(I am continuing my series of blog posts on my summer trip to Camden, Maine.)
What did we do today? First up, we went kayaking in Megunticook Lake and visited the tiny farmer’s market of Camden. We also visited an expensive cooking store, but what I would really like to share is our dinner at Atlantica. Highly recommended by our rental house owners, this restaurant is a favorite in town, and a favorite in our family.
First, let me tell you about our waitress. Oana, from Romania, was nice and very sweet, and I would like to thank her for suggestions and friendliness in a new town.
We were seated in a table outside, right next to the water! There, we sat and saw the beautiful sunset and enjoyed our dinner next to the calm horizon. I also enjoyed the decor of the restaurant: casual blues and yellows, but still formal and impressive.
For an appetizer, we ordered the seafood board: crab sofrito, finnan haddie rillettes, and shrimp over cucumber kimchi. The crab sofrito was by far my favorite part of dinner because it was creamy with a hint of spice. This starter was fine crab, topped with a slice of radish and served over a cracker with red paste. My mom and I tasted a little bit of something like horseradish in the mix, and we loved how it was crunchy but smooth, and definitely addictive. The finnan caddie rillete was creamy and whipped, meant to be served on bread. I don’t think I will ever want to eat bread differently again for the salty smokiness of the fish spread! I gave my dad the last bite, though, because he loved it more than any of us.
The Maine shrimp with cucumber kimchi was unforgettable. It had a spicy kick, and Mom said it was such a “dream” in her mouth, but she also said she thought it was better than any lobster roll — or anything — that we had tried in Maine! “I would stop listening to her after that,” my dad said.
The seafood board was great, and MUCH better than the sweet onion, bacon, and fish chowder. Everyone wanted to try it, so we ordered a bowl for the table, but the only flavors we could taste were the overpowering potato and too much salt. Overall, the chowder was not our favorite dish, and my dad especially wished we had gotten something else.
As entrees were delivered to the table, I could smell each of their pungent fragrances.
A smoky scent rose through the air above Dad’s monkfish on a bed of shrimp, couscous, peas, bacon, garlic, and asparagus. Mom’s salmon released the fragrance of thyme, and my mussels in a yuzu broth scented the air with lime and ginger. Tabitha’s hot and sour Maine shrimp and crab soup gave off a strong smell of crab, but not the unpleasant fishy kind you would imagine.
But they didn’t taste as good as they smelled, I am disappointed to say. Well, in my opinion. The rest of my family loved Atlantica, but I found it one of my least favorite of our dinners in Maine. While Dad enjoyed his roasted monkfish, I found it fishy and overpowered by the couscous. My mussels were good, and, yes, I enjoyed them very much, but they were not anything special, and I was not as impressed as I expected to be. Tabitha’s soup was fine, but compared to The Golden Egg’s clam chowder, this shrimp and crab was unfortunately not what I expected from a well-reviewed, harbor-side, East Coast restaurant. Mom’s salmon, however, wowed me! This was off the charts, especially compared to the other dishes. I loved the herbs that topped it off, and the chard sauté was extremely impressive. Atlantica’s motto was “Locally sourced. Responsibly handled. Inspired kitchen.” While I am sure Atlantica is all of these three, it was not as phenomenal as was expected.
Dessert, however, took a turn. I loved the profiterole special: a sweet puff pastry stuffed with ice cream, topped with caramel and fudge. It was addictive, unforgettable, and unable to be ignored. “Yummers!” as we have heard here in Maine, and definitely “Yummy” where I come from. Dad received a dessert of his own, which is unusual. A Genoise Chocolate Terrine, a rich layer cake, had never been heard of in our family, but it was fairly satisfying, and definitely worth a try! Atlantica was not my favorite restaurant, but I am glad we tried it, and thank you to our homeowners for this suggestion.
9 Bayview Landing
Camden, ME 04843
Tel: (207) 236-6011