Farm-to-Table Restaurants in Maine: Fresh Food With Natural, Local Ingredients
It is quite likely that wherever you choose to dine in Maine the ingredients in your meal didn’t travel far. Whether it’s the freshly-grown greens and goat cheese in your salad, the seaweed topping your gourmet lobster roll, or the egg in your hollandaise – chances are they came from the woods, fields and bays nearby. Maine’s dining culture has always embodied the farm-to-table ethos: try to eat food grown and raised locally and you’ll do yourself, your community and the environment a flavor. Uh, we mean a favor.
This culinary movement is what sparked the recent rave reviews and made Maine one of America’s most celebrated foodie destinations. There are more great restaurants, chefs and creative cuisines in the state than you can shake a spatula or garden hoe at.
Chef Melissa Kelly’s restaurant Primo is actually on a farm, where in peak season they grow 80% percent of what is on the menu, and they repurpose as much as they can to improve sustainability, like fertilizing the garden with compost from food waste.
“Farm-to-table dining overlooking the beautiful Stonington Harbor.” That’s how the menu heading at Aragosta describes the restaurant. Aragosta is Italian for lobster. And Chef Devin Finigan’s lobster ravioli is described as exquisite, not just by diners but by the world-renowned chefs and food writers she brings in for workshops.
Should you find yourself at The Lost Kitchen in Freedom, you’ll also find Chef Erin French, who has found a special admirer herself in none other than James Beard. “I’m just a girl who likes to cook,” says Erin. Okay. And Mr. Beard is just another guy with a saucepan.
It’s not just rural communities that have embraced the localvore philosophy. At Miyake in Portland you can find Chef Masa Miyake’s eclectic creations which have garnered fans around the world. Miyake’s menus feature locally raised proteins and locally grown produce. If you’re looking for a social experience to savor, consider Sur Lie in Portland, a tapas-style restaurant where the focus is on the amazing and beautiful bounty of locally sourced ingredients that Maine has to offer.
At The Fiddlehead Restaurant in Bangor, Chef Mel Chaiken’s cuisine is a truly international experience, with a touch of comfort-style and dishes that range in influences, as she says, from the Far East to DownEast.
That’s a little sampling of farm-to-table dining, Maine style. So feel free to come on in, open a napkin and settle in for something truly exceptional. And one note on protocol. When a member of the wait staff approaches, there’s no need to ask, “What’s fresh?” But if you insist, expect a nice but knowing smile.
Craving more? Explore The Maine Thing Quarterly: Maine’s Local Food Movement.