BAR HARBOR, MAINE
For as long as I can remember I’ve always had a fascination with Maine. I really don’t know why. I had never been until our trip a few weeks ago. I had just always dreamed of going. I imagined the most charming little towns set next to the water, gorgeous foliage as it changes during fall, cold breezes, lobster for days and quaint little dive bars where the community gathers to relax. This is exactly what it was in Bar Harbor. It was beyond perfection. My husband and I chose to go at the beginning of fall when the town is still active (everyone leaves once winter hits). It’s beautiful and the weather is cold which is such a nice departure from the still 90 degree weather in Texas. It’s cold but sunny which means boat rides and walks along the harbor are still completely dreamy.
Now, let’s be honest, another reason for choosing to visit Bar Harbor was definitely so we could get our hands on the BEST lobster in the world. I’m pretty much a lobster roll expert so this trip was no joke for me. There are two types of lobster rolls: Connecticut-style and Maine-style. Obviously I’m a Maine-style gal all the way although they are both delicious. The difference? Connecticut-style rolls are served warm and tossed with butter. Maine-style rolls are served cold and tossed with mayonnaise. The bun should be split top style and lightly grilled on both sides. YUM!
Full disclosure: I had lobster for EVERY single meal while we were in Bar Harbor. How could you not? Not only is it the most life-changing lobster but it is just so inexpensive in comparison to what we pay in Texas or anywhere else for that matter. The lobster roll in the pic above was THE BEST of the trip. I regret not going back before I left to have it one last time but I wanted to try as many different ones as possible. This little roll of heaven comes from the famous Stewman’s Lobster Pound. Piled up with so much lobster you would just lose your mind. I like a lot of mayo and this one doesn’t disappoint. Lobster in Maine has a sweeter, fresher taste so it’s important that that doesn’t get lost with too much lemon, mayo, seasoning or whatever and it doesn’t in this case. It all works perfectly! Just writing this is making me want to book our next trip. Amazing food and beautiful ocean front views that are not to be missed.
We spent a day out on a whale watching boat ride into the Atlantic and it was stunning. We saw whales, sharks, dolphins, puffins and more. This lovely lighthouse and the home beside it were also a beautiful part of the day. In person it just all looked like it was straight out of a painting.
Now back to the food! I don’t even know if I have enough words to describe to you how insanely delicious this lobster bisque was. I remember taking the first bite and looking over at my husband with wide eyes and almost confused as to how something could be this good. It was creamy and decadent. Topped with a small but hearty amount of fresh lobster on a garlic toast and drizzled with olive oil. You can find this stunning dish at Paddy’s Irish Pub which is part of the West Street Hotel. SO GOOD!
There is one dish that I din’t get to take a picture of that I wish I had because it was definitely worthy! I must have been too busy enjoying it. It was a lobster omelette from Testa’s Restaurant. Testa’s was our go-to for breakfast, everything was so good!
At this point in the trip I was still going strong, still committed to doing my “research” on the best lobster rolls. This one from Geddy’s made the cut. It was more simple than the one from Stewman’s but still really good. The flavors were more subtle but it had that nice balance of mayo and lobster. Again, piled up like crazy! The atmosphere at Geddy’s is fun. It’s loud, crowded and busy. The food is piled up high and the drinks are enormous. Win, win.
And now for one of the most romantic, beautiful, memory-making moments of the trip. We set out on a sail of the Atlantic at sunset. The scenery was breathtaking. Everyone was in complete awe of how amazing the whole experience was. There was live music on the boat, dogs were allowed (so cute!) and if you wanted you could bring along your own wine, champagne or beer. We stopped by a little store beforehand and scooped up a bottle of Veuve and two solo cups (best combo if you ask me) and went on to have the most beautiful evening sail.
The whole trip was magical. It was relaxing, easy and there was so much beauty in every direction. We can’t wait to go back.
Now I’m back in Austin and my lobster options are limited but they do exist. There’s not doubt there is a big difference between even the best spots in ATX to get lobster and those in Bar Harbor. How could there not be, right? There are 3 standout places in Austin for a nice lobster roll. All 3 are very different.
Let’s start with Dock & Roll: “The Maine Event” roll at D&R has a very bright, lemon based flavor to it. There is a little mayo in there but the lemon takes the lead.
Garbos: The Maine-style roll is smaller in size. There is a little mayo in there but it’s topped with some seasoning that tastes almost cajun flavored. The bun, although small, is a traditional split-topped grilled bun which I like.
Clark’s: My favorite of the Austin options. In comparison, this roll is larger than the others. It’s a Maine-style roll and you do get a decent amount of lobster in this roll. The flavors are all nicely balanced…nothing overpowers the lobster and that is how it should be. This roll is pricey, I’m not gonna lie.
It’s a little eye opening to come back from Maine where you can get pounds and pounds of fresh lobster for next to nothing. However, we live in Texas and we just don’t have access to that. If I’m looking for the closest thing to the best lobster in Bar Harbor then I’m probably going with Clark’s.