If you’re planning a visit to Maine and wondering what to eat in Maine, I got you covered. I went to college in Maine and during my recent visit, I remembered all the local eats we used to enjoy in Maine. Some were delicious and some were not to my liking, but they are the traditional things to eat in Maine, especially if you travel to explore local cuisine. While most people prefer to search for “Things to do in Maine”, if you’re like me, you’re more interested in “What to eat in Maine”. Some of these items were enjoyed during our September visit to Maine but definitely not all! My main goal on my most recent trip was to eat as many Maine lobsters as I could. Spoiler alert – Mission Accomplished.
Traditional Things to Eat in Maine
I might as well start with the obvious. Lobster season in Maine kicks off in April and the local fishermen are at it until December. By mid-to late July the Gulf of Maine starts to warm up and the lobsters start to molt. I’m a fan of these “soft shell” lobsters because the lobster meat tends to be sweet and tender (at least in my humble opinion). These lobsters tend to have less meat and sells for less, so it’s a double win if you consider the sweeter meat at a cheaper price. That said, most people prefer the hard shell lobster and if you visit Maine between mid September and late November, you’ll find more of them around. Roaming around Maine you’ll find quite a few lobster shacks selling cooked lobsters with a biscuit and warm butter for dipping. My favourite was from Graffam Brother’s in Rockport
. I got all that for $10 and enjoyed it with Andre the Seal by the Rockport harbour! For lobster rolls, my favourite one can be found at Mac’s Downeast Seafood
It should come as no surprise that the wild blueberry is the state fruit of Maine. Maine blueberries are famous world-over and if you visit in August, you’ll find plenty of wild blueberry pints at the local Maine farms and groceries. Harvest season begins around the last week in July and lasts through mid-September and there’s even a Blueberry Fair in Union, Maine. Of course, what you REALLY want is wild blueberry pie, preferably from Moody’s diner
which has been around since 1927! Also, if you’re looking for souvenirs to take back with you, Maine Blueberry Syrup is an easy choice.
Maine Maple Syrup
Living Canada I know I shouldn’t REALLY talk about Maine’s Maple Syrup, but it is something the Mainers are proud of. While I wouldn’t recommend visiting Maine during the cold month of March (Summer and Fall are my favourite seasons to visit Maine), you’ll be in Maple heaven if you do. Many maple houses open their doors to visitors and you can tap maple trees. There are many festivities to partake in, especially on Maine Maple Sunday
which is always the fourth Sunday in March. One thing is guaranteed, no matter when you visit Maine, you can find maple syrup adorning the shelves of most grocery stores, farms and bakeries. It’s a great souvenir to take back.
Yes peeps, Maine has its own brand of pop too! I can remember the distinct taste of this drink and no, despite being a lover of the taste of cough medicine, I did not buy one during my recent visit. Moxie was amongst the first mass-produced soft drinks in the United States and while it’s not made in Maine (the inventor was from Maine), it’s still the national soft drink of Maine. The brand’s history and marketing fascinates me and you can read more about it here
. There’s even a festival in Lisbon Falls every summer that celebrates this bitter drink. However, if you have some real moxie (yup, that’s where the term came from), you might want to try Moxie mixed with local Allen’s brandy. A coffee and medicinal combo that’s sure to wake you up! If you visit Great Lost Bear
in Portland you’ll be able to order the Burnt Trailer which might possibly be the most Maine cocktail ever invented.
It’s weird, I know, but you can’t have bad fries in Maine. Every chip wagon and lobster shack offers fries and every spot I’ve ever eaten at, has had amazing fries. It’s all in the Maine Potato! Try it baked with all of the toppings or better yet, try it plain and you’ll see what we’re talking about. If you’re Portland, head over to DuckFat
for their poutine and enjoy it with a Canadian nod! Just get fries when you see them, okay?
We’ve talked about the Lobster and lobster roll but don’t forget the New England Chowder. Even Chris (who is from Nova Scotia) will admit that New England chowder really is the best. We had clam chowder in Maine every time we saw it on a menu and will admit that Mac’s seafood
in Auburn has the best cup for us! Their lobster rolls are really good but it’s their Clam Chowder that wins our hearts!
Apple Cider Doughnuts
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October is a fabulous month to visit Maine and one of the reasons are the cider doughnuts that can be found at the many apple farms. This delicious treat is best enjoyed warm (according to me) and here’s a great map if you want to do a Maine Cider Doughnut Trail
. My friend recommends Wallingfords
and told me that they also have Strawberry Habanero Donuts
!!! I want one!!!!
Maine is home to over 100 breweries and if you’re a beer lover looking for some of the best breweries in Maine
, you’ll want to read Chris’ post about our beer explorations. I totally loved that every brewery we visited were comfortable with our kids being around and many had games (mainly corn holes) for them to play with or a little sandbox or blackboard. This is the ultimate destination for beer lovers and while there are a few wineries, I say Maine is for Beer!
Can’t visit Maine and not enjoy a Whoopie Pie. This delectable treat can be found EVERYWHERE from convenience stores to mom and pop shops. However, if you’re in Portland, a visit to Wicked Whoopies
is mandatory. Kids will love going through the many colourful options and choosing a few to enjoy. They are filling – be warned!
Gifford’s Ice Cream
Visiting in the summer means enjoying Gifford’s ice cream. You can find them in most grocery stores but if you visit the actual ice cream shop you can enjoy quite a few flavours, including Maine Lobster Tracks (vanilla ice cream with lobster-colored white chocolate cups filled with caramel and an eclair crunch swirl). Gifford’s ice cream has more than 100 flavours and most of the family recipes remain unchanged since the 1940s and use local ingredients for the flavours all of which they make in house!
Okay so I guess I missed the traditional Maine Baked Beans with Brown Bread from a can but I honestly haven’t eaten this dish ever. I’m so curious about that Brown Bread though! If you are in the area, one of the best things I did eat was Strawberry Short Cake from Beth’s. It was FaNFrickinTastic you guys! I’ll be going there every single visit to eat it and definitely buy their fresh cream because it’s so fresh and delicious. Alright, now I’m getting hungry!