clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
A raw bar full of oysters is in the foreground of the photo, with people working at and dining in a casual restaurant in the background. Bill Addison/Eater

The 18 Essential Maine Restaurants

From a lobster and chorizo roll by Portland’s Old Port to wood-fired pizzas at a farmhouse brewery, here’s where to eat all across Maine

View as Map

Food in Maine is about far more than just lobster rolls. A farm-to-table ethos is the norm in many parts, while Portland, the state’s largest city, has become a destination for diners, punching well above its weight in worthwhile culinary experiences. As tourism rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic and even exceeds pre-pandemic levels in some places, Maine restaurants are busy serving travelers and locals again. Pandemic restrictions have lifted and Mainers have achieved one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the country, but many establishments continue to struggle with staffing and closures; travelers should plan their visits in advance and pack plenty of patience as they dine up and down the coast this summer.

There’s certainly plenty of lobster to be had, but also a diverse selection of thoughtfully prepared cuisine available across the Pine Tree State. This list of 18 Maine restaurants is a diverse group, ranging from special-occasion spots to food trailers, united by their enduring hospitality and, of course, great food.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
If you book a reservation through an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Anju Noodle Bar

Copy Link

This noodle bar in a repurposed government building in Kittery serves “free-style” Asian fare. Don’t miss the okonomiyaki, pork buns, or ramen fortified by a 14-hour broth made with meat from the butcher next door. Insider’s tip: Pass through the back of Anju into its sister cocktail bar, the Wallingford Dram, for a drink before or after dinner.

Oxbow Beer Garden

Copy Link

Farmhouse brewery Oxbow Brewing’s third location became an instant classic as soon as it opened in the former home of a cross-country ski center. Yeast lovers flock to the outpost in Western Maine for the tasting room’s 15 taps, wood-fired pizzas, and adjacent bottle shop. Perfect for groups of friends and families, the beer garden is a worthwhile destination all year long.

A four-pack of beer bottles beside a full pizza on a wooden pizza paddle, all sitting on a barrel in front of a wood pile
Beer and pizza at Oxbow
Oxbow [Official]

Palace Diner

Copy Link

If the young geniuses who run this old-school diner car don’t yet have a key to the city, it’s time. They’re probably Biddeford’s most effective ambassadors: From the pancakes and egg sandwich to the tuna melt and fried chicken, portions are just large enough that you probably shouldn’t finish, but they’re too delicious to set aside. If seats aren’t available, Palace Diner also offers takeout, which can be enjoyed in nearby Mechanics Park overlooking the Saco River.

Bill Addison/Eater

Magnus on Water

Copy Link

Chef Ben Jackson, formerly of Drifters Wife, moved to Magnus on Water after it received a pandemic reboot. There he joined former Elda bartender Brian Catapang and general manager Brittany Saliwanchik, along with partners Julia Russell and Carmen Harris, to serve up original cocktails and small plates like sherry-steamed clams and sugar snap peas with goat cheese, mint, and country ham. Find a seat on the adjoining outdoor patio, which overlooks the nearby Saco River.

A bartender strains a cocktail from a shaker through a fine mesh strainer into a lowball glass in front of a backbar filled with bottles
Beverage director Brian Catapang at work
Searching the Shadows Photography

Bite into Maine

Copy Link

No visit to Maine is complete without a lobster roll. All of Bite Into Maine’s locations serve some of the best lobster rolls in the state, but the seasonal location at Fort Williams is the most scenic. In addition to five styles of lobster roll, you’ll find chowder, a variety of grilled cheeses, and whoopie pies, plus a beautiful view of the Maine coast.

A hand holds a well-packed lobster role, topped with mayo and chopped chives, in front of a rocky coastline and a lighthouse in the distance
The lobster roll in all its glory
Bite into Maine [Facebook]

Woodford F&B

Copy Link

This neighborhood eatery with a retro diner feel provides a much-needed dining option in Woodfords Corner. A Fore Street alum, chef Courtney Loreg delivers brasserie classics like mussels and fries, an epic cheeseburger, and Maine crab cakes. Classic cocktails from the bar make this spot an off-peninsula destination.

