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Restaurant & Bar Guide

Francine Bistro

Francine Bistro information

// Location55 Chestnut St.
Camden, ME 04843

// Hours5:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday

// Contact207-230-0083

// Price Range$$$

// Cuisine Type French,

// Features

// Reviews

⇢ There's magic-and sublime comfort food- at Camden's Francine Bistro

At Francine, chef/owner Brian Hill’s mostly French bistro in Camden, dinners are special events. Inside the cozy converted cottage that houses the restaurant, you’ll find a dining room that is all charming corners and soft lighting – as if the space were genetically engineered for date nights and celebrations. The constantly evolving menu is similarly romantic, showcasing local ingredients and Hill’s slow, methodical approach to cooking. One of the restaurant’s best dishes, an indulgent appetizer of smoked pork ribs in a meaty salted caramel glaze, takes more than seven hours to prepare. They might not be French, but they’re so absurdly enjoyable, it hardly matters. So too, an extravagantly green spinach soup, served with tender Gulf shrimp cooked in cumin, caraway and scorched black chili peppers. The purée is effortlessly light and thrums with pure, clear spinach flavor. A few rare missteps with seasoning and slow service when the restaurant is busy (which it almost always is during tourist season) diminish, but do not ruin the experience of a meal at Francine. Indeed, all it takes to snap you back into a dreamy midcoast reverie is a slice of Hill’s crusty homemade rye sourdough and a sip of his homebrewed fennel-frond amaro. Simple, yet entirely special.