If you are ever in Bar Harbor, Maine and need a special occasion restaurant, The Reading Room is the place to dine. Part of the Bar Harbor Inn, the Reading Room restaurant is in the curved section jutting out from the main building and sits atop a grassy lawn that slopes down to the harbor. Large windows provide diners with spectacular water views.
The Reading Room is a restaurant with a history. In 1887, it was newly incorporated as the Mount Desert Reading Room, a center of social activities during the summers before World War I. In 1933, the Shore Club was organized to allow guests at local hotels the use of club facilities. After a fire of 1947 destroyed Bar Harbor’s fine old hotels, a small hotel was built to attract visitors back to the area.
We chose the Reading Room to celebrate our 19th anniversary and had 2 or 3 breakfasts as well during our stay.
We were seated at a window table each time. My husband loved the Lobster Eggs Benedict. I had the Cinnamon-Apple Crêpes with Maine Maple Cream with Applewood smoked bacon (you can also choose from country sausage, vegetarian sausage or grilled Virginia ham). Another morning I had the Wild Maine Blueberry Stuffed French Toast with a layer of sweetened cream cheese and wild Maine blueberry preserves, served with Maine maple syrup, butter and bacon. The OJ is fresh squeezed.
After an afternoon of hiking, we earned the right to have a rich dinner. The elegant atmosphere made for much needed pampering. My husband had Asparagus Strudel filled with toasted walnuts and gruyere cheese accompanied by field greens and balsamic glaze for his appetizer and the Lobster Pie entree, both which he liked very much. I made a meal of appetizers, a good way to get a mix of tastes from the menu. I ordered the Asparagus Strudel after I saw my husband’s as well as Butternut Squash soup and a third app of Duck with blackberry Cabernet sauce and sweet potato puree. Good service completed the satisfying dining experience and made for a special evening.
On another evening, I got a take-out order of their famous blueberry pie. It’s probably the best pie in Bar Harbor with it’s slightly sugared crust and mouthwatering Maine blueberry filling.
It is a bit pricey, but well worth it for a special occasion. Despite the fancy decor, dress is casual since it is part of a hotel.