Old Vines Wine Bar has been resident in Kennebunk’s Lower Village since 2009. New owners have taken this tapas-style, small plate dining experience to a whole new level of WOW!
The interior of Old Vines is casual and intimate. Seating is at small tables, a couple of high tops or at the bar. Sat back from the road, they also have a small patio out front with chairs and a fire pit that they use when the weather is cold. In the summer, they move tables and chairs to the patio to provide outside seating.
Chef Joel Souza sources their produce, meat and breads locally wherever he can do and all of their sauces and dressings are made in house. As advertised, they specialize in tapas-style dining and small plates which we love. It gives the diner the opportunity to sample several things as part of their meal. And we absolutely recommend that you go and make a night of it because a big part of the experience is taking it slow to enjoy the drinks as well as the food.
Old Vines has a great selection of wines, cocktails and beers from around the world as well as those that are locally sourced. Their wine list offers a good selection of choices from small producers in Europe, the New World wines and the US. There’s a South African Chenin Blanc/Viognier/Semillon that we can’t recommend enough. It’s a gorgeous white wine that they offer by the bottle or glass.
They offer a wide selection of beers from local Maine brewery’s. G-String Pale Ale and So Folkin’ Hoppy IPA (on draft), from Roger’s favorite Funky Bow Brewery, are served alongside Portland’s Allagash Brewing Company , Kennebunkport’s Ship Yard Old Thumper, Sea Dog and Downeast Cider Brews. In addition, they offer a selection of beers from “away” including a Pale Ale from Belgium, Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout from England and Pabst Blue Ribbon (on draft) for those who want to keep it in the US!
It’s going to take a few trips to work our way through their drinks menu. There’s a brilliant selection of handcrafted cocktails to choose from with names like The Englishman’s Bramble, the Bee’s Knees and Monkey in the Barrel. Seriously, how much fun do those sound?! They also make a great Cosmo if you want to just keep it simple and classic.
Finally, about the food. This wine bar offers a lovely menu to choose from. Snacks and Starters offer a tasty way to kick off your meal. Housemade Chicken Pate, Housemade French Onion Soup (which is a firm favorite of ours!) and Housemade Beef Tartare that Roger is certain may be the best he’s ever had. Some of their snacks are more of a nod to the tapas-style. Mixed Olives, Housemade Hummus with toasted Pita and Roasted Almonds.
They are well known for their Artisan Cheese and Charcuterie selections. From a French Brie to a Spanish Manchego, an Italian Pecorino or a soft goats cheese from Massachusetts, there’s something sure to please every palate. Pair the cheeses with House Cured Duck Prosciutto, Truffle Salami or a Serrano Ham and you’re on your way to a great start to your meal.
They have a number of really nice salads to choose from that are all dressed with their housemade dressings in flavors that are fresh and clean and explode in your mouth. The beet salad has blood orange, sweetened walnuts, herbed yogurt and a house vinaigrette. A Baby Kale salad is a flavorful blend of macerated cherries and a port reduction. And the (classic?) Caesar Salad has a light lemony garlic dressing. They are happy to split a salad between two, perfect so you don’t fill up before you can try other things off the menu!
We really enjoy their Small Plates selection. The Coq au Vin served with buttered noodles is one of the best we’ve ever had. And the Boar Sausage with sauerkraut and caraway mustard is also a firm favorite. Their tapas-style plates include a very nice Roasted Chicken Meatballs, a Baked Camembert and a Fresh Burrata served with fresh basil and toasted pine nuts. We haven’t had a chance to try the Flatbread Pizzas yet. The Charcuterie Pizza is definitely on the ‘must try’ list the next time we are there! And if you’ve left room for dessert, you can’t go wrong with the Chai Panna Cotta or the Chocolate Cremeux with a blood orange gelee and whipped cream. But our favorite pudding (English speak for dessert) is their Sticky Toffee Pudding. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever been able to order my favorite english dessert in an American restaurant!
The Old Vines Wine Bar is a little outside of Kennebunkport’s Dock Square, but well worth the trip across the bridge to try them out. There is some parking at the restaurant and more on the road. During the winter months, they are open Wednesday through Saturday from 5pm. Excellent food at reasonable prices – we’ll see you there!