The chefs at these Maine eateries put their culinary mettle to the test on shows like “Top Chef Masters” and “Chopped.” But whether or not they came out on top, their restaurants are all winners.
11 Perkins Cove, Ogunquit | 646-6263 | mcperkinscove.com | $$$$
High-profile Maine chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier competed on Season 4 of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” with Clark surviving one episode beyond Mark. Their popular waterfront restaurant in Ogunquit, which serves lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, is known for its raw bar and creative preparations of local seafood.
2 Western Ave., Kennebunk | 967-3321 | theclamshack.net | $$
In 2010, The Clam Shack’s lobster roll beat the one from neighboring Alisson’s Restaurant on Travel Channel’s “Food Wars.” It’s one of many accolades this seasonal shack has garnered for its distinctive lobster sandwich, but the fried clams and crispy onion rings proud owner Steve Kingston and his crew turn out are equally as stellar. Take your seafood to the beach, or sit at the few picnic tables next to the Kennebunk River.
43 Middle St., Portland | 774-8080 | duckfat.com | $$
Chef-owner Rob Evans won Food Network’s “Chopped” in 2011 and was the runner-up on “Chopped Champions” in 2013. He didn’t make his signature duckfat-fried French fries either time, but you’ll want to be sure to order them here. The sandwiches, soups and milkshakes make this one of Portland’s most popular restaurants, so be prepared to wait for a table.
275 Main St., Rockland | 594-9889 | thepearlrockland.com | $$$
Chef/owner Michele Ragussis competed on Food Network’s “Chopped” in 2010, won an episode of “24 Hour Restaurant Battle” in 2011 and was a finalist on “Food Network Star” in 2012. She recently appeared on NBC’s “Food Fighters.” Having run The Pearl’s seafood-centric kitchen in 2012 and 2013, Ragussis took the helm of the harborside restaurant this summer, adding a happy hour and late-night menu.
305 Main St., Rockland | 596-5960 | conchita.midcoast.com | $$
Chef/owner Lynn Archer’s King of Clubs bested Bobby Flay’s lobster club sandwich on Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” in 2009. Along with that justifiably famous dish, the lunch menu at The Brass Compass includes fried seafood platters, a blackened haddock rueben and other hearty fare. The restaurant is also popular for breakfast, where tourists rub elbows with local fishermen.
The approximate cost of two dinner entrees (not including appetizers, drinks, tax and gratuity).
$ – $15 and under
$$ – $16 to $25
$$$ – $26 to $45
$$$$ – $46 and up