11 Distinctive Inns…One High Standard
The Rock Coast area is made up of three small coastal towns, Camden, Rockland, and Rockport. Though our community has only 15,000 residents, we have a hunger for great food, fantastic restaurants and a passion for sustainable agriculture that rivals any urban area. But, unlike many waterfront communities, the Rock Coast is open year-round and with miles of coastline, world-class museums, and year-round activities. We have over 90 restaurants and six James Beard Semifinalist and Award winning restaurants.
Here’s a sampling of a few noteworthy restaurants that have helped make Camden and the Rock Coast area a true “foodie” destination.
Long Grain – (Chef Ravin Nakjaroen: JBF 2017 Best Chef: Northeast Semifinalist , JBF 2018 Best Chef: Northeast Semifinalist, JBF 2020 Best Chef: Northeast Semifinalist) – For quite some time he dreamed of starting a locavore Asian restaurant. In 2009, Long Grain opened its doors in the beautiful seaside town of Camden, Maine. Long Grain calls its cuisine “honest food” meaning they use seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, no inconvenient truths here. Although many consider Long Grain a Thai restaurant, their dishes are inspired by many different Asian cuisines and cultures. Thai and Vietnamese street food, fare served in small eateries in Singapore and meals on dinner tables in Indonesia and Japan can all be found here.
Primo – Chef Melissa Kelly (only two-time female chef JBF winner) – After 20 seasons, numerous awards, recognitions and two other locations, Primo — in Rockland Maine — has matured into what Chef Melissa Kelly calls a “Full Circle Kitchen…” the ultimate farm to table experience.
What started with a garden, a few hens and a couple of pigs has now become an evolution of food; an endless pursuit to accomplish more. Primo is much more than a restaurant, it is about love and respect for food. It is also about creativity. Produce is grown and harvested here and the animals are raised on the property. Nothing is wasted – everything has its place. It is a continuous cycle that occurs throughout the restaurant with the kitchen, the animals, and the gardens.
Fresh & Co. – In 2014 Steven Steeves and Rada Valkova, took over the existing business on 1 Bayview Landing in Camden, Maine. Fresh believes in comfortable settings with no pretentious elements, in honest, interesting and fulfilling food, in ingredients that are more important than recipes, in honoring the farmer and the fisherman, in treating our staff as family, in an informal but sophisticated service, in having fun! Fresh takes inspiration from their roots, travels, and experiences. After Steve’s passing in 2020, Rada and family have continued Steve’s vision of a globally inspired and locally sourced restaurant.
Peter Ott’s – After earning his Bachelor’s degree at Guilford College in North Carolina, owner Peter Masin-Peters found himself returning to his hometown of Camden. Spending most of his childhood immersed in local restaurants and cafes where his father was a chef, being in the kitchen felt like a natural progression for his career. In 2006, he purchased Peter Ott’s and took over as chef. Over a decade later, Peter can still be found in the restaurant on a nightly basis, either behind the line or stepping out to the dining room to greet his patrons.
Waterfront – The Waterfront balances the basics with the innovative styles of cooking, bringing goodness to your table. Waterfront buys from area fishermen and farmers, hire the local kids, and stay open year round as a place for the winter hardy to gather by the fireplace.
Visit Waterfront and experience a restaurant that has been part of the mid coast for thirty five years!
Franny’s Bistro – A local neighborhood restaurant serving delicious food with a warm inviting atmosphere.
Franny’s Bistro believes that each meal is an emotional experience, sparking sights, smells, and sounds from one’s personal memories.
Marriners – A local institution for years and years. A great place for a casual lunch with great hamburgers, chowder, salads, and more.
But, life isn’t always tablecloths, crystal, and china. Grab a lobster roll at one of the many lobster shacks, like McLoons Lobster Shack, or a sandwich to go at Camden Deli for your day’s excursions. From fancy to casual, with over 90 restaurants there’s something for every palate and every budget.