We saved the Bar Harbor Inn Reading Room restaurant for dinner our last night in Bar Harbor. The building has a history as a club and restaurant going back to 1922, but the current operation was established in 1999. A hotel has operated in the building since 1950 after the terrible fire of 1947 wiped out every other hotel on the island.
This is a top service white tablecloth dining room with all the elegance you would look for in the best dining experience, but no requirement to dress up. There is a lovely view of the harbor from the surrounding windows in the circular front of the room. It's the type of place where suit clad bus help stands flanking a fireplace with hands behind their back at attention when not whisking plates away and refilling water glasses.
Prices match the atmosphere without going into the stratosphere. I had lobster in the shell and a rich dessert for $57. If possible, everyone should plan one meal here during their stay.
Favorite Dish: I loved the way the lobster was presented, perky, whimsical and artistic, bearing a blueberry muffin in the crook of one claw. The tail was split in half and claws pre-cut so that I was able to extract the meat without embarrassing myself in the elegant setting.
The flourless chocolate cake was SO GOOD! I ate each truffle-like bite as slowly as possible, taking tiny bites to savor the rich flavor that was as ecstatically wonderful in the last bite as the first.
Jordan Pond House is the only restaurant inside the boundary of Acadia National Park. I would say it is one of the top two iconic places to eat when visiting Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. It is very popular and has a great view of the lake named Jordan Pond and the mountains, including the iconic pair of peaks called 'The Bubbles'. A wide lawn leads down to the lake, flanked by paths for walking along the lake and in the woods there.
The restaurant has extensive dining areas, including tables outside for nice weather, and large surrounding windows for the views. Prepare for a wait to be seated. You will get a pager to alert you to be taken to your table. Service is professional and excellent, with wait staff quick to remove empty plates and refill water glasses and so on.
Prices reflect it's place as one of the top restaurants in the area, but are not out of reach for the average person. Dress is casual.
Favorite Dish: Jordan Pond house has two most popular foods on its menu, and it is easy to get both if you want them. The top item is their popovers, which are lovely, fresh, warm, large and crusty, with a wonderful flavor. They are hollow. Break them open, lather in some butter and enjoy. Everyone at the table gets one no matter what they order, fresh from the oven.
For a second popover, order their other favorite, Lobster Stew. This dish is available all over the island, but it is worth paying a bit more to have it in a place that does it so very well. It is rich and creamy with lobster flavor blossoming over the tongue with every bite, and chock full of big chunks of lobster meat, with plenty of claw meat included. I had lobster every day, and this was the best lobster dish I had by far.
To top it all off, Jordan Pond house makes their own fantastic ice cream, with several flavors available (even more at their ice cream store on Main street in Bar Harbor) I had a triple blitz of fantastic flavor with their dessert consisting of a warm fresh popover loaded with the ice cream of your choice and topped with their homemade warm chocolate sauce.
Many other yummy choices are on the menu. If I ever get back there I will not taste any of them because I would order the same items again. And again. And again...as many times as I ever eat there.
Testa's has been in Bar Harbor since 1921. It is a full service Breakfast Lunch and dinner casual dining restaurant on Main street close to the harbor. They also have a location in Florida and specialize in seafood, and Italian cuisine, with plenty of standard American fare also. We never managed to get there for lunch or dinner, but we had breakfast there twice on the advice of my aunt who has been to Bar Harbor many times and lists Testa's as one of her favorite overall restaurants and a top favorite for breakfast. Their home fries are wonderful and surprisingly they offer grits as an alternate to the home fries. Their Florida roots are responsible for this I think.
We had very good service on both visits, friendly and attentive. There is an upstairs and a downstairs dining area, and a booth by the window lets you see some of the harbor and watch the passing scene.
Favorite Dish: I had two favorites for breakfast. First was the smoked salmon Eggs Benedict, though I only got a taste from my brother's plate. Being from the Pacific Northwest, I wasn't sure they could supply a smoked salmon up to what I'm used to back home, but it was wonderful. I always like eggs Benedict, and Testa's are good. The second favorite dish, though not ranked second, is their blueberry pancakes, a specialty of the house worthy of their high reputation, especially if you spring the extra dollar for real maple syrup. They are fluffy, flavorful, and the berries are tender, bursting in the mouth with a rush of blueberry flavor.
