You can (almost) go around the world via food in Brunswick, where the options include top-notch Asian, Mediterranean, Mexican and Greek/Italian, as well as classic Maine seafood.
22 Pleasant St., Brunswick | 725-9002 | tao-yuan.com | $$$
Uncommon food prepared expertly, with special attention to new and complementary flavors, textures and visuals. The results are surprising and enticing. A creative kitchen melds the best of Far East seasonings and food with local ingredients when possible, and seldom gets it wrong. Chef Cara Stadler was named by Food & Wine Magazine as one of America’s Best New Chefs, 2014.
15 Cushing St., Brunswick | 725-8228 | elcaminomaine.com | $$$
Open since 2004, El Camino was one of the first restaurants in the area to take advantage of local farms. If its namesake makes you think of kitschy 1960s America, El Camino takes it one step further by playing up all that kitsch in a fun and not ridiculous way. The food gets consistently high marks, and while the margaritas are excellent, other distinctive cocktails offer a refreshing spin on Mexican classics. No reservations.
97 Maine St., Brunswick| 721-0100 | enotecaathena.com | $$$
Enoteca Athena has embraced a winning formula of these times with flavorful Greek and Italian food in a variety of portion sizes in a stylish, casual atmosphere. Cocktail aficionados will warm to its build-your-own Negroni menu as well as a wine list featuring family vineyards from the mother countries. And apres theater folks will welcome the lounge seating and accommodating hours.
14 Maine St. Mill 3 Fort Andross, Brunswick | 725-5222 | explorefrontier.com | $$$
Art meets industrial and vintage design in this sprawling yet warm and inviting space in a former mill. Outside, the Androscoggin River rushes over the dam, offering a stunning view via large windows day and night. The menu is all over the map — in a good way — including Italian, Asian and Mediterranean dishes, with a good number of options for vegans and vegetarians. Frontier is also home to a theater and music venue; the website has a full schedule.
602 Gurnet Rd., Brunswick | 729-7300 | gurnettrading.com | $$
Despite its kitschy seafood-shack decor, the Gurnet never feels like a tourist trap; you sense the presence of the water more than see it and most tourists blow right by on their way to the waterfront places further down the peninsula. The excellent fried clams are shucked on the premises; the lobster roll gets high marks, too. The seafood is pristine and portions are generous. Sit inside at a few bar tables or outside at oilskin covered tables on two decks.
The approximate cost of two dinner entrees (not including appetizers, drinks, tax and gratuity).
$ – $15 and under
$$ – $16 to $25
$$$ – $26 to $45
$$$$ – $46 and up