Acadia House Provisions, Stonington, ME., 8/29/21

front door

Acadia House Provisions is on one floor of a house overlooking the bay in Stonington, Maine.  Ryan McCaskey from Chicago opened it in 2019 as a spin off of a Michelin starred restaurant there.  It opened in the site formerly occupied by Aragosta, which moved to Goose Cove.  Outside there is a large deck overlooking the active fishing area.  Lots of windows inside also take advantage of the view.   Inside there is much painted light wood on the walls, floors and ceiling.  Art is on the walls and music is in the background to make up a very pleasant room.  They have an a la carte menu and a full bar.  Food and service are both quite good. Continue reading

Harbor Cafe, Stonington, ME., 8/30/21


The Harbor Cafe is in a large white house on on the main street of Stonington, Maine. There were a couple rooms but mostly one was in use and it was lined with booths on the side and a couple tables in the middle. Art was for sale on the walls and maps were laminated on the table tops. The booths were divided with plexiglas but masks were not required for the vaccinated. It felt like a very local spot with people ordering ‘the usual.’  In addition to the menu they offered a ham and cheese omelette which we both chose. You could chose your bread product, cheese and potato preparation. We both took cheddar and the skillet then deep fried potatoes. I had an English muffin and my husband had white toast. The potatoes were crisp and really good and the omelette was filled with chunks of ham. The egg exterior was fluffy and good. Unlike the menu indicated (one refill only) they refilled your coffee numerous times. It was a good solid way to start a day of travel. Continue reading

Aragosta, Deer Isle, ME., 8/29/21


Aragosta is Devin Finigan’s fine dining restaurant on Goose Cove in Deer Isle, Maine. They opened in 2012 in Stonington but bought a 22 acre waterfront resort in January 2019 to be able to offer lodging as well as dining. A team of craftsmen transformed the property and now the dining room is a large open space with painted wood walls and ceiling. They also have outdoor seating overlooking the water but it gets pretty cool in the evening for that. Lighting is lowered and music is in the background. The place is noisy with so many hard surfaces but it was made worse as we were given a large table right next to the swinging doors to the kitchen. Up one step were more tables and a lounge area near the bar, in front of the fire place. Plenty of parking is close by but the walk to the restaurant is poorly lit. They offer only a tasting menu and also offer wine pairings if you don’t want to order your own bottle. Pacing was eratic, service was an issue for us and the food was mixed so I can’t give a solid recommendation for the place.  Continue reading

Arborvine, Blue Hill, ME., 8/28/21


Arborvine is a large restaurant in Blue Hill, Maine that has been serving locally sourced American cuisine for 21 years.  They have turned an 1823 farmhouse into a fine dining establishment with fireplaces, area rugs, memoriabilia and cozy window filled rooms.   Music is softly played in the background and there’s lots of flowers.  A large outdoor patio is covered but open air for those that want to eat outside, but I thought it was too bright compared to the soft lighting inside. Continue reading

Captain’s Catch, Castine, 8/28/21

order window

Captain’s Catch is a little shack by the wharf area in Castine, ME.  The building was given by the Castine Community Partners for the greater good of the area.  It does a lot of ice cream and hot dog business but the also have an excellent lobster roll.   We found it walking around the shops and the boats for the Maritime School.  The roll came on a butter toasted piece of bread and was stuffed with lobster chunks in Mayo dressing.  The lobster tasted fresh and sweet and the butter on the bread added more flavor as well as texture to the sandwich.  Stop by if you’re in the area.  Can’t comment on any of their other items. Continue reading

Bagaduce Lunch, Penobscot, ME., 8/28/21


Bagaduce Lunch was opened as a roadside fish shack in 1946 in Brooksville Maine.  The original owner’s granddaughter and husband have run the place for 25 years.  They have a system where you order at the window and they call your number when it’s ready.  The area behind the restaurant is set up with picnic tables, outhouses and trash cans.  The site is on the water and so it is lovely backdrop.  The place states they serve only fresh and locally sourced seafood.  The cooking process has not changed since they opened and everything is fried.  It was a strange thing how each item worked differently with the same coating.  They won a James Beard Award in 2008 and are really popular. Continue reading

The Hichborn, Stockton Springs, ME., 8/27/21


The Hichborn is in a large historic house with bare wood tables, faint music in the background, lots of art on the walls (for sale), numerous plants, sound dampening panels on the ceiling and lowered lighting.  The house is named for Nathan Hichborn a prolific boat builder who was also a politician.   Owner Kirk Linder manages the front while his partner Charlie Zorich serves as chef in back.  They offer only a printed tasting menu (with a couple extras thrown in) with optional wine pairings for a capacity of about 30.  There is a full bar for cocktails as well as a wine by the glass or bottle menu.  We chose the pairings and while they were well matched with the courses they were small pours and not topped off, especially when they were meant to go with extra courses. Both the owner and chef did come by and introduce themselves, which was very nice. Continue reading

