Maine winters are long and spring is almost nonexistent, but a sure sign that our precious summer has finally arrived is the opening of seasonal restaurants. Here are five local favorites for casual and fine dining.
180 Commercial St., Portland | (207) 775-2112 | portlandlobstercompany.com | $$$
When Portland Lobster Co. opens for the season, it’s a sure sign that summer has finally arrived in Maine. Right on the waterfront, the restaurant boasts a sizable outdoor deck, where canine customers can find water bowls and the occasional treat. No dogs are allowed inside, which is a good choice in bad weather, but if you can, you’ll want to sit at one of the outdoor picnic tables under an awning or at the high-top tables up front, near the bar and the band. The menu includes all the seafood standards, including lobster rolls and full-on lobster dinners. No reservations except for large parties.
61 S. Road, Chebeague Island | 207-846-5155 | chebeagueislandinn.com | $$$$
A short ferry ride away from the mainland, the Chebeague Island Inn offers sophisticated dining and a fabulous view from its prominent spot on the western side of the island. The lobby is paneled with dark-stained beaded board and the wide covered porch wrapping two sides of the inn and the building’s classic 1920s facade give the imagination notice — this will be an old-fashioned holiday, whether a few hours or a few days long. Now in his second season, chef Brandon Hicks turns out inventive dishes that make fine use of mostly locally sourced ingredients.
510 Black Point Rd., Scarborough | (207) 883-2500 | theblackpointinn.com | $$$$
Offering a stunning view of Ferry Beach and the ocean beyond, The Black Point Inn has two restaurants. The Point, open for dinner only, is a bastion of New England fine dining, especially suited to celebrating a special occasion, with a locally-sourced menu of time-honored favorites. Reservations are a must and proper attire is required. The Chart Room, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offers more casual fare and seating on the porch (which may be the best seats in the house.) Don’t miss the homemade potato chips with lemon aioli.
Outlet Beach, 106 Outlet Rd., New Gloucester | 207-926-3388 | brescaandthehoneybee.com | $$
After several years at the helm of her highly regarded Portland restaurant, Bresca, James Beard award-nominated chef Krista Kern Desjarlais decamped to rural New Gloucester to run this upscale snack shack on Sabbathday Lake. She puts the same care into burgers and hot dogs she once lavished on more elaborate dishes; ingredients are top quality and locally sourced, and the ice cream is homemade. Cash only. Serving food on weekends only until June 20.
2 Bowery Beach Road (Route 77), Cape Elizabeth | 207-799-3533 | kettlecoveicecream.com | $$
This seasonal shack has been a favorite beach day ice cream stop for years, but it also offers breakfast and lunch as well. The small menu includes panini — easy to eat if you’re taking lunch to the beach — lobster and crab rolls, and a few options for kids. There’s a good-sized, pretty patio with shaded picnic tables and plenty of parking. And the ice cream is still a huge draw, made in-house in 30 or so flavors.
The approximate cost of two dinner entrees (not including appetizers, drinks, tax and gratuity).
$ – $15 and under
$$ – $16 to $25
$$$ – $26 to $45
$$$$ – $46 and up