Maine restaurants have long been recognized for serving 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. There’s certainly plenty of lobster to be had, but also a diverse selection of thoughtfully prepared cuisine available across the Pine Tree State.
Update July, 2021:
Many Maine restaurants are breathing an optimistic sigh of relief this summer. After one of the worst seasons for the restaurant industry, in which many beloved establishments closed, pandemic restrictions have lifted and Mainers have achieved one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the country. But it’s not back to pre-pandemic normal. Facing staffing shortages and the residual stress of the winter, some restaurants have reduced hours or discontinued walk-in seating. Other longtime favorites may seem different now, with a new chef, menu items, or service model to bolster financial security and accommodate changing customer habits (takeout, anyone?). This list of 18 Maine restaurants is a diverse group, ranging from special-occasion spots to food carts, united by their enduring hospitality and, of course, great food.
Note: The inclusion of restaurants offering dine-in service should not be taken as an endorsement for dining inside. Studies indicate a lower exposure risk to COVID-19 outdoors, but the level of risk is contingent on social distancing and other safety guidelines. Check with each restaurant for up-to-date information on dining offerings. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the Maine CDC website.
Kate McCarty is a writer and community educator from Portland, Maine. She teaches food preservation at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and writes about Maine food at The Blueberry Files.
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.