A table packed with food and drink, including deviled eggs, oysters on ice, mussels, sandwiches, fries, and steins of beer
The full lunch spread
Woodford F&B [Facebook]

Leeward

Copy Link

Recently named a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, Leeward has navigated its first two years in business with relative aplomb. Owners Raquel and Jake Stevens serve Italian fare, including handmade pasta and a rotating menu of small plates featuring seasonal and local ingredients. The chicken liver mousse and burrata are popular starters.

From above, crinkle-edged pasta with basil leaves and dark crumbles.
Pasta at Leeward.
Leeward

Central Provisions

Copy Link

With an ever-changing menu, an impressive drinks program, and fantastic service, Central continues to make waves six years after it started turning heads. At their beautifully renovated Old Port spot, Chris and Paige Gould serve small plates of globally inspired cuisine like smoked halibut dip, a lobster and chorizo roll, and cauliflower-feta agnolotti.

Terlingua

Copy Link

The outdoor dining setup makes this “boutique barbecue” restaurant a worthy destination in Portland’s East End. With a menu of house-smoked meats and dishes with Caribbean flair, Terlingua has something for everyone (including vegetarians). A solid craft beer and tequila selection ties it all together.

A full barbecued lamb shoulder on butcher paper in front of a closed grill
Herb & garlic lamb shoulder
Terlingua [Facebook]

Cong Tu Bot

Copy Link

Tandem Coffee co-founders Vien Dobui and Jessica Sheahan made waves years ago with their noodle pop-up dinners before opening this casual, brightly colored cafe in 2017. Tucked into a corner of Washington Avenue, the restaurant serves standouts like bun cha, goi cai bap, and pho.

Eventide Oyster Co.

Copy Link

Eventide’s cool blue raw bar was an instant success from the get-go. The restaurant made its mark with a great granite trough of pristine oysters, inventive cocktails, and a menu that ranges from crudo and ceviche to fried chicken and a burger — as well as what may be the state’s most innovative lobster roll.

A raw bar full of oysters is in the foreground of the photo, with people working at and dining in a casual restaurant in the background.
Inside Eventide Oyster Co.
Bill Addison/Eater

Fore Street

Copy Link

James Beard Award-winning chef Sam Hayward’s spacious restaurant, with its wide-open kitchen and wood-fired hearth, helped put Portland’s dining scene on the national map. Though farm-to-table has become the norm in the area, Hayward was the first in Portland to incorporate ingredients from local farmers, fishermen, and foragers. His rustic, seasonal menu changes daily.

A dining room inside a restaurant blends into the open kitchen. One wall is all brick, and there are lots of wooden accents throughout the space. Bill Addison/Eater

Portland restaurant duo Sam Hayward and Dana Street have another success in this waterfront stunner with a classic seafood menu. Chef Fred Eliot adds his signature French touches with specials like head cheese and bone marrow onion soup pies. The dining room’s huge windows offer expansive views of Portland’s working waterfront.

Crown Jewel

Copy Link

This small bistro on Great Diamond Island provides an escape with its tropical decor and neon flamingo. The menu, designed by longtime Portland chef Jef Wright and owner Alex Wight, features seafood dishes like mussels escabeche, seared scallops, and lobster arancini. To get to the island, take the Casco Bay Lines ferry to Diamond Cove or arrange for a private water taxi.

A restaurant interior with checkered floor, wooden tables with bowed wooden backs, a bar with wooden stools, a neon flamingo on the backbar beside bottles and light pouring through windows
Inside Crown Jewel
Courtney Elizabeth Media

Nina June

Copy Link

This Italian trattoria from former New York chef Sara Jenkins offers a menu of classics and simple seasonal dishes in downtown Rockport. Located in the former home of Salt Water Farm, Jenkins’s restaurant overlooks the harbor, providing nice views with your pork ragu. Pro tip: The restaurant’s name is pronounced NINE-a June, after the chef’s childhood nickname.

From above, a salad of sliced cucumber, radish, and greens with a thick orange sauce on a decorative plate
Salad at Nina June
Nina June [Facebook]

Long Grain

Copy Link

A local favorite that has received national praise, Long Grain uses the freshest local ingredients to prepare inspired pan-Asian dishes. Chef Ravin Nakjaroen doesn’t disappoint with spicy night market noodle soup, stir-fried ginger chicken, and Maine crab fried rice.

