. Menu highlights include delicate green bean and mushroom casseroles, lobster bisque featuring speck-wrapped lobster tail as well as innovative desserts such as peach-olive oil upside-down cake with oregano flowers.

Aragosta. Aragosta.

The Lost Kitchen

  • 22 Mill St, Freedom, ME 04941

The Lost Kitchen, chef Erin French's 45-seat restaurant in an old Maine mill, has become a culinary phenomenon thanks to its unique reservation system and intimate dining experience. Prospective diners must enter a postcard lottery from spring to mid-May for a chance at one of the limited slots. Lucky winners are treated to French's seven-course "farmhouse" prix fixe dinner, served in a single nightly seating. This unconventional approach has transformed The Lost Kitchen into one of New England's most sought-after dining experiences.

Long Grain

  • 31 Elm St, Camden, ME 04843

Long Grain in Camden has garnered both local devotion and national acclaim for its innovative pan-Asian cuisine. Chef Ravin Nakjaroen skillfully melds Maine's fresh ingredients with bold Asian flavors, including Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese influences. Order your dishes family-style, like the spicy night market noodle soup, house-made kimchi and ramen soup featuring local pork belly and tofu. The smoked mackerel fried rice exemplifies the restaurant's knack for showcasing Maine's seafood through an Asian lens.

Long Grain. Long Grain.

Bombay Mahal

  • 99 Maine St, Brunswick, ME 04011

Bombay Mahal, founded by Bina and Raj Sharma in 1991, holds the distinction of being Maine's oldest Indian restaurant. Tandoori chicken emerges from the clay oven with a smoky char, while butter chicken offers a rich, creamy contrast. Appetizers like crispy pakoras and flaky samosas start the meal with a satisfying crunch. The restaurant takes pride in its diverse bread selection, from garlic-infused naan to stuffed parathas. To round out the meal, diners can indulge in syrupy gulab jamun for dessert, while a cool lassi perfectly balances the spice-forward main courses.

Bombay Mahal. Bombay Mahal.

Oxbow Beer Garden

  • 420 Main St, Oxford, ME 04270

Oxbow Brewing's third location has reimagined a former cross-country ski center as western Maine's premier craft beer destination. This farmhouse brewery seamlessly blends rustic charm with brewing expertise, offering 15 taps of inventive brews. An on-site wood-fired pizza oven complements the diverse beer selection with perfectly paired pies. Additionally, Oxford’s bottle shop lets enthusiasts take brews home, while the beer garden is a prime spot from spring to fall.

Oxbow Beer Garden. Emily Delamater


  • 85 Free St, Portland, ME 04101

In Portland's seafood-dominated culinary landscape, Leeward has carved out a niche as the city's pasta destination. Since its 2020 opening, Raquel and Jake Stevens' Italian-inspired restaurant has garnered James Beard nominations and a loyal following. While seasonal small plates like decadent chicken liver mousse and innovative risotto al salto impress, it's the array of handmade pasta dishes that truly captivates diners and defines Leeward's culinary identity.

Leeward. Dana Valletti.

Eventide Oyster Co.

  • 86 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

At the heart of this Portland culinary icon sits a blue-hued raw bar, its granite trough showcasing Maine's finest oysters. With at least 10 local varieties on ice, it offers a tasting tour of the coastline without leaving your seat. Eventide's menu extends beyond oysters, presenting a seafood lover's paradise with offerings ranging from an exceptional fried haddock sandwich to their famous brown-butter lobster roll served in a bao-like steamed bun.

Eventide Oyster Co. Paul Jebara.

Crown Jewel

  • 255 Diamond Ave, Portland, ME 04101

Reaching Crown Jewel on Great Diamond Island is an adventure in itself, requiring a ferry ride or water taxi journey. This former blacksmith shop has been transformed, boasting a unique Key West-meets-Casco Bay ambiance. Rattan barstools, palm-print banquettes and a playful neon flamingo create a distinctive setting for chef Jef Wright and owner Alex Wight's innovative seafood dishes. Highlights include steamed clams with chimichurri and chili jam, mussels escabeche and oysters with miso-mushroom butter and yuzu pearls.

Crown Jewel. Courtney Elizabeth Theberge.

Chez Rosa

  • Cross St, Kennebunkport, ME 04046

Housed in a restored 1850s barn, Chez Rosa artfully bridges French classics with southern Maine's coastal bounty. This charming establishment pays homage to Parisian bistros while celebrating local ingredients. The Pollock Wellington exemplifies their innovative approach: fresh fish wrapped with kale and lemon-infused crème fraîche, all encased in golden puff pastry. For those craving bistro staples, the Steak Frites delivers with a perfectly grilled strip loin and crispy house-made frites.

We noticed you're using an ad blocker.

We get it: you like to have control of your own internet experience.
But advertising revenue helps support our journalism.

To read our full stories, please turn off your ad blocker.
We'd really appreciate it.

How Do I Whitelist Observer?

How Do I Whitelist Observer?

Below are steps you can take in order to whitelist Observer.com on your browser:

For Adblock:

Click the AdBlock button on your browser and select Don't run on pages on this domain.

For Adblock Plus on Google Chrome:

Click the AdBlock Plus button on your browser and select Enabled on this site.

For Adblock Plus on Firefox:

Click the AdBlock Plus button on your browser and select Disable on Observer.com.

Then Reload the Page