We are loyal fans of some extremely good restaurants in Providence and New York, so the bar is set high. We had to keep reminding ourselves of that, along with the reality that the Maine Coast is not about Italian food. Plus, restaurants in this area really only have a few months to make their nut so we should expect to pay a premium while vacationing.
With that said, the fare was not what we hoped for, or even as good as places in the Hartford, CT area. Our best entree (out of four) was the Filet Mignon. I'd maybe give the food, on average, a three (but the steak a solid four). Service was good, but not great (it seems the staff still needs some time together in order to find their place; I'd guess most are college students back home for the Summer).
The ambiance is excellent and the location couldn't be better (just far enough outside the hustle and bustle of downtown Kennebunkport). It's very nicely appointed, and the giant table in the middle of the restaurant is spectacular.
I feel bad because comparing an Italian restaurant to those on Federal Hill, Arthur Ave, or the North End of Boston isn't fair. I wish I could give Abbondante a better score, but the homemade pastas and Veal Parm are no better than average. And, the service was (in reality) a bunch of college kids trying figure it out working. Not really what I'd expect when spending $30-$40 a person for dinner.
I think the old adage "When in Rome" fits here.
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