Peter Trout's Tavern and Inn

Copy Link

On the so-called quiet side of Mount Desert Island, this waterfront tavern serves a menu of Maine seafood and southern fare. Crab cakes, fried chicken, tender biscuits, and a comically large fried fish sandwich are highlights from Georgia-born chef Ryan Lamon. Beverage options include a full bar, wine, and a wide-ranging selection of canned Maine beers.

A longtime favorite of locals and visitors, Havana is perfect for a special night out in Bar Harbor. Chef Cassady Pappas and owner Michael Boland have created a menu that melds Continental cuisine with Central and South American flavors. The bar program, overseen by local favorite Mark “Duffy” Dyer, offers an extensive wine list and expertly made mojitos.

A bright red drink in a lowball glass garnished with a lime wedge on a wooden bar
A cocktail at Havana
Havana [Facebook]

Loading comments...

Anju Noodle Bar

This noodle bar in a repurposed government building in Kittery serves “free-style” Asian fare. Don’t miss the okonomiyaki, pork buns, or ramen fortified by a 14-hour broth made with meat from the butcher next door. Insider’s tip: Pass through the back of Anju into its sister cocktail bar, the Wallingford Dram, for a drink before or after dinner.

Oxbow Beer Garden

A four-pack of beer bottles beside a full pizza on a wooden pizza paddle, all sitting on a barrel in front of a wood pile
Beer and pizza at Oxbow
Oxbow [Official]

Farmhouse brewery Oxbow Brewing’s third location became an instant classic as soon as it opened in the former home of a cross-country ski center. Yeast lovers flock to the outpost in Western Maine for the tasting room’s 15 taps, wood-fired pizzas, and adjacent bottle shop. Perfect for groups of friends and families, the beer garden is a worthwhile destination all year long.

A four-pack of beer bottles beside a full pizza on a wooden pizza paddle, all sitting on a barrel in front of a wood pile
Beer and pizza at Oxbow
Oxbow [Official]

Palace Diner

Bill Addison/Eater

If the young geniuses who run this old-school diner car don’t yet have a key to the city, it’s time. They’re probably Biddeford’s most effective ambassadors: From the pancakes and egg sandwich to the tuna melt and fried chicken, portions are just large enough that you probably shouldn’t finish, but they’re too delicious to set aside. If seats aren’t available, Palace Diner also offers takeout, which can be enjoyed in nearby Mechanics Park overlooking the Saco River.

Bill Addison/Eater

Magnus on Water

A bartender strains a cocktail from a shaker through a fine mesh strainer into a lowball glass in front of a backbar filled with bottles
Beverage director Brian Catapang at work
Searching the Shadows Photography

Chef Ben Jackson, formerly of Drifters Wife, moved to Magnus on Water after it received a pandemic reboot. There he joined former Elda bartender Brian Catapang and general manager Brittany Saliwanchik, along with partners Julia Russell and Carmen Harris, to serve up original cocktails and small plates like sherry-steamed clams and sugar snap peas with goat cheese, mint, and country ham. Find a seat on the adjoining outdoor patio, which overlooks the nearby Saco River.

A bartender strains a cocktail from a shaker through a fine mesh strainer into a lowball glass in front of a backbar filled with bottles
Beverage director Brian Catapang at work
Searching the Shadows Photography

Bite into Maine

A hand holds a well-packed lobster role, topped with mayo and chopped chives, in front of a rocky coastline and a lighthouse in the distance
The lobster roll in all its glory
Bite into Maine [Facebook]

No visit to Maine is complete without a lobster roll. All of Bite Into Maine’s locations serve some of the best lobster rolls in the state, but the seasonal location at Fort Williams is the most scenic. In addition to five styles of lobster roll, you’ll find chowder, a variety of grilled cheeses, and whoopie pies, plus a beautiful view of the Maine coast.

A hand holds a well-packed lobster role, topped with mayo and chopped chives, in front of a rocky coastline and a lighthouse in the distance
The lobster roll in all its glory
Bite into Maine [Facebook]

Woodford F&B

A table packed with food and drink, including deviled eggs, oysters on ice, mussels, sandwiches, fries, and steins of beer
The full lunch spread
Woodford F&B [Facebook]

This neighborhood eatery with a retro diner feel provides a much-needed dining option in Woodfords Corner. A Fore Street alum, chef Courtney Loreg delivers brasserie classics like mussels and fries, an epic cheeseburger, and Maine crab cakes. Classic cocktails from the bar make this spot an off-peninsula destination.

