Andrews' Harborside Restaurant sits on the banks of Boothbay Harbor, affording diners picturesque views of the tranquil water, colorful boats, and famous footbridge. Chef Craig Andrews keeps busy in the kitchen, folding fresh ingredients from local fishermen and farmers into a variety of American classics—from creamy chowders to baked, stuffed lobster to flaky chicken pot pies. These dishes are complemented by the bar's selection of summery cocktails and seasonal craft beers, such as Allagash White and Shipyard Summer.
Some meat-centric restaurants may try to evoke an old-time Western ranch, but chef Harding Lee Smith dubs The Grill Room & Bar an “urban steakhouse.” Although the open, high-ceilinged dining room exudes plenty of rustic charm, Smith is most inspired by his restaurant's own bustling neighborhood and the local farms beyond it. Starring in a cast of fresh, locally grown produce are grass-fed, all-natural meats from New Gloucester's Pineland Farms. These meats—think spice-rubbed skirt steaks, butterflied pork chops, and organic Cornish game hen—are seared on the open kitchen’s wood-fired grill and then plated with modern flourishes such as truffled mash and grilled onion jam. Seafood dishes benefit equally from the wood grills, while a wood pizza oven creates crackly, chewy pies such as a duck and brie pizza with shaved apples and balsamic syrup.
Wines range through France, Italy, and New Zealand, and bartenders kick out cocktails such as hot buttered rum and the Creole Bull, a Twenty-2 vodka concoction with peppers and smoked peppercorns. Desserts tend toward the rich and creamy, with house-made bean crème brulee and New York–style cheesecakes whose flavors vary with the seasons and the Statue of Liberty's moods.
When Travis Dickey opened the first Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in 1941, the menu offered beef brisket, pit hams, barbecue beans, potato chips, drinks, and that’s all. By focusing on perfecting the flavors of a few dishes, Travis was able to increase quality, and, ultimately, customers. Patrons were so enamored of the food that the restaurant eventually expanded into a nationwide franchise, allowing Americans all over to wear badges made of barbecue sauce. Over the past 70 years, Dickey’s has been passed on to Travis’s sons, but not much else has changed—the quality meats are still seasoned and smoked onsite, and except for the addition of spicy cheddar sausage in 2011, the menu remains the same.
Regional meats ensure that the most succulent Texas-style chopped beef brisket, old-recipe polish sausage, and fall-off-the-bone pork ribs make it to tabletops. Sides such as mac 'n' cheese and green beans with bacon continue to enhance feasts with an extra punch of homestyle tastiness. Each meal comes complete with complimentary ice cream, soft rolls, and dill pickles.
Back Street Grill says it’s “where the locals go to eat,” and the claim is easy to believe. Standing amid weathered Victorian houses on a street just off downtown Sanford’s main drag, the two-story brick building with tin awnings looks like a classic corner tap. Inside there are plenty of flat-screen TVs and boneless wings slathered in housemade buffalo sauce, but there’s also a full menu that brings to mind an upscale steakhouse as much as the more casual spot its surroundings suggest. Rather than train cute children to steal ingredients for him, chef Matt works carefully and continually with his food distributors to identify the best sources for his hearty American menu. The Choice and Angus beef is hand-cut in house before being paired with buttered lobster; seafood fra diavolo adds kick to haddock, shrimp, and mussels; and the 10 dressings gracing a selection of salads are all made fresh.
From behind a bar adorned with flat-screen televisions, bartenders help diners wash down each bite with a full stock of liquors, wines, and six draft beers and microbrews. Live musicians fill the pub with the tapping of toes each Thursday night, and a sidewalk patio lets guests keep an eye on the rest of Sanford’s nightlife.
In 1989, the Huynh family emigrated from war-torn Vietnam to the United States, settling in Portland, Maine. They weren't able to take along many tangible possessions—just two suitcases of clothes—but they did bring a slew of Vietnamese recipes that they knew by heart. Those recipes brought the comfort of familiarity to family meals and also made the Huynhs popular with new friends who sampled the cuisine.
The family now officially shares their Vietnamese specialties with the public at PHOever Maine. Here, diners can sample appetizers such as chao tom, a dish made by artfully placing ground shrimp around slices of fresh, peeled sugar cane. More substantial fare includes vermicelli noodle bowls and pho simmered with rare beef. The cooks also put together banh mi sandwiches with fresh baguettes, covering your choice of chicken, pork, or beef with pickled carrots, daikon, and other flavorful ingredients.
Chefs at the Royal River Grillhouse merge classic Maine culinary traditions with contemporary cooking techniques. Bowls of lobster stew and Prince Edward Island mussels in madeira reduction cater to traditionalist seafood diners, and lobster mac and cheese and truffle cheese fries put a spin on standards. Hand-cut steaks cook on a grill lit by smoldering wood to infuse the meat with smokiness. Guests can sip on a speciality cocktail or a glass of wine from an expansive list while enjoying views of the Royal River from the dining room or the deck.
Bonos Pizzeria Grille puts its own gourmet spin on Italian culinary tradition. In an open kitchen, executive chef Anthony Guerriero and his team use local ingredients to craft specialties such as slow-braised short ribs with pappardelle, fingerling potatoes, and peas, and juicy burgers crowned with Boursin cheese and wine-poached pears. They also layer pizzas with specialty toppings such as fig jam and hand-picked lobster before firing the pies over flaming Maine hardwoods. A children’s menu offers kid-friendly options like peanut butter and jelly pizza.