Tinder Hearth, Brooksville, ME., 8/27/21


Tinder Hearth is a wood fired bakery of pastry, bread and pizza.  The owners, Tim and Lydia Semmler, started the bakery in 2007 and they added making pizza a few years after that.  They currently make pizza on Tuesday – Friday nights (this will change when the weather gets colder) for take out and outdoor dining but reservations are required for either option.  You need to call (207-326-8381) on the Tuesday morning of the week you want to come and make a reservation – and they go fast.  They also offer salad, ice cream and beverages.  There was a good amount of on-site parking  and then you walk up to the check in booth where you will be assigned a table and given your water, glasses, plates and flatware.   A separate ‘building’ sold the flavored beverages including wine and beer.  The tables are spaced throughout the garden area and there is a good sized sand pile for the little ones to play in.  Hours are from 4:30 to 8:00 and the menu is posted weekly on their Facebook and Instagram pages. Continue reading

Perry’s Lobster Shack, Surry, ME., 8/27/21

service area

Perry’s Lobster Shack is in Surry, ME.   Everything here is outdoors with picnic tables on the grounds and out on a private peer.  Some have umbrellas for sun and others do not.  Parking is across the road. The place overlooks the waterfront and boats will pull up and sell their catch. This place seemed out in nowhere but was really popular.  The server brought a bucket to the table for shells and trash.  The seafood is outstanding, the service is efficient and the view is outstanding. Continue reading

Pentagoet Inn & Wine Bar, Castine, ME., 8/26/21

exterior of Inn

The Baron Pub and Wine Bar is in the Pentagoet Inn in Castine, Maine.   The place dates back to the 1800’s and is an old house with lots of rooms set up with tables.  On the wraparound porch are more tables.  Lots of art is on the walls as well as memorabilia, rugs are on the old wood floors, music is playing softly in the background, lighting is lowered and lots of windows let in light and/or view.   Fans were running because it was warm outside and there is no air conditioning.  It’s full of character and the food is good, although portions are on the small side.  The really friendly staff are helpful and friendly. Continue reading

Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, ME., 11/30/19


Eventide Oyster Co. is a large place and was super busy even in the late afternoon.  There were a couple rooms, one more with tables and the other with a large bar with stools, window counter seating and a couple tables.  There was art on the walls, lots of light (but also lots of windows to the street) and an area where the fresh oysters were on ice.  The counters along the bar and in the windows are made of concrete, the floor is wood, there is exposed ductwork and above is a tin ceiling.  The server came to get our drink order and we talked about what food to order but were advised to wait till you get your drinks and they were right.  Food service is very fast and so it is wise to make sure you have a drink when it arrives.  Service was additionally very friendly, efficient and helpful.  The food is really good in a casual setting.  They do offer a number of draft beers, few wines and a couple drinks. Continue reading

Hugo’s Restaurant, Portland, ME., 11/30/19


Hugo’s opened in 1988 and had a major rennovation in 2012.  There are booths along a brick wall, a couple tables by the windows to the street and lots of seats at a curved counter that wraps around the open kitchen.  The lights are quite low (spots highlight each table and the bar) with lots of wood and dark leather upholstery make up the interior.  The tin ceiling, music in the background and decorations made of local organic material finish out the stylish and striking design of the interior.  In fact they strived to make all the interior from materials found in Maine.   The red bricks are from Moose Head Lake, the slate plates from Monson, and a huge painting at the end of the room is by local artist Eric Hopkins. They offer an a la carte menu and also a chef’s tasting of about 10 courses.  The tasting offers items not on the menu and the whole table must participate.  For the tasting they have wine pairings available.  We chose the tasting but ordered our own wine after a cocktail and they did give me a list of what we had after the meal. Continue reading

Miyake, Portland, 6/28/18


Miyake was a medium sized place off the tourist path.  There was lots of counter seating as well as tables.  The counter does face the preparation area, thus lots of lights illuminate your food there.  We were fortunate to have the seats right across from chef, Masa Miyake who had been in Portland since 2006.  Previously he worked in a number of NYC and Tokyo restaurants.  Some music played in the background in this very stylized place.  The menu offered several types of tasting menu options as well as a la carte.  There is also a separate Nigiri and Sashimi menu with another offering market features.   We chose the Kaiseki Omakase or Chef’s tasting menu, which included a number of off-the-menu items, and had their sake pairings to go with it.  They do offer some wines and beers along with a huge sake menu.   Continue reading

