A Taste of Bangor
Here is a sampler plate of good bets.
- By: Kathleen Fleury
From its crop of casual lunch spots to its new fine-dining destinations, Bangor has had a surprising culinary renaissance.
33 Central St. 207-947-1654.
This breakfast and lunch spot might be one of the cheapest places in the city to grab a bite. But the low prices don’t reflect the high quality of the grub. Simple, good food makes up the breakfast and lunch fare, from oatmeal and pancakes to the pizza pot pie or not-to-miss creamy tomato soup. The bagels are good, too, but this local favorite goes way beyond being just a bagel shop.
Bahaar Pakistani Food
23 Hammond St. 207-945-5979.
In the mood for something exotic? Bangor has several good ethnic restaurants, but this Pakistani joint is top of the list. The curries are always a safe choice, but try some of the traditional Pakistani dishes such as the vindaloo or biryani for a culinary adventure. Just remember to request your preferred level of spiciness on the restaurant’s one-to-ten scale.
The Fiddlehead Restaurant
84 Hammond St. 207-942-3336.
Run by two veterans of a former Bangor hotspot, New Moon, this relatively new fine-dining establishment is a low-key but sophisticated place for a nice dinner out. Water casually served in Mason jars is paired with top-notch creative and locally sourced food. Strongly consider whatever soup is on the menu, and whether you’re an herbivore or not, the vegetarian options.
21 Central St. 207-947-3770.
Franciscan friars Donald and Kenneth, dressed in robes, greet you at this humble bakery. Steal a quiet moment in the upstairs chapel — and have a tasty sweet. Whoopie pies are the most popular item. “They outsell everything three-to-one,” says Brother Donald. While there is no official menu, there are usually a couple soups and a sandwich for offer daily, plus several freshly baked breads and other goodies.
1 Central St. 207-947-3702.
Smack in the heart of downtown Bangor, this Italian-themed eatery — with an outdoor patio perfect for people-watching — offers casual Italian snacks, soups, and sandwiches. Stop in for a breakfast sandwich (many are named after local residents) or pick up a signature panini, such as the caprese with fresh tomato, cow’s milk mozzarella, and basil on rosemary focaccia. Formerly more of a market, Giacomo’s now focuses more on the café aspect, and is the only place in town offering Coffee By Design roasts, a great way to wash down the famous red velvet cupcakes.
735 Main St. 207-941-9480.
There’s no better place to brunch than this new restaurant, a reincarnation of the now closed Unbridled Bistro downtown. For twelve dollars you can get a farm-fresh meal and tea. Go for the savory smoked-trout hash or something sweet like baked French toast topped with chocolate. Brunch is only served in the off-season, October through the end of May, but the artsy bistro serves up similar creative cuisine for dinner throughout the year.
96 Hammond St. 207-945-5600.
For a Roman holiday of the culinary sort, treat yourself to this classy Italian establishment that serves high-end food in the tradition of Rome and the Lazio region of Italy. From pasta dishes to gourmet pizzas, oxtail to lamb chops, the food here is comforting, well-executed, and authentic. It’s a perfect place to share a bottle of wine with friends over a long, tasty meal.
Montes International Catering and Café
72 Columbia St. 207-945-3990.
If you’re aiming to picnic down by the river or in one of Bangor’s many parks, make sure you stop at Montes for provisions. This catering company and fifty-seat café, which has been around for more than a dozen years, offers gourmet dishes to go, along with a large variety of salads and sandwiches. Some of the more popular items from the wide-ranging menu include the Mediterranean salad and the veggie pizza melt.
Sea Dog Brewing Co.
26 Front St. 207-947-8009.
Grab a burger and a brew at this Maine brewery overlooking the Penobscot River. The large menu offers classic pub fare with a focus on Maine seafood and lots of kid-friendly choices. But it is all about the beer at this summer hangout, with more than eight house-made brews. A great way to taste all the different ales is with a sampler. And don’t forget the Sea Dog Root Beer for junior.
175 Exchange St. 207-945-5480.
More than ten years ago, the Rave family from South America opened this ambitious international restaurant that sits across from the Bank of America building. Ever since, it has been a go-to favorite of many a Bangor resident. Whether it’s paella from Spain or schnitzel from Bavaria, the dishes that come out of this practiced kitchen are delicious, whatever their heritage.
Zen Asian Bistro
128 Main St. 207-947-3030.
The owners of the very popular downtown restaurant Thai Siam recently opened this new bigger and brighter Asian restaurant a few blocks away. On the menu is a combination of Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes. A chic and comfortable interior design makes for a big-city feel — and a destination for date night. Plus it’s directly across from the Penobscot Theater Company, making it the perfect pre- or post-production stop.
- By: Kathleen Fleury