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“A plus for Primo” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Primo

2 South Main Street, Rockland, ME 04841
207 596 0770
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Ranked #5 of 78 Restaurants in Rockland
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: Italian, Mediterranean
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Dinner, Reservations, Delivery, Late Night, Dessert
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Description: Italian and Mediterranean inspired menu...James Beard Award winning Chef Melissa Kelly prepares Farm to Table Cuisine in a restored farmhouse. 4 Acres of kitchen gardens, heritage pigs & chickens supply the restaurant with the freshest ingredients. Primo is both a gem to our local clientele as well as a culinary destination for food lovers in search of casually elegant dining. Supporting local and sustainable farms & businesses. Creative & seasonal cocktails, artisanal breads, handmade pastas, gelato and much more. Sundays and Thursdays come for $1 oyster night at the bar or join us for our small plates menu at our new Antipasti Counter. WE HAVE 40-50 SEATS AVAILABLE FOR GUESTS DROPPING IN WITHOUT RESERVATIONS.....THERE IS ALWAYS A PLACE !!! Private Salon on the second floor for up to 14 guests or reserve one of the original parlor rooms. Make a reservation or feel free to drop in to our lounge area.
New York City, New York
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“A plus for Primo”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2013

Our third marriage-anniversary experience at Primo (total is actually 37 years!) was very pleasant, with food we felt was excellent and service very good, friendly and helpful. We had an early reservation and actually spent two and a half hours at table, with no hurrying us off until the end when our waitress, understandably considering the lines waiting, made visible the check which we hadn't seen under the dessert cookies. The appetizer of pate was interesting and tasty, if a bit too much a melange of sweet and savory. I liked the duck bolognese which to my taste was adequately seasoned; my husband a special of a veal chop which was the thickest we've ever seen - and as a special not priced so we were a bit taken aback when we got the check (close to $50!). The white sangria for me a very refined version of the usual stuff, without added sugar and just fruits - a nice summer drink! The final sorbets were also excellent, especially the lemoncello flavor.

We are Manhattanites, and while some may take us to be snobs, we are no longer amongst the hoards of young people there who will spend any amount of money on the newer and incredably loud restaurants which are written up in the NY Times. So for us Primo remains a splurge and yes, it is indeed pricy, but at least once a year well worth the reservations! An early evening one might forestall the later noise which we're told can happen on a busy night.

Linda from Greenwich Village

  • Visited August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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505 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Korean first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
18 reviews 18 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Consistently excellent- from a repeat diner”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2013

We ate at Primo six or seven times this spring and summer, which is typical for us over the past five years. We have also eaten there in the fall and in December, which is much calmer, but we have found that they handle things well in the crush season for the most part. Yes, there is a glitch from time to time in the service, but that is true for most busy places where humans work. But in our experience the service deserves a consistent A rating as does the food. Do we absolutely love every morsel that goes in our mouth? Just about, yes. But although most everything is outstanding, there is- once in every five visits so - one dish that is just average. And one time out of about 40 that I have eaten there a dish was badly was over salted, and the service that night was very slow (they were short-handed because of some no-shows early in the season).

But one off night every now and then will not change the fact that Melissa Kelly is one of the best chefs in the country, and the place usually runs like clockwork. We certainly have not seen a decline in the service OR the food over time, nor have our friends and family who have eaten there. And hearing the long list of specials is entertainment for us, and we enjoy pondering our choices and asking lots of questions, which are always patiently answered.

Lastly, if you want to order off the bar menu (which is fantastic and something of a bargain for a place like this) - sit in the bar. Think about it- they stock and prepare the bar food for a certain number, and if they have to make exceptions for anyone eating in the main area who wants special favors, they may run out for people sitting in the bar.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Tampa, Florida
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2013

Perhaps we should have had dinner at Primo before we dined at Natalie's. The food is not the issue here, although a bit too rustic for our taste and my bronzino was way over seasoned. The issue is the service, clearly at Primo it is all about getting as many people through the restaurant as possible. We understand, the season is short. The result is a rushed service, no attention for the guests, not even a friendly welcome or goodbye. We don't care how wonderful the food is, if the esstiantials of hospitality are not met, you somehow failed as a restaurant.

