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Updated: February 9, 2024

Two Maine restaurants bask in national spotlight

Restaurant interior Courtesy / Earth at Hidden Pond Earth at Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport is the only Maine restaurant on OpenTable’s list of America’s 100 most romantic restaurants.

Maine's culinary cachet is making national headlines again, with two restaurants — including one that hasn't yet opened for business — touted on prominent go-to lists. 

With less than a week before Valentine's Day, OpenTable's list of "America's Top 100 Romantic Restaurants" features Earth at Hidden Pond, in Kennebunkport. It is the only Maine eatery on the list.

"Earth promises a once-in-a-lifetime meal that will leave you wanting more," OpenTable says in its description of the restaurant. It's "nestled amongst balsam and birch trees," the write-up reads, and "founded on a philosophy that cherishes community and connects excellent food to the farmers and foragers who provide its resources."

The review goes on to praise the eatery's "basic yet innovative food" grounded in farm-to-fork freshness.

Among other New England states, New Hampshire has one venue on the list and Rhode Island and Connecticut each have two, while Massachusetts and Vermont failed to make the cut.

The list was compiled following an analysis of more than 12 million diner reviews on the reservation website. Metrics included ratings and the percentage of restaurant reviews tagged by diners as "romantic."

The Earth at Hidden Pond is owned by the Kennebunkport Resort Collection.

“We are honored to be recognized as leaders in the culinary industry in Kennebunkport,” said Justin Grimes, regional managing director of Kennebunkport Resort Collection. “The team at Earth comes in each day prepared to present guests with a unique experience, and being recognized by OpenTable as the most romantic restaurant in Maine is a great affirmation of the hard work they put in every day.”

For Valentine’s Day this year, Earth is offering a special four-course pre-fixe menu for $100 per person and five courses for $115 from Feb. 14-18. Dessert options include flourless chocolate cake, doughnuts with sassafras and sarsaparilla, and key lime pie with raspberry coulis and Chantilly cream. (And as of Friday morning, reservations were still available.) 

Find the full OpenTable list here.

Portland Foreside's coming attraction 

The other restaurant grabbing national attention this week is Douro, an all-day eatery scheduled to open this summer on Portland's eastern waterfront as a "love letter to the fishermen, oyster farms and seafaring peoples of the Atlantic Coast."

Months before opening its doors at 110 Thames St. in the Portland Foreside neighborhood, Douro is featured on the Robb Report list of "The 18 Most Hotly Anticipated Restaurant Openings in America This Year."

Restaurant kitchen
File photo / Tim Greenway
Twelve Executive Chef Colin Wyatt at work in the kitchen.

Twelve Executive Chef Colin Wyatt will also lead Douro, where he'll create "an all-day spot with a focus on the region's outstanding seafood," according to the luxury lifestyle magazine. Wyatt previously worked at New York’s DANIEL and Eleven Madison Park.

Twelve is owned and operated by the Prentice Hospitality Group, whose other hospitality holdings include Evo Kitchen + Bar, the Chebeague Island Inn, House Island, Cape Elizabeth's Good Table and a catering company called 58 Culinary.

Portland Foreside developer Casey Prentice told his followers on LinkedIn that he is humbled to have Douro featured in the Robb Report list. He also said he is "super-excited for Douro to join Twelve and Bard Coffee down on Portland Foreside."

Prentice was honored on the Mainebiz 40 Under 40 list in 2023. 

At Douro, Wyatt will be assisted by Pastry Chef Georgia Macon, while the interior will be designed in collaboration with Patrick Boothe, director of Woodhull Commercial Studio.

The restaurant will offer European-influenced seafood with a large selection of wines by the glass, classic cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages. Ties between Portuguese and Maine aquaculture will be reflected in the menu, design and wine offerings, according to a spokeswoman for the Prentice Hospitality Group.

Find the Robb Report's full list of 2024's most anticipated restaurant openings here

Editor's note: Story updated with further details about Douro.

Street shot exterior
Photo / Renee Cordes
Douro restaurant, set to open this summer along Thames Street on the Portland waterfront, made the Robb Report's list of the "18 Most Hotly Anticipated Restaurant Openings in America This Year."

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