A table packed with food and drink, including deviled eggs, oysters on ice, mussels, sandwiches, fries, and steins of beer
The full lunch spread
Woodford F&B [Facebook]

Leeward

From above, crinkle-edged pasta with basil leaves and dark crumbles.
Pasta at Leeward.
Leeward

Recently named a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, Leeward has navigated its first two years in business with relative aplomb. Owners Raquel and Jake Stevens serve Italian fare, including handmade pasta and a rotating menu of small plates featuring seasonal and local ingredients. The chicken liver mousse and burrata are popular starters.

From above, crinkle-edged pasta with basil leaves and dark crumbles.
Pasta at Leeward.
Leeward

Central Provisions

With an ever-changing menu, an impressive drinks program, and fantastic service, Central continues to make waves six years after it started turning heads. At their beautifully renovated Old Port spot, Chris and Paige Gould serve small plates of globally inspired cuisine like smoked halibut dip, a lobster and chorizo roll, and cauliflower-feta agnolotti.

Terlingua

A full barbecued lamb shoulder on butcher paper in front of a closed grill
Herb & garlic lamb shoulder
Terlingua [Facebook]

The outdoor dining setup makes this “boutique barbecue” restaurant a worthy destination in Portland’s East End. With a menu of house-smoked meats and dishes with Caribbean flair, Terlingua has something for everyone (including vegetarians). A solid craft beer and tequila selection ties it all together.

A full barbecued lamb shoulder on butcher paper in front of a closed grill
Herb & garlic lamb shoulder
Terlingua [Facebook]

Cong Tu Bot

Tandem Coffee co-founders Vien Dobui and Jessica Sheahan made waves years ago with their noodle pop-up dinners before opening this casual, brightly colored cafe in 2017. Tucked into a corner of Washington Avenue, the restaurant serves standouts like bun cha, goi cai bap, and pho.

Eventide Oyster Co.

A raw bar full of oysters is in the foreground of the photo, with people working at and dining in a casual restaurant in the background.
Inside Eventide Oyster Co.
Bill Addison/Eater

Eventide’s cool blue raw bar was an instant success from the get-go. The restaurant made its mark with a great granite trough of pristine oysters, inventive cocktails, and a menu that ranges from crudo and ceviche to fried chicken and a burger — as well as what may be the state’s most innovative lobster roll.

A raw bar full of oysters is in the foreground of the photo, with people working at and dining in a casual restaurant in the background.
Inside Eventide Oyster Co.
Bill Addison/Eater

Fore Street

A dining room inside a restaurant blends into the open kitchen. One wall is all brick, and there are lots of wooden accents throughout the space. Bill Addison/Eater

James Beard Award-winning chef Sam Hayward’s spacious restaurant, with its wide-open kitchen and wood-fired hearth, helped put Portland’s dining scene on the national map. Though farm-to-table has become the norm in the area, Hayward was the first in Portland to incorporate ingredients from local farmers, fishermen, and foragers. His rustic, seasonal menu changes daily.

A dining room inside a restaurant blends into the open kitchen. One wall is all brick, and there are lots of wooden accents throughout the space. Bill Addison/Eater

Scales

Portland restaurant duo Sam Hayward and Dana Street have another success in this waterfront stunner with a classic seafood menu. Chef Fred Eliot adds his signature French touches with specials like head cheese and bone marrow onion soup pies. The dining room’s huge windows offer expansive views of Portland’s working waterfront.

Crown Jewel

A restaurant interior with checkered floor, wooden tables with bowed wooden backs, a bar with wooden stools, a neon flamingo on the backbar beside bottles and light pouring through windows
Inside Crown Jewel
Courtney Elizabeth Media

This small bistro on Great Diamond Island provides an escape with its tropical decor and neon flamingo. The menu, designed by longtime Portland chef Jef Wright and owner Alex Wight, features seafood dishes like mussels escabeche, seared scallops, and lobster arancini. To get to the island, take the Casco Bay Lines ferry to Diamond Cove or arrange for a private water taxi.

A restaurant interior with checkered floor, wooden tables with bowed wooden backs, a bar with wooden stools, a neon flamingo on the backbar beside bottles and light pouring through windows
Inside Crown Jewel
Courtney Elizabeth Media

Nina June