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huntington, New York
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Terrible Management - Won't Be Back”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2013

It's a sad, sad day. I've had a love affair with Primo since 2007. A group of us travel to Rockland at least once a year and a highlight of our vacation is an over-the-top meal at Primo. Unfortunately this one ended with 8 of us leaving at the suggestion of "manager" Brice who seemed to care nothing about customer service or human decency.

Unbeknownst to us, the trouble began on May 7 when my husband made our reservation via Open Table and using the notes section, advised Primo of the size of our party (8) and our request for the private farm table upstairs. When we called the day before to confirm our July 28 reservation, we were told that we were confirmed for 6 and they did not have us at the farm table. The woman graciously told us she would see what she could do and would call us back. We heard from her the following day a few hours before our 6pm reservation to let us know they have secured our desired table. We were thrilled.

We showed up a few minutes early and were told our table wasn't ready and we could wait outside "where the air was fresh." My friends got the impression that we were being treated a bit strangely as everyone else was invited up to the bar to have a pre-dinner cocktail. I chalked it off (naively) to a hectic night. I was soon to be proven wrong.

We were shown upstairs by a woman in a long skirt (glasses & a bun) who sternly directed other patrons out of her way. Our waitress came and randomly took drink orders 2 or 3 at a time, leaving the table in between for 5 - 10 minute stints. She eventually served all except one of our party, forgetting her completely.

The downhill slide continued when we asked to see the counter menu in addition to the dinner menu. Our waitress (short blond hair) told us that was "against the rules," and the manager Brice was the only one who could make an exception. We asked to speak with him and was told he was probably too busy to come to our table. We told her that we've ordered off both menus for the past 5 years and we'd like to speak with Brice when he had time.

Brice showed up, guns blazing, wanting not to discuss the menu issue but how he had already accommodated us with the reservation revision. My husband did most of the speaking for our group and began by telling Brice that we were repeat diners with a great respect and appreciation of Primo and of our previous ordering off both menus. Brice's reply: Everybody comes back. I don't care what you do. If you're not happy, you can order off of the dinner menu...Or you can just leave.

Jaws hit the floor. We were simply asking to order more food, driving up our check in a big way. What we got instead was a lecture on how we should be appreciative of how he fit us in, even though we had made the reservation almost three months in advance. His "argument" there: "You expect us to read the notes on the thousands of reservations we get?"

No matter how much we tried to diffuse the situation and let Brice know that we simply wanted to enjoy a great meal at an amazing restaurant, he kept bringing the conversation back to our "offensive" Open Table reservation and his "heroic" table rearranging. Four times he told us he didn't care and we could just leave. He even pointed at and accused some of the "girls" at our table of "giving him attitude." These women hadn't said one word during the entire exchange. The hostess who sat us even came over to stand behind Brice to smile and nod while Brice continued to berate us.

Although I know the food would have been amazing, this review is strictly based on the appalling treatment our party received and the ineptitude and lack of management skills of Brice. Instead of trying to help the customer, he created and escalated a situation that didn't exist prior to his arrival at our table.

To end our experience, our waitress came over to let us know that Brice would take care of our drink tab only if we would leave. I'm pretty sure if we stayed, Brice would have made our experience even more miserable.

I am broken-hearted that one of our favorite Maine traditions has come to such an unhappy ending...

Congrats to Melissa on her James Beard award! Your culinary expertise is unsurpassed!!! Maybe we'll try to make it down to your Florida establishment some day.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Hampshire
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2013

Visiting Primo has been our yearly vacation tradition ever since Melissa was honored with the James Beard award some 14 years ago. We did not timely make reservations but were told we could eat in the upstairs bar area without reservations, which opened at 5 PM. We were glad we were there promptly at 5 as by about 5:30 it appeared the entire upstairs area was full. Besides the full dinner menu we were able to choose from the bar tasting menu as well as were offered an additional 9 specials of the night. Once again the meal was simply fabulous. The foie gras 2 ways was a highlight as well as the deep fried stuffed squash blossoms. Everything we tasted was a sumptuous blended combination of unique flavors, aromas & textures which were artfully presented. Words alone cannot describe the culinary experience. Although a bit pricey we thought it was well worth the money spent. Thank you Melissa, Price & staff for an outstanding evening.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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