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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod@mainetoday.com On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: October 2, 2014

Dining Guide: 5 Maine restaurants for oyster lovers

It used to be that oysters were best consumed in the “R” months — fall through spring. Thankfully, our cold water Maine oysters can be enjoyed year round; these places know just how you like ’em.

Written by: Susan Axelrod

For full listings and more restaurants, see the new searchable Restaurant & Bar Guide.

The oyster bar at David's KPT.

The raw bar at David’s KPT. Photo by Ted Axelrod

David’s KPT

21 Ocean Ave. (at The Boathouse Hotel), Kennebunkport | 967-8223 | boathouseme.com/dining | $$$
Opened in summer, 2013, this is chef David Turin’s third restaurants; he also owns David’s in Monument Square, Portland and David’s 388 in South Portland. Decorated in a nautical palette of deep blue and white, sleek, swanky David’s KPT offers plenty of wow factor indoors, and on its large, wraparound deck at the edge of the Kennebunk River. The menu wows, too, with oysters and other seafood from the raw bar, small plates, pizza and entrees that range from Maine classics to more sophisticated choices.

Oyster sampler at J's. Press Herald file photo

Oyster sampler at J’s. Press Herald file photo

J’s Oyster Bar

5 Portland Pier, Portland | 772-4828  | No website | $$$
In a city of increasingly sophisticated dining choices, J’s keeps it old-school. Sure, it has its regular clientele, but newcomers are warmly welcomed too. The oysters are from the Chesapeake — local oyster farmers can’t meet J’s high demand — but don’t let that deter you from ordering them here: they are briny and fresh. It just doesn’t get much better than a seat at the bar, a dozen oysters, a bucket of steamers and a cold Maine beer.

The granite oyster "trough" at Eventide. Press Herald file photo

The granite oyster “trough” at Eventide. Press Herald file photo

Eventide Oyster Co.

86 Middle St., Portland | 774-8538 | eventideoysterco.com | $$$
Eventide Oyster Co. is impressive for its variety of oysters and clever oyster accoutrements, as well as the carefully prepared non-oyster menu items. For oyster lovers seeking a step left of ordinary, the atmosphere finds a balance between urban hipster and just hip. The kitchen sends out its offerings on iridescent and oyster shell-inspired dishes from Yarmouth ceramic artist Alison Evans. Named by Food & Wine magazine as one of America’s best oyster bars, Eventide Oyster Co. sets a standard and ups the oyster game.

Jacque Casey sets up oysters at Old Port Sea Grill. Press Herald file photo

Jacque Casey sets up oysters at Old Port Sea Grill. Press Herald file photo

Old Port Sea Grill

93 Commercial St., Portland | 879-6100 | oldportseagrill.com | $$$$
Old Port Sea Grill has been a Portland staple since 2002, but the recent addition of husband and wife chefs David Connolly and Francesca Bowman has considerably ramped up the food. The dining room is sleek and modern, with well-spaced tables allowing for conversation and a huge, salt water fish tank as a focal point. The large, concrete-topped bar is generally a less-crowded spot than most in the Old Port for meeting over a drink and local oysters.

Mine Oyster _021

Specialty of the house at Mine Oyster. Photo by Ted Axelrod

Mine Oyster

16 Wharf St., Pier 1, Boothbay Harbor | 633-6616 | mineoyster.net | $$$$
One of the best places in the midcoast to enjoy oysters is this seasonal restaurant right on the harbor, where the first floor raw bar regularly offers at least a dozen varieties, including the “house oyster,” Glidden Point, harvested from the nearby Damariscotta River. In addition to raw and on their own, oysters are available with a host of sauces, wood-grilled, fried, and stuffed and baked. In good weather, grab a seat on one of the upstairs decks, which have great views of the busy harbor.

Key to prices

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

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