The best place for a date night in these parts (and I have dated in most of them), 18 Central is in a stately 1891 Romanesque Revival building, a romantic dining room with high tin ceilings and lots of rich wood and a big raw bar in the middle of it. But the best seats in the house, in season, are on the small deck out back, with postcard views of little Rockport harbor, full of sailboats and lobsterboats at their moorings. The menu is simple and emphasizes farm to table ingredients and consistent preparation on a wood-fired grill: nice hunks of bluefin tuna or halibut, a barbecued half-chicken, a terrific house burger with roquefort on brioche. The cocktail menu is more esoteric and big on Maine-distilled liquors. Oysters come predominantly from the Damariscotta River, with some other Maine varieties to keep things interesting. Get a deck table and slurp them until the moon comes up over the harbor.
Camden, ME› Restaurant
18 Central Oyster Bar & Grill
18 Central St., Rockport
Our Rating Neighborhood Rockport Hours Thurs–Mon 5pm–9pm. Reservations highly recommended Phone 207/466-9055 Prices Dozen oysters $36; entrees $20–$38 Cuisine Type Raw Bar/Gourmet American Web site 18 Central Oyster Bar and Grill
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