We crashed into Cafè this way because it was the only place suggested by Lonely Planed which opens at 7 am. Since we had to leave at 8.30 with the whale watching tour, we were obliged to go there but were fully repaid with the quality of the food, the kindness of the service and the brightness of the ambience. Definitely the best blueberry muffins I had in my entire trip in New England.
Favorite Dish: Pancakes, blueberry muffins and omelette were great
We sat outside on the lawn, spectacular views of the pond & happenings in Acadia. We arrived at 11:15 for a table at 12:30; by 12:30 lunch was filled. A lot of attractions to see at and around the Pond.
Favorite Dish: The warm popovers were amazing. Lobster everything was wonderful, quiche, salad, roll, stew ...
Located on Route 3 past most of the hotels, this place looks cute from the outside, a real log cabin with a wooden carving of a moose out front. The problem with it was that it's pretty much a tourist trap. The food is just OK, not very good, not terrible, and more expensive than other places in town. Their salad bar was on the skimpy side, which bummed us out because we really like salad bars. They do have a wide variety of things on the menu though, which I guess would be good if you had a large group of people who were picky eaters.
I got the lobster, and it was pretty much the worst lobster I've ever had. It was so small that I doubt it was more than just barely legal size, and it was soft shelled (which they didn't tell me) so there was hardly any meat in it at all--just a lot of water. My daughter got the clam chowder, which she only ate two bites of because it was so salty. All in all it was pretty disappointing.
This restaurant also has a gift shop on the premises, which sells a lot of touristy junk if you like that kind of thing. They have a breakfast buffet in the mornings as well, but after our dinner experience there we weren't about to try that.
The view from the wide windows down across the landscaped lawn to Frenchman Bay is worth the price of the meal. (and the price is a bit high I might add).
This is an Inn or Hotel with an open dining area called Reading Room Restaurant. The decor is 1930s American with cloth table covers and napkins and several forks. The dress is fairly causual for some of the guests but a bit more shirt and tie for the people who just stop in for dinner.
The menu is fairly extensive for an inn: appetizers, soup, salad, main entree of pasta, seafood, beef. (see the website below for details)
The pricing is easy to read; it is rounded to the nearest dollar. (a dinner of soup and sirloin will cost about $40 including tax and tip)
The staff are attentive to your every need and seemed quite happy that we were there.
The food is delivered in layers; salad then soup then entree; just as you finish one part they are ready to serve the next. (they probably do this because the tables are mostly small and do not have room for much plateware)
They have a patio area where you can eat but it was much to cool to sit out there with the bay wind blowing.
The restraunt has all kinds of memoriabilia hanging from the walls, ceiling, bar. A LOT of different licence plates from all over the country. The waitstaff is extreamly friendly, and helpful and the food was outstanding.
Just outside the 'main' part of town - away from most of the tourists. Food was reasonably priced and very good. Lobster prepared 10 ways. A nice selection of local micro-brews. Outstanding cheesecake.
They had a $7.95 early bird special with about 8 entrees listed.
I tried to convince them that they need to serve a Framboise Lambic (raspberry flavored dessert beer that goes really good with chocolate) with their Brownie ala mode. Maybe if enough people ask.......
Favorite Dish: Chilled Stone Crab Claws - really enjoyed this special: Lobster Bisque, Salad, Chilled Stone Crab Claws, baked potato, vegetable, brownie ala mode for $15.95
If you enjoy eating in a party atmostphere, with all kinds of flotsam and jetsum hanging on the walls, rafters and beams, this is the place for you. Located along the main street from the water it became a hangout while the rain came down. Several hours and brews/lobster later the rain stopped and we ventured along the shops of Bar Harbor.
This famous restaurant/bar has a great t shirt collection and other souvenirs in the basement. They are famous also for the designs on the shirts.
I am including some photos from inside Geddy's.
Favorite Dish: This place is packed as it is popular and we had to sit at the bar to eat. Even though they were very busy, they had things under control and the food was perfect. The staff was friendly and polite and everything was very clean.
on the restroom doors....inboards..... outboards you figure out which you are.
that is the kind of place this is.
This is my number one pick of places to visit when I return.
This is a gastro pub offering locally produced, gourmet food and great wine and beer in a warm, cozy, elegant setting. The prices here are very reasonable and the service is always good even when they're very busy, which is often. I've eaten here every time I've been to Bar Harbor and have never been disappointed.
