If you’re planning a trip to Maine, or if you’re already a fan of the Pine Tree State, or if you’re just a food lover, then this post is for you. We start off our How to Eat Well in Coastal Maine feature in Portland, then head north to Camden and Belfast, and finish up in the Boothbay region.
Portland, while not Maine’s capital, is the state’s largest and most populated metropolitan area. The city is known for its many restaurants and great chefs.
Stop for a mid-morning snack at The Holy Donut, which now has two Portland locations.
Next, you might wander around Portland’s historic waterfront district. Hopefully it’s not raining, although it certainly doesn’t detract from the area’s charm.
(Pro tip: if you need to use a restroom in the middle of your aimless ambling, pop into the ferry terminal building!)
For lunch, try Flatbread Company on Commercial Street for fantastic thin crust pizza and creative salads.
If you can, ask the chef what he recommends (of course, he might say everything– you want your chef to love everything on the menu!). The large stand-alone pizza ovens are right near the dining area so you can watch your pizza being made, which is always fun.
Start off with a salad big enough for two: lettuce, carrots, toasted sesame seeds, celery, Maine sea kelp, and a tamari-ginger vinaigrette.
And of course, the pizza: chock full of veggies like shiitake mushrooms, red bell pepper, and snap peas. Eat until full; it’s nice to save several slices for later in the afternoon.
You might find yourself further north, in the Mid Coast town of Camden. Most guests at Timbercliffe Cottage go to Cappy’s Chowder House for dinner, but we find that as vegetarians, we’re forced to look past the typical tourist restaurants, and that’s not a bad thing.
Enjoy a perfectly delightful meal The Waterfront on Bayview Street: it’s mostly seafood-oriented, but has a few vegetarian options. Indulge in an appetizer of baked brie wrapped in phyllo dough, adorned with grapes, strawberries, walnuts, and some mayo-coated apples (reminiscent of a Waldorf salad).
The house salad doesn’t disappoint, either: not too much dressing, and a nice mix of vegetables.
For the entrée, carnivores and seafood lovers might overlook the spinach and ricotta dumplings in a tomato soup (slightly sweet and quite chunky). Supremely satisfying!
If you want to eat well at breakfast, I highly recommend staying at Timbercliffe Cottage in Camden. The welcoming dining room, picturesque setting, and beautifully prepared food are just some of the reasons I’m already looking forward to returning to this bed & breakfast.
Lovely hosts Karen and Dave served a sweet course first: blueberry cornmeal cake accented with peppermint leaves. (Maine is famous for their blueberries!)
The main breakfast course: baked eggs with herbs de Provence, sourdough toast, and orange marmalade was wonderful. Each bite was exquisite and I loved that I didn’t walk away feeling overstuffed, which is what seems to happen after most vacation breakfasts.
Your next meal could be almost as memorable if you eat lunch at Chase’s Daily in Belfast. Chase’s is a true farm-to-table café serving only vegetarian food. In the back, they have a mini farmer’s market once a week featuring the food they serve: herbs, tomatoes, greens, and more.
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself raving over the feta cheese, romaine, and tomato sandwich (FLT?). So crisp, so fresh and flavorful! This is what a sandwich should be.
Don’t forget to get a dessert for later in the afternoon, such as a pumpkin whoopie pie with cream cheese filling. Incidentally, it’s big enough for two.
Head south again, to Boothbay Harbor, located on a long peninsula in the Gulf of Maine. Here, you can stroll through the beautiful downtown, admiring local wares, ships in harbor, and countless dining options.
Boothbay Harbor’s Blue Moon Cafe, with a great deck on the water, is a favorite breakfast spot.
Order at the counter, watch friendly owner Fred make your Bloody Mary, and choose a table on the outside deck. Your food will arrive shortly, though it’s nearly impossible to focus on eating while taking in the magnificent harbor views.
The breakfast burrito, pancakes and other egg dishes are all delicious. However, cinnamon pecan-crusted French toast with maple syrup might be a new favorite.
You might have such a nice time that you return to the Blue Moon for lunch, or you could opt for Pier Pizza and people-watch rather than boat-watch. Either way, lunch in Boothbay Harbor surely won’t disappoint.
For a scrumptious dessert, Wannawaf on Granary Way is a must. Boothbay Harbor has other ice cream shops, but this is the only place that serves your ice cream on a hot waffle. How can you pass that up?
Below, a waffle topped with vanilla ice cream, maple syrup, cinnamon sugar, and whipped cream. Ridiculously over-the-top and insanely good.
One more thing: if you find yourself further down the peninsula in East Boothbay, do check out the East Boothbay General Store. It’s not just a general store, and it’s more than the only place to buy food and drink in the village: they have gourmet pizza, international grocery offerings, wine and beer, local crafts, and fantastic breakfast sandwiches. Oh, and if you’re in the general store any time of day and they’ve got three berry muffins in stock, be sure to snag at least two.
I hope by now that your mouths are watering. I know mine is.