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“Inspiring, beautiful food”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Primo

Primo
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Ranked #2 of 86 Restaurants in Rockland
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: Italian, American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Local cuisine, Bar scene
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Full Bar, Parking Available, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Description: Italian and Mediterranean inspired menu...James Beard Award winning Chef Melissa Kelly prepares Farm to Table Cuisine in a restored farmhouse. 4 Acres of kitchen gardens, heritage pigs & chickens supply the restaurant with the freshest ingredients. Primo is both a gem to our local clientele as well as a culinary destination for food lovers in search of casually elegant dining. Supporting local and sustainable farms & businesses. Creative & seasonal cocktails, artisanal breads, handmade pastas, gelato and much more. Sundays and Thursdays come for $1 oyster night at the bar or join us for our small plates menu at our new Antipasti Counter. WE HAVE 40-50 SEATS AVAILABLE FOR GUESTS DROPPING IN WITHOUT RESERVATIONS.....THERE IS ALWAYS A PLACE !!! Private Salon on the second floor for up to 14 guests or reserve one of the original parlor rooms. Make a reservation or feel free to drop in to our lounge area.
Falmouth, Maine
Level Contributor
21 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Inspiring, beautiful food”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 22, 2014

I have been lucky enough to travel and eat my way through lots of amazing restaurants and friend's feasts (anything my best friend's husband David makes takes my breath away!), and yet Primo remains my absolute favorite place to eat on the planet. I got to spend a lovely night alone with my youngest daughter this weekend and was thrilled to get a reservation at Primo Saturday evening. My favorite place to sit is upstairs at one of the corner banquettes -- to me its the perfect spot, though I've not had the chance to sample the expanded options here -- so comfortable and cozy yet it has a really cool current urban spirit (I loved the background music -- subtle but kind of edgy) -- The place has expanded since my last visit and if we hadn't had a table the larger bar area would have been my next choice. But that's just me -- if you're looking for a more intimate, hushed experience, downstairs is lovely -- upstairs you're transported to a groovy happening place in Rome and downstairs you're more connected to the old Maine farmhouse which houses this amazing restaurant.

I wasn't sure what to expect this visit and honestly was a little worried because the chefs/owners have had so much recognition and they've opened in two other locations -- you know, the fear that they've gotten so famous and fabulous and not hands on anymore. I so wanted my little one to experience the magic I'd felt here, but probably hadn't been back since she was a baby (both my daughters spent many dinners nestled on their sheepskin next to me on that banquette... heaven!) so we walk in and are warmly greeted by Price, one of the owners (and I believe the pastry chef?) -- My worries dissipated instantly and I was happy to see him there, so connected and welcoming. We were early so he suggested we stroll around the farm 'til our table was ready...

It was a beautiful summer evening in Maine, and the gardens and enclosures for the animals were totally inspiring. We wandered and smelled things and watched the chickens and pigs and a lone frenetic guinnea hen. We snuck a few raspberries (hope thats okay!) and then settled into our cozy corner spot.

I started with a lovely rhubarb essence spritzy prosecco -- pretty and not sweet or tart, just right. We couldn't decide on what to order -- the one drawback to having only two of us is how to choose -- everything is so damn good. We settled on a salad with a locally sourced cheese, figs and ham, and a squash blossom stuffed with house made mozzarella and anchovies, with couscous and I forget what other heavenly bits. Devoured it all, as well as the beautiful bread sampling. Our server was amazing -- she was enthusiastic and knowledgeable, friendly and attentive. My sweet 8 year old went for the butter poached lobster -- I have to say this is the only place other than my own house where I'd eat lobster (and I live in Maine!) -- it was perfect, though you'll be spoiled for life and no other lobster will ever measure up.

My only regret was not thinking to order the zeppole earlier -- rats! I admit I'd daydreamed about them on our way up to Rockland, little Italian donuts, but somehow so much more than simply donuts, or maybe exactly that, perfect little round donuts. Anyway, we were too full and sleepy to wait for them to be prepared.... we'll just have to go back.