Favorite Dish: It's all very good, but their seafood selections are fantastic. They also have a good variety of vegetarian options and serve local meats and veggies. Wine and beer list is great. Bread is all homemade, too. Note that they are closed during the winter months.
This used to be a great place. I have no idea what happened between the first few times I came here and the present, but it's gone WAY downhill. The menu is very limited, and everything costs three times as much as it should ($9.99 for an omelet?). I might be able to overlook this if it weren't for the fact that the food was TERRIBLE. I'm talking shells in the eggs, English muffins that are barely toasted, cold and with NO butter (and none in available), burned bacon, undercooked potatoes, you get the idea. Add this to some of the most horrendous service I've ever experienced (no cream for the coffee, no fork, no napkins, no coffee refills) and you get a total nightmare. Go downtown instead. There are a bunch of much better (and cheaper) breakfast places!
Favorite Dish: They used to make really good blueberry muffins. No idea what happened to those!
Everything tasted fresh, the smoothies were nothing but fruit, yogurt, and some juice, the kitchen has charlie brown stripes around it, they serve schlitz 16 oz cans (as well as several local beers on tap and several south of the border cervesas in bottles), best margaritas I've ever had, made with fresh lime juice, not a mix. There were old funny album covers around the inside, you can sit outside and sip your sangria on the patio under umbrellas. Friendly people, counterservice only.
You always leave full, but not with that heavy, i just ate a bunch of food that was so bad for me, feeling.
Favorite Dish: The fish taco was amazing, the fish is sauteed in a tequilla citrus marinade. The BarHarbeque is made with homeade BBQ sauce, Gringo's own recipe, and the Hidden Elephant smoothie made for a great breakfast or lunch, it's made with bananas, apple juice, peanut butter, and a little bit of chocolate. But the Jah Juice (banana, ginger, coconut milk, hint of lime, apple juice) is perfect for a hot day. Some people say the margaritas are too tart, but they're used to- or they prefer- sugar mixes, rather than fresh lime juice, most people say they are the best in town.
Dinks is located on a little side street in Bar Harbor, in a building that honest looks like it was once a church. They insist not, so we'll just take their word for it, ignoring the stained glass.
This is basically a lunch place, at least as I see it. Lots of simple foods... burgers, local seafood, salads. There are lots of beer choices - they were having a special on Sam Adams the day we were there. And, the desserts are very very good, too.
Favorite Dish: We were eating light, we tried both the clam and corn chowders. Bonnie's salad was fresh and copious, and the dessert menu was good stuff, too. Like I say, they had a special going on Sam Adams Oktoberfest brew, and I had a couple.
FIRST OF ALL, I hope you long-time VTers noticed my humor here... I used VT's exact example in naming this tip.... "don't miss the fresh local seafood". :) But the truth is, I couldn't have described it better.
The West Street Cafe is a good local place in Bar Harbor to get a fine seafood meal. The way I picked this cafe for dinner involved an email inquiry. I googled Bar Harbor and restaurants, and then sent email to those that sounded interesting. I received a personal and friendly reply from their manager, making the point of inviting us to come by anytime, and offering to make a reservation for us, even though they really didn't "do" reservations. Sooooo, off to the West Street Cafe we went.
It was an excellent choice. This place is all about fresh local seafood, prepared simply and presented in copious quantities. This is the kind of food I like to find when visiting a seaside town, and it reminded me of places we'd eaten during our '03 visit to the Kennebunkport area.
Excellent choice for an evening meal if you choose to visit Bar Harbor.
Favorite Dish: My wife, daughter and I determined that we'd each get a different local speciality - and it was our plan to share. Actually, it was suggested by the waitress as a good way to achieve a "seafood platter" that we had a chance of finishing. ( the actual seafood platter was reputed to be wayyyy more than the average mortal could finish) All of the food we ordered was your typical seaside fresh fried and it was excellent. We had haddock, scallops and clams (full clams, not just the strips).
Cole slaw was tasty and the fries/chips hot and tasty, too. There's a nice selection of local desserts - I had the blueberry pie, which is one of my favorites. Add some cold beer on tap and you're good to go.
BTW, there are some "early bird specials", including an early-bird lobster dinner for about $22. So if you're hungry early, go get some excellent food at an incredibly low price. Their early bird special includes lobster, blueberry pie and clam chowder, and that's the $22 deal. You can get JUST the lobster for something like $16.00, and it's fresh and tasty.