Nestled in Central Maine, about 1 hour northwest of Portland, Maine, is the adorable town of Bridgton. With a population of less than 5,000 people and lots of snowbirds (or summerbirds) that come and go, this little gem has some great and sometimes surprising food all about! Since a lot of restaurants are closed or open only during the summertime, this list is for what’s usually open in the winter time (OFF-SEASON) – my visit in particular was during March 2021. Make sure to check the restaurant facebooks for the most up-to-date information on hours, especially during the winter season!
Key = Cuisine | $ = Under $10, $$ = $10-20, $$$ = $20-30, $$$$ = >$30 | Recommended Dish
- Beth’s Kitchen Cafe (American | $ | Famous Reuben vs. Hot Ham vs. The Cubano) – Hands down the most recommended place in Bridgton. Open everyday from 7-3, the upstairs area is great for a socially distanced rendezvous or downstairs for a casual cup of coffee. Try their personal pizzas or tasty pastries. If you’re lucky, you may catch one of their daily changing specials like the Tenderloin Benedict (!!!).
- Chao Thai (Thai | $$ | Chao Thai Fried Rice vs. Salmon Panang) – Huh? Thai food, in Central Maine? That’s right! Authentic Thai food in between North Conway and Portland, Maine. Hailing from Northern Thai (I asked), Chao brings a unique element of Thai flare to this little town. Check the Trip Advisor and it’s easy to see, travelers have Chao’s place on their list of regular pit stops. Note: Sometimes runs out of certain dishes, prices seen online all increased $1 since COVID-19, hours are not always right online.
- Black Horse Tavern (American | $$$ | Baked Stuffed Haddock) – The best single word I heard to describe this place was, “Consistent.” Judging by the constantly full parking lot in a town of 5000, I definitely believe this. The outside is super classy and you really can’t go wrong with the food. The Baked Stuffed Haddock is their signature item and i can definitely see why, it was flaky, zesty and filled with the perfect ratio of crab to bread crumbs to other stuffing things.
- Standard Gastropub (American | $$ | Double Standard + Small Fries – Thanks to Laurel for the recommendation) – Doesn’t the name just say it all? Founded by a man trained in architecture in an abandoned gas station, the food is simple and amazing, the beer selection is robust. Whether it’s the fried chicken, the ‘standard’ burger or the large brew selection, definitely a great destination in Bridgton (Article in Maine. the Magazine)
- Ruby Food (Chinese | $ | D12 or A12) – Spicy? Tasty? MSG? Yes to all 3! The last one, we’re not super happy about, but at least they’re forthcoming on the Menu. Whatever it is, the food is definitely tasty. Get the pork fried rice and you won’t regret it. But make sure you take a deep breath before looking at the menu, the endless items can be very overwhelming.
- Bridgton House of Pizza [BHOP] (American/Greek | $ | Gyro… Yes, Gyro) – Obviously from the name, the Pizza is probably great. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you it’s definitely the best in Bridgton. BUT, little known secret I happened upon by talking to some locals was that the owners are Greek so you should definitely try the Gyro! Love insider secrets like that.
- (Naples) The Galley (American/Seafood | $$ | Obviously the Lobster Roll, but if that’s not in season, try the Crab Roll) – Not really much to say other than, they are known for their Lobster Roll! If you can’t get that, the menu is steaming with other great seafood finds such as the Crab Roll or the Seafood Pasta.
- Mack’s Place (Seafood/American | $$ | Matty’s Lobster Roll) – Well, you definitely have to be skeptical of places that have lobster rolls out of season out here. Mack’s is a good place to go if you have that CRAVING and you just can’t wait a couple weeks or months. So many different choices. May not be the best of the best, but when you’re in a pinch, definitely a good place to satisfy some of the urges until you can get very fresh lobster in season!
- Campfire Grill (American | $$ | “I eat everything on the Menu.” – AD (Bridgton Local)) – So, this is one of the places in town that all the locals know super well and has lots of regulars. Of course, when I was around there was a St. Patrick’s Day special for the week so, I had to try it! Featured in this picture is the Irish Corned Beef Dinner, definitely worth a taste if you’re around.
- (Fryeburg) 302 West Smokehouse & Tavern (BBQ | $$ | Burnt End Platter – HANDS DOWN) – I ran out of places to eat during winter in Bridgton and Naples, so I headed West to Fryeburg passing by Saco River Brewing, at the recommendation of locals from the hospital, and found this amazing gem. They’re known for the Burnt End (Brisket) Platter and it does NOT disappoint! Definitely one of the best things i’ve ever eaten. Would come back again just go to here.
Breakfast Spots (Since i’m not a big breakfast person they don’t make my top 10): Ricky’s Diner, Morning Glory
Nearby Naples Spots: Knight’s Cafe, Marie’s Kitchen, Gabby’s Roadhouse BBQ, Gary’s Olde Towne Tavern
Other Food Hotspots: Bavarian Chocolate Haus, Happy Valley Popcorn Co., A La Mexicana, KJ’s Pizza
Closed for the Season: Vivo Italian, Venezia Ristorante, Maine Lobster Express, The Gazebo, Sammy’s Scoops
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