Review: Tiller Restaurant at The Cliff House Maine

Review: Tiller Restaurant at The Cliff House Maine

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This Tiller Restaurant Review is from our recent site inspection stay at The Cliff House Maine. The Tiller is the hotel's signature restaurant, and is open daily for both breakfast/brunch and dinner, while the Tiller's Tidemark Terrace serves light fare in the afternoon and evening.

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Tiller Restaurant and Tidemark Terrace Location and Hours

The Tiller Restaurant recently reopened, since Maine now allows indoor dining with appropriate social distancing and mask-wearing measures. The restaurant and its terrace feature stunning ocean views; be sure to request a window seat in the restaurant, or try to obtain a table closest to the railing if on the Tidemark Terrace.

Breakfast and brunch are served 7am-2:30pm, while dinner service is 5-9pm.

The Tiller's Tidemark Terrace serves light fare from 2:30-9pm.

In addition to the coveted window tables, there are half banquette tables, and stand-alone tables near the fireplace, which could be ideal in cooler months when the fireplace is lit.

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For dinner service, when the Tiller Restaurant was quite popular, we opted for outdoor seating on the terrace. Here's the view from our table:

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The Tiller's dinner menu, as you'd expect, offers a number of seafood options, although there are ample meat and vegetable options for non-seafood eaters.

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There's also a shorter, more casual All Day menu served on the Tiller Terrace. We were able to order off of both the restaurant dinner menu and the All Day menu, for our dinner on the terrace.

Tiller Terrace All Day Menu, Cliff House Maine Review

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The Maine Grain Cornbread with the optional addition of uni butter for an extra $4 caught my eye, so we ordered it. Unfortunately, the cornbread came without the uni butter I'd specifically requested. I flagged our server and asked for it, and he went away to check on it, while our cornbread grew cold. I then asked another server about it, with another delay. Finally, our server returned and informed us that uni butter wasn't being served, due to Covid-19 concerns. I then requested for the cornbread to be removed from our bill, since the whole point of ordering it was as a vehicle for the uni butter.

Our server wasn't well informed about another menu item either; I originally ordered the Charred Octopus that appeared on the Tiller's All Day Dining menu on the Web site, but some time later, our server came by and informed me that this item had been removed. Nevertheless, a full week after our stay, the same menu is still on the restaurant's Web site, and hasn't been updated. During Covid-19, when many guests are likely to use their own mobile device to access a restaurant's menu, it's all the more important to keep Web site menus updated.

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The best thing I tasted during our dinner was the Lobster Corn Chowder. It was thick, hearty, and flavorful, with a nice lobster garnish.

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The Maine Grain Salad with smoked ricotta was also very good, and a nice as a starter or part of a vegetarian meal.

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The double cheeseburger was a good size, although our son opined that he'd have liked more cheese. Sadly, it wasn't served with ketchup for the fries, and it took quite awhile for our server to provide the ketchup and mustard we requested, by which time the fries were stone cold. To his credit, after we informed him of this, he did finally ask if we'd like some freshly made fries, which we took him up on. Overall, however, this dish disappointed, and the fries in particular were not very good.

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My husband ordered the Chicken Confit with Tuscan Kale and bean cassoulet. While not exciting, it was tasty and and a well prepared dish.

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Cliff House Breakfast at The Tiller Restaurant

Since many guests enjoy sleeping in on weekend stays, it's a great idea to have a combined breakfast and brunch menu, enabling guests to mix and match savory and sweet dishes depending on their mood and the time they're dining, as this menu is served until 2:30pm.

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The Fresh Fruit with greek yogurt and granola was beautifully arranged and one of our family's favorites of the breakfast items we tried.

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The Avocado Toast was also beautifully plated, although frankly I was a little disappointed, as we make better tasting (if not as pretty) avocado toast at home.

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The Tuna Poke was misnamed; it was really more like spicy tuna, instead of Hawaiian style poke, which is mixed with soy sauce, sesame oil, chili, etc. It was still a tasty dish, but there was too little tuna in the dish, albeit plenty of rice and avocado.

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The Blueberry Pancakes were our favorite breakfast items by far. We got the buttermilk pancakes from the kid's menu and added berries, as well as the blueberry butter and lemon crumble from the adult menu for nominal charges.

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The Verdict

We'd seen some disappointing reviews of the Tiller Restaurant, so we came in with modest expectations. That said, we had a very solid dinner food-wise at the Tiller Terrace, just outside the restaurant, where the Lobster Corn Chowder, Maine Grain Salad and Chicken Confit were all good. The cheeseburger was only ok, and we were disappointed that the fries didn't come with ketchup and it took quite awhile to get ketchup and mustard. And the menu on the Web site should be updated to reflect the fact that octopus is no longer available, and neither is uni butter, which is given as an option for the cornbread. The weakest link for dinner, at least on the terrace, was the service, which, while friendly, wasn't up to par given the hotel class and restaurant prices.

Breakfast service was better, and the yogurt with fruit and granola and pancakes with blueberry butter and lemon crumble were standouts, enjoyed by all. The avocado toast wasn't as good as what we make at home, and the tuna poke was well presented but too meager serving of tuna, given the price.

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