Worth a return

In the Portland area to judge Down East magazine’s First Annual World’s Best Lobster Roll Competition, I spent a couple of nights at the Higgins Beach Inn. While the region has a surfeit of alluring Roadfood restaurants to explore, I did manage to fit in a couple of meals at Shade, the Inn’s restaurant. I am glad I did.

The best thing I ate was Shade’s lobster roll: a great pile of strapping pink meat just barely slick with mayonnaise heaped into a big, buttery (and butter-grilled) roll that is the same configuration as an ordinary Yankee split-top bun but is made of rich brioche dough. Deluxe … and delish! The roll is accompanied by crisp 3-bean salad and a pile of freshly-cut French fries that are flavorful, although lacking crisp edges. I followed the roll with a slice of blueberry cheesecake, which was quite alright.

For now, only guests of the Inn can have breakfast. House-made corned beef hash is unctuous shreds and chunks of briny meat with a few crisp edges, larded with soft potatoes: a satisfying plate of food, accompanied by hash browns, a pair of eggs, and toast. The breakfast menu also includes buttermilk pancakes, eggs Benedict, and cinnamon French toast.

Higgins Beach Inn is a charming old hostelry dating back to 1897, recently renovated and modernized but still featuring creaky wood floors that list with age. Dining facilities include an airy semi-al fresco porch. I look forward to returning for such dinner entrees as shellfish stew and haddock & chips with caper remoulade.

What to Eat
Shade, Lobster Roll
Lobster Roll
Impeccable lobster, sheathed in mayo, is piled into a crisp-edged buttery brioche roll.
Shade, French Fries
French Fries
Freshly-cut French fries are on the soft side, but pack mighty potato flavor.
Shade, 3-Bean Salad
3-Bean Salad
Crunchy, snappy, zesty 3-bean salad accompanies the lobster roll.
Shade, Smoked Local Seafood
Smoked Local Seafood
Smoked mussels, scallops, and shrimp pack big outdoorsy flavor. That's a ramekin of tarragon mustard sauce in back.
Shade, Blueberry Cheesecake
Blueberry Cheesecake
Red, white, and blue blueberry cheesecake
Shade, Corned Beef Hash
Corned Beef Hash
The guest breakfast menu includes succulent corned beef hash.
Directions and Hours
Meals Served
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Bob’s Clam Hut

    Kittery, Maine

    Maine shoreline summertime seafood, eat-in-the-rough style. Bob’s clam plates and clam rolls, scallops, shrimp, and lobster rolls are Yankee bests.

  • Marcy’s Diner

    Portland, Maine

    At the well-worn counter of Marcy’s Diner in Portland, Maine, tuck into hearty plates of corned beef hash, pancakes & chili cheese omelets. Good muffins, too.

  • Hodgman’s Frozen Custard

    New Gloucester, Maine

    Few sweet things are more satisfying on a warm summer day in Maine than a cool cone or cup of Hodgman’s freshly made frozen custard.

  • Rye Harbor Lobster Pound

    Rye, New Hampshire

    A minimal menu features lobster at its best, including sherry-scented lobster rolls and fluffy chowder, which is a swirl of butter, cream, and sweet crustacean.

  • Ice House

    Rye, New Hampshire

    For casual summertime food eaten under a sunny sky, a picnic table at The Ice House is the right spot: burgers, fried clams, chowder, & ice cream star.

  • Lobster Shack

    Cape Elizabeth, Maine

    Here is the most dramatic possible setting for lobster-eating – the water’s edge, framed by a pair of lighthouses at the entrance to Casco Bay, Maine.