A Vegetarian's Guide to Bar Harbor, Maine
The land of moose, lighthouses, and lobster.
And did I mention lobster?
Being a vegetarian can be tough in the land of seafood. When my boyfriend and I took a weekend trip to Bar Harbor this summer, finding a place to eat proved to be the most stressful part of an otherwise relaxing getaway.
Take it from me, these are a couple of places in Bar Harbor that you are not going to want to miss:
Serving up food since 1974, Geddy's is a Bar Harbor staple. Don't get me wrong; Geddy's is very much a diehard lobster slinger. Their website even boasts about the 1.8 million lobsters they've served. But Geddy's is one of a select few restaurants in the area where you'll also find some delicious animal-free alternatives.
I ordered the margherita pizza and it was absolutely delicious. With house made crust, San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and sea salt this pizza is drool worthy. I ordered it with a side of fries (because duh) and my boyfriend asked for their cranberry ketchup which was a very interesting sweet sauce that packed a bit of a kick.
We also ordered a slice of wild Maine blueberry pie for our lunch dessert (it's a thing, ok?!) and it was one of the best things we ate the entire trip. In fact, we made a stop out at Wild Blueberry Land in Columbia Falls, ME after seeing it on WCVB Chronicle before heading home, and their pies — despite being served in a very kitschy blueberry shaped building — don't even come close to how delicious the pie was at Geddy's.
Among the vegetarian options I didn't order at Geddy's are guacamole & chips, french onion soup, taco salad that can be subbed for veggie meat, a quinoa grain bowl, a burrito that can be subbed for veggie meat, and the Bar Island veggie burger plus a handful of some very sweet dessert options. You can see the full menu for Geddy's here.
Side note: I'm not sure if this is just because we sat at the bar or what, but Geddy's also puts tiny plastic lizards in your drinks and it totally made my day. Plus, my boyfriend and I discovered our love for Roy Rogers here and now he orders them everywhere we go.
McKays Public House
Not only is McKays a beautiful restaurant with the ambiance to match, their food was so good that I have been dreaming of it since the day we left Maine.
I ordered the baked brie to start. It's a rich, melted brie topped with house hot pepper jelly and crushed pecans with sliced granny Smith apples and crostinis. It was amazingly gooey and the hot pepper jelly was a delicious yet unexpected twist. My boyfriend helped me finish this one and he was just as blown away as I was.
Then I ordered what could possibly be the best dinner I have ever had — the porcini sacchetti. The porcini mushroom-filled pasta is tossed with fresh tomatoes, fresh spinach, portobello & button mushrooms and finished with a thyme balsamic creme. Are you hungry yet? I mean, come on. It doesn't get more delicious than this. And it was absolutely worth the spinach teeth I had afterward.
You'll notice there's a startling lack of breakfast options in this post, which is surprising since breakfast is my favorite meal. I have to be honest, it's because we stopped at Dunkin' every morning we were there. What can I say? We're from Massachusetts.
Pitstop options for your drive North
If you're driving to Bar Harbor from the south, there are two places you should definitely consider stopping by on the way.
Otto Pizza in Portland is a must-have. We're lucky enough to have an Otto's here in Lynnfield, MA and we eat there more than I'd like to admit. My favorite pies are the mango-habanero cauliflower and the mushroom & roasted cauliflower, both of which I order with vegan cheese. They use Violife cheese which is one of my all-time favorites, so you really can't go wrong. I will caution my vegan friends that the mushrooms on the mushroom & roasted cauliflower pizza are sautéed in butter, so if you're more dedicated than I, you'll want to pass on the shrooms. They also serve Stubborn Soda at Otto Pizza which — from someone who doesn't drink soda almost ever — is so good. I recommend the agave vanilla cream soda while my boyfriend always opts for the black cherry tarragon.
Further north, in a small town of only 2,000 people called Hallowell, ME, is a pub called The Liberal Cup. I'll admit, I chose this restaurant partly because of the name and mostly because they had spinach artichoke dip on the menu. I love artichokes and am constantly on the hunt for a good dip. This one surely didn't let me down. With huge chunks of artichoke hearts and spinach baked in parmesan & cream cheese then served in a bread bowl, the only thing that makes this appetizer better is their home fried tortilla chips. So delicious. I also ordered the veggie burger which was unique in that it wasn't your typical black bean burger or the growingly-popular Beyond Burger but instead was home-made with potatoes, carrots, lentils, black beans and onions. Yum, yum, and more yum.
Outside of the delicious food, Maine is filled with views you just can't find anywhere else.
No matter where you decide to eat, I hope you all get a chance to visit Bar Harbor someday. After all, they do say Maine is "the way life should be!"
(Oh and if you're looking for a place to stay, I couldn't recommend this Airbnb more. It's in Surry, which is abut a 45-minute drive to Bar Harbor, but it was a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of our every day lives. Plus, it has a hot tub and the most beautiful high ceilings.)