In a nutshell, go hungry (or often if you can) be brave, try things you never thought you'd try, appreciate every artful morsel on your plate, and remember to order the zeppole early to bring home with you (absolutely have dessert when you're at the restaurant, bring those for later!). And cheers to Primo.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank cometdogamundo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
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English first
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
67 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Food is great, service is awful.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 22, 2014

Food, wine list and cocktails were good - but not worth their price tag and overshadowed by the poor service from beginning to end.

To start, the easily-flustered hostess was unable to tell us how long the wait would be when we arrived at 5:30pm to sit in the lounge/upstairs. She told us we could get comfortable on the porch and she would be down to get a drink order "eventually." An hour later she came down for our drink order and by the time we received our drinks our table was ready (70 minute wait so far). We would have appreciated knowing how long the wait would be instead of just saying "things are moving" and "I'll get to you eventually..." This same disorganization and lackadaisical service was continued once we were seated as our server would go missing for long periods of time and when she was present she spent more time talking to us and telling us personal anecdotes than taking our order and answering our questions about the menu. Unfortunately when we joked among ourselves that we felt like we may still be stuck there at breakfast (as it was 8:30pm and we still didn't have desserts that we had ordered, which were only our second course) our server brought us the menu again and joked that maybe we should consider the zeppole (donuts) for breakfast too. She clearly eavesdropped and decided to make snarky comments instead of noticing our frustration and trying to improve our experience. After 3.5 hours and well over $300 in pizza/drinks/dessert for 4 people... we'll pass on this next time.

But be warned, this place is always busy... as it has no competition within a 50 mile radius. If I had read more reviews in advance, I would have seen poor service as a common theme often disguised by well-executed dishes.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank malmal113
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sharon, Connecticut
Level Contributor
244 reviews
194 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“Marvellous food and nice surroundings”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 22, 2014

We come here each time we are in the area. The food is truly wonderful and well worth a stop over if you are passing by the area. The oysters ($17/dozen) are fresh. Kale salad is very tasty with a nice light dressing ($14). We had liver ($9), Blossom salad ($16), Turbot ($36), Halibut ($38). Banana cream pie ($11) was very good, as was the Citrus Trio ($11).

Service was very good and friendly.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Bruce C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simsbury, Connecticut
Level Contributor
51 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Doesn't get much better”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 22, 2014

We have been to Primo before but it has been a few years. What they have done upstairs by adding another bar area and tables has just opened the restaurant up to an whole different experience. We always liked dining at Primo for, in our opinion, some of the best food you can eat in Maine if not the Northeast. Eating in the bar area was wonderfully relaxing and both the bar and main menus were available. The tuna tartare and the foire gras were amazing. The pasta dishes rivaled some of the meals we have had in Italy. The service was wonderful and the staff was great. We actually asked one of the servers why she was smiling throughout the whole evening. She said that being with the other staff was fun and that she always had a great time at working there. Definitely worth the trip. We actually went two nights in a row.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank robweb13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reston
Level Contributor
129 reviews
66 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Another visit to Maine - another trip to Primo”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 21, 2014

We ate at Primos twice during our week here – both times in the bar upstairs. This was not our 1st trip to this restaurant(more like our 10th). If you are looking for a sit down, more restuaranty meal get reservations for the dining room – it will be quieter. If you cannot get reservations or you want something a little more lively, head to the bar area upstairs. It helps if you are there when Primos opens at 5pm because everyone who wants to eat at Primos that doesn’t have a reservation heads to the bar area and the line can be long. So there are 2 bars upstairs – in my opinion I prefer the smaller quieter bar area as opposed to the bigger area. Regardless of where you sit – the drinks and food are good. Very good. In the bar areas you can order off the main menu, the bar menu and any daily specials. The chef’s treatment of vegetables is incredible – just look at the gardens outside the restaurant. One other item – if you are sitting in the bar area and are ordering off both menus, the sequencing of the dishes may be a little different, but this is a tiny ‘nit’. Things that were especially delicious this trip: The burrata cheese off the bar menu, the stuffed squash blossom, the triple citrus dessert, the daily foie gras dish and 'oyster' night.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank VATLC23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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