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“Fabulous but a little quirky!”

Natalie's Restaurant
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Ranked #4 of 48 Restaurants in Camden
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $72 - $109
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic, Business meetings, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Main Street
Description: Awarded Top 100 Restaurant In The USA, Natalie's offers a refined dining experience featuring Modern New England cuisine, influenced by international cuisines and inspired by the seasons. Executive Chefs Chris Long and Shelby Stevens create modern dishes with subtle and unexpected flavor combinations. Awarded best overall restaurant in New England, Natalie's uniquely blends a current sense of place and time with modern techniques and the bounty of Maine. The result is classic regional dishes reinterpreted and local sourced ingredients prepared with a worldly sophistication. Chris Long became 2013 Maine Lobster Chef Of The Year and Mixologist Seth Knowlton was awarded best bartender in Maine in 2013 by Eater. The restaurant received the AAA 4 Diamond Award in addition to a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence and was awarded best restaurant in New England by Diner's Choice in 2013. The restaurant offers outside dining in season, with breathtaking views over the harbor and hills. Natalie's is fully air conditioned and has a full bar and lounge for cocktails and lighter fare. Natalie's offers a 3-course Prix Fixe, a 7-course tasting and a 4-course Grand Cru Lobster Menu.
Saint James, New York, United States
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Fabulous but a little quirky!”
Reviewed August 13, 2013

Went to Natalie's on a rainy Friday night in August with my husband. Despite the rain, the restaurant was packed. We opted for the 3 course prix fixe which had many wonderful options to choose from. The decor, ambiance, and presentation were all fabulous! Our second and third dishes were delightful and creative and so were all the tasty amuse bouches, palate cleansers, and butters with various salts...really superb! My only complaint about the food was that my first course of sea scallops lacked creativity. It definitely wasn't memorable. Honestly, its only been a few days, and I can't remember any particulars about that dish except that I remember saying to myself, "Oh, tastes like a scallop". Other than that, the food was amazing! There was a little snafu with our order however it was immediately corrected and we were given a couple of glasses of fabulously paired wine on the house. The offer was unexpected because we didn't have to wait long for the correct dish to come out, but both the thought and the wine were very much appreciated! The staff was fabulous that way! Really top notch, superb service!

As for the wine list...I have been to many fabulously expensive restaurants but I haven't seen such a steeply priced wine list as this one in a long time. I believe there was only one bottle available that was under $50 (I believe the wines by the glass were $17). All the other wines were obscenely priced. I know of countless wines that have rave reviews, wonderful flavor and are cheaper! I'm not asking for a no-frills box wine to be added to the list (however that might make for some interest!) but I'd like to see greater variety in terms of pricing. I got the feeling like the wine list was telling me that if you spend under $100 a bottle you are drinking swill.

Now onto my final thought, something I think is a bit quirky. Every single time a plate was brought to our table it was excruciatingly explained in detail and grossly pointed out. I don't mean pointing from afar to a particular unusual item on the plate. I mean hovering over the plate and gesturing so close to the food and telling me EVERY little thing in the dish. I honestly don't mind if I'm told what I'm about to indulge in. But I absolutely do mind that every single member of the staff that brought plates over (must have been at least 5 different people) gestured ON TOP of my food (literally centimeters away) in a manner that resembled a beauty pageant wave. When it first happened, my husband and I chuckled because we thought the woman's hand gesturing was a bit strange. But when it happened EVERY single time, we realized the staff was instructed to do this! So, my suggestion to management...please don't gesture soooo closely to my food! Instead of feeling thrilled to dive into my delectable dish, I found myself wondering if the food runner washed her hands!

