Fore Street has emerged as one of northern New England’s most celebrated restaurants. Chef Sam Hayward routinely pops up in magazines like Saveur and Food & Wine, his restaurant was often in Gourmet’s 100 Best, and so forth. Hayward’s secret is simplicity: local and organic ingredients are used where possible, and the kitchen avoids fussy presentations. The dining space centers around a busy open kitchen where a team of chefs constantly stoke the wood-fired brick oven and grill, which feature prominently in the culinary philosophy here. The menu changes nightly, but entrees might run to spit-roasted pork loin, grilled duckling, grilled marinated hanger steak, or a piece of pan-seared bluefish; the wood-roasted mussels are also a big hit. Finish with a dessert such as chocolate soufflé, hand-dipped chocolates, or gelati—these are often accented in summer by seasonal Maine berries or fruits. Though it can be difficult to snag a reservation here on summer weekends, management always sets aside a few tables each night for walk-ins. Get there early and grab one.