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“Bitter Staff, Overpriced, a Tourist Trap. This was our last meal at Mabel's.”

Mabel's Lobster Claw
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $20 - $30
Cuisines: Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Takeout
Description: We are a family owned seafood restaurant opened 11:30am to 9pm!
Denver
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Bitter Staff, Overpriced, a Tourist Trap. This was our last meal at Mabel's.”
Reviewed September 12, 2011

I always preface a negative review on Tripadvisor with the caveat that I try to be fair and think long and hard before posting a negative review on TripAdvisor due to the implications on a business.

That said, Mabel's gets two thumbs down and they deserve some bad press. We somehow make it to the restaurant every summer because my grandparents like it, but last night will be our last visit.

The good:
- It's a landmark restaurant that always seems to be busy and is frequented by the rich and famous. The ambiance is somewhat interesting, its located in town, and outdoor dining available (although its on the street - sort of silly since you go to Maine to enjoy the great outdoors).

The bad:
- Mabel's is expensive and we're not sure why, because the food isn't spectacular.
- Lobster has never been good - something I just don't understand seeing how shellfish isn't that hard to cook, you're in Maine so it should be fresh, and it's in the restaurant's name.
- This past visit, the clams were overcooked, stuffed shrimp was tough and poorly seasoned. At least the salad came out first.
- We noticed there wasn't much in the way of clams in the "clam chowder". Note: we eat a LOT of clam chowder from HB Provisions, the Landing, and several other locations in Kennebunk - this clam chowder is lousy.

The Ugly:
- The waitstaff is terrible. I've worked in the service industry and understand that its after labor day and you're burned out from 3-4 months of demanding tourists. If you don't like waiting on people, bussing tables or being a hostess, then quit and do something else.
- There are alot of elderly folks in Kennebunk (which isn't bad). Newsflash: these great folks generally are spending alot of money and support the town of Kennebunk, but we've observed terrible service and a lack of patience towards my grandparents and several other elderly couples in the restaurant on numerous occasions.
- My grandfather was paying last night and I noticed they padded the bill by $20. We caught the mistake before paying, but this is NOT the first time that this has happened.

In summary:
We've had enough of Maybel's with the expensive food, bitter waitstaff, crappy service, and mediocre seafood. There are many really friendly, amazing restaurants in Kennebunk that are both more and less expensive than Maybels. Save your bucks and take your friends (especially the elderly) elsewhere.

  • Visited September 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank SurfColorado78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Summit, NJ
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Still great after all these years”
Reviewed September 12, 2011

I have been going to Mabel's in Kpt. for more than 30 years and I have never had a bad or disappointing experience. It is casual, delicious and the service is always good. I love the house salad dressing and for me the clam roll is the best ever.

  • Visited September 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank mauncha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maitland, Florida
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Wow”
Reviewed September 9, 2011

Delicious, huge portions...go with an empty stomach.

  • Visited August 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank D L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montpelier, Vermont
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Mabel Ain't Able....”
Reviewed September 9, 2011

It sure looked like a charming place to enjoy the local cuisine, and after driving by several times coming to and from our hotel, we made the decision to embark upon yet another culinary foray into the unknown. Mabel's had very good writtten reviews, and even a couple locals recommended it, and best of all, Mabel's was touted to have the best "homemade" pies around. Well, that was all the prodding we needed. Homemade pies? Count us in!
We made the reservations, and then spent a frustrating amount of time trying to park anywhere near the restaurant. If you are disabled in any way, this would present a serious problem.
Mabel's is a small restaurant with outdoor dining, but we opted for the indoors which was cramped and kitschy, but friendly staff and cute table settings alleviated the claustrophobic table placements. The menu was very tempting but expensive for moderate travelers or those on a budget. Our server was polite and efficient, and we both ordered lobster stuffed filet of sole at 23.00 a pop. A plate of tiny corn muffins and blueberry bread also welcomed us to awaken our appetities. The salad, a skimpy handful of mixed greens with a couple of rather elderly cherry tomatoes arrived on postage stamp sized plates. The dressing was mediocre and runny, and quite tasteless for a blue cheese offering. When the much touted house specialty arrived, we are not impressed. The sauce was overcooked and dried from sitting under a warmer or damaged from an overextended cooking time, and the sole and lobster filling quite sadly very bland and overdone. In all, the entree was overpriced, overcooked and underpresented.
Now for the "homemade pies" I am not sure what that phrase brings to mind to other diners, but for me, this means homemade crust and filling. I ordered a slice of their famous blueberry pie and got a store bought crust that was overcooked and a filling that may or may not have actually been home made. I was stunned and angry that such a dupe was being foisted off on diners. After paying the overpriced food bill and leaving a tip for our waiter, as we were leaving the restaurant, I looked at the pie display. Sure enough, there was a pecan pie, a raspberry pie, and some other concoction, all in commercial storebought crusts. As a seasoned pie maker who actually knows the difference between store made and home made, I suggest Mabel's practice truthful advertising. And if their defense is that they make the filling homemade, I would then have to ask why go through all that trouble just to toss it into a frozen pie shell then charge 5.00 a slice? You didn't fool me: Throwing a frozen pie into an oven does not make it "homemade!"
Mabel's did not deliver what was promised, either with the entree or the dessert. What a shame. We really wanted to like it, too.

  • Visited August 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank GallopingGourmand58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maryland
Level 6 Contributor
188 reviews
85 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Mabel's -- where a certain retired U.S. president has been known to dine!”
Reviewed September 5, 2011

We had dinner at Mabel's one evening over Labor Day Weekend 2011, and judging from the crowd, we were glad we had reservations. The lobster stew was delicious, and the lobster roll was one of the best we'd had. This restaurant is about a mile from the downtown area, but there was plenty of street parking later in the evening when we were there.

  • Visited September 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank QRooBound
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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