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“Different, great value, decent food” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Conte's 1894 Restaurant - CLOSED

Conte's 1894 Restaurant
148 South Main Street, Rockland, ME 04841
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Price range: $10 - $15
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner
Waldoboro
Top Contributor
222 reviews 222 reviews
188 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
111 helpful votes 111 helpful votes
“Different, great value, decent food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2010

No phone, no reservations, no credit cards no printed menu. When you walk in the door you are greeted and shown the chalkboard menu that changes daily. Table cloths are yesterdays newspaper. I had a pasta and sausage entree, others had the crab stuffed sole. The food was decent but be warned the portions you are given are ridiculously large. One entree will feed 3 people. This place has a loyal following, try Contes once and decide for yourself.

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

155 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    101
    35
    7
    2
    10
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Pennsylvania
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Contes is fantastic, but not for the faint of heart”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2010

If you like laminated menus, neatly turned out and highly trained waitstaff, and fine wines, don't go to Conte's. If you are interested in fresh, perfectly cooked fish on al dente pasta, and enough food to take home two extra meals per entree, check it out. It is a little deranged, but we loved that and are not threatened by reading a chalk board menu. The wine's only virtue is that it is cheap, and the salads are a little odd, but the fish is so worth it that these things can be overlooked. One warning- if garlic does not agree with you, be careful. I felt like a vampire's worse nightmare for 24 hours after eating there......

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EDEN, NY
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“FOOD WAS AWESOME - HUGE PORTION - NICE WAITRESS”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2010

Ok, so when you approach the outside of Conte's you may be saying to yourself (like I was saying to my husband), there is no way I will go inside to eat there. But let me say - you cannot judge a book by it's cover. The inside is intriguing - walls covered with antique type of pictures, etc. Books scattered around, odds and ends. The tables are covered w/ newspaper. But overall it was very clean and nice.
When you walk in the door you come across a wonderful waitress, and a listing hanging from the wall, written new everyday, of the menu for that day. It's fun........I was leary, but as the food came out I loved it!
The doors were open so there were flies here and there, but it's almost like eating outside.......
Ck it out - you might enjoy! We did.

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“To appreciate this place, I think you do have to "get" it......”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2010

Conte's is not for everyone, especially those looking for fine dining/haute cuisine. It is a perfect place to get superfresh, freshly prepared, simply sauced seafood near the ocean in Maine, over pasta. The place contrives to be a culinary version of Fred Sanford's junkyard: nets and buoys on the outside of the building and eclectic junk decorating the inside, including a small statute of Dean Martin. Conte's has no sign, no written menu, no phone and takes no credit cards. It is what it is: homecooking with the very best ingredients at a fair price, and a limited list of beer and wine, very limited. The service is friendly and done with great humor, as the place warrants. It is not for everyone, for sure. But, I've been there 5-6 times over the years and the place is always heavily populated with fanatic fans who love the concept, the value and the experience. I fall pretty close to a fan, but not a fanatic.

There are clearly some things that could improve there: the salad is skimpy and uninteresting most times; at one time the guy sold his salad dressing at retail stores, didn't like the product and serves it in labeled jars in his restaurant after he makes it fresh. There's no explanation of that or of the other dressing on the table. The bread is forgettable, also baked at the restaurant, and more cake-like than bread like than I like.

But, if you want what's fresh that day (the menu changes every day according to what's available; I had sardines last summer (2009) and have not seen them on the menu since, well cooked and sauced in a limited range of aglio (oil and garlic) or tomato based, this place can't be beat.

Understand what you're getting, though, and you won't be disappointed. There is no guarantee that you'll like it, of course, but if you understand it, you won't complain about some of the things that the most recent reviewers (summer 2010) had to say.

Every time we've taken someone new there, by the way, they ask to come back when they're in Maine again. And, the place is a sort-of-secret; many locals have never even heard of it, though it's been around for almost 20 years in this mode (it moved essentially accross the street in winter 2010).

    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Worst place in Rockland”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2010

It started off to a bad start when we couldn't find the place. It's in a location one wouldn't expect, mixed in with residential houses there's this tiny little shack on the left hand side heading into Rockland and that's Conte's. But besides that your greeted with a gigantic chalkboard menu of chicken scratch hand- writing (maybe they think it's cute with all the loops) that is far from legible the host barks the entree choices out to you. You are given barely any time to decided before they're ready to throw you at a table which the salad is already sitting out in the open waiting for you (health code violation?) Before they're on to the next poor customer. Though the decor is interesting and unique when the food comes out you know you should have left when you saw the menu. Within minutes of ordering the only thing legible on the menu I have a heaping portion plopped down in from of me of over cooked sole and under cooked pasta, not to mention all of this sat in a puddle of oil. It was inedible, $17.50 for the worst entree I've ever had. I will never go there again.

    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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