* The Black Birch (Kittery; www.theblackbirch.com tel. 207/703-2294 ): The rustic-adventurous gastropub that revitalized what is now one of New England’s hottest dining scenes, it’d make this list for the to-die-for poutine alone.
* Eventide Oyster Co. (Portland; www.eventideoysterco.com; tel. 207/774-8538): A hip, contemporary distillation of the sea-to-plate heritage that makes Maine dining special. And among the most nationally lauded restaurants in a town crowded with foodie delights.
* Duckfat (Portland; www.duckfat.com; tel. 207/774-8080): Not the fanciest menu on this list, but that’s part of what makes it great. Chef Rob Evans’ superb sandwiches, Belgian fries, and crème anglaise milkshakes are worth the long waits.
* Five Islands Lobster Co. (Georgetown; www.fiveislandslobster.com; tel. 207/371-2990): A classic Maine lobster shack, and you can’t beat the romance of Georgetown’s working harbor and the evergreen-speckled islands dotting the horizon. Or the freshness of the bugs, pulled out some of the state’s best lobstering grounds.
* Primo (Rockland; www.primorestaurant.com; tel. 207/596-0770): Melissa Kelly and Price Kushner create culinary magic on two floors of a century-old home at this storied Rockland bistro. Get out your credit card for fancy treatments of foie gras, scallops, duck, steak (and more) as well as outstanding desserts and a long, impressive wine list.