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Aimee R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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391 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Venice, Florida
Level Contributor
381 reviews
330 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 226 helpful votes
“Big City Dining on the Coast of Maine.”
Reviewed August 10, 2013

WOW! Three Gardner stars, and that seems inadequate. One might expect this level of service and food on Central Park South or East 58th Street but not in Camden. Without question the premier restaurant in Midcoast Maine. We have dined at the Hartstone Inn and Primos in Rockland but they pale in comparison.....Angela had the Lobster Flight and I had the "Chowder" lamb and parfait. All outstanding and Richard was the ultimate professional server. Sophisticated cliental.. I really can't think of any negatives. Stylishly appointed dining rooms in an old inn, excellent wines by the bottle or glass...Expensive for Maine ($150 per person with wines and tip) but worth every penny.. Not for kids! This is an adult dining experience.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank gardner34285
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bradenton, Florida
Level Contributor
46 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Amazing French restaurant”
Reviewed August 9, 2013 via mobile

While it is very expensive, this restaurant is wonderful. It is quiet, has a beautiful view, has very attentive servers, and te food is great. They don't serve huge servings, but every serving is tasteful and great.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Gordon M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“One of the best meals we ever had”
Reviewed August 5, 2013

A great restaurant is not only about food, but about the overall experience. Natalie's is all about amazingly prepared dishes and some of the best service we have ever seen. We often dine at Daniel and Jean George in New York; Natalie's in Camden Maine is right up there. We opted for a 7-course tasting with wine pairings, an excellent choice. Beautifully plated dishes well paired with interseting wines by a knowledgable sommelier. Detailed and attentive staff and lots of little extra's one expects in such an high end establishment. Natalie's is for people who enjoy the fine things in life and like to celebrate something exceptional. If you are looking for a quick bite, oversized portions, uninspiring dishes and rushed service, Natalie's is probably not your place. For us it was one of the best meals we ever had and totally unexpected.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Doreen O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rockland, Maine
Level Contributor
31 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Arrogant and unconcerned”
Reviewed August 4, 2013

I've spent a lot of time trying to sort out why Natalie's is so disappointing. It comes down to this: The restaurant adheres to an ethic that is becoming all too prevalent in fine dining, which is that they are there to perform and you should be grateful just to be in their presence. That sometimes works, albeit at a price, when the food is truly spectacular. At Natalie's, the food is certainly competent and technically precise, but it's not memorable. I've paid $300 for a meal and talked about it for years afterwards, but I can't remember what I had at Natalie's two weeks ago.

Service: The service is a stereotype of stuffy French service. Cold and aloof. They say the right things, but it feels like you're getting a series of canned speeches. There's no sense that they're happy to see you or that they want your experience to be particularly good. On one occasion, we went for dessert and drinks. There was no dessert wine list, and the bartender could not even tell us if they had a particular kind of dessert wine. He went to ask the question and did not return for 20 minutes. The bar was not all that busy. Then he told us he could sell us a bottle of the dessert wine, but did not tell us about it or give us a price. It was clear that he really could not be bothered. When dishes are served, the servers describe them in detail, which is often a nice touch in most places. Here, it's an opportunity for self-aggrandizement. I don't need to be told repeatedly that my food is "beautiful." I think I can decide that for myself. Servers are clearly not trained to attend to patrons' needs. They are bent on executing their routines on their schedule. They simply do not express any interest in whether or not you like your food or are enjoying your experience.I am mystified as to why some people think that this constitutes good service. Both the kitchen and the bar seem to produce food and drinks when it suits them. This results in uneven pacing with some extremely long waits at times between courses. A relatively busy kitchen or bar is no excuse: They were not all that full at the times of either of our visits, and it often felt as though there were more staff members than patrons. Note- The service in the bar was actually stuffier and less competent than the table service, which I found surprising.

Food: As noted above, the food is technically precise and competent, but not spectacular. There seems to be an effort to make things complicated for the sake of being complicated rather than because the dish works from a taste and enjoyment perspective. It feels like being served sculpture rather than food. There were a couple of standout courses, particularly one intermezzo, but I expect more at this price level. Again, it feels like they think you should be honored to be allowed to dine there.

Setting: The inn is beautiful, and if you can get a table on the deck, the view overlooking downtown Camden and the harbor is gorgeous. My wife and I had our wedding reception on this deck 20 years ago when the inn was under different ownership, and the view never gets old.

So, if you like arrogant and pretentious food and service without the quality to back it up, and at a very high price, this is the place for you. The view is great, but midcoast Maine has quite a few restaurants with beautiful settings that are much more pleasant and offer a much better value than Natalie's.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
5 Thank MaineGuy65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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