The Holy Donut, Portland, 6/28/18

donuts of Maine mashed potatoes
donuts made with Maine mashed potatoes

The Holy Donut was recommended by many as a great place for donuts and the crowds there would certainly affirm that.  The sign said they close when they sell out or by 3:00.  The twist here is that the donuts are made from Maine potatoes.  They offered about 20 flavors of donuts and iced and hot coffee.  We tried 3 different flavors and they all seemed dull to me. The donuts were more of the cake variety as opposed to being yeasty.  The resulting texture was heavy and although they did have a nice amount of sweetness they just didn’t live up to my expectations.  Maybe too much hype made it impossible to measure up.  They are fairly large and many quite colorful, though.  They also sold souvenir items.   Continue reading

Central Provisions, Portland, 6/28/18


Central Provisions is a small place with some tables and counter seating.  The main room is on the second level with a street entrance and another entrance is below that leads into a bar and some tables where you can eat the same menu.  The bathroom and check in are upstairs so there’s a fair amount of traffic up and down.  The upstairs is where the open kitchen is and the ambiance is way better than in the downstairs portion.  Windows to the street add to the already adequate lighting for the small, close tables.  Service is friendly but timing of food is uneven at this very casual place.  However, in their defense the place was packed with lots of people standing around waiting for a seat to open up.  We were lucky to get a couple bar stools overlooking the main cooking areas so we got to see lots of the food going out.  There was no interaction with those cooking, though, they were just too busy.  The menu has plates that are ideal for sharing and we did just that so we could sample more items.   Continue reading

Back Bay Grill, Portland, 6/27/18


Back Bay Grill has a  medium sized dining room and a good sized bar that you enter through.  At the end of this room is a large opening where you can see into the kitchen.  The seating arrangements included some banquette seating and tables that were able to accommodate a number of large parties the evening we were there.  The tables are not large and a tad close together but not so much that you didn’t feel like your conversations were private and you could hear the people at your table.  A few windows on one wall allow you to look out to the street, but the location is away from the most touristy zone, which made it appear that local residents made up most of the guests.  Low lighting, soft instrumental background music, white tableclothes and napkins and a large long mural  on one wall all add to the ambiance of the place.  There is a feeling of “old school” elegance, the food was really good and the staff were all super friendly and welcoming.  Chef Larry Matthews Jr.  has been here 30 years and been the owner for 20 years.  The menu is all a la carte.   Continue reading

Isa, Portland, 6/27/18


Isa was a medium sized interior with additional seating available on the outdoor patio.  The patio was against the building on one side and fenced on the other along with being covered by awnings.  Inside there was a tin ceiling, a striking black and white tile floor and small bare wood tables with adequate space between them.  There were windows to the street on two sides of the building and the back wall had a large window into the kitchen where food was passed through.  Some faint music played in the background and nice sized cloth napkins were set at the tables.  It had a casual, friendly vibe and our server was particularly welcoming.  Chef Perez could be seen in the kitchen fixing plates as well as inspecting them before they were served.   Continue reading

Fore Street, Portland, 6/26/18


Fore Street was a large place that opened in 1996, with an open kitchen and grill area in the center of the space.  There was a good sized bar area also where you enter.  In the dining room the lights were kept quite low with a little natural light coming in the windows on 2 sides until the sun went down and then it was all candle power.  The small tables were nicely spaced and there were a number of large booths that could hold up to 6 people.  Although I could hear no music in the background the room hummed, probably because it was packed with tables turning over during the early part of the evening.  The staff were friendly, helpful and willing to let us split many of the dishes.  The crowd was pretty casual.  Their “sister” place is a bakery below them where they also get their bread.  The specialty was seafood cooked on a wood grill or rotisserie and I’d say it was a mixed result.  Some items were wonderful but others had some huge flaws.   Continue reading

The Highroller Lobster Co., Portland, 6/26/18


The Highroller Lobster Company is a good sized very casual place.  The menu featured Maine lobster in numerous formats but also has burgers, salads and hot dogs.  A number of their options come with a container of sauce.  They offered a number of locally made beers also.  It had a combination of booth and counter seating.  A counter where you enter takes your order, gives you a number flag that you place on the table and then they bring you your food and beverages.  You pay at the same counter on your way out.  The people working there were friendly and service was very efficient.  We tried a couple things and then went back to the counter and ordered a couple others so we could try a number of their offerings.  Also tried several of their local beers.  This place gets lots of people but I saw it more as a lunch/snack place than a serious dinner option.   Continue reading