Kennebunkport does not lack in stunning water views. Photos by Meg Williams.
Living in Ogunquit is like living on an island that I rarely leave unless I need to go shopping in Portsmouth. Every summer when I was growing up, my parents would take us on a big adventure 20 minutes north of our beach town to Kennebunkport for lunch and shopping. I loved walking around Dock Square from store to store because it was so different from Ogunquit’s small town center but also familiar.
Kennebunkport is like Ogunquit’s wealthier and bit more mature sibling. The coastal getaway is frequently visited by famous faces like actor Patrick Dempsey and Patriot’s owner Robert Kraft, and is home to Walker’s Point, the Bush family compound. It is known for its incredible beaches with fluffy white sand that are reminiscent of a tropical paradise. What it is not often given enough credit for is its booming culinary scene. Foodie tourists in Maine frequently pass by southern towns in search of Portland’s best restaurants. No one can argue that Portland is the king of food in Maine, but for being such a small town, Kennebunkport is definitely still in the race.
I was lucky enough to have an internship in Kennebunkport this summer that came with a lot of free food. It opened my eyes to the fact that many tourists are overlooking the quality of restaurants here. Since we are all reminiscing about summer with temperatures cooling off, I thought this would be the perfect time to share with you my perfect day of food in Kennebunkport.
Breakfast/Brunch: The Burleigh at the Kennebunkport Inn
The bright colors and attention to detail make The Burleigh an Instagram paradise. Photos by Olivia Hutchins (L+R) & Meg Williams (Center).
The launch of brunch at The Burleigh this past summer was highly anticipated by everyone who realized Kennebunkport was lacking in this weekend favorite meal. Diners can expect their visit to be up to NYC brunch standards with creative twists on breakfast classics. The menu offers Maine lobster benedict, griddled corn muffins, Narragansett burrata on local sourdough, a breakfast burger and everyone’s favorite, chicken and waffles. Keep your party rolling through the morning with a cocktail menu featuring strawberry rosé sangria, bellinis, bloodies, flavored mimosas and, for all the guys out there too shy to embrace the mimosa, the man-mosa made with prosecco, aperol and Miller High Life. In the summer, enjoy brunch on their floral patio and watch Dock Square come to life with shoppers. This is hands down the best way to start the day in Kennebunkport.
Lunch: The Boathouse
The waterfront views from The Boathouse make this my lunch pick every time I’m in town. Photos by Meg Williams.
The Boathouse is an undeniable crowd-pleaser. Whether you are craving fresh seafood, a juicy steak, fun small plates for the table or just a really great sandwich, The Boathouse has it all plus a waterfront view with indoor and outdoor dining. Having tried most of the menu, I can honestly say everything here is delicious when it doesn’t have to be. Many times restaurants in Maine with good views and good prices are a trap. The Boathouse breaks this stereotype with everything they offer. My personal favorites on the menu are Bob’s chicken wings, the grilled salmon, pork tenderloin (pictured above), crispy fried chicken sandwich and big fish sandwich. I always start with brussel sprouts coated in sriracha, honey and lime and bbq pork belly skewers with pickled papaya slaw. You can’t forget cocktails either. Their Mousam mojito and Parson’s painkiller are dangerously delicious. There is no possible way you can have anything less than a stellar lunch here. It’s a recipe for success that will keep you coming back on every trip.
Dinner: Earth at Hidden POnd
Dining at Earth is an experience well worth every penny. Photos by Meg Williams.
Perhaps the restaurant I was most taken aback by this summer was Earth at Hidden Pond. It’s a place I previously only heard about through listening to locals rave about the food and wishing they could dine with them more often. When I finally made it out to Hidden Pond, I could not believe the level of detail in every dish, craft cocktail and corner of the restaurant. It is a Maine masterpiece. The menu is ever-changing due to their reliance on locally sourced ingredients, many of them coming from their own gardens overlooking Hidden Pond. No stone goes unturned here when it comes to excellence. The ambiance is set by the dark, wood-covered interior illuminated with overhead industrial light bulbs and an upside down apple tree glistening with soft gold light. From the second you walk in to Earth, your experience will be unforgettable.