Tuesday, February 8, 2011

If We Had To Pick One Maine Restaurant for Valentine's Day, It Would Be...

Article by Eric H.
We've fallen in love with Clay Hill Farm in the southern coastal Maine community of Cape Neddick, and would consider it our top pick if we were dining out for Valentine's Day in this region.

Tucked away on a rural back road just minutes from coastal Ogunquit and York Beach, Maine, Clay Hill Farm resonates with a romantic dining feel. First, the restored, rambling 1780 farmhouse resides on  11-plus acres with rolling lawns, a pond, waterfall brooks, myriad birdhouses, a gazebo and woodlands that lend a feeling that you've escaped from the stresses of modern day life. Second, the attentive, friendly service (host, wait staff and valet) makes you feel like you're at a first-class restaurant. Third, the romantic dining atmosphere is tailor-made for gazing into each other's eyes and holding hands -- the dimly-lit grand dining rooms, antique furnishings, classic refined farmhouse decor, and a professional-grade pianist create a relaxing indoor setting. Fourth, none of this would matter if the food wasn't good. On several visits, we have always commented that the modern cuisine served by Clay Hill Farm just might serve the best food we've experienced anywhere in New England. Additionally, the wine list is extensive.  Our favorites: the amazing lobster bisque, bursting with lobster flavor; the "Classic Caesar with the finest mixed greens you'll find anywhere and accompanied by a just-right Caesar dressing with garlic croutons and fresh Parmesan cheese; real Maine crab cakes that prove that "imitation" is definitely not the best form of flattery; the crispy roast half duckling and the ever-so-tender braised lamb shank. The vegetables are always farm-fresh tasting and it's nice to know that all meats and chicken are all-natural, grass-fed and hormone free. The fish is is either wild or sustainable-farmed, so the concern about high levels of PCBs or other contaminants isn't a concern.

We have also found that Clay Hill Farm's elegant dining experience never results in snootiness. Everyone here is so friendly and accommodating. We always leave Clay Hill Farm with a wonderful feeling and asking, "When can we get back?"

Clay Hill Farm
220 Clay Hill Rd.
Cape Neddick, Maine
Tel. (207) 361-2272

Editor's note: Clay Hill Farm is offering a Valentine's Special menu. It looks fantastic! We noticed on its web site that the restaurant opens at 5 p.m. on Feb. 14, Valentines Day, and is offering "Proposal Packages," including flowers and champagne. We recommend checking the Clay Hill Farm web site for specific details and to call them to find out whether you can be seated at your desired time.

Looking for lodging in the Ogunquit area for Valentine's Day Weekend? Check out our Ogunquit Hotels Page at VisitingNewEngland.com!
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