Have you eaten all the lobster and blueberry pie? Want something a little different on Mount Desert Island?

MDI has some great eating, year round and if you want a flavor that is from another land, you are in luck.  Believe it or not Mount Desert Island does have its share of ethnic food. Here’s the restaurants we know of and what we like at each one:

Chow Maine has Asian takeout with a healthy vibe; you can get their stuff in local grocery stores or at their takeout spot in Trenton, Maine (open seasonally).

Chinese: China Joy, Bar Harbor

While the inside of this restaurant is low on ambiance, China Joy has your standard Chinese food offerings. They do have lobster lo mein (in season) but the rest of it you can find on just about any menu. Split a volcano bowl with your friends or enjoy some beef teriyaki, won ton soup, or any of your other American style Chinese favorites. These folks do get points for being being open year round, though they are closed for a swath of time at some point in the winter (2-3 months).

Indian: Royal Indian, Bar Harbor

Opened in May 2019, this is in the same building Morning Glory Bakery was in and it is utterly unrecognizable inside. Locals and tourists seem to love this spot. There is a good sized menu: enough to have a variety of dishes but not so big that it’s overwhelming. I got something with jackfruit in it the last time I was there (just to try it) and it was great. Having spent $30, I left with enough leftovers for lunch the next day (Note: I didn’t have any alcohol on that tab.) They say they’ll be open year round but time will tell, in any case it’s always nice when businesses try to make the commitment.


Thai and Japanese: Siam Orchid, Bar Harbor

When you go to small towns, you have restaurants like Siam Orchid which try to fit our needs. This place has been open year round at least since the 11 years I lived on  MDI and has your standard Thai fare (pad thai, spring rolls, etc.) and also a small sushi bar where you can get maki rolls and sashimi and a few Japanese appetizers (ex: shumai, seaweed salad). They have indoor and outdoor seating. I will say I’ve seen insiders get tables there and served cool things not even on the menu. In other words, it seems like this restaurant rewards its regulars, which I think is pretty cool. Great for takeout too.

Asian: Chow Maine, Trenton

Chiaolin and Ken who run this place are super nice people who have created healthy Asian style food in batch form without losing quality. You might have seen their pre-packaged food at the local Hannaford (and a few other places) but they also have a little take out spot open seasonally on the Bar Harbor Road in Trenton. I love the tofu/kale salad with some kind of delicious dressing but they also have dumplings, spring rolls, and other healthy takes on Asian dishes. They are all vegetarian in terms of their kitchen but you probably won’t even miss the meat the dishes are so hearty, filling, and fresh tasting.

Italian: Mama Dimatteo’s, Bar Harbor and La Bella Vita, Bar Harbor

If you want to go to a traditional Italian restaurant, Mama Dimatteo’s is it. Open year round, Mamas somehow feels dimly lit and cozy in terms of a vibe and I know lots of people go there for a good happy hour wine. They do have all the traditional dishes you can think of (eggplant parmesan, fettuccine alfredo, etc.) and they are right in downtown Bar Harbor. They do have some parking but find a parking spot downtown and use the excuse as you stroll back to your car to get ice cream?

If you are looking for a more Italian modern, La Bella Vita at Harborside has indoor and outdoor seating at one of Bar Harbor’s resorts. They do have brick oven pizza and their menu is decidedly fancy (you’ll feel super classy as you try to pronounce the Italian dishes) But if you are looking for more overlooking-a-resort-pool ambiance and cocktails made with things like ‘fresh pressed Persian limes’, this might be your speed.

Mexican: Jalapeno’s Mexican Cantina, Bar Harbor and XYZ, Southwest Harbor

Much like the Italian offerings, with Mexican food you have two different ambiances to pick from.

Jalapenos is in downtown Bar Harbor. Owned by Fish Maine (a locally owned restaurant group with several other restaurants like Bar Harbor Beerworks and Fish House Grill),  you’ll notice a similar vibe at this restaurant: laid back, indoor and outdoor seating options, and a good sized menu with a little something for everyone. Sitting at the bar drinking margaritas, you are guaranteed to meet at least one interesting person. Note: they have lots of kinds of tequila if you like that sort of thing.

XYZ Restaurant is the more simple, fresh style of Mexican food. Made with local ingredients, everything except bread and tortillas are made on site. Their margaritas are unique and made with the same recipe as those at the Hotel Mexico in Xalapa and the recipes are from the owners who travelled for years in Mexico… so while you can’t get a deep fried tamale here, you will have something pretty authentic, right down to the four kinds of Mexican beer and flan.

In short, Mount Desert Island might have your Maine coast staples but increasingly, also something a little bit different than that in the best way. Did we forget any of your favorite spots for food from around the world right here on MDI?



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