One of the most frequently asked questions from our guests at Captain Nickels is restaurant recommendations for dinner. Although there are some amazing restaurants all around us, we’d like to chat about several of our favorites, which we consider among the best restaurants near Penobscot Bay, ME.
Please keep asking; because everyone is different, and we love matching you up with the place that is perfect for you! So, bring it on, do you want vegetarian, or a great wine list, or lots of fresh seafood in an informal atmosphere? We’ve got your back. But for now, here are a couple of our favorites.
The Lost Kitchen
22 Mill St, Freedom ME
Reservations by postcard, which are then chosen at random
If you are a foodie of any type or an aficionado of the Magnolia Channel, you will have heard of Erin French and The Lost Kitchen. She has an amazing story of overcoming some personal hardships and ultimately opening this restaurant in a restored mill building.
The food is especially known for its local sourcing and innovative preparation. Sadly, its popularity is responsible for its unique reservation system. To have a chance for a reservation, you must send a postcard postmarked no earlier than April 1. Postcards are then drawn at random, and guests are contacted about their reservations. More than 10,000 postcards were sent last year to get an idea of the odds.
55 Chestnut St, Camden ME
Serving dinner Wednesdays – Saturdays, reservations required
Franny’s Bistro is a bit further away (about a 35-minute drive), but we think the food is worth it! It is an intimate establishment, with a varied menu. There are many seafood choices, as well as vegetarian and omnivore. There is a well-curated wine list, along with some fun craft cocktails, and Maine-based beers.
10 Church St, Stockton Springs ME
Serving dinner Thursdays – Sundays, reservations required
The Hichborn is a 10-minute drive from Captain Nickels and is a small intimate restaurant in a historic home. Dinners are by reservation only, and there is one seating at 6pm for a prix fixe menu. The meal is an amazing seven courses, and you may add a wine pairing to the courses for an additional fee. Make sure you peruse the cocktail menu, which is innovative and intriguing.
Toddy Pond Farms
174 Carver Rd, Monroe ME
Serving dinner Fridays and Saturdays, pre-purchased tickets required, Sundays offer a limited menu, first come, first served
Toddy Pond Farms is on the other end of the spectrum from some of the previous restaurants. Toddy’s is a farm, so dining is outdoors, either on picnic tables or in the barn. The atmosphere is casual, but with ingredients from the farm, cooked in a wood-fired oven, so equally delicious. Because seating is limited, order a ticket (with a seating time) online. The Sunday seating is new this year and will feature pizzas and salad. Local craft beers are served, along with sustainable and organic wines and ciders.
Provender Kitchen and Bar
112 Main St, Ellsworth ME
Serving dinner Tuesdays – Saturdays
Provender Kitchen and Bar is another restaurant that is about a 35-minute drive from the Inn, but we think the drive is well worth it. (Make sure you make a reservation before the drive, so as not to be disappointed.) The menu is limited, but intriguing, with such items as grilled octopus, bison tartare, and vegan Mongolian “beef.” Here you can see the chef preparing an asparagus dish that will make your mouth water!
Natalie’s at Camden Harbor Inn
83 Bay View St., Camden, ME
Serving dinner daily from 5:00 until 8.45 p.m. (last reservation) until the end of October. From November through May the restaurant is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday except holidays. The bar opens at 5 o’clock on the days the restaurant is open. To book your table, please call them at 207-236-7008 or 800-236-4266; or book online: https://www.nataliesrestaurant.com/reservations/
Natalie’s Restaurant has “redefined fine dining.” They have received numerous culinary awards. They were honored to be the first and only restaurant in Maine to receive the prestigious OpenTable Diners’ Choice Top 100 Best Restaurant In America Award and was awarded top 100 Best Hotel Restaurants in the USA by USA Today. Natalie’s was awarded AAA 4 Diamonds, member of Relais and Chateaux and received the award of Excellence by Wine Spectator. Natalie’s was invited four times to prepare a dinner at the renowned James Beard House in New York City.
We have many other restaurant recommendations, but if you have questions, make sure you ask when making your reservation, or during breakfast. We hope you enjoy visiting our list of the best restaurants near Penobscot Bay, ME. Let us know what your favorites are.
Published June 2022; Updated March 2023