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“Food and service fit for royalty” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Reading Room

Reading Room
7 Newport Drive, Bar Harbor Inn, Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island, ME 04609
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Ranked #15 of 107 Restaurants in Bar Harbor
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $0 - $37
Cuisines: Seafood
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Doing business, Local cuisine
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Breakfast, Delivery, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Description: Refined pleasures await you in the Reading Room Restaurant. You will enjoy a dining experience where the delicious cuisine and attentive service are surpassed only by the breathtaking ocean view. Our menu includes fresh seafood, choice cuts of meat, daily specials and memorable desserts. Please note that we are unable to guarantee window tables You can request a window and we will do our very best! Come join us and the nightly live entertainment of grand piano music which provides the perfect ambiance to the fine dining experience. Dinner is served nightly and the dress code is informal.
Brewster, MA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Food and service fit for royalty”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2012

Elegant ambiance. Attentive service. Outstanding cuisine. It doesn't get any better than this, at least, not in my experience. We expect to return again and again.

Visited October 2012
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646 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
32 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
“Eh - Just Average”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2012

My husband and I recently stayed at the Bar Harbor, Inn. Since we bought the Autumn Gold Package, it included a lobster bake, a dinner and two breakfasts.

Dining at the Reading Room was an ATTEMPT at fine dining with a lovely view. For the price point and reputation, we expected more. If it were not for the Lobster Bake and the Desserts, we would have given it a lower rating. Therefore, we are just giving it an "eh".

First and foremost, if you would like to dine at a window table for the view, do make reservations in advance of your arrival.

The Lobster Bake: Due to weather, we actually had our lobster bake in the Reading Room. The lobster bake began with a lovely amuse bouche of mozzarella and balsamic vinegar. The bread was warm and delightful. My hubbie was given the option of olive oil with spices for dipping. Naturally, he chose the olive oil and was in heaven. We began our meal with New England clam chowder. It came with a side of sherry. I have actually never eaten it before but it looked so good, I gave it a try. I absolutely loved it. It hardly resembled anything I have seen my husband enjoy at any other restaurant. Next, the steamed clams and mussels arrived. I am not a fan of either, so the hubbie hit the jackpot. The fusspot approved. Last but not least, our lobster arrived. It was delightfully fresh and sweet. It came with the usual potatoes and corn on the cob; and a basket of corn and blue berry muffins. Last but not least, we enjoyed the most incredible blueberry pie either of us has ever eaten. The pastry was unbelievably light and sweet. Valorie was our server and she was outstanding. Surprisingly, we enjoyed the piano player. Service was truly impeccable at this visit. It was early in the night. If we had stopped at this meal, I would have given this restaurant 5 starts.

Breakfast: The menu was ordinary; however, the food was extraordinary. I enjoyed French toast stuffed with blueberry cream cheese, and a side of sausage. The portions were a nice size. It was so tasty; I ordered it again the next day. My hubbie ordered the raisin bread French toast and a side of bacon. His bacon was over cooked to the point of being char broiled; however, he didn’t want to waste the time waiting for a replacement so he just didn’t eat it. He did enjoy his raisin bread French toast. The service was a bit spotty and and seemed to take forever. At the price point, there is no room for spotty service when there are so many other alternatives.

Dinner: This meal sealed the "eh" rating. Our reservations were later in the evening and I think the wait staff were in a hurry to get us out of there. I enjoyed a lovely Caesar salad with the option of anchovy. We both enjoyed lobster bisque soup, which was incredible. The intermezzo was a lovely lime sherbet. I ordered the surf and turf. I have to say, it was simply ordinary. The filet was tasteless. It was totally devoid of seasoning. The lobster tails were on the small side. I have had better at restaurants without the fine dine label. My hubby had the rack of lamb and he said it was the best rack of lamb he has had in decades. Dessert was a rich chocolate mousse cake for me and an apple cranberry strudel with caramel and ice cream for the hubbie. We were both impressed.

Towards the end of the meal, wait staff were setting up for the next morning's meal, they were very rude about hurrying us up when the restaurant had not actually even stopped serving for the evening.

Wine List: Decent but overpriced(typical)

If we were staying at another place in Bar Harbor would we dine there for breakfast? Absolutely not! I prefer a more relaxed atmosphere for breakfast and the prices were too high for breakfast.

Would I dine here for breakfast if we didn't have the package? We would not return for breakfast. The continental breakfast is outstanding. Unless you need eggs with a meat for breakfast, why waste the money?

Would we return for dinner? I think if it were a special occasion, we would, but given the wealth of restaurants within walking distance of the inn, we would try elsewhere.

Would I recommend it? Yes, I think we may have hit an off night. Either that or we stumbled upon a true tourist trap. Who knows?

  • Visited October 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hagerstown, MD
Level Contributor
119 reviews
73 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Nice Setting”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2012

The views of the harbor here, depending upon where you are seated, are very nice. The martinis were superb. The food was very tasty and presented in an upscale manner. The only flaw in the evening was the service. While the server was pleasant, she had several tables on one side of the restaurant and only ours on the other. I'm not sure how they divy up the tables, but it was not very efficient for the servers or the diners.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Austin, Texas, United States
Level Contributor
68 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Fine dining and great view”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2012

We were also staying in the Inn so we made good use of the special one price dinner option - included soup or salad, any entree, dessert and non-alcholic drink. Husband loved his rack of lamb (me too) and my lobster pie, which I was dying to try after reading some reviews, was just okay. The blueberry pie and pumpkin cheesecake were delicious. The experience of fine dining (truly lives up to that here) and great view of Bar Harbor made it worth it. While you can probably see the harbor from any table due to the circular design, get here early to get a window seat.

Visited October 2012
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Lancaster, Pa.
Level Contributor
388 reviews
212 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 220 helpful votes
“The only reading you will do here is the menu!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2012

My wife and I stayed one night in Bar Harbor at the Bayview Inn and took our hotel shuttle up to the Bar Harbor Inn Reading Room restaurant because we had heard so much about it.

The TI reviews and our friends who recommended this fine restaurant were all spot on. It is truly superb.

I had the largest most tender double rack of lamb chops I have ever had anywhere. My wife had an elegant swordfish steak which she loved also.

Our waiter provide excellent service too.

Their wine list for you wine affecianado's was deep and wide with many fairly
priced wines to choose from.

If you want a superb place to dine while in Bar Harbor, go to the Reading Room. You will be very pleased with your choice as we were too!

  • Visited October 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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