With so many perennial favorites for dining in Kennebunk's Dock Square and Lower VIllage, it can be hard to break from routine and try a new restaurant. Why risk missing out on fish tacos at Pedro's, cocktails on the deck at the Arundel Wharf or Bandaloop's mac and cheese in the name of an unknown? Several new restaurants have opened up in town recently, and we've done the legwork for you. Here's three new restaurants in the Kennebunks worth a visit:
Any visitor to Dock Square has noticed the 125-foot schooner parked in the river behind the Pilot House. Its retrofit from sailing vessel to bar/restaurant has taken a while, but the hatches are finally open, welcoming diners and drinkers who fancy themselves a bit nautical. Sit topside at the bar and enjoy a speciality cocktail or a local draught beer or dine down below, where the cabins have been fitted with cozy booths. Naturally, fresh seafood dominates the menu; start with local oysters on the half shell and don't miss the small plates of fish crudo or poke.
Longtime visitors to the Kennebunk area will remember Kennebooks, the town's only independent new bookstore. While we mourned its closing, diners can rejoice that the space is now in the capable hands of Chef Shannon Bard's team. Bard and her husband Tom run the upscale Mexican eatery Zapoteca Restaurante y Tequileria in Portland, and Shannon once won the Food Network's Kitchen Inferno competition. Her newest project, Toroso, is a Spanish-inspired tapas restaurant. Fans of international food will love the Mediterranean dishes like seared calamari with black crab rice and caramelized Spanish goat cheese with pistachios and a sherry reduction.
Located right on the main drag of Lower Village, Ports of Italy opened last year, serving Italian fare that's more than your typical red sauce joint. Chef German Lucarelli has lived all over the world and brings his international culinary skills to the menu, focusing on handmade pastas, breads, and Neapolitan pizza. The antipasto misto makes for a nice starter, with cold cut meats, cheeses, olives, and peppers served over grilled flatbreads. For those looking to enjoy Maine lobster, the spaghetti with a 1-1/4 pound of lobster meat, tomatoes, and basil will hit the spot.