The best part about southern Maine – aside from the beautiful coastline, fresh lobster, and crisp ocean air (note: I could go on and on) – is that it is a quick 90-minute commute from the center of Boston. Thus, if you are in need of a swift getaway but don’t want to break the bank; you are the perfect candidate for a southern Maine excursion.
I present: the southern Maine dining blueprint. I will walk you through some of the BEST breakfast, lunch, and dinner spots that are affordable, conveniently located, and downright delicious.
Want the inside scoop? I’ll also walk you through some dining tips that could save you big bucks and wasted time during your Maine getaway.
1. “Breakfast Anytime”
“Breakfast Anytime” is the mantra that has kept Congdon’s Doughnuts (location below) running for almost 70 years now. People from near and far seek out Congdon’s for not just their delicious handmade doughnut, but also for their extensive breakfast and lunch menus. The “little jewel” (as Phantom Gourmet calls it) has been voted one of America’s best doughnut shops and has a top-notch trip advisor rating.
Growing up right around the corner from Congdon’s was a dream come true. I’ve been able to sample nearly every doughnut flavor. Fair warning, though: consumption of the last doughnut in the dozen may cause family feuds.
I may or may not be speaking from experience.
Which doughnut flavor is my favorite, you ask? It is definitely a tie between the buttercrunch and the chocolate chocolate. There are 30+ flavors to chose from at Congdon’s, but a few more I would recommend include: confetti, blueberry, maple bacon fritter, Bavarian crème, and chocolate sprinkle.
BFJ Inside Scoop: At Congdon’s, the drive through line is non-stop from sunrise to closing. The saying ‘the early bird gets the worm’ is to true in this regard. If you want to avoid long wait times, get there early – like 6am early!
[Congdon’s Doughnuts] 1090 Post Road - Route One Wells, Maine 04090
2. Good Lunch & Rum Punch
Barnacle Billy’s has one of the best views in Ogunquit. The restaurant overlooks Perkins Cove, which is filled with sailboats, bustling tourists, and all the elements of a thriving lobster and fishing industry.
The fast casual restaurant has an extensive lunch and dinner menu. With some of the best seafood in town (known for their lobster and steamed clams), Billy’s has been in operation for over 55 years and has a dedicated following of tourists and "townies."
You may be wondering why Maine locals would want to plunge themselves into the midst of a busy, tourist destination? Two words: rum punches.
The cocktail menu at Barnacle Billy’s is noteworthy and unique. They are most famous (or infamous?) for their tasty rum punch cocktail. The colorful, zesty drink is garnished with tropical fruit and topped with a rum float and dash of cinnamon, giving it an extra boost of flavor.
If you go in just for cocktails, I would recommend scouting a seat on their rooftop deck for a bird’s eye view of the surrounding action. Go grab a cocktail before they rum out!
BFJ Inside Scoop: If you are craving an “insta-worthy” lobster dinner, protect your pocket and buy from the pound. Lobster pounds sell pre-cooked and cracked lobsters (both hard and soft shell) at half the price of surrounding restaurants. My go-to pound is the Wells Beach Lobster pound on Shore Road in Wells. https://www.wellsbeachlobster.com
[Barnacle Billy’s] 50-70 Perkins Cove Road Ogunquit, Maine 03907
3. Dinner at Street & Company
Follow the cobblestone road, and you’ll end up right at Street & Company in Portland’s downtown Old Port. The small, rustic bistro has an ample menu with a primary focus on simplistic but well constructed seafood plates.
You know your meal is off to a good start when the delicious, handmade breadbasket arrives at the table paired with creamy, unsalted butter (if you know me, you know that my mantra is: judge by the breadbasket).
When it comes to dining at Street & Co., one could call me a ‘repeat offender’. I have dined there many times, and though I have sampled multiple plates, I always return to the grilled lobster and linguine pan as my main. The grilled lobster pan is aesthetically one of the best-presented seafood dishes I have ever seen. The lobster itself is halved vertically and the tailpiece is expressively wrapped in linguine.
The dish is delicious; the lobster is sweet and falls right out of the shell. The linguine is cooked al-dente in a garlic white wine sauce. It compliments the lobster very well.
Other items I would highly recommend when dining at Street & Co. include: muscles provencal, scallops in pernod with cream, lobster diavolo (for two, pictured below), and the clams in white sauce over linguine.
BFJ Inside Scoop: Street and Co. is a highly sought after dining destination in the Old Port. They do take reservations, but if you are unable to make one I highly recommend arriving at 4:30pm (or earlier) to start the ‘walk in dining’ line. By quarter of 5:00pm, the line typically consists of 20-30 people and you will face long wait times.
Never fear –if you do have to wait, there are plenty of wine bars/ pubs around the corner! For example, EVO, The Regency, or Bar of Chocolate.
[Street and Company] 33 Wharf Street Portland, Maine 04101