PHOTO: Eden's Beet and Cucumber Salad
The Atlantic Ocean laps its waves over 228 miles of shoreline in Maine—"Vacation Land," as the license plate reads. Fog horns bellow, while below the surface countless lobster crawl around Frenchman Bay. While Bar Harbor is oft thought of as a pescatarian’s paradise, plant-based travelers fear not: it's got you covered too.
Eden Vegetarian Cafe Eden serves seasonal vegan cuisine in a charming and peaceful dining room. I can vouch for the soy seitan piccata with lemon caper vinaigrette, sautéed greens, and sage mashed potatoes. When you need to get away from the hustle of the harbor, head due south on Route 3. What you'll find is a refuge from the tourist-heavy center and top-notch dining experience. Eden’s menu is ever-changing, reflecting the seasons of New England. And, yes, you better believe they have a great blueberry dessert. Know before you go: Eden’s Web site provides diners with a look at organic farms within their orbit from which they source ingredients.
2 Cats Cafe This veg-friendly eatery grows their own herbs and bakes bread and muffins on site. They have a great patio where you can lounge and enjoy a comforting mug of Equal Exchange java. “It’s a funky-fresh take on breakfast,” says owner Ernest Geiger, who opened shop in 1993. “We do fresh food and nothing is pre-packaged. It’s all made here.”
This Way Cafe This unique cafe serves breakfast (tofu scramble aptly named The Vegan) and dinner, just follow the painted footprints off of Mt. Desert Street and you're there, hence the eatery's name. They serve “eclectic food done the way we like it," says co-founder Susanne Hathaway. Their fruit-topped oatmeal is a favorite menu item (pairs well with coffee and a newspaper). Or try their Moraccan butternut squash stuffed with quinoa, cinnamon-scented chickpeas, and tofu.
Jeannie's Breakfast A veg-friendly restaurant with the best tofu scramble I've ever had. They boast delicious vegan pancakes as well. Eaters experience an upscale diner feel. A jar of their famous strawberry rhubarb jam rests on each table for diners to spread on toast or pancakes. The flavor is sublime. The art on the walls takes you back to eras when you would need a robust breakfast to get your through the strenuous work day. Jeannie’s offers diners a prime way to fuel for a long day of hiking in nearby Acadia National Park.
Brendan O'Meara is the author of Six Weeks in Saratoga: How Three-Year-Old Filly Rachel Alexandra Beat the Boys and Became Horse of the Year. He writes at The Blog Itself and can be followed on Twitter @BrendanOMeara.