Natural beauty abounds in southern Maine, often rivaling even the local New England cuisine. Luckily for visitors there are a host of gourmet restaurants, from elegant, oceanfront dining experiences to quaint countryside kitchens, that embrace both.
From the seaside village of York to the bustling city of Portland, here are a few of our favorite eateries offering great food with exquisite views at and around Cliff House.
Photo: Kennebunkport Resort Collection; David's KPT
21 Ocean Avenue, Kennebunkport
Highlighting native Maine ingredients and fresh seafood, David’s KPT pairs some of the best contemporary cuisine in southern Maine with stunning views of the Kennebunk River. The elegant restaurant, opened by acclaimed Portland chef David Turin and located in The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel, features floor-to-ceiling windows, an intimate deck draped in string lights, and Kennebunkport’s only raw bar. On the menu, creative dishes such as scallop and shrimp skewers, blackened filet mignon, and Cajun pizza beckon.
Photo: Dean Blotto Grey; The Well at Jordan's Farm
21 Wells Road, Cape Elizabeth
122 acres of verdant farmland set the stage for a beautiful dining experience at The Well. Using ingredients fresh from the farm that day, Chef Jason Williams crafts simple, delicious meals for diners to enjoy in the farm field or in one of the enchanting gazebos. Before dinner, you can even gather your own flowers from the garden (for a small donation) or enjoy the tranquil ambiance of the farm from around the fire pit. Water and iced tea are provided, but otherwise you should plan to bring your own beverages.
*Open seasonally from June 1 – October 15.
Photo: Portland Lobster Company
180 Commercial Street, Portland
In the heart of the Old Port, the classic lobster shack with a view is Portland Lobster Company. The casual seafood restaurant overlooks Portland Harbor and the city’s working fishing boats, and during the season, succulent steamed lobster, clam chowder, and baskets of delicious fried food are on the menu. The patio regularly hosts live local music and was recently named the best in the city by The Portland Phoenix Best of 2016 (one of the restaurant’s three wins along with best lobster roll and best place to take out-of-towners).
*Open seasonally beginning in early May.
591 Shore Road, Cape Neddick
Spectacular sunrises and all-day panoramas of the Atlantic and surrounding cliffs await at The Tiller, located inside Cliff House. The elegant, coastally inspired restaurant stays true to Maine with farm-fresh local produce, line-caught fish, and homemade recipes passed down through generations. If you are having trouble choosing between delectable entrées like the lobster hash, Maplebrook Farm burrata, or wood roasted oysters, opt for the Chef’s Taste Series – a three-course tasting menu served weekly Tuesday through Thursday.
231 Front Street, South Portland
Catch a spectacular view of the marina and the Portland city skyline at Saltwater Grille, a classic restaurant with a seriously creative menu. There are seafood favorites like lobster fettuccini, the perfectly seared Front Street flat iron, and a variety of mussels and fries with toppings from bacon, kale, and beer to roasted corn salsa and chorizo cream. Take your seat on the deck beneath an umbrella to enjoy the peaceful waterfront setting with a cocktail.
Photo: Dockside Restaurant
22 Harris Island Road, York
A scenic drive along York River will lead you to Dockside Restaurant, a seasonal outpost offering spectacular views of the harbor and the Atlantic. The gourmet fare highlights seafood and New England specialties such as pan seared diver scallops and seared beef tournedos with merlot demi-glace, shallots, and wild mushrooms – all made using local, organic ingredients. On a pleasant day, enjoy a salad or sandwich on the patio surrounded by greenery.
*Open seasonally beginning May 14.
Photo of Diamond's Edge Restaurant used with permission- courtesy of Hotels Inc.
1 Diamond Avenue, Portland
Just a short boat ride from downtown Portland is Great Diamond Island, home to Diamond’s Edge Restaurant and Marina. The beautiful waterfront eatery is rich in history, having formerly been the site of an artistic retreat and, later, the historic Fort McKinley. The classic dining room and deck overlook the calm waters of Diamond Cove, and you can even choose to dine on the lawn just steps from the water’s edge. On the menu, choose between favorites such as Maine crab cakes and summer vegetable strudel, and don’t forget the side of lobster garlic smashed potatoes.
*Open seasonally beginning in spring.
Photo: DiMillo's On the Water
25 Long Wharf, Portland
At DiMillo’s On the Water, you don’t just have fantastic views of Portland Harbor – you are actually dining in a floating restaurant in Portland Harbor. Transformed from an old ferry in 1982, the traditional seafood restaurant is a dining experience unlike any other. You can see the water from every table, whether you are indoors or dining on the dock. And although the restaurant is known for its famous lobster dinners, there are also great fresh seafood dishes like the creamy crab risotto and the miso-glazed salmon over ginger sesame bok choy.