If you are ever in Bar Harbor, Maine and need a special occasion restaurant, The Reading Room is the place to dine. Part of the Bar Harbor Inn, the Reading Room restaurant is in the curved section jutting out from the main building and sits atop a grassy lawn that slopes down to the harbor. Large windows provide diners with spectacular water views.
The Reading Room is a restaurant with a history. In 1887, it was newly incorporated as the Mount Desert Reading Room, a center of social activities during the summers before World War I. In 1933, the Shore Club was organized to allow guests at local hotels the use of club facilities. After a fire of 1947 destroyed Bar Harbor’s fine old hotels, a small hotel was built to attract visitors back to the area.
We chose the Reading Room to celebrate our 19th anniversary dinner and had a couple of breakfasts as well during our stay.
Request a window table for great views of the water dotted with all size of watercraft from lobster boats, sailboats, a windjammer to huge cruise ships. Enjoy the Lobster Eggs Benedict or Cinnamon-Apple Crêpes with Maine Maple Cream with Applewood smoked bacon (or choose from country sausage, vegetarian sausage or grilled Virginia ham). Another morning, sample the Wild Maine Blueberry Stuffed French Toast with a layer of sweetened cream cheese and wild Maine blueberry preserves, served with Maine maple syrup, butter and bacon. Get your daily dose of vitamin C with fresh squeezed orange juice.
A long afternoon hike near Eagle Lake earned the right to partake of a rich dinner. The elegant atmosphere made for much needed pampering. My husband had Asparagus Strudel filled with toasted walnuts and gruyere cheese accompanied by field greens and balsamic glaze for his appetizer and the Lobster Pie entree. I made a meal of appetizers, a good way to get a mix of tastes from the menu. I ordered the Asparagus Strudel after I saw my husband’s as well as Butternut Squash soup and a third app of Duck with blackberry Cabernet sauce and sweet potato puree. Good service completed the satisfying dining experience and made for a special evening.
Make sure to order their famous blueberry pie served with vanilla ice cream. It’s probably the best pie in Bar Harbor with it’s slightly sugared crust and mouthwatering Maine blueberry filling.
It is a bit pricey, but well worth it for a special occasion. Despite the fancy decor, dress is casual since it is part of a hotel.
Thanks for this review, Jeanette. We have stayed at the Bar Harbor Inn a couple of times, but have not eaten at the Reading Room. The Butternut Squash soup is of particular interest, as well as the lobster eggs benedict. We have eaten at Galyn’s (great prime rib and lobster rolls) and Stewman’s Lobster Pound (Barack Obama at there) but will definitely try the Reading Room some day.
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