What It’s Like: Overlooking the Damariscotta River where it feeds into the Atlantic, this unpretentious spot—decked out with antique lobster buoys, hurricane lamps, and nautical paraphernalia—is a local favorite for its hit parade of seafood greats, and for its busy bar on the water’s edge. New owners took over in 2008 and made updates to its interiors (new coat of deck paint on its floors and wooden booths) and its menu (tuna sashimi), but most regulars will tell you it’s the Maine comfort food they want, and they’re just happy to get a seat.
What to Order: Many argue the merits of what makes a good New England clam “chowdah,” and here they hit all the right notes—creamy, smoky, and satisfying. The grilled haddock sandwich and freshly picked crab roll are also sure bets. For dessert, try the not-too-sweet homemade three berry pie a la mode.
Best Seat in the House: If the weather is good, nab a picnic table on the outside deck off the main dining room for the great views of the small working harbor, and your best chance of inhaling Maine’s intoxicating salt air.
Insider Tip: Visit for lunch during the week and you’ll be rewarded with a glimpse inside Hodgdon Yachts just across the water; if you’re lucky you may see one of its incredible multimillion-dollar vessels being assembled on the dry dock.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.