So you're all foodies now? Ayuh
August 10, 2016 5:43 PM   Subscribe

I'm about to spend nearly two weeks in Sebago, Maine (the tiny town, not the lake, though it's near the lake.) What are your recommendations for a delicious and unique food experience within an hour's drive for three adults?

We are omnivores - I love everything but especially fresh produce, shellfish, and "variety meats" done right, another of us loves seafood and the third often self-describes as a carnivore. We like deliciousness far over pretension and are quite well traveled and open to nearly any kind of cuisine, but my two companions are not fond of much spiciness. We are not drinkers (I'm sober, they might have one glass of wine or a single beer.)

Budget is somewhere below $75 per person. Traveling in to Portland is definitely feasible (we'll be doing that anyway so we can combine) but I'm interested in going to an out of the way "hidden gem" type place if they exist.

When we're in Maine we mostly stick to simple classic things and do a lot of our own cooking. We've never bothered to check out the apparently lively food scene and I'd love to start, but we're looking for wonderful food made with love, not gimmicks.
posted by Mizu to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have Sunday breakfast at The Good Table in Cape Elizabeth. It's popular, so go early. We started going there when we lived in Portland 20+ years ago, and still make a point of going for breakfast on at least one of our trips up. In fact, if you go on Sunday the 21st, you might bump into us.
posted by briank at 6:04 PM on August 10, 2016

Westbrook, Maine (disclaimer: I live there) is a sturdy little town that's a bit closer to you than Portland. If you travel there, you MUST stop at Catbird Creamery, which in my opinion has the best ice cream in all of Maine. Say hi to Andrew for me! (also, bring cash: no cards). I will reiterate: this is amazingly good ice cream. There's also a nice little gastropub in Westbrook called The Frog and Turtle which I haven't been to in some time, but remember being quite tasty.

Portland's food scene is completely bananas, so I will not attempt to encompass it. I really like cozy, charming restaurants, and here are my favorite in Portland. Each of these places has some of the flair of their neighborhood.

The Blue Spoon: really tasty food with a sort of upscale home-cooked flair in a charming little building up on the East End. Beloved by locals but not super trendy, and it has great waitstaff. Make a reservation as they only have a few tables.

Artemisia Cafe: A bright and cheerful place tucked into one of the prettiest side streets of Portland. Very nice brunch and the dinner is great as well. Chill in the park next door afterwards.

Salvage: the home of several prior Portland meetups, this is a converted warehouse with very casual, extremely tasty BBQ and a nice beer list. You sit at picnic tables and it can get a bit crowded at peak hours but it's a very relaxed place to chow down.

The Holy Donut: these donuts are so goddamn good. Should be illegal.

Bar of Chocolate: This is a hole-in-the-wall lounge on Wharf Street but it has very friendly bartenders and incredibly delicious desserts. We sometimes skip dessert when eating out so we can head here after a nice digestive walk.
posted by selfnoise at 6:51 PM on August 10, 2016 [4 favorites]

I live across Sebago Lake and I hate to say it but I've yet to find a good restaurant that's any closer than Portland. There are decent, basic American restaurants but nothing to write home about. The lakes region is hurting in that department. If you decide on brunch, I definitely second Frog and Turtle as suggested above. The homemade donuts are the best!

I love, love Hot Suppa in Portland. I've heard good things from my food industry friends about Piccolo. Tandem Baking company has the best pastries, but you can't beat standard baking company's pain au chocolat.

For sit down meals I really enjoy Outliers, Eventide and Sur Lie.
posted by pintapicasso at 9:29 PM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

We stayed at Little Sebago Lake in June and went to Gather in Yarmouth twice. The food was good and had lots of options to keep everyone in our group of nine happy. I'm still thinking about their Garden Gimlet. So good! They also had Maine Beer Company's Lunch IPA on tap. The guy at Trader Joe's in Portland said it gets snapped up as soon as it hits the shelves.
posted by fundip at 4:39 AM on August 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

About equidistant as Portland, you could also check out Lewiston. There's a budding restaurant row right downtown on Lisbon Street. Not quite the same foodie level as Portland, but reasonable and somewhere different to try. I believe there's a Somali restaurant or two somewhere in town, too?
posted by eviemath at 6:00 AM on August 11, 2016

Oh, one more thing: if you are looking for a place with a tasty lunch/brunch that's as close to Sebago as possible, you might try The Blue Pig in Gorham. I've had a few nice breakfasts there.

I'll shut up now. But let me know if you desire any recommends on truly hidden/local places... I know of a few holes in the wall if that's your thing.
posted by selfnoise at 5:35 PM on August 11, 2016

If you come to Portland, I second recommendations for Hot Suppa for brunch and Salvage for BBQ. I'll also toss in Tinder, a really nice traditional steakhouse, new-ish. Everything you could possibly get there would be wonderful. The meat and seafood are local, raised with care, and lovingly prepared and presented. Seriously great.
posted by donnagirl at 9:55 AM on